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Beautiful methodist chapel in Barton In The Beans

Beautiful methodist chapel in Barton In The Beans

I was going to go caching with Isaac on Sunday this weekend but the weather forecast did not favour Sunday, so I opted to go on my own on Saturday instead. As it turns out, we had beautiful weather on Sunday too, so I could have gone caching them in the end. Typical!

Part of the walk is along the Leicestershire Round - a network of paths round the edge of the county

Part of the walk is along the Leicestershire Round - a network of paths round the edge of the county

My main target for the day is the Burgo and Beans series, which is a figure of 8 walk between two villages with the very unusual names of Newton Burgoland and Barton In The Beans. After that I had two options:

  • another circular walk of about 4 miles near Ashby De La Zouch
  • as many other caches as I could find in the area, picking on easier caches
Battlefield Line old railway - looks great with lots of old diesel locos going up and down the old tracks

Battlefield Line old railway - looks great with lots of old diesel locos going up and down the old tracks

I parked up in the lovely village of Barton and set off on foot. Nothing too taxing caching wise on this series, with all caches having spot-on co-ords and sensible hides. Quite a few of the hides were either fun containers or well thought out hides which added to my enjoyment. The walk was an excellent variation of different terrain and scenery too :-).

Which way next?

Which way next?

My only failure was on the penultimate cache of the series, which was a small bright green bison tube hanging on a fence. How could I miss it? Try as I might I could not spot it and after 15 minutes looking for it I gave up and moved on. I see it was found later the same day and in the days following this, so I’m not sure what I was missing. Oh well, you can’t find them all…

The very pretty canal section of the walk

The very pretty canal section of the walk

I’d not been feeling 100% at the start of the day as I’ve got a mild cold so opted for the easy option for the rest of the day and set off to find some drive-by’s and shorter walk caches. Ordinarily I would have done the next walk as I was looking forward to it, but was just not feeling full of energy at this stage.

Not many buses stop here! A sheltered seat looking out over the fields.

Not many buses stop here! A sheltered seat looking out over the fields.

I did a few caches near to Barton, including a great one at the site of an old Gibbet. Here’s a link to the cache concerned as the history of the place makes gruesome reading :-).

The Gibbet Post near to a cache

The Gibbet Post near to a cache

I was wondering where to head for next as I still had tons of time left so spent a while scouring the possibilities on Memory Map. The area just to the south of Swadlincote looked promising and was an area we’ve enjoyed caching in before, so off I headed.

Quite a few more quick and easy caches followed, including one on a lovely longer walk up a hill called Hanging Hill. What is it with these parts and gruesome places? First a gibbet and now a hanging hill! All good fun now, but I bet they were not places you’d want to go anywhere near in years gone by :-(.

The Moira Wilderness - an area where coal pits once were and it's not quite given itself over to nature yet

The Moira Wilderness - an area where coal pits once were and it's not quite given itself over to nature yet

After I’d done in this area, I had another look at Memory Map and the area towards Bretby looked promising. We’d had a DNF in this area ages ago but there are now quite a few other caches to keep me interested. A short drive later and I was at the first one.

Great views from the hills in the Bretby Estate

Great views from the hills in the Bretby Estate

A couple of the Bretby caches were in some lovely bluebell carpeted woods on the Bretby Estate and an absolute pleasure to walk to. One of the fab things about this time of year and caching is being taken to beautiful places like this :-).

It was now time to start heading for home, but with 49 finds for the day I just had to find at least one more…

Lovely bluebells near to one of the caches

Lovely bluebells near to one of the caches

On the way to Burton On Trent I passed through an area called Briz Valley, which had quite a few new caches in it. Perfect :-).

I managed a final three caches here, including one that the specimin bottle cache container had been found by a muggle and used for it’s real purpose. Needless to say when I opened it, I thought it was water and shook the container to get rid of the water. I ended up with someone’s wee all over my hands and t-short – yuck! I’m so glad it’s at the end of the day and not the start of the day as I can go home and take a shower now.

Views from the 'wee' cache - not bad at all, shame about the cache though

Views from the 'wee' cache - not bad at all, shame about the cache though

Just before I got on the main A38 to home, I could not resist one last cache at a TB hotel just by the junction.

53 finds in total for the day and another great day out (apart from the wee incident). Here’s a link to a plot of my route for the day on Everytrail.com, including photos from along the way.

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Kiss at the MEN Area - I don't have any good caching pics from my two drive-by's

Kiss at the MEN Area - I don't have any good caching pics from my two drive-by's

On Monday I was due to meet up with a childhood friend I’ve not seen for a few years to go and see Kiss at the MEN Arena. On the way I worked in just enough time for a couple of quick caches.

The first was just by M6 Junction 17 and a nice quick drive-by. The co-ords were a bit iffy but a quick scan round all the likely places nearby soon revealed the cache.

Gene Simmons about to do his firebreathing

Gene Simmons about to do his firebreathing

The next and final cache for the day was near to M6 Junction 19 and another quick find, this time with spot on co-ords.

I’d have done a cache or two in Manchester City Centre before the gig but we’ve found them all!

I met up with my old friend and we had a fabulous evening watching Kiss from about 10ft in front of the stage. I even managed to grab a souvenir towel thrown into the crowd by Gene Simmons after he did his blood spurting part of the show :-).

There's the towel I caught, about half way up the mike stand in the roof of the arena

There's the towel I caught, about half way up the mike stand in the roof of the arena

By the time the show had finished, there was no time for any caches on the way home. Not a great problem as the day was not about caching and I had managed two on the way anyway :-).

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The River Douglas, by my favourite cache of the Croston series

The River Douglas, by my favourite cache of the Croston series

On Saturday I had planned a trip to Lancashire to do the Croston Circular series, which is a set of 31 caches on a circular walk of 10 miles around the village of Croston. On the way round you pass several other caches, a few of which we have yet to find.

If I have time when I’ve finished I’ll then go on to the R.A.T. series by the Ribble embankment and then see about a few drive-by’s on the way back to the motorway and home. Isaac was at school this morning and out at a party on Sunday so it will just be me caching this weekend :-(.

Vents from an underground landfill site - looks a bit like an oil well!

Vents from an underground landfill site - looks a bit like an oil well!

I parked up in Croston near to a pub we’d been to an event at ages ago and set off on my walk. I’d not really looked at the numbering on the caches but I soon realised I was doing the series in reverse. Oh well, not a great problem and on the upside it will mean I might get to bump into other cachers out doing the series in the correct order :-).

Crossing the railway on the Croston walk

Crossing the railway on the Croston walk

The caches were all nice easy finds and the main thing of note on the first half of the walk was bumping into duncscott. We stopped for a quick chat and to compare notes on the caches we’d done on our respective sections of the trail.

Leafy lane about half way round the Croston walk

Leafy lane about half way round the Croston walk

Later on I diverted off the walk to do a stand alone cache at Bank Hall near Tarleton. Back on the trail and a few caches later I bumped into some cachers from Yorkshire called Peteranddi. Just after I left them I went past three people who could have been cachers but I could not see them with a GPSr so did not stop to chat. It turned out to be lwilson1983.

Walking the VERY flat area to the SW of Croston. It looks like you could be on the fens here.

Walking the VERY flat area to the SW of Croston. It looks like you could be on the fens here.

As I neared Croston on the last part of the walk I could hear the bells in the village church ringing out for what was obviously a wedding. A bit later on the route took me through the churchyard and I got to see two lovely old wedding cars parked up, while their occupants were inside the church saying their vows.

Wedding cars outside Croston church

Wedding cars outside Croston church

Once back at the Jeep I realised I had tons of time left, having done the circuit in about 4 hours. I thus headed off for the Linedancer’s R.A.T. series, which was only a few miles away. On the way I picked up a quick drive-by at a roundabout on a main road.

Lovely weir near to one of the caches

Lovely weir near to one of the caches

The R.A.T. series was a great walk and had some fab caches which were really fun to find. I won’t say any more here so as not to spoil it for anyone who has not yet done the caches, but suffice to say Isaac would have loved them if he was with me today.

Views from the Ribble embankment on the R.A.T. series walk

Views from the Ribble embankment on the R.A.T. series walk

After I’d finished this series I still had a spare hour or so so I decided to see how many drive-by’s and cache and dashes I could get between where I was and the M6 near Leyland. The answer was quite a few :-).

Roadside flowers on the R.A.T. series walk

Roadside flowers on the R.A.T. series walk

The main one of note was by this field with two horses in. I grabbed the cache and the two horses came over to say hello. Then lots of dog walkers and pram-pushers appeared out of nowhere and stopped to pet the horses. I ended up having to take the cache with me to the next cache and popping it back when the coast was clear on the way back!

The friendly horses. One of them almost has it's chin on the cache hiding place

The friendly horses. One of them almost has it's chin on the cache hiding place

I ended up the day with a monster 56 finds and about 15 miles or so walked. The weather was great all day which made for a near perfect caching day out :-).

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The old water pump in Great Ness

The old water pump in Great Ness

As it was a Bank Holiday on Monday we decided to go out and check on two of the caches in our Behind Enemy Lines series that looked to be missing. We took some spare caches just in case they were missing.

On the way to the first one at Montford Bridge we stopped off for a quick cache at an underground bunker and part of a follow on series (by another cacher!) from our Behind Enemy Lines series. A nice quick find here.

The cache near to the old bunker at Upton Magna

The cache near to the old bunker at Upton Magna

Our  Montford Bridge cache is in some woods near to the old WW2 airfield and the cache was definitely missing. We had a good scout round the woods for a better hiding place and settled on one place which should work well. With the new co-ords taken we set off for the next caches of the afternoon.

The next two caches we found are in an occasional series based around old wells and water pumps in the more remote parts of North Shropshire. Both of them were very easy finds.

Last on our list was our Behind Enemy Lines: Peplow cache, which someone had emailed me about, saying it was missing. The cache used to be under this HUGE log and someone had taken a chainsaw to the log and cut big pieces off it. Needless to say they had disturbed the log at the same time and it was sat right on top of the cache, meaning you could not get the logbook out.

Isaac with the cache at Merrington

Isaac with the cache at Merrington

We opted to place a new cache a short distance away in a location which hopefully won’t get disturbed. Once we got home we changed both caches pages and marked them as live again.

Just after dinner yet another new cache in Gnosall came out so I arranged to go for the FTF with Allun from the Shropshire Seekers again. The cache was a quick find in the first place we looked and we were FTF again :-).

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L.S. Lowry signs the logbook (or is he sketching some matchstick men and matchstick cats and dogs ;-))

L.S. Lowry signs the logbook (or is he sketching some matchstick men and matchstick cats and dogs ;-))

After an excellent evening watching Kiss at the Sheffield Arena last night, Isaac and myself planned to cache our way over to the 10 Years! Manchester, UK event which was due to be held in Manchester city centre.

The only cache left between us and the M1 was a called called Phoenix, set by this huge state of a phoenix. Try as we might we could not spot the nano so reluctantly gave up and headed northwards on the M1 instead.

Peak District moorland views

Peak District moorland views

I’ve done the Woodhead Pass drive between Sheffield and Manchester many times in the past and was telling Isaac it should be really nice, with lots of great Peak District views along the way. We’d run a caches along a route Pocket Query last night so had a selection of caches to think about stopping for.

Time was a bit tight, so we just stuck to the drive-by’s and cache and dashes, although we’d have loved to go for a longer walk on the moors in this stunning, yet desolate scenery.

Isaac looks for one of the moorland caches

Isaac looks for one of the moorland caches

As we were coming down off the tops on the Manchester side we stopped to clear up a DNF from ages ago at Tintwistle. It took us a few moments to find the cache but what a fantastic hide. If you’ve not done it already, get over to Arnfield Lane – Benchmark – you won’t be disappointed.

The next cache was also a really nice one as it it set not far from where the famous painter L.S. Lowry used to live and in a little park area with a statue of Lowry sat on a bench sketching. See the photo below – we even managed to get him to draw a picture on the cache log ;-).

Isaac with L.S. Lowry

Isaac with L.S. Lowry

Once in the city centre we walked over to where the Shambles used to be and the pub that the event was at. We had a great time at the event meeting lots of old friends and quite a few newer cachers we’d not yet met but seen in many a logbook.

On the way home after the event we picked off the nearest two caches as they were (sort of ;-)) on the way.

At the 10 Years! Manchester, UK event

At the 10 Years! Manchester, UK event

Once home, we had a lovely Sunday roast dinner before I met up with Allun from the Shropshire Seekers to drive up to the 10 Years! Christleton, Chester, UK event. On the way we picked up two caches that had been set for the event and another cache that was very close to the pub.

Another excellent and well organised event followed. We had a great time and hope to start coming back to the regular events that are held at this pub. It’s been way too long since we went to the last one!

Great public art near a cache in Salford

Great public art near a cache in Salford

Not a great day in terms of numbers with only 13 finds, but two of them had unique 10 Years! icons and were really good fun. A great day out :-).

10 Years! special event icon10 Years! special event icon

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Kiss make a very impressive entrance at the Sheffield Arena

Kiss make a very impressive entrance at the Sheffield Arena

On Saturday Isaac and myself were off to see Kiss open their Sonic Boom Over Europe tour at the Sheffield Arena and so opted to do some caches beforehand.

We’d spotted a series of 11 caches just to the south of Chesterfield which looked to be a nice walk and would be a good change to stretch our legs after the drive over from Shropshire. We parked by the last one in the series and then set off to do the series backwards, going from cache 12 down to 1 (why do a series in the intended order when you don’t have to ;-)).

The Five Pits Trail - part of our walk around the Chesterfield caches

The Five Pits Trail - part of our walk around the Chesterfield caches

A really lovely walk ensued and we were soon back at the place we’d parked the Jeep. We found all the caches bar one which looked to be missing.

We then headed off to the M1 through Sheffield and onwards to Hoyland near Barnsley, where there looked to be enough caches to keep us busy for the rest of the day. On the way off the motorway we picked off a quick cache we spotted on TomTom as we drove past.

Old farm building on our walk

Old farm building on our walk

Our first target was a series of 5 caches around an industrial estate on the north side of Hoyland. All nice and quick finds, with the only thing of note that one of the caches appeared to be missing a container (although it might be intentional as it’s hidden under cover).

We then picked off a quick cache at Elsecar station before heading down to this wonderful heritage centre full of old machinery and trains. It looked really nice and we’d have loved to have a look round, but there were to many caches nearby to find ;-).

Old canal taken over by wildlife

Old canal taken over by wildlife

We got the bikes out of the Jeep and set off to find the caches, which were mainly set along this disused canal. A really lovely area for caching round here with tons of wildlife making the old canal it’s home. All the caches were nice and easy. Once we got to the end of the caches along the canal, we back-tracked to the heritage centre and headed off up the hill for the final 3 caches in the series.

Little did we know but an absolute treat awaited us as we closed in on the next cache. We came round the corner in these woods to a whole hidden glade full of bluebells. What a really nice surprise :-).

The lovely (and unexpected!) bluebell glade

The lovely (and unexpected!) bluebell glade

After we got back to the Jeep we needed to start thinking about heading into Sheffield, but not before a few more quick caches. Nothing much of note here apart from seeing an ice-cream van near to one of the caches, so we stopped for a well-deserved break and nice ice-cream in the afternoon sun.

Once back in Sheffield we checked into our hotel, which was right over the road from the Arena. After a nice meal in the restaurant we had an hour to spare so popped out in the Jeep to grab a quick 4 urban caches. All were well placed and in interesting spots (not something you get with every urban cache!).

Sheffield urban caching: a fabulous flowing barrel statue

Sheffield urban caching: a fabulous flowing barrel statue

With 35 finds for the day, we got changed and headed off to an absolutely fabulous night being entertained by Kiss and their support group Taking Dawn. What a perfect end to a really fun day’s caching :-).

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The cache we DNF'd is in this picture somewhere. Can you spot it?

The cache we DNF'd is in this picture somewhere. Can you spot it?

Yesterday afternoon 3 more caches in an ever expending series around the Gnosall area came out. I’d been out in Stafford most of the morning so needed to get my head down and catch up with work so did not dash out to find them (it was raining as well ;-)).

By mid-evening they still had not been found, so I raised Allun from the Shropshire Seekers on MSN to see if he fancied a trip out to look for them. Much more interesting than watching the Political Debate on BBC1 too ;-). Needless to say we were both on our way to Gnosall very quickly.

The first cache was a quick find and in a place I’d literally almost driven past this morning on the way back from Stafford, an hour before they were published! A nice FTF. Off we set for the second cache…

The walk to one of the caches

The walk to one of the caches

The second cache was a short walk over a field and into some woods. We soon realised the co-ords were a bit off as the lowest they would go was 35ft, with the GPSr’s pointing into an (obviously) private field. To add to our woes it was starting to go dark and there was no cache size or hint on the cache page. This was never going to be easy!

Needless to say we checked everywhere and could not spot the cache so gave up and moved on to the third new cache and had a quick find and another FTF. On the way back we returned for a second look at the cache we could not find and still could not spot it.

When I got home I emailed the cache owner to check we were in the right kind of area – we were. I thus returned this morning and could not believe it when I spotted the cache in the foilage as I walked up to the area where the distance to go minimised. How the heck we missed it last night in the dark as we’d been within 1.5ft of it last night, but looking at the obvious tree in the other direction to the cache!

That’s the third of three FTF’s :-).

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Ranton Abbey, seen from part way round my walk

Ranton Abbey, seen from part way round my walk

I had to pop to the bank in Stafford this morning so decided to stop by and check on our Alchemy Quest ~ Steel (Staffordshire) cache as the last two people who went for it could not find it. I took a replacement cache as I suspected it was missing.

After a lovely walk down to GZ it was clear that the woods where the cache had been hidden had been heavily coppiced and the cache was nowhere to be seen. I set about scouting out somewhere to hide a replacement cache nearby. With the new cache in place, I took a few co-ord readings and checked they took me to the right hiding place.

As it was such a nice morning and I was thoroughly enjoying myself, I carried on and made it into a nice circular walk :-).

After I’d been to the bank in Stafford I popped along to do a quick cache in the suburbs, which turned out to be nice and easy.

Once I got home, I updated the Alchemy Quest cache page and posted it back as available for the next finder.

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Old millstone in the centre of Audlem, right by the cache

Old millstone in the centre of Audlem, right by the cache

I was working away today, trying to catch up with things after our extended holiday in Florida last week and spotted 5 new caches had been published. 3 were near Gnosall and then 2 were near Whitchurch. I was too busy to dash right out for them but after I’d cleared up a few things I though I’d give them a go.

The first one was down a very remote lane near Gnosall and I thought I might manage a FTF. It was not to be as the Nozi Parkers had beaten me by 15 minutes. Undeterred I set off for the second one, knowing they may still be doing it as it’s a 0.6 mile walk each way and they would not have had time to walk there and back yet.

Needless to say I was right and bumped into Angela on her way back from the cache. She walked back with me to watch me find it before giving me a lift in her car back down the bridleway to where I’d parked. We then set off in convoy for the third cache.

We could not work out how to get to this one so as the coast was clear we risked skirting round a field and then over a fence to GZ. After that it was an easy find and a Joint FTF to boot :-).

Me with one of the Gnosall caches

I said my goodbye’s to Angela and headed off to Whitchurch to try for the other two FTF’s. The first was a very tricky find and took me ages. Eventually I managed to spot it from the wrong side of a fence and really liked the sneaky container.

The other cache was right in the middle of Whitchurch and not far from an Iceland store my step-brother used to be Manager at ages ago.

On the way home, I diverted off into Cheshire to find a cache that had come out in Audlem (Cheshire’s most southerly village) a few weeks ago and was cluttering up my closest to home not found list. A nice quick find here, after dodging lots of muggles.

Later on in the evening, I was catching up with work when another cache just a few miles from home came out. A quick check with Allun from the Shropshire Seekers on MSN had me picking him up 5 minutes later. We were soon at GZ and quickly found the cache. I bet the views from GZ over towards The Wrekin are great from here in the daytime too :-).

That’s 2 FTF’s and 2 Joint FTF’s. Not bad for two unexpected caching trips!

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Some of the litter at the ASDA cache

Some of the litter at the ASDA cache

Isaac was taking part in the school open day on Sunday afternoon playing his guitar and had asked if we would go along to see him performing.

I knew there was a new(ish) cache on open ground behind the school so we set off down a footpath to do that one first. A nice quick find was had, but it will be a different matter in a few weeks as there are nettles growing fast all around GZ and the cache will be very hard to get to soon!

After we’d seen Isaac perform, we only had half an hour before we were due to pick him up to go home, so decided to pop back over to Donnington and the ADSA cache we’d failed to find on Saturday. Not the nicest of places for a cache (in fact if I’m being honest it’s probably one of the worst caches we’ve ever done) with litter absolutely everywhere (see the photo above).

Luckily I had spoken to a previous finder after Saturday’s DNF and knew exactly where to look. I thus had an instant find and am very glad to tick that cache off the list. I’ve tried to be honest in my log and even suggested there were lots of nicer places to hide a cache than this. I live in hope perhaps the next cache from this hider will be in a much nicer place :-).

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