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Lovely Johnson Hall, which we went past on the walk

Lovely Johnson Hall, which we went past on the walk

Yesterday morning I was in the office when 14 new caches came out just to the south of Eccleshall – well, when I say 14 new caches I really mean 13 traditional caches with a bonus cache :-).

I was too busy to dash out there and then but texted Allun from the Shropshire Seekers about them anyway. He was in Birmingham but on hearing there were so many new caches out he decided to wrap up what he was doing and head home. We thus arranged to meet up a bit later for a joint assault on the caches.

Going past some curious sheep

Going past some curious sheep

While I was waiting I spotted one of the caches had a mistake in the co-ords so let the cache owner know about it. They emailed back and mentioned another cacher had already started on the series, so we were not hopeful for any FTF’s when we did them.

We set off on the first part of the walk down a quiet lane and sure enough, we’d missed FTF on all of the caches. Once we left the lane and set off over the fields it was a different story and we were treated to quite a few FTF’s. We assumed the other FTF cacher must have just picked off the quick drive-by’s in their lunch hour or something.

Beautiful hidden pond very close to one of the caches

Beautiful hidden pond very close to one of the caches

All the caches were quick finds and the walk was really nice – an area I’ve driven past tons of times but never stopped to explore until today. The last cache before the bonus had been muggled by some cows who obviously shelter from the rain under the tree the cache was hidden by. Luckily we spotted the cache out in the open a short distance from the tree, so had to hide it slightly differently to keep it away from the cows again. We’ve emailed the cache owner with the details.

As we were approaching the Jeep we spotted another car parked right by it and wondered if it was another cacher. Sure enough, as we got closer, Mark from cannonedwards got out for a chat. He’d spotted the Jeep as he was passing and then had spotted us walking back over the field. Great to meet you again Mark :-).

One of the cow mugglers - they were using the wood in the picture (where the cache was hidden) as a scratching post, thus dislodging the cache

One of the cow mugglers - they were using the wood in the picture (where the cache was hidden) as a scratching post, thus dislodging the cache

Once we’d gone on our respective ways, myself and Allun wandered off to find the bonus cache, which was also a nice quick find.

A fun couple of hours out and 14 caches bagged in total. There are another 4 caches in the series yet to be published so we’re looking forward to them when they come out.

Here is the route we took on Everytrail.

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Isaac with the Chester Challenge logbook. Love these rhinoceroses that are dotted everywhere round the city centre.

Isaac with the Chester Challenge logbook. Love these rhinoceroses that are dotted everywhere round the city centre.

Yesterday Isaac did the remaining two caches we had to clear Stafford out again. He tells me they were both quick finds, one near the parking area for Doxey Marshes Nature Reserve, which we’ve been to before for other caches.

On the way home they diverted via Moreton to grab the final one of the Special Forces caches. We’d had 2 DNF’s on this in the last 2 days as it’s right opposite some houses, the co-ords are 69ft out and there have been people around when we’ve been to try and find it before. Today we timed it right, so Isaac went in for a quick find.

In the afternoon we had a meeting in Chester to go to so off we all set. We met up with Clotguy by the Racecourse (great to meet you at last :-)) and after the meeting headed off to do some caches.

Clotguy and ourselves phooning on the busy roundabout

Clotguy and ourselves phooning on the busy roundabout

The first was a really fun one where you had to stand on this very exposed roundabout and phoon (see the photos) with everyone going past in cars wondering what the heck you are up to. Once girl in a black car looked particularly bemused, which was hilarious :-).

After that, we headed off to Chester Challenge, which is a really fun hide in a VERY public and busy location. Thankfully, with all the children in our group we had excellent cover to search for the cache and soon had it located. An inspired hide in such a busy location too. If you are ever in Chester, go and try for this cache – you won’t be disappointed.

Isaac at the busy Eastgate clock cache. There were tourists getting photos all around GZ.

Isaac at the busy Eastgate clock cache. There were tourists getting photos all around GZ.

The last cache we found was by the clock at Eastegate on the old Roman walls around the city. We’d done the old cache here so looked in the place that was hidden first. It was not there, but Isaac soon spotted the cache nearby.

We did try for one final cache by a bridge over the River Dee but for some reason they had hidden a nano on some metal railings that were covered in ivy. As if that was not bad enough, it was next to an extremely busy road and the co-ords took you to a place that did not match the hint. After a quick look we gave up as it’s not our idea of fun I’m afraid.

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Isaac with one of the caches

Isaac with one of the caches

Nine new caches came out in an occasional series near Gnosall the other day. Mrs Bolas Heathens had to drop Freya off in Stafford this morning so Isaac went with her to see if they could find the caches on the way home.

They managed 4 finds, 4 DNF’s and 1 did not try (they ran out of time!). Speaking to Allun from the Shropshire Seekers, who had had better luck than us, 3 of them had co-ords about 60ft out and 1 he could not find either.

We thus decided to have a joint effort at the one we’d both DNF’d this evening as it was still up for a FTF. On the way we drove round and cleared up all our DNF’s from earlier and I took some co-ords readings for the cache owner.

The cache that was still up for FTF turned out to be an easy find once we’d significantly expanded our search radius. You guessed it, the co-ords were just over 60ft out!

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Isaac with one of the caches just below Stoodley Pike

Isaac with one of the caches just below Stoodley Pike

This weekend we could not resist a return to do some more of the LEGEND Letterboxes on the moors between Manchester and Burnley. We’d had a few DNF’s last week so opted for a series that we knew all the caches had been found on. The Todmorden loop fitted the bill perfectly!

Looking at the layout of the caches on Memory Map, it looked to be about a 14 mile walk but there was a lot of terrain to negotiate as the series is set around the lovely town of Todmorden, which lies in a valley with steep slopes on all sides. We thus decided to head off around the southern part of the walk and see how far we got.

We parked up for the day at the eastern end of the loop on the main road between Todmorden and Hebden Bridge and got kitted up for our walk. Off up the hill we set and headed right for the nearest LEGEND cache.

Looking over towards Stoodley Pike - the trail leads past there and onwards to the far end of the valley

Looking over towards Stoodley Pike - the trail leads past there and onwards to the far end of the valley

The first part of the walk was the climb up towards the tops. Once at the top, we headed along a network of farm tracks between the caches and then dipped down just below the lovely Stoodley Pike, a massive great tower on top of a hill overlooking the whole area.

We were amazed at the co-ords on all the caches as we literally had 0ft to go on several of them. We’ve never seen the GPSr go that low before. Most of the caches were quick finds and none of them took that long to find, which is always welcome when you are on a longer walk.

After we’d dropped down into the strangely named Mankinholes (I can’t help but think of Borat here) we diverted off to find a couple of LEGEND caches that join up the middle of the outer loop.

Looking down into the valley towards Littleborough

Looking down into the valley towards Littleborough

The path then took us up a hill with great views down the valley before dropping down into Todmorden itself. On the way down, one of the caches was at this fabulous old burial ground and a totally un-expected place as the cache page does not even mention it.

After crossing the main road in Todmorden the route took us back up a big hill via quite a steep track. Once at the top we were rewarded with fab views all the way down the valley to Hebden Bridge.

Once we’d dropped down the other side of the this hill and found all the caches on it, we realised time was getting on and we’d not have enough time to finish the walk round the northern section of the loop. We thus found a bus that would take us back to where we’d parked the Jeep, but not before stopping for an ice-cream in this lovely park.

Red helicopter that was buzzing the houses and scaring the sheep in the fields

Red helicopter that was buzzing the houses and scaring the sheep in the fields

Once back at the Jeep we decided to pick off a few more LEGEND caches – this time the remaining few that join up the middle of the Todmorden loop (we’d already done two of these earlier). Nothing too taxing here, and we managed to bag several other caches in the area as we went past.

It was teatime by now so we decided to head home and leave the rest of the loop for another trip. 40 finds for the day and some very satisfying walking (and caching!) in a beautiful part of the country.

Here is a link to the Everytrail track of our route for the day.

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Our 10,000th find at WEREWOLF, somewhere on a remote moor in Yorkshire

Our 10,000th find at WEREWOLF, somewhere on a remote moor in Yorkshire

We’ve been really busy with other things the last few weeks so have not had time to keep our Blog as up to date as we’d liked.

Instead of just missing the period out, we’ve put together a slideshow of some of our exploits instead. Notable things that happened during the period:

  • Isaac went caching with his Grandparents, while they were judging churchyards around Staffordshire (don’t ask! :-)).
  • We found our 10,000 cache at WEREWOLF
  • Started on the new LEGEND Letterbox caches in Lancashire with the Hurstwood and Widdop sections.

Anyway, here is the slideshow…

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Looking out from the top of the main York Minster tower, near to the YOSM cache

Looking out from the top of the main York Minster tower, near to the YOSM cache

We’ve been really busy with other things the last few weeks so not had time to write our normal blog posts. I’ll try and get things up to date here in one go…

23 June 2010 – Birmingham City Centre

Part of the queue outside the Bullring at 5am - it got a LOT busier still later on!

Part of the queue outside the Bullring at 5am - it got a LOT busier still later on!

I was in Birmingham city centre for the launch of the iPhone 4 so decided to do a couple of quick caches before I went back to the hotel for an early night as I had to be up really early to beat the lines at the Apple Store the next morning.

I opted for the two caches closest to the hotel. The first was proving tricky as my GPSr would not settle with all the tall buildings around. As I was working out the possible hides to check, someone walked up and asked if I’d found it yet. It was bikeboyroy who was looking for the same cache. We joined forces and soon had the cache in hand. The second cache was a short distance away and a much easier find as I ignored my GPSr and just used cacher’s instinct.

I was at the Apple Store for 5am the next morning and had a fun time chatting to like minded people while waiting in line. After 7.5 hours waiting (I must be mad!) I finally got my hands on my new phone – it was well worth the wait too :-).

26 June 2010 – 3 Quick Caches closer to home

Old wharf buildings at Wappenshall

Old wharf buildings at Wappenshall

We’d saved the big caching day out this week for Sunday so on Saturday I opted for 3 closest to home not founds, after dropping Isaac off at school. The first one was half way up The Wrekin and a fun one to walk up the hill to. The next two caches were quick and easy with no problems at all. The last of the two I did by cacher’s instinct and did not find the first stages of it (it was a Multi) until after I’d signed the final logbook.

27 June 2010 – The Lenches series and various other Worcestershire caches

Beautiful village church in Rous Lench

Beautiful village church in Rous Lench

The main target of our day out today was a 12 mile walk round the new Lenches series near Evesham in Worcestershire. After that we’d planned to pick off as many nearby easier caches as we could before it was time to go home.

Newly planted woodland along the first part of the walk

Newly planted woodland along the first part of the walk

We parked to the south of the loop and started off with cache #12, working our way down the numbers to #1 and then from #25 back to where we’d parked at #13. We were hoping this might mean we would bump into other cachers who were doing the series in the correct order, but it was not to be so as the only other finders of the day had been and gone long before us (we’re not early risers).

Some great Wimbledon themed tennis scarecrows along the walk

Some great Wimbledon themed tennis scarecrows along the walk

A really lovely walk ensued with lots of good caches and some fab countryside. The first half of the walk was more hilly, but the terrain then flattened out for the second half and the journey back towards where we’d parked. If I’m truthful, I would have liked twice the number of caches on the walk than there were as some of the gaps between the caches were pretty long. That being said though, it was not a big problem and we both thoroughly enjoyed the whole walk.

A very elaborate looking post box in Rous Lench

A very elaborate looking post box in Rous Lench

Back at the Jeep we took the roof off, wound down the windows (it was the hottest day of the year so far) and decided to pick off some drive-by’s and cache and dashed. A few caches round Cropthorne followed by quite a few more in Pershore followed.

The stunning Pershore Abbey. A very big church for such a small town.

The stunning Pershore Abbey. A very big church for such a small town.

On the way back to the M5 and home, we totally missed the motorway entrance and TomTom took us up to the next motorway entrance by Droitwich. On the way we could not resist a quick drive-by we spotted on TomTom. It had had 2 recent DNF’s but we went for a look anyway and Isaac put his hands straight on it.

Love the amusing place names around here

Love the amusing place names around here

38 finds for the day and a fab walk in some stunning countryside. Just what we needed :-).

Click here for a link to our route for the day on Everytrail.

3 July 2010 – York Mega Series

Isaac with the York Mega Series bonus cache

Isaac with the York Mega Series bonus cache

The York Mega Series is a set of 82 caches, plus a bonus cache on a 17.5 mile circular walk. We’d been alerted to it by a caching friend who also said it was bikeable. That’s like a red rag to a bull as we LOVE caching by bike.

The earlier part of the walk takes you along this stream for a while

The earlier part of the walk takes you along this stream for a while

A few days before we were due to go, the cache owner made an announcement that they were going to archive half of the loop as they think they have a cache trasher at work who keeps removing the caches. We thus decided it was now or never for our trip to York and as Isaac had just broken up for the summer holidays from school, this weekend was the perfect opportunity.

One of the earlier urban caches. Love the colours in the bush behind Isaac.

One of the earlier urban caches. Love the colours in the bush behind Isaac.

We set off from home but did not arrive at the start of the loop until 11:50am. Looking at the previous logs, it looked possible to do the circuit by bike in around 7 hours so we should still have plenty of time.

A lovely field of poppies near to one of the caches

A lovely field of poppies near to one of the caches

Off we set on our bikes. The first stage took us through some urban areas with nice easy caches. It was then out into the open countryside using a combination of quiet lanes and footpaths over fields around the caches.

The cache nearby was called "Rickety Bridge" - very aptly named too!

The cache nearby was called "Rickety Bridge" - very aptly named too!

At the half way stage in a lovely village called Sutton we spotted a nice Tea Shop on our route so stopped for a lovely ice-cream, followed by a wander round the village. Time was getting on a bit now so we headed back to the caching.

Looking down the main street in the village of Sutton on the Forest

Looking down the main street in the village of Sutton on the Forest

The second half of the series was the part affected by the muggled caches, but we managed to find quite a few more than we were expecting. We suspect a farmer has taken a dislike to caches on his land and removed all of them. The other missing ones tended to be 35mm containers hidden in hawthorn bushes about 5ft along a quiet lane. Some were there and some were not.

This way to the next cache!

This way to the next cache!

Back at our starting point, we headed off the short distance for the bonus cache, which was a nice quick find. We then took in one final cache in the village before going back to the Jeep and the drive to our hotel on the east side of Leeds.

Relaxing at an open air gym near to a cache after finishing the Mega Series

Relaxing at an open air gym near to a cache after finishing the Mega Series

Near the hotel we managed 3 more quick finds, taking the tally for the day to 88.

Click here for a link to our route for the day on Everytrail.

4 July 2010 – York city centre

Beautiful wild flowers by the first cache of the day

Beautiful wild flowers by the first cache of the day

We’d planned a more relaxed day today, doing more touristy things round the beautiful Roman city of York, with a few caches as we were passing. We wanted to get to at least 101 finds for the trip, so we ended up with 9900 finds at the end.

The John Smiths brewery in Tadcaster

The John Smiths brewery in Tadcaster

We thus did a few quicker caches on the drive into York, with the main one of interest (to me at least!) being a Virtual outside the old John Smiths brewery in Tadcaster. I won’t even try and imagine the amount of John Smiths I must have drunk when I was younger, and especially at University.

Looking up at the MASSIVE York Minster

Looking up at the MASSIVE York Minster

We caught the Park and Ride into York itself and had a lovely few hours wandering round the ancient streets and along the old Roman walls. The highlight of the day for us both was going up the tower at York Minster and bagging the YOSM trigpoint at the top (the views were pretty good from the top too!).

At a virtual cache by the old Roman town walls

At a virtual cache by the old Roman town walls

We eneded up with 16 finds for the day, making the total for the trip 104 :-).

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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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