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Archive for June, 2010

Lovely quiet lane with newly planted woodland by the third cache of the morning

Lovely quiet lane with newly planted woodland by the third cache of the morning

I had to drop Isaac off in Stafford this morning so while I was here I decided to clear up the two new caches in the area.

The first one was a bit of a nightmare if I’m honest as there were dog walkers all over the place and me loitering by the fence the cache was hidden behind looking suspicious did not help. I checked all the places as per the hint and could not find the cache. In the end I used a PAF and 5 minutes later they turned up on their bike. Can’t beat that for service! Great to meet you at last too Dave :-). We finally found the cache a short distance from where it should be and not as per the hint at all. We put it back where it should be.

Looking over towards Stafford Castle from the second cache

Looking over towards Stafford Castle from the second cache

The second cache was a bit more straightforward and I had it in hand after eliminating the various possibilities in the ivy at GZ. There were some nice views over towards Stafford Castle from GZ too.

Last, but by no means least was a brand new cache on the Weald Moors just north of Telford that came out yesterday afternoon. I’d normally have dashed out for a FTF attempt but did not have time yesterday. This morning it was a nice quick find in a lovely quiet area.

Now to get home to do some work.

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The view at the start of the walk - the caches take you through the woods on the hill to the left

The view at the start of the walk - the caches take you through the woods on the hill to the left

On Sunday Isaac was available, the sun was shining and it looked a perfect day for caching. We’d planned a nice walk round the Size Matters series near Kidderminster. The Size Matters refers to the fact none of the caches in the series has it’s size stated so it’s up to you if you look for them without knowing the size of the container, or you can take a peek at the hint as it does tell you there.

A three-way junction, but what stops the pylon being pulled down in our direction?

A three-way junction, but what stops the pylon being pulled down in our direction?

After we’d done these I planned a trip back to Leasowes Park in Halesowen – a lovely hidden gem of a place with quite a bit of terrain and lots of hidden areas and ponds. And now, lots of caches to find too – perfect!

Luckily this guy was behind a very strong fence. I'd not want those horns anywhere near me!

Luckily this guy was behind a very strong fence. I'd not want those horns anywhere near me!

We were soon parking up on the Size Matters series and started off the walk, taking the caches in the order they were intended for a change (we normally seem to do things backwards for some reason). The walk was really lovely and all the caches were nice easy finds. The only problem we had was with #10 which was hidden in a ton of ivy. We had a reasonable look but got bored in the end and moved on to the next cache.

They must have tall dogs around these parts as Isaac could walk through the gate!

They must have tall dogs around these parts as Isaac could walk through the gate!

After we’d finished the series we headed off to Leasowes Park, via a quick Sidetracked cache at Hagley station. We arrived to find it was a micro in a lot of ivy so we walked away as we just don’t get why you’d want to frisk a tree down to find a cache. I’m sure some people must love this kind of hide, but we don’t.

Beautiful hidden pond on the Size Matters series

Beautiful hidden pond on the Size Matters series

Leasowes Park was as lovely as I remember it from our last caching trip here absolutely ages ago. The caches were a nice mix of unusual containers, sneaky hides, easy hides, great locations – you get the idea – perfect for some fun caching :-). On the way round we bumped into three lots of other cachers: The Cuthies and Max, piebean and The BazNess. Great to meet you all.

A green looking pool in Leasowes Park

A green looking pool in Leasowes Park

Once we’d finished in the park, we returned to the Jeep in the car park and were going to treat ourselves to an ice-cream from the ice-cream van we saw when we arrived at the park but it was nowhere to be seen. What is it with us and ice-creams? We’ll get one eventually if it’s the last thing we do ;-).

Looking out from the higher park of the Leasowes walk towards the Clent Hills

Looking out from the higher park of the Leasowes walk towards the Clent Hills

What followed was a bit of a nightmare as we had something like 5 DNF’s on the run and were beginning to think it was time to go home and come back another day. A combination of missing caches, micros in woods without a hint, fields full of travellers right by GZ and our own incompetence did not help at all.

Leasowes Park View Point panorama

Leasowes Park View Point panorama

Just as we were about to go home, we managed to find a final few caches, including one at a really badly named road (I won’t say what here as it’s not family friendly) and one on the West Midlands County highest point (Turner Hill in Dudley).

Panorama looking out over Dudley and Wolverhampton from near the county high point

Panorama looking out over Dudley and Wolverhampton from near the county high point

31 finds for today and some really great walking and caching. A shame about the hour or so of constant DNF’s later in the day but that happens sometimes.

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Looking down the old canal from the blocked off end, whilst on the Potty Challenge series

Looking down the old canal from the blocked off end, whilst on the Potty Challenge series

I’d planned to go out caching with Isaac near Kidderminster on Saturday but at the last minute on Friday night we realised he was due at school on Saturday morning. We quickly swapped the day out to Sunday (better weather was forecast anyway) and I decided to head off and do the Potty Challenge near Brownhills on Saturday instead.

Walking along the canal at the start of the Potty Challenge series

Walking along the canal at the start of the Potty Challenge series

This is a series of 12 caches, plus 2 extra ‘bonus’ caches along a canal and then leading round in a loop via an old railway line. If I finished the caches in good time I’d then go on to see if I could find any other caches in the area.

Lifting a canal boat out of the canal

Lifting a canal boat out of the canal

I parked up near to cache #1 in the series and set off on foot up the towpath. I can’t really say too much about the caches as the Challenge is there are hardly any clues. Needless to say most were pretty easy but a few were right stinkers and took a while to find. All good fun though and the kind of caching we enjoy for a change.

Walking round the woodland part of the Potty Challenge series

Walking round the woodland part of the Potty Challenge series

On my way round I bumped into Steve from the thurs night gang – great to meet you again. Once I’d finished the series I decided to head off to the strangely named ExCanExCan series, which are set along the route of the now closed and very much returned to nature Cannock to Brownhills canal.

On the way to my DNF at the Cannock end of the old canal. Not the prettiest of locations, but it's not supposed to be.

On the way to my DNF at the Cannock end of the old canal. Not the prettiest of locations, but it's not supposed to be.

Nothing too taxing here apart from the one at the Cannock end where the old canal used to terminate. My GPSr lead me to one of those horrible metal fences with 1001 places to hide a micro and I soon got bored and moved on to the next cache.

Wild meadows near the Big Kids Challenge bonus cache

Wild meadows near the Big Kids Challenge bonus cache

I did a couple more caches around the Hednesford area before heading down to Pelsall to do the final of the Big Kids Challenge (a series by the same cache owner as the Potty Challenge I’d done earlier in the day). We’d done the Big Kids Challenge ages ago but then the bonus cache came out. I managed to find it quickly enough, along with two other new caches in the same general area.

At the Fool's Gold cache near Cannock

At the Fool's Gold cache near Cannock

Time was getting on by now so I decided to head over to Essington to make the 4 new caches there my final ones for the day. On the way I quickly cleared up a DNF from the last time we were in the Bloxwich area.

A very pretty stretch of canal near Bloxwich - I DNF'd the cache though

A very pretty stretch of canal near Bloxwich - I DNF'd the cache though

The Essington caches were all quick and easy, with the highlight being that one was a totally un-expected ammo box. I’d love to find more of these as they make great cache containers.

31 finds for the day, which is not too bad as I was only really intending to go out for the Potty Challenge series.

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We’d had two DNF’s on two of our Shropshire Church Gem caches near to home, so as it was such a nice day today I popped out armed with replacement caches just in case.

St Luke's in Hodnet

St Luke's in Hodnet

The first cache is at St Luke’s in Hodnet and one I did not think would get muggled as it’s well hidden. I parked up close to GZ and walked over to look for it. Sure enough, it was not where I’d hidden it but a quick look around the rest of the old yew tree it’s hidden in revealed a bit of camo bag out of the corner of me eye. I checked the cache and it’s looking good, so I’ve just updated the hint a bit and re-enabled the cache.

St Swithun's in Cheswardine

St Swithun's in Cheswardine

Next on the list was near St Swithun’s in Cheswardine. This cache was an ammo box hidden at the far end of some lovely woodland on a nice walk from the church. Needless to say, as I approached GZ it did not look good as someone has used a chainsaw to chop the fallen tree the cache was underneath into short sections. They must have found the cache as it was nowhere to be seen. I left a brand new cache a short distance away and updated the cache page.

St John the Baptist in Great Bolas

St John the Baptist in Great Bolas

Finally, the last task for the trip was to drop off a TB that is a padlock and needs to be attached to an ammo box. The TB has a sibling that is a key and the idea is they both meet up and the cacher who manages it, can move the lock to a new ammo box. Our Shropshire Church Gem cache at St John the Baptist in Great Bolas looked perfect for that. A short walk down the old track had me at GZ and I did the business with the TB.

Now to head off back home to get on with some work!

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Puzzle caching on the Wirral

Old windmill turned into a house in Willaston

Old windmill turned into a house in Willaston

We’d enjoyed our caching on the Wirral last weekend so decided to come back this weekend to clear up some of the caches that we had left to do in the area. Last week we concentrated on the west side of the peninsula so this week we opted to cache along the east side. This side has lots of puzzle caches, but thankfully we had the co-ords for them all worked out.

On the walk round the Willaston caches

On the walk round the Willaston caches

The first area for the day was around the village of Willaston. There is a nice looking circular walk along with a bonus cache and also various other stand alone caches along the way. All were nice quick finds with nothing too taxing. The walk to the bonus cache was familiar as we’ve done a multi in the same area ages ago.

A preserved railway station now part of the Wirral Country Park

A preserved railway station now part of the Wirral Country Park

Next, we headed off northwards for the first puzzle caches of the day. The first was actually a multi as we had to get some numbers from a post, put them into a formula and then work out the final cache location.  All nice and easy and we soon had the cache found. We then did a quick stand alone cache in the Wirral FTF series on the way to the next puzzle cache.

Lovely flowers near to one of the caches

Lovely flowers near to one of the caches

The next puzzle cache is one that is actually at the published co-ordinates but there is a tricky wooded puzzle in the cache that you have to solve and then post a picture of you holding it with your log. As we pulled up we could see someone sat in their car nearby and wondered if it was another cacher. Sure enough it was wirralwanderers and they already had the puzzle and were trying to put it together. We pooled our thoughts and soon had it solved.

Isaac with the puzzle from the puzzle cache (in the rain!)

Isaac with the puzzle from the puzzle cache (in the rain!)

A couple of caches later, I was furtling in some ivy looking for a cache when another car pulled up. It was The Molecachers, who were just returning the cache after signing the log in their car down the road. Great to meet you all.

In lovely Port Sunlight

In lovely Port Sunlight

We then headed off to make a start on the main puzzle cache series – the Geneaology Series. This is a set of 8 tricky puzzle caches, based around doing research on family trees. I won’t say too much about the locations on here as I don’t want to make things too easy for other cachers. I will say that we enjoyed finding each cache, with some of them very close to great views along the River Mersey and over to Liverpool city centre itself.

Looking out along the River Mersey to Liverpool city centre and the Irish Sea

Looking out along the River Mersey to Liverpool city centre and the Irish Sea

While we were doing this series we picked up various stand alone caches including one with a really nicely engineered hide that is in plain view but totally blends in.

One of the Bromborough Crosses in a churchyard near to a cache

One of the Bromborough Crosses in a churchyard near to a cache

Time was getting on by now so we decided to head off and find the last puzzle cache series of the day: a set of three caches set around Eastham Country Park. We’ve been here a few times caching now and always enjoy coming as it’s a lovely place for caching. The three caches are actually two caches, leading to a bonus cache. The first cache has a key to unlock the lock on the bonus ammo box and the second contains the actual co-ords of the bonus cache.

Looking out along the River Mersey towards Runcorn

Looking out along the River Mersey towards Runcorn

Nothing too taxing with this series either. We even managed an easy find on the co-ordinate cache as that one is in an area usually with muggles everywhere. We picked a rainy Sunday afternoon when the World Cup is on TV so the area was really quiet.

38 finds for the day and another great day out, despite the constant rain all afternoon.

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Looking down the old canal section on the walk

Looking down the old canal section on the walk

On Saturday we had tickets to go and see the matinee performance of Hairspray at the Grand in Wolverhampton, but I could not let the day go by without at least finding one cache.

Steep steps heading up to the third cache

Steep steps heading up to the third cache

Thankfully three new caches had come out in an interesting looking ex-mining area in the north of Telford. Perfect! Off I went and was soon parking up for my walk round the caches.

Lovely old byway on the way back to where I'd parked

Lovely old byway on the way back to where I'd parked

The first was a quick find. I was then taken through the old mining area, which is now lovely woodland and past part of an old canal to the next cache. Another easy find here and I was soon at the last cache, which was a not so easy find as it’s a very small Small, hidden in tons of ivy and right in sight of some houses. I got it eventually though.

Looking out over the area from the top of the hill in the middle of the walk

Looking out over the area from the top of the hill in the middle of the walk

Now, off to meet up with the rest of the family and to catch the train into Wolverhampton for the show.

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Love these old style Public Footpath signs they have on the Wirral

Love these old style Public Footpath signs they have on the Wirral

Isaac is busy revising for exams at school this week (what a fun school holiday for him – not!) so we decided a day out caching might be the perfect break from this. Where to go though as Isaac wanted to cache in the North West, but we’ve already done a lot of the caches in the area?

North Cheshire Way? A sign right by one of the Skeg to Ness caches

North Cheshire Way? A sign right by one of the Skeg to Ness caches

A quick scour of cache locations on Memory Map led us to a return trip to the Wirral. We’ve not cached there for just over a year, in which time lots of new caches have come out in the area. There was a time when we’d nearly cleared the Wirral of caches, but not any more :-).

A cow, watching us sign the logbook at a cache

A cow, watching us sign the logbook at a cache

On the way to the Wirral we stopped for a few quick caches around the A41 on the east side of Chester. Nothing too taxing here, apart from a few nettles to contend with and a nano that had lost it’s magnet.

Funny sign in a front garden we passed - "Never mind the dog, beware of the owner!"

Funny sign in a front garden we passed - "Never mind the dog, beware of the owner!"

Once north of Chester, we opted to finish off the few Skeg To Ness caches (no’s 202-207) we’d left out when we did the rest of the series a few weeks ago. Along the way there were quite a few other caches to find. At Come on Down we bumped into a very new cacher as we were about to walk over to look for the cache. Nice to meet you mpl003 :-).

Isaac with the cache. We finally finish the Skeg to Ness series with #207.

Isaac with the cache. We finally finish the Skeg to Ness series with #207.

Once we’d finished this set of caches, we were at the lovely village / town of Neston. Here there is a nice trail of caches which go in a loop over fields and back along the sea front, with a further section of the walk along an old railway track that is now a cycleway. Sounds like a perfect excuse to get the bikes out – so we did!

Cycling down the great cycleway round a series at Parkgate

Cycling down the great cycleway round a series at Parkgate

After finding the bonus cache on the last series, we headed off further up the coast to Heswall for a few quick caches. Again, nothing too taxing here – even the cache outside another cacher’s house was out of sight of the house, so we did not get spotted.

Boats on the silted up Dee Estuary at Heswall

Boats on the silted up Dee Estuary at Heswall

You can’t come to the Wirral without doing some PhilPamAndRob caches – especially their excellent “old school” puzzle caches in which nothing is ever quite as simple as it first seems. We’d not done any of their caches yet today, but there was a group of them nearby at Royden Park. Off we set…

Lovely old stile on the way to a cache

Lovely old stile on the way to a cache

We got distracted at first by some caches around a circular walk that have been set by some local Cub Scouts. All of these were quick finds with pretty good co-ords and in nice spots.

Looking from GZ towards the Dee Estuary, Irish Sea and Wales (middle left of picture)

Looking from GZ towards the Dee Estuary, Irish Sea and Wales (middle left of picture)

Along the way somewhere (I won’t say where and won’t say if we diverted off the route to get it as I don’t want to give anything away) we stopped to finally find PhilPamAndRob’s excellent A “One-Off” cache. We’d actually started this tricky little puzzle on our visit to the area last year and after a further twist sometime earlier in the day today, we had the final co-ords for the cache. The actual cache was a lot easier to find than the puzzle was to solve, but very satisfying nonetheless :-).

Beautiful old church at Thurstaston

Beautiful old church at Thurstaston

Next it was into Royden Park itself for PhilPamAndRob’s Easter themed series. This is a set of 4 Traditional caches, which give you the co-ords to a bonus cache. All were nice quick finds and we soon had the bonus cache in hand. On the way round we stopped off to get their Wirral Advent Calendar puzzle cache.

You can see Royden Hall through the trees on the way round the Easter Egg series

You can see Royden Hall through the trees on the way round the Easter Egg series

By now, time was getting on but we had 44 finds and wondered if we could get this up to 50. Daft question really as there are tons more caches around here, so off we set…

We love caching in woodland like this - so tranquil

We love caching in woodland like this - so tranquil

The next two caches were DNF’s – why is it when you need a few more finds, they suddenly get really hard to find? We decided to stop trying so hard, relax and just go with the flow. This normally works really well and we find caches without really thinking about it, whereas if we try too hard we keep DNF’ing caches!

National Trust - Local Nature Reserve. The caches were in woodland adjoining this area.

National Trust - Local Nature Reserve. The caches were in woodland adjoining this area.

Needless to say we soon had over 50 caches found for the day, including clearing up 3 DNF’s in the Bidston Hill area from our visit last year. It’s always very satisfying clearing up DNF’s like this :-).

An almost yellow field with hundreds of buttercups

An almost yellow field with hundreds of buttercups

We REALLY must be thinking about going home now as we are getting hungry, but not before 3 last caches just to the south of Chester.

Looking along the Shropshire Union Canal near Chester on the way to the penultimate cache of the day

Looking along the Shropshire Union Canal near Chester on the way to the penultimate cache of the day

We ended the day with 56 finds and were back for a late tea, so made pretty good progress throughout the day as we did not start off early. Isaac’s mind was totally off his exams so the main objective of the day was achieved too :-).

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