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Posts Tagged ‘black country’

Looking along the canal from one of the Pelsall area caches

On Saturday Isaac was back at school so I planned to grab a few caches towards Wolverhampton after I’d dropped him off at school and headed down the motorway. Little did I know it would develop into a full day’s caching and that I’d meet 3 lots of other cacher’s while I was out!

The first cache was one myself and Allun from the Shropshire Seekers had had a DNF on a week or two ago when we were on a FTF mission. The cache was missing before FTF and had been replaced in the meantime so I popped along for a nice quick find. It’s always satisfying to tick off previous DNF’s :-).

Stream in Pendeford Woods

The next caches were not too far away and based along a walk though Pendeford Wood near Wolverhampton. I parked near to the top of the trail and had a lovely walk through the woods picking up the 5 caches there.

After I’d finished with the caches in the woods, I headed off for the Essington Signal Box series, which is a set of 4 caches on a circular walk near to an area I’d cached a few weeks ago. I started off with a quick guard rail cache before heading off down the path into the fields. The rest of the series were nice quick finds and it was a nice walk.

Canal boats moored at Sneyd Wharf

Disaster then struck as I had a DNF on a new cache near Sneyd Whark called BOYHOOD ESCAPE ROUTE (1) – that’s the cache owner’s SHOUTING and not mine ;-). On the up-side, I did bump into Hank’s Crew at GZ – it’s good to meet you both at last :-).

A quick cache at Sneyd Wharf on the canal followed, before I moved on to the north end of Bloxwich for the ‘The sky is falling down” series, a set of 7 caches based along an old canal and surrounding area. We’d totally failed to spot this series on the map before as all but one of the caches have exactly the same dummy co-ords, so it just look like one cache on the map!

View down the ex-canal, now a nature reserve

Needless to say, I got my bike out of the Jeep like we always do for canal based caches. A had great fun travelling between the caches on a deserted towpath and then stopping to work out the co-ords of the next cache at each previous cache. All too soon I was back at the Jeep with the series completed.

Next on my list was two quick caches round the corner at Izaak Walton pool, a nice looking fishing pool. Nothing much to report here as they were both quick and easy finds.

A beautiful memorial to a teenage girl killed in a car crash nearby

I then headed off to the Pelsall area for all the new andynelaine caches that had come out recently. After I’d done a few of them I got an almighty shock. I’ll quote from my cache log:

As I got back to the Jeep I was sat checking my GPSr to work out which cache to go for next when there was an almighty bang from behind me. It scared the bejesus out of me to say the least!

A car had just gone past and I wondered if he’d clipped the Jeep as he was passing. I got out to check and all was ok. The only other thing it could be was a tyre. The Jeep ones were fine so I had a check of my bike in the back. Sure enough the back tyre was flat as a pancake. How odd though for that to happen as it was not moving and was nowhere near anything sharp which might have caused a sudden explosion.

Old pool, near to where a farmhouse once stood

When I’d recovered enough to drive ;-) I headed off for more caches in the area. That’s when the second bizarre / funny thing happened:

On the way to this one I was sure a blue car had started following me as every turn I made, they did too. I stopped to check my GPSr for the footpath to a nearby cache and the blue car pulled up behind me too. Oh no, I’ve not cut someone up and they have been following me to have words or something have I? I didn’t think so and thankfully spotted it was Des and Bren, on their way to the same caches as I was on my way to.

FIshing man statue near one of the caches

Great to meet Des and Bren again. We ended up doing the next 6 caches together, although they had already found the last two, so just tagged along as we were chatting anyway :-). Along the way we also bumped into the thurs night gang who were just arriving at a cache we’d just done.

They kindly gave me the co-ords of the new YOSM virtual cache location which was not too far away. A quick check on my GPSr revealed a few other new caches in that area so I decided to head off there next as it would leave me not too far from the M6 and the journey northbound to home.

On the way I grabbed a few quick and easy drive-by’s and a cache on a short walk.

Ye Ole Survey Monuments - Pheasey virtual cache

I parked as close as I could to the YOSM cache and got out of the Jeep to take the required photo of my GPSr with the trigpoint. All well and good, but I could not find the trig point anywhere! I then realised it was actually a flat concrete trig plate I was looking for and that I’d parked right on top of it – doh! I moved the Jeep back a bit and all was revealed.

Once I’d finished with the YOSM cache I headed off into the park over the road for the three new caches there. Some tricky hides on these which had me searching for a few moments and all good fun. The last one of the three had this amazing view over most of Birmingham, including the city centre :-).

That's my kind of 'Grub Grab' cache series location - a lovely Indian restaurant!

I decided I better head off towards the motorway and home as time was getting on, but spotted another 4 quick caches on the way so it would have been rude not to stop and find them.

44 finds for the day, which I was pleased about as I’d only intended to bag a few caches at the start of the day.

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M5 goes over the canal

We’d planned a main day of caching on Sunday this weekend, so I thought I’d head off towards Birmingham for a few easier caches after dropping Isaac off at school on Saturday morning. There was a ring of caches around the canals of Oldbury which looked like fun and had the added bonus of being bike-able.

I came off the M5 at J1 and made my way to what looked like a handy parking area near one of the ring of canal caches. As I pulled up I noticed a cut just to the left of the road and assumed this was the canal. As I got out of the Jeep I saw it was almost dried up and there was no towpath. Hmmm – this is going to make the series tricky as I have no idea how I’ll get from one cache to another.

Thankfully common sense then prevailed and I realised that this was not the canal I was aiming for and that I needed to be about 200ft north behind a rent a van compound. A short time later and I spotted the obvious canal – how come I can spot a nano in ivy but can’t spot a very obvious canal!

Near my old client's offices

Once on the towpath the first cache was a nice quick find and a really nice hide too. I then carried on anti-clockwise round the series. I had a series of easy finds before I spotted a familiar building near one of the caches. It turned out to be the offices of a client of mine from my old day job from a good few years ago. I knew it was somewhere round here but did not know quite where.

I had a DNF a bit later on a cache in an area that was not very nice and looked like it was used by drug takers. I did find a roll of kitchen foil where the cache should be and there was quite a bit of used foil on the ground nearby. Hmmm.

The last bit of the ride was the most interesting as it took you along the canal right under the M5. Of all the times I’ve driven along the M5 I’ve never realised a canal was directly underneath! A little further on and there was a series of bridges, one on top of another, where the motorway, railway line and 2 * canals all crossed each other. Not very often you see that many forms of transport cross in the same place!

Motorway, railway line and 2 * canals all cross each other

Back at the Jeep I was thoroughly enjoying the urban caching so far so decided to carry on with some more. An area on the outskirts of Tipton had lots of caches we’d not done so off I set. I parked up at the ASDA and grabbed the two quick caches by the car park before heading off on my bike down another canal (or was it the same one as before, just a bit further along?).

A bit of a patchy caching experience along the canal followed with 2 DNF’s and 2 finds. One of the finds only had the top half of one of those tiny magnetic nanos. I’ve no idea what happened to the bottom of the container – all very odd.

Next, I moved the Jeep round for a series of 4 caches in a park called Sheepwash Park (strange name for a park, let along an urban park). All nice bigger caches and well hidden. A lovely area too with not a single muggle in sight.

Old locks in Tipton

More caches then followed in Tipton itself. Every time I see the name Tipton I think of the fab band Judas Priest who are from there :-). I found 2 of the 3 caches in Victoria Park (no sign of the third cache in the place the hint had to mean). The last few in Tipton were based around the old Tipton canal and nice quick finds.

I then decided to head off through Dudley to Kingswinford to do the Ridgehill Woods series of 5 caches. On the way I picked up an easy cache at a Lidl and had yet another DNF on a cache (this time I think the cache had slipped out of reach –  I even had the torch in the hole to no avail).

I parked up for the Ridgehill Woods caches and set off up the hill on foot into the woods. What a fab place for caching – I had a lovely circular walk around the caches, with some easy and some less easy finds. Very satisfying.

Carl Bridgewater farmhouse

Nearly done now, but just time for a couple more to get me up to 35+ finds for the day. Just down the road is a cache near the old farmhouse where paperboy Carl Bridgewater was murdered 20 odd years ago. I remember seeing this on the news at the time and having nightmares about it as he was about my age (possibly slightly older) and I’d convinced myself it happened at the farmhouse near to where we lived in Cheshire.

The farmhouse has been totally renovated now and you’d not know what happened there unless you were told. Nice though it is, I’m not sure I could live there, knowing what happened there all those years ago.

One more needed for my 35 finds so I checked the OS map on the Oregon and spotted a couple of easy drive-by’s just south of me in Kinver. Off I went and had an easy find of a canal cache followed by a drive-by Church Micro in Kinver.

Great views

I headed off to the Rabbit Run and the route home. As I was going round the Telford ring road northbound a bit later I was musing about stopping for our nearest to home not found, just over 3.7 miles south of home.

It was dark by now and a 0.3 walk but it was a good a time as any. Off I set and was soon at GZ. With no sign of the cache I resorted to the hint which said “conkers”. Two likely looking trees were nearby but no cache was by either of them. I eventually found the cache under an ivy covered branch a bit later on and still have no idea about why the clue said “conkers”. It would have been better saying “red herring” ;-).

I was back home for about 5pm with a very satisfying 37 finds for the day. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy urban caching and especially round Birmingham as it’s got tons of urban caches to go for.

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