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Chirk railway bridge viewed from Chirk Aquaduct. The railway bridge was deliberately built higher so as to make it look more superior to the canal.

Chirk railway bridge viewed from Chirk Aquaduct. The railway bridge was deliberately built higher so as to make it look more superior to the canal.

On Saturday I had only intended to do a few caches after I’d dropped Isaac off at school as we’d planned a proper day out caching on Sunday. In the end it turned into quite a bit more than a few caches and took quite a lot of the day!

Lovely wild meadow on the Perry Bridges caches

Lovely wild meadow on the Perry Bridges caches

I headed off along the A5 to tackle the 9 new Perry Bridges caches first. These are all set at bridges along the River Perry in the Oswestry area, some being driveby’s and some being walks down over fields to more remote foot bridges.

The beautiful methodist church in Chirk

The beautiful methodist church in Chirk

Nothing too taxing here and all were nice quick finds, with some of them being in really pretty spots. I was having a great time and decided to carry on caching and head towards Chirk in North Wales as that’s where the next nearest caches were.

Walking along Chirk Aquaduct - I'm a few hundred feet up at this point!

Walking along Chirk Aquaduct - I'm a few hundred feet up at this point!

On the way to Chirk I stopped off for a quick find on a Pirates Of Shropshire caches. In Chirk I started with a quick Church Micro before setting off on foot over the magnificent Chirk Viaduct. This is a HUGE structure, designed by Thomas Telford and both scenic and an extremely impressive feat of engineering. One end is in England and one in Wales so you walk to a different country along the way :-).

Croeso I Cymru

Croeso I Cymru - the Welsh end of Chirk Aquaduct

Welcome to England

Welcome to England - the English end of the Chirk Aquaduct

A few more quick caches round Chirk followed, with my favourite being in this lovely bluebell carpeted woodland near to Chirk Castle. After I’d done in Chirk I dropped back into England to head off to the Pink Wellie series. This is a set of 9 caches in the middle of nowhere and all involving some kind of physical challenge e.g. wading, climbing trees, screambling up slippery banks.

The massive chocolate factory in Chirk

The massive chocolate factory in Chirk

I came a cropper at the first one as it was nowhere to be seen. I’d even crawled down the badger track under the hedge and into a culvert by the road as intended but still could not spot the cache. I gave up and moved onto the next one, which involved taking off my walking boots, rolling up my pants and wading over a river under a roadbridge to get the cache – great fun :-).

Traditional church in Chirk town centre

Traditional church in Chirk town centre

The rest of the series were equally as good – the main thing being having to do something a bit different on each one to get the smiley. On the way round I passed a wedding party just coming out of the church in the village of Duddleston.

I don't own any wellies (especially not pink ones!) so had to wade barefoot to get the cache

I don't own any wellies (especially not pink ones!) so had to wade barefoot to get the cache

After this, I went off to look for the new Tetchill Tour caches, all set around the small village of Tetchill. On the way I grabbed two drive-by’s, both of which I’m still wondering about as they were both at the side of a nonedescript stretch of road. Why put a cache there?

Lovely canal on part of the Tetchill Tour

Lovely canal on part of the Tetchill Tour

The Tetchill caches were a nice walk and some fun hides. By now I really should start heading for home but could not resist picking off the few drive-by’s between Ellesmere and Whitchurch as they have been on my closest to home not found list for way too long.

Friendly cows on the Tetchill Tour

Friendly cows on the Tetchill Tour

One of the drive-by’s had the part co-ords for a nearby puzzle cache that has been out for 4 months now, but never found. I had a quick look and the other part of the co-ords were in a cache about 6 miles to the north of where I was, so off I set.

Old water pump in Tetchill - there's a cache in it too!

Old water pump in Tetchill - there's a cache in it too!

With the full co-ords for the unfound cache, I plotted them on my GPSr and realised they were (sort of) on my way home. What better way to end the day than with a FTF, which is just what I did :-). A very satisfying end to a great day on what has been the hottest day of the year.

On the way to my FTF (I won't say which canal it is though ;-))

On the way to my FTF (I won't say which canal it is though ;-))

37 finds in some beautiful and unspoilt countryside.

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Views down the River Perry from GZ

We were supposed to be staying overnight with friends in Yorkshire last night but one of our dogs had had an operation at the vets on Friday and was having a big problem recovering from the anaesthetic (he’s a 17 year old Jack Russell, but with the constitution of a tank normally).

We had to take him to the vets several times on Friday night / Saturday morning as he was close to leaving us :-( but thankfully by Saturday afternoon he was starting to show signs of improvement :-). We did not want to leave him with the dog sitters in such a state so ended up staying at home nursing him on Saturday night. He’s now made a full recovery and is back to his yappy self again :-).

The cache is somewhere in this picture

Anyway, by Sunday afternoon we were starting to get cabin fever again so I suggested to Isaac that we might pop our and try for the new River Perry caches between Shrewsbury and Ellesmere / Oswestry. We were soon on our way.

The first cache was near Montford Bridge on the A5 and down some seriously narrow country lanes. This was to be a feature of the whole series – we were so glad we were doing them on a Sunday as there are not a lot of passing places if someone was coming the other way!

We started off with quite a few easy finds and then moved on to an un-connected cache on a local hill with the grand title of ‘The Cliffe’. In reality it’s not that high at all and it is not really a challenge to get to the top. It’s a gentle stroll up a nice sandy bridleway to the great 360 degree views by the trig point.

Nice views from the top of The Cliffe

Next we did a few more quick River Perry caches before having a nightmare with the one in the middle of the (nicely named) Ruyton XI Towns. The cache was a sneaky hide and we soon spotted the cache but thought it was an official bridge measuring device and so did not want to mess with it.

We tried to use a PAF to the only finder of the cache so far but there was no signal on the phone at all. We ended up driving out of Ruyton to the east to the highest ground we could find and then only got a marginal phone signal. Our PAF confirmed we were looking at the right item and said he’d used a pair of pliers to get the cache open as it was very stiff.

Going the wrong way on the way to the cache

We returned to GZ and tried to open the cache with some other special equipment as we did not have any pliers with us. The result is the cache lid sheared partly off and meant we could not get the logbook out, even though we could see it through the clear lid. Hmmmm – we hate it when things like this happen as the last thing we want to do is break someone’s cache :-(.

We moved on to the next cache as there was nothing else we could do and soon had that found. The penultimate cache for the afternoon was the only walking one and a really tricky one to get to as the closest you could park was 0.44 miles away and the cache was over very boggy moorland.

Very remote bridge on the River Perry

The path from there over the moor to GZ was not marked and involved walking accross several fields with these HUGE drainage ditches seperating them. We had fun finding safe places to jump the ditches, probably making the terrain rating for this cache a lot higher than it’s supposed to be, but great fun nonetheless :-).

The last cache of the day was a quick drive-by on the way out of the country lane area and onto the main A5, which will mean we can get home really quickly.

Before we went home, I took Isaac on a quick diversion to the ridiculously steep canal bridge over the Montgomery Canal near Welsh Frankton (at N52 52.395 W2 56.413). He thought it would be a good idea to record our trip over the bridge on the iPhone and here’s the resulting video, with running commentary by Isaac too. It does not really do the steepness of the bridge justice, but you’ll get the general idea :-).

If you’re ever in the area and have a high wheelbase vehicle, give it a try as it’s like a rollercoaster!

12 finds for the day and an interesting set of different caches in lovely countryside.

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Memorial stone on the Montgomery Canal

On Saturday I was wondering where to go for a few caches after dropping Isaac off at school as we’re saving the main caching day out for tomorrow.

A quick check on Memory Map revealed quite a few new caches to do in the NW Shropshire area towards Wem and Ellesmere and mostly out in the wilds on very narrow country lanes. I could then head home via Shrewsbury and mop up the new caches there along with a chance to take some co-ordinates for our new Earthcache at Haughmond Quarry.

I dropped Isaac off and headed off round the Shrewsbury ring road northbound to the first cache of the day, a drive-by by thefortytwa. This was a nice quick find with a very nice neat TTPOS to guide me to the hide.

After this I headed for a series of 5 caches on a circular walk just south of Baschurch. I parked by the first one but could not find the micro so decided to leave it for the way back. The next one alluded me too, but there was a shorting electric fence right near GZ and the hint implied the cache was hidden in a pretty thick hawthorn hedge – hmmm.

Rather wet path on the way to the caches near Baschurch

Undeterred I pressed on to the third cache and had a quick find of the nano here. Now knowing this cacher setters co-ords were reasonably good I headed back to try and find the two I’d failed on. The first one I spotted just as I was about to give up. It was not in the hedge at all which is why I’d not spotted it earlier. The one by where I had parked was also a quick find, about 2 inches from where I’d looked on the way out – doh!

Next on the cards was a series of 4 new caches along the river just to the west side of lovely Wem. I parked near to the second one and headed off on foot to find the caches. The first was an easy find. On the walk to the second I passed what was left of what must have been quite a big snowman – all that was there now was a lump of snow in the middle of a grass field.

Bridge with no sides near the Wem caches

On the fourth cache I got a nice surprise as a light aircraft was just taking off from nearby Sleap airfield so I looked up to see what it was. It was G-LFSA from Liverpool School of Flying – the very same plane I’d done my first solo flight in just over 10 years. How nice to see it unexpectedly like this and for it to bring back lovely memories of that milestone day :-).

I could not decide whether to head down towards Shrewsbury next or to head NW towards Ellesmere and bag a rather remote cache on the Montgomery Canal. The latter won over and after driving down some seriously narrow lanes in the middle of nowhere I drove up over what has to be the steepest canal bridge I’ve ever seen just before the parking spot.

I’d been here ages ago to get our 2nd and 3rd ever FTF’s so knew the stretch of canal well. I have to say it’s our favourite part of the canal system as it’s always lovely and quiet out here with just the sound of wildlife to keep you company and some excellent views over great countryside.

Lovely tranquil views by the Montgomery Canal

Next, I headed over to the A5 just south of Oswestry and then southwards to Shrewsbury. On the way I picked up the only cache we’d not done on our trip to the Oswestry area last weekend. Once in Shrewsbury I did a few easy cachees including one at a lovely spot on the Severn Way, overlooking the River Severn (there’s a surprise!).

During the week a great looking cache based on getting clues from bridges over the Severn near the centre of Shrewsbury had come out. I’d picked up the clues soon after the cache was published but ran out of time to do the final cache. Knowing where to go for it now, I drove straight there and parked up not too far from GZ. The cache was an easy find in a great spot I’d not been to before. It was really lucky I’d picked up the clues during the week as the Severn was very full and was covering the path along side it, meaning I’d not have been able to get to the clues today.

Haughmond Quarry Earthcache

Next stop was the car park at Haughmond Hill for the walk down to the location of our new Earthcache to take some photos for the cache page and double check the cache co-ords. All nice and easy and I was soon back at the Jeep.

Last cache of the day was a nice walk down the side of Haughmond Hill to a new cache that was published during the week. I parked at the Abbey Woods car park and then had a lovely walk down to the cache, followed by a very slippery scramble up the bank to the cache which was near the top of the hill.

17 caches for the day but it’s made a serious dent in our closest to home not founds and I’ve had a ball driving round some beautiful countryside and finding some nice caches.

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