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Posts Tagged ‘oswestry’

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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Cockshutt hill in the snow

The weather has been looking dire all week with snow covering all the areas we usually cache in and it being too cold to want to venture out for long. We thus ended up calling off our usual day out caching this weekend and settled for a few caches each day to keep the caching itch from needing to be scratched too much.

Friday 8th January

I had to pop out to Stoke for something else but had not really planned to do any caching. One thing lead to another and I ended up also having to visit Stockport. TomTom wanted to take me up the M6 but I had other plans as the scenic route up over the Staffordshire Moorlands before dropping down into Macclesfield and through Hazel Grove sounded much more interesting!

On the way I was looking out for caches that I might pass on TomTom and sure enough, I spotted one in Endon, just as I was coming out of Stoke. A quick check of my iPhone (I did not have a GPSr with me) gave me all I needed to know and it was a really easy find without even needing a GPSr.

The Rudyard Lake nano

A bit further on I spotted another cache near the southern end of Rudyard Lake so stopped for another quick find. This one was a nano and I had no pen with me so had to make do with a picture of the cache container to prove my find.

On the way from Stockport onto the M60 a bit later on I stopped for another drive-by right under Stockport Viaduct. This one was not to be though as the snow was really deep and I was looking for a micro at ground level. Ah well, two out of three ain’t bad :-).

Saturday 9th January

I had to drop Isaac off at school this morning so could not resist going to look for a few caches nearby which had been sat at the top of our closest to home not founds for way too long.

Snowy views over Telford

The first four caches were on the Cockshutt hill near Oakengates and looked like a nice linear walk from where I had planned to park.

The first cache was right by the parking spot and a nice easy find. I then carried on up the steps to the top of the hill but failed to spot the next cache. I thought I’d leave it for the way back and carried on for nice quick finds at the next two caches. The second of these had a HUGE hole in the corner of the box where a rat had chewed through but was thankfully dry inside as the weather is too cold for it to get damp. On the way back to the Jeep I managed to spot the cache I could not find earlier :-).

The chewed cache box

Just time for one more quick cache so off I set for the next nearest which was in Shifnal (to the east of Telford). I was soon at GZ but my heart sank when I was the amount of ivy :-(. I had a good look but after spooking two lone female dog walkers (I was on my own and must have looked a bit suspect!) I resorted to a PAF. The cache was then a really quick find 2 inches from where I’d already looked.

Now for the drive home for a nice drink to warm me up.

Sunday 10th January

We had to drop the children off at their Grandparents but could not resist a quick look for the two new snerdbe caches near White Ladies Priory. We walked up past their existing cache which we’d found ages ago and soon found the first of the new ones. A quick walk out of the woods and up the next field had us with the second of the caches in hand.

White Ladies Priory

On the way back to the Jeep we took the chance to have a look round the old Priory ruins again.

Monday 11th January

Mrs Bolas Heathens had an appointment in Gobowen (just north of Oswestry) this morning so I came along to do some caches afterwards before a nice dinner out in the area.

After we’d done with the appointment, we set off to find the nearby multi cache. We’d had a DNF on this last time we were here as it was dark and we were short on time for a good search. This time I put my hands on the cache in the first place I looked – result :-).

Urban caching in Oswestry

We then headed off into Oswestry for some urban caching, all of which were easy enough apart from one DNF where the owner had taken the cache home for maintenance but not temp’d the cache. I’ve added some notes to my DNF log to advisewhat they need to do to temp the cache as I think they are quite new cachers.

We were getting hungry by now so stopped for dinner at the lovely looking pub the last two Border Meet’s have been held at. After we’d finished dinner we went outside to find the cache at the other side of the car park. The hide was clear but no cache was there. After checking we were looking in the right place with a previous finder we left a slip of paper to prove we were there. I suspect the cache has slipped into the wall further and is now in-accessible. We’ve posted a Needs Maintenance log to alert the cache owner to this.

Whittington Castle remains

The next cache was a Christmas themed cache and GZ was obvious, but behind a fence. Hmmm – we’ve not done any caches by this hider before so could not be sure they did not want you to climb over the fence. The coast was clear so I went in for a quick look but the cache was nowhere to be seen. I checked with a previous finder who told me the cache had been moved yesterday as the fence had been put up a few weeks after the cache was hidden! Armed with the new co-ords, we drove to a closer spot and went in for a really easy find.

Just time for a couple more caches before we really must be getting home. The next cache mentioned you might get your feet wet as the cache was on an island. Sure enough it was, but the island was jumpable from the bank and I soon had the cache in hand.

The frozen pond where I had to jump over to an island

Last one for the day was a short walk down an ex-road that is now closed off, not too far from the A5.

10 finds for the day, which is not up to our usual tally but not bad for a couple of spare hours each day.

We’re hoping to return to a proper caching day out next weekend as we really missed it this weekend, despite the fun we’ve had on the few caches we’ve found.

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