Isaac did not have to go to school this Saturday so we planned a trip out caching instead. Our idea was to start with some caches near Earlswood, south of Birmingham that were set for a recent event. We then planned a walk round some lovely looking woodland before heading back up the M5 to J3 and the new Illey Quest (IQ) series. If we have any time left, there are a few other new caches in the area we could look for.
We parked up by the Village Hall in Earlswood and set off on foot round the caches that were set for the event. The first one was just by where we parked and a nice quick find. We then headed off down a path to the back of the pub and into some lovely woodland by the reservoir.
The next couple of caches were nice and easy – the hardest thing was finding out how to cross quite a wide stream onto the path at the side of the reservoir as we could not see a bridge. We ended up spotting a reasonably shallow part and tip-toped over with our walking boots keeping our feet dry.
At the far end of the reservoir was a stand alone cache with the word “Challenge” in the cache title. It was obviously a sneaky hide, which is normally right up our street. The problem was, with it being so early in the day, we did not want to spend too long looking for it as it would put us back for the rest of the day. Needless to say we could not spot it so ended up moving on. We will be back though as we don’t like being beaten :-).
The rest of the caches around the village were quick and easy and we were soon on our way to other caches. On our way to Dickens Heath we stopped off for a lovely cache along a very peaceful section of canal.
Dickens Heath was great fun as it seems to be a totally new village / small town and has more dead ends than a really good maze. After several u-turns we finally found our way to GZ and parked nearby for an easy find of the cache.
The next cache was nearby and was absolutely fabulous. It’s situated just outside a garden centre that specialises in “hardy tropical plants”. There were palm trees everywhere, a HUGE metal elephant statue and even an authentic Africa style Land Rover. What a great place :-).
Next we headed off to try for Max’s Clowes Wood Circular Walk. This is a set of 4 caches, along with two other stand alone caches around some beautiful woodland in fine countryside. The first cache was a tricky hide and we could not spot it. We decided to come for another look on the way back to the Jeep and headed off for the rest of the caches.
After a lovely walk with some really nice caches, we arrived back at the sneaky hide. On the way round the other caches we ‘d formulated some ideas as to the hide and sure enough, eagle-eyed Isaac soon spotted the tell-tale sign of the cache. A really inventive idea too.
We now headed off back along the M42 and grabbed a few quick caches near Bromsgrove on the way to the IQ series.
The IQ series is a set of 8 caches plus a bonus cache, set on a 4.5 mile circular walk centered on the village of Illey. We set off and were soon at GZ for the first cache, which was a quick find. At the second cache, we saw a couple on the bridge near the cache, admiring the stream below. We got chatting and ended up telling them about caching and showing the hide. They were really interested – a couple of new recruits maybe?
We could not find #4 in the series – the clue had the dreaded vil (ivy) in it and it was a micro. Other cachers had struggled with it and needless to say so did we. We ended up giving up and moving on as we did not want time to slip too much.
The rest of the series was nice and easy and we soon had the bonus cache bagged and were back at the Jeep. Some jokers had thrown some mud pies at the windscreen, but they were easy enough to get off. I bet that was fun for them ;-).
Just time for a few final caches around the area so off we set with Isaac directing us using Memory Map. He loved the next cache as it was by an Audi garage and even the cache was a car themed micro. Great stuff :-).
We ended up at Leasowes Park in Halesowen. The plan had been to bike it round all the new caches here but it was going dark and we were getting hungry by now so we just ended up doing the one cache. A really good hide it was though, so well worth it.
35 finds for us today and another great day out.