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Posts Tagged ‘shrewsbury’

Looking over to Caer Caradoc from our walk

Looking over to Caer Caradoc from our walk

On Saturday myself and Isaac decided to head for South Shropshire as there were quite a few new caches in the area to find and it’s always a pleasure to cache in such a scenic area.

Daft sign seen on the gFab walk

Daft sign seen on the gFab walk

We started off with a quick cache on the A5 by Shrewsbury before parking up for the ring of caches that were set for the recent gFab camping event. This basically consisted of 20 or so caches on a circular route round the area with a couple of drive-by’s nearby.

That's one heck of a tell-tale pile of sticks!

That's one heck of a tell-tale pile of sticks!

We parked up and set off on foot to do the series clockwise. Along the way we had great fun traversing a field full of 8ft+ high corn and no marked path over it. We walked through the corn, keeping parallel to the crop and finally made our way to the other side. The only other thing of note on this series was a fun cache where you had to ‘use’ a bit of old farm machinery by a track to get the cache to reveal itself.

About to enter the field of corn on the way to the next cache

About to enter the field of corn on the way to the next cache

After we’d finished our walk, we cleared up the other 4 caches in the immediate area as drive-by’s and cache and dashes before heading down the A49 to Marshbrook and the Shropshire Seekers new caches.

Views over to The Wrekin from the latter part of the gFab walk

Views over to The Wrekin from the latter part of the gFab walk

We parked up by the outdoor centre and set off on foot to do the caches in order. There are 12 caches in the series, with clues in most of them which then lead to a bonus cache. Some great countryside round here which made for fab walking. The finds were all easy enough and along the way we bumped into Bullyboy2820, who we did one cache with before he stopped for sandwiches with his family. Great to meet you :-).

Abandoned house on the Marshbrook series walk

Abandoned house on the Marshbrook series walk

Once we got back to the Jeep, we worked out the bonus cache location and were soon there for a nice easy find. A huge big ammo box too – just the kind of cache we like to find!

Views over to the Long Mynd from the Marshbrook walk

Views over to the Long Mynd from the Marshbrook walk

Next, we headed off for the east side of Caer Caradoc to tackle the caches around the hill (mountain?). I’d done the cache on the summit ages ago and really enjoyed the wonderful views over Shropshire and Cheshire, so I was looking forward to taking Isaac up there for the first time.

At Three Fingers rocks at the south end of Caer Caradoc

At Three Fingers rocks at the south end of Caer Caradoc

All the caches were easy enough, with the last one involving a bit of off-road trekking on the direct route up the steep slopes of the hill. Great fun and some fantastic views over Church Stretton as our reward. We then continued to the old hill fort at the summit and enjoyed the wonderful views all around.

The panorama from the top of Caer Caradoc

The panorama from the top of Caer Caradoc

Time was getting on now, but we could not resist two last caches on the way home. The first was in a ford not too far from Caer Caradoc and a cache we’d DNF’d ages ago. It still took a heck of a lot of searching for but we got there in the end thankfully.

Isaac at the summit of Caer Caradoc with The Wrekin in the background

Isaac at the summit of Caer Caradoc with The Wrekin in the background

The last cache of the day was a quick cache and dash on a new cache in exactly the same place as a now archived old cache.

A very quiet gate ;), right next to the last cache of the day

A very quiet gate ;), right next to the last cache of the day

44 finds for the day, some great walking, lots of terrain and some really good caches. Our kind of caching day!

Here’s a link to our Everytrail plot of the day’s route.

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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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Looking through a tunnel along the River Rea

On Friday night 14 new caches had been published along the River Rea leading into the centre of Shrewsbury. I’d not bothered with a FTF dash as I knew it would mean I’d be very late back and I had a full day’s caching on Saturday planned anyway.

On Sunday afternoon the weather looked lovely and myself and Isaac fancied a walk, so off we set. We decided to do the two caches closest to the town centre as drive-by’s before re-locating to the southern end of the walk and heading off on foot for the rest of the River Rea series.

The River Rea

We parked up near the first cache and headed off to find it. The clue indicated it was on a bench and as we got neear to GZ there was a family sat on this bench trying to look normal, but we could see their hands kept slipping under the bench. They just *had* to be cachers.

Our GPS indicated a different bench so we went off to grab the cache. Just as Isaac had put his hands on it, the other cachers came over. It was geowerm from Chester – great to meet you all. After a nice geo-chat they started their long walk to the bottom of the series (we’d have given them a lift but the bikes were in the back of the Jeep). We went off to get the other drive-by by Asda, which was a quick find.

Isaac with one of the caches

Once parked up at Meole Brace, we set off on foot for the other 10 caches in the series. A nice walk ensued with quite a few ivy clad micros and one or two small sized cache containers. Once we’d got used to the cache owner’s ivy hides, they got noticeably easier and we were soon at the top of the trail, having completed all 12 caches in the series.

I mentioned there were 14 caches in total above… the other two caches were short walks and stand-alone.

Golf course near one of the caches

The first of the two was a short walk over a golf course to another ivy clad hiding place. The second was a nice walk in a more rural setting over fields to an easy find.

All 14 caches in the bag now, so off we set for home and our Sunday roast dinner :-).

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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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The viewpoint overlooking the quarry

Over the past few weeks we’ve been developing an Earthcache at the new viewpoint overlooking the quarry on Haughmond Hill near Shrewsbury. Every time we walk past the viewpoint we say we must set an Earthcache here so we decided it was time to actually get on and set it!

Looking at the maps it looked like the viewpoint might be on Forestry Commission land and I know there is a caching agreement with Forestry Commission West Midlands, so I emailed the Ranger contact to ask for permission over Christmas.

Just after the New Year I had a reply saying it was actually just on the quarry land and giving me details of the Geologist contact at the quarry firm. I thus emailed him and this lead to a phone call where we went through the finer details of what I was asking for. He was really enthusiastic as he’d not heard of Earthcaches before :-).

It's this way to the cache

Everything was ok apart from they asked for the cache co-ordinates to be put a short distance from the quarry wall iteslf as they did not want cacher thinking you have to enter the (very active) quarry to get the cache. This put the co-ords back on Forestry Commission land so I emailed the Forestry Commission contact back to ask if this was ok. It was :-).

The next thing was drafting up the cache page as the reviewing for Earthcaches has changed from the Geological Society of America to Reviewers appointed by Groundspeak themselves. As part of the process there has been a tightening up on permission issues for an Earthcache and they also now require you to ask more geological questions than before. Finally, you are no longer allowed to insist on a photo of the cache or their GPS at GZ to prove they have visited the site. You can request a photo but not insist on it like you used to be able to do.

On the walk to GZ

After quite a bit of writing and re-writing we finally had a draft that looked good and was not too technical as to put cacher’s off reading it. After all, what would be the point in the Earthcache if cacher’s don’t learn something from it?

On Saturday we took some accurate co-ords for the cache and also got some photos to make the cache page look nicer and to break the necessary text up a bit. When everything was put together we submitted the new cache and it was published just over 24 hours later :-).

We hope cacher’s enjoy doing it as much as we did researching and setting it.

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Two caches in Shrewsbury

Myself and Mrs Bolas Heathens were child-free today so planned a nice wander round our lovely county town of Shrewsbury, followed by a lovely meal out later on.

Of course, I’d noted that there was still a town center multi I needed to finish so decided to pick the stages of this off as we wandered around town. We’d actually guessed where the final cache would be as we drove in to the car park (we were totally wrong, but based on the hint alone this place absolutely has to be the cache location).

The multi takes you on a tour around the town, taking in various locations related to Charles Darwin (who was born in Shrewsbury). Mrs Bolas Heathens had been on an organised walking tour of these a few weeks ago, complete with small plays and lots of actors along the way, acting out the various stories. Our walk round was thus livened up quite a bit with tales from the organised tour :-).

At the last stage, in the Quarry, we bumped into some friends from our local village so stopped for a chat before getting the final details, plotting the cache location, doing a double take as it was not where I was expecting it to be, then confirming that the cache really was there!

A short walk later and a hunt around likely spots, had the cache in hand. A fun cache. The final is in sight of a new piece of public art in memory of Charles Darwin (a photo of this being constructed is above).

On the way home, instead of heading NE out of Shrewsbury, we headed off South to get the new cache at Dobbies Services on the A5. I’d heard this was a sneaky hide in plain sight and indeed it was. A great bit of engineering and a nice hide for this cacher’s first cache.

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What a co-incidence!

We were taking Isaac and a friend to see the new James Bond film in Shrewsbury this afternoon and arrived a few minutes early so thought we’d fill up with diesel at the Asda just down the road from the cinema.

I’d just started to fill up when the guy filling up the other side of the petrol pump said “Hello John”. It was Ben – thefortytwa on geocaching.com. What a total co-incidence as I’d only been thinking the other day that it was a while since we’d seen any logs from them.

We had a quick geo-chat while we were both filling up our cars before going on our way.

Hope you get chance to do some more caching soon Ben – and maybe hide some more caches as we really enjoyed your last ones.

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