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Archive for September, 2010

Caching around Leek

Looking down on Tittesworth Reservoir and the area we'd been caching in earlier in the day from the top of the Roaches.

Looking down on Tittesworth Reservoir and the area we'd been caching in earlier in the day from the top of the Roaches.

We could not decide where to go caching this weekend, so after a good look at our unfound caches on Memory Map, we settled on a trip to Leek as there seemed to be tons of caches there to find. There has been a circular walk just north of the town along the Staffordshire Moorlands Walk (SMW) for quite a while now and we’ve been meaning to do it for ages, but wanted some other caches to fill the rest of the day with. Now was our chance…

Love the reflections in the pond in the park at the start of the SMW walk

Love the reflections in the pond in the park at the start of the SMW walk

We parked up as suggested at the Leisure Centre at the start of the SMW series and headed off on foot. Along the way we picked up two other caches in the park before heading out to a lane and then onwards up a hill over farmland. At the top we were treated to some great 360 degree views with the Roaches, Shutlingsloe and the town of Leek being the main things of interest.

Simply stunning countryside. What a great place for caches and a really nice walk!

Simply stunning countryside. What a great place for caches and a really nice walk!

fasf

The trail then lead us down towards Tittesworth Rerservoir (isn’t this where the Top Gear crew filmed that daft challenge where they had to convert cars into boats and sail them?). There is another series of 5 caches round the reservoir, so we picked up 3 of them at this stage and opted to do the remaining 2 later in the day.

Lone tree at the high point in the SMW walk

Lone tree at the high point in the SMW walk

Once back at the Jeep, we decided to head off for some urban caches around Leek. We opted for an anti-clockwise circular route around the suburbs and don’t really have a lot to add about the caches ;-).

Shutlingsloe in the distance

Shutlingsloe in the distance

Once we’d had enough of the urban caches (and had almost run out of ones to do anyway), we headed off to the top end of Tittesworth Rerservoir for the remaining two caches in that series, plus another stand-alone cache which we were passing on the way.

It's a Long Walk ;-)

It's a Long Walk ;-)

To finish the day on a proper note, we decided to head up into the Peak District (we were on the border of it anyway by now) and have a walk along the Roaches, taking in the caches along there including Staffordshire’s Highest Cache. After the urban caching, this proved to be just what we needed and we had a really fun couple of hours enjoying the amazing views, watching the (many) rock climbers and finding the caches.

Isaac at the Rockall Cottage cache, with Hen Cloud in the background

Isaac at the Rockall Cottage cache, with Hen Cloud in the background

After we’d got back to the Jeep we decided to stop for 3 quick caches to the west of Stoke on Trent before picking off a cache near home that was published last night.

Views over Tittesworth Reservoir from the dam

Views over Tittesworth Reservoir from the dam

42 finds for the day and a lovely varied days’ caching with great weather all day. Great stuff :-).

Panoramic views from the trigpoint on the Roaches

Panoramic views from the trigpoint on the Roaches

Here is a link to the Everytrail plot of our route.

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Our caching stats as of 21 September 2010

We have not run any caching stats for ages so thought it might be fun to see the current status. The last time we ran them was almost a year ago – here is the blog post for that time.

We’ve added in a new map for Nevada to cover our recent holiday there and see we’ve managed to find caches in quite a few more counties, both in the UK and the USA over the year :-).

Here is a link to the stats page as they don’t get properly formatted if I include them directly here.

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Lovely old mill part way round the Morgan's Rum walk

Lovely old mill part way round the Morgan's Rum walk

On Sunday Isaac was free so we decided to head off to Ashbourne in Derbyshire to tackle the Quest for Morgans Run cache series that was put out for the recent Piratemania event. This is a series of just short of 30 caches on a (sort of) figure of 8 layout.

There is not much holding this tree up. It's totally hollow.

There is not much holding this tree up. It's totally hollow.

We parked up at the campsite where the event was held, got kitted up for our walk and off we set.

Having fun walking the plank. Well, it is the series set for the Piratemania event after all!

Having fun walking the plank. Well, it is the series set for the Piratemania event after all!

Being very familiar with this cache hiders hiding style, the caches were all found pretty quickly with the exception of QMR21: Gan Ning which is a nano hidden quite high up in a tree. Isaac went up the tree first but I was not too keen as you have to reach out on a limb to get the cache. He came down and I tried and after closing my eyes (not really!) so I could not see the drop I soon had my hands on the sneaky little cache.

Isaac up the Gan Ning tree, but still not high enough for the cache

Isaac up the Gan Ning tree, but still not high enough for the cache

All too soon we were back at the Jeep, having also picked up a few other non-series caches on the walk. A fabulous walk though, with lots of variety of views, hides, terrain. Just the kind of caching we like :-).

About to cross a field of very high corn on our walk

About to cross a field of very high corn on our walk

Next, we decided to head off to the caches near the JCB World HQ at the Roman town of Rocester next. We had fun zooming around picking up the caches, none of which was too hard.

A lightning tree we passed on the way round the series

A lightning tree we passed on the way round the series

Time was starting to get on a bit by now so we decided to head down to Uttoxeter and see how many we could find there before time ran out and we had to be heading home. The answer was quite a few :-).

A friendly cow watches me sign the logbook

A friendly cow watches me sign the logbook

We ended up with 41 finds for the day and really wanted to end with an even number, so spotted a nice easy drive-by on the way home. Despite it being a 35mm container hidden on a road sign (about the easiest find ever) we could not find it. It transpires the cache is missing and has since been replaced.

View over the town of Uttoxeter from GZ on one of the caches

View over the town of Uttoxeter from GZ on one of the caches

There were no other caches in the area between here and home and we’d have to go a long way out of our way to get the 42nd find so we decided to head home content with our 41 for the day.

Here is a link to the Everytrail plot of our route.

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The lovely church at Shareshill, near to the start of the PAF series

The lovely church at Shareshill, near to the start of the PAF series

Isaac was at school on Saturday morning so I planned to drop him off and then head off to the new PAF (‘phone a friend’) series just north of Wolverhampton. This is a circular walk involving 18 caches, 2 of which are Multi’s and the rest being Traditionals. The twist is that none of the caches have a cache container size specified and virtually all of them have no hints at all.

At GZ with one of the logbooks from the PAF series

At GZ with one of the logbooks from the PAF series

I parked up by the first cache and started to look for it. A constant stream of dog walkers started to come past, almost as if they were waiting for me to arrive! I thus decided to return for this one at the end of the walk and headed off for the next cache.

Part of the PAF series takes you along the Shropshire Union Canal

Part of the PAF series takes you along the Shropshire Union Canal

Once I’d got into the swing of things, and my geo-senses had finally woken up (!) I made light work of most of the caches. My only real problem was at #7 where the cache was nowhere to be found. I tried my only PAF’s of the series just to check I’d not missed something obvious (would not be the first time!). The first PAF could not remember the cache at all, but the second confirmed I was in the right place and it looked like the cache was missing. I got 2 PAF calls myself about cache #7 later in the day and it was then confirmed the cache really was missing and had now been replaced (quick work for the cache owner there – can’t fault that for service ;-)).

Which way next? On the PAF walk somewhere.

Which way next? On the PAF walk somewhere.

After I’d finished the series I grabbed cache #1 on the way back to the Jeep and headed off for a few other caches in the immediate area. Nothing too taxing here and I soon ran out of caches to do. What to do next then? Head over towards Walsall / Cannock or up towards Stafford, both of which had a good few caches I could aim for.

The photo I was not allowed to post with my log as it apparently contains a spoiler! I won't say which cache it is though.

The photo I was not allowed to post with my log as it apparently contains a spoiler! I won't say which cache it is though.

Stafford won out and I thus drove up to Penkridge to find the 4 Food Trail caches we’ve been meaning to do for ages. They were all nicely themed with good hides and fun containers. Heading up towards Stafford, I picked off a series of 4 new caches along a Bridleway near Brocton. No problems here except the last one was nowhere to be seen and when I got home later on I saw the cache owner has taken it back home as it had been muggled by children and wrecked.

Heading off to one of the Wizard of Oz caches

Heading off to one of the Wizard of Oz caches

Stafford was REALLY busy when I arrived so I had to do a bit of creative routing to get me to the caches without getting stuck in traffic for too long. I had another very lengthy search for two Wizard Of Oz themed caches near Stafford Grammar School. The first one was nowhere to be seen (and has since been confirmed as missing by the cache owner). The second one was 20m or so away from the co-ords so was found more by luck than good judgement.

View from GZ at one of the Newport caches. That's the old canal that is now a designated SSSI below.

View from GZ at one of the Newport caches. That's the old canal that is now a designated SSSI below.

Time was getting on by now but I just had time to pick off a couple of quick caches near to Norton Bridge on the way to Eccleshall and onwards to home. I also picked off our two closest to home not founds in Newport on my way home.

40 finds for the day. Here is a link to the Everytrail plot of our route.

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A quick cache in Stafford

The cache ... and a very busy street market very close by

The cache ... and a very busy street market very close by

I had to pop to the bank in Stafford this morning to pay some cheques in. On the walk from where I’d parked was a new cache, right in the main square on the high street called Muggle Central.

Needles to say this was a very busy GZ and the cache took a bit of patience! There was a family sat on the bench at GZ when I arrived so I went off to the bank hoping they would be gone on my return.

I returned to find an elderly lady sat there. Hmmm. Luckily she eventually moved on and I grabbed my opportunity to find the cache, but not before I had to dodge a council workman emptying some nearby bins.

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Me with one of the FTF and The Wrekin in the background

Me with one of the FTF and The Wrekin in the background

On Monday I was in the office busy with work when I spotted 8 new caches along roads circling the base of The Wrekin come out. I was umm’ing and ahh’ing about whether to go out for them when Allun from the Shropshire Seekers rang. We agreed to meet by cache #1 as soon as we could both get there :-).

Shortly afterwards I arrived at the start of the series and left the Jeep there so we could do the rest of the caches in Allun’s car. The caches were mainly sneaky nano’s and good fun to find, with a few hides you don’t see that often.

All too soon we had finished with 8 FTF’s and just had one other cache we were going past on the way back to the Jeep. We stopped for this and then took ages finding it. We got there eventually just as we were about to give up. The cache was by the same cache owner as the FTF’s and was by far the sneakiest hide of the lot.

Well satisfied with out FTF’s, I returned home to carry on with work and Allun headed off to Shrewsbury and back to work.

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Looking over to Caer Caradoc from our walk

Looking over to Caer Caradoc from our walk

On Saturday myself and Isaac decided to head for South Shropshire as there were quite a few new caches in the area to find and it’s always a pleasure to cache in such a scenic area.

Daft sign seen on the gFab walk

Daft sign seen on the gFab walk

We started off with a quick cache on the A5 by Shrewsbury before parking up for the ring of caches that were set for the recent gFab camping event. This basically consisted of 20 or so caches on a circular route round the area with a couple of drive-by’s nearby.

That's one heck of a tell-tale pile of sticks!

That's one heck of a tell-tale pile of sticks!

We parked up and set off on foot to do the series clockwise. Along the way we had great fun traversing a field full of 8ft+ high corn and no marked path over it. We walked through the corn, keeping parallel to the crop and finally made our way to the other side. The only other thing of note on this series was a fun cache where you had to ‘use’ a bit of old farm machinery by a track to get the cache to reveal itself.

About to enter the field of corn on the way to the next cache

About to enter the field of corn on the way to the next cache

After we’d finished our walk, we cleared up the other 4 caches in the immediate area as drive-by’s and cache and dashes before heading down the A49 to Marshbrook and the Shropshire Seekers new caches.

Views over to The Wrekin from the latter part of the gFab walk

Views over to The Wrekin from the latter part of the gFab walk

We parked up by the outdoor centre and set off on foot to do the caches in order. There are 12 caches in the series, with clues in most of them which then lead to a bonus cache. Some great countryside round here which made for fab walking. The finds were all easy enough and along the way we bumped into Bullyboy2820, who we did one cache with before he stopped for sandwiches with his family. Great to meet you :-).

Abandoned house on the Marshbrook series walk

Abandoned house on the Marshbrook series walk

Once we got back to the Jeep, we worked out the bonus cache location and were soon there for a nice easy find. A huge big ammo box too – just the kind of cache we like to find!

Views over to the Long Mynd from the Marshbrook walk

Views over to the Long Mynd from the Marshbrook walk

Next, we headed off for the east side of Caer Caradoc to tackle the caches around the hill (mountain?). I’d done the cache on the summit ages ago and really enjoyed the wonderful views over Shropshire and Cheshire, so I was looking forward to taking Isaac up there for the first time.

At Three Fingers rocks at the south end of Caer Caradoc

At Three Fingers rocks at the south end of Caer Caradoc

All the caches were easy enough, with the last one involving a bit of off-road trekking on the direct route up the steep slopes of the hill. Great fun and some fantastic views over Church Stretton as our reward. We then continued to the old hill fort at the summit and enjoyed the wonderful views all around.

The panorama from the top of Caer Caradoc

The panorama from the top of Caer Caradoc

Time was getting on now, but we could not resist two last caches on the way home. The first was in a ford not too far from Caer Caradoc and a cache we’d DNF’d ages ago. It still took a heck of a lot of searching for but we got there in the end thankfully.

Isaac at the summit of Caer Caradoc with The Wrekin in the background

Isaac at the summit of Caer Caradoc with The Wrekin in the background

The last cache of the day was a quick cache and dash on a new cache in exactly the same place as a now archived old cache.

A very quiet gate ;), right next to the last cache of the day

A very quiet gate ;), right next to the last cache of the day

44 finds for the day, some great walking, lots of terrain and some really good caches. Our kind of caching day!

Here’s a link to our Everytrail plot of the day’s route.

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