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Posts Tagged ‘Stafford’

A few caches around Stafford

The flooded cache field in Stafford

I had to pop into Stafford this morning to pay in some cheques at the bank. Naturally I could not resist the chance to try for the caches we’d missed out on on Sunday due to the flood waters.

After I’d been to the bank I drove round to the first one, which was under 2-3ft of water at the weekend, with all the melted snow causing the nearby River Sow to burst it’s banks. The water had subsided quite a bit and I could see I should be able to pick my way round it to all the caches I needed to do.

The first one was close to where I’d parked and a nice easy one, hanging from a branch in a tree. I only had to stand in an inch or so of water to get it. The next one was on the wrong side of a (temporary!) pool so I left it for the way back to the Jeep. The final one was a quick and easy find.

A rather high River Sow

One the way back to the Jeep I stopped to look for the one I’d missed out on. It was nowhere to be seen and I can only assume the water has washed it away. As luck would have it, the cache has only recently been relocated from a spot about 350ft away and the previous logs indicate the old cache is still in place. I wonder if I can find that one instead so at least I can tick this cache off the list? Needless to say I could – the cache was seriously damp but at least I found it!

The remaining cache in the area was not there at the weekend but the cache owner has since replaced it. I cycled down the path to it and found it quickly enough. I can’t help but feel it will blow off again as it’s only a tiny magnetic cache and it’s in an exposed location high up, with lots of wind. It’s already gone missing something like 4 times in it’s short existence.

A rather ghostly picture of me on one of the Stafford to Newport railway caches

On the way home I stopped for two quick caches along the old Stafford to Newport railway line (which is now a lovely cycleway and getting filled up with new caches fast) before heading off to the canal at Gnosall and try and find what would have been our 30th find on Sunday.

As I walked up to it I could see a cacher at GZ acting furtively. It turned out to be a new(ish) local cacher called Yagoobian – great to meet you :-). The cache was a really quick find in the place we’d thought was the most obvious hide on Sunday, but the darkness had prevented us from seeing the less than obvious hole the cache was in.

Right, better head back home now and get some work done!

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Thinking the cache might be in a sneakier place than it was on the Ned's Walk series

We’d left Sunday as our main caching day this weekend and with the snow finally melting, we were looking forward to a full day out and some proper caching, rather than having to pick and choose caches near main roads to avoid the worst of the  snow.

We planned to start with the new caches to the NW of Wolverhampton not too far from the in-laws house, before heading up through Penkeridge to Stafford and picking off two new series there. Finally there were 3 new caches between Stafford and home, to bring the total finds for the day to about 30.

The first caches were a set of 3 on a short walk over some fields not far from Chillington Hall (where we found our first ever cache!). All nice an easy and totally un-eventful apart from me scraping my head against a tree and getting a bad graze. Ouch!

Handy arrow which pointed to one of the caches

A quick drive-by followed, on the way to a nice looking circular walk called Ned’s Walk which was along bridleways and canal’s just to the north of Wolverhampton. We parked up and got the bikes out of the Jeep as we’d seen several other caches had done the series by bike.

As we rode up to the first cache we could see 3 cachers stood by it with the cache. It was Shropshire Seekers, Big Farmer Giles and Wild Goosey. Great to meet you all again :-). Wild Goosey insisted on us turning our backs while she re-hid the cache for us to find. I might have had a quick peek over my shoulder as we soon found the cache ;-).

We then all walked up to the next cache which was a quick find by Big Farmer Giles. We left them all to carry on at their own pace and headed off ahead on our bikes. The rest of the caches were quick and easy finds apart from one where the co-ords were about 25ft out. The main problem here was the co-ords took you to a place that matched the hint perfectly – it’s just that it was the wrong place!

Lovely urban canal cutting

On the way round we bumped into the Nozi Parkers who were doing the series in a different order than the others we’d met earlier.

Once back at the Jeep, Isaac guided us up to Penkeridge for the two closest to Grandpa’s house not founds. Both really quick finds and one of them was our first non-micro of the day – woooohoooo :). What’s with all the micro’s today :-(?

In Stafford we headed off for the strangely named ‘Over-un-under-um’ series (what the heck does that mean?). This is a circular walk around a flood plain by the River Sow, continuing on to a canal at the far side of the walk. Needless to say with all the snow melting the flood plain was under quite a bit of water and the first three caches were impossible to get to without a boat.

Flooded cache fields in Stafford

We decided to try the other side of the loop and see how many we could get to. Luckily the path was much higher up on this side and we had no problem cycling off for 3 finds and 1 DNF (the cache was missing). On the way we bumped into BigCe, a local Stafford cacher who we’d not met before. Great to meet you :-).

We then re-located to the other side of Stafford and the other strangely named series, the ‘Clog & Knocker’ series. This time the cache page explained that it was named after the local nickname for the old Stafford to Uttoxeter railway, along which the series is set.

We set off on our bikes along the cycleway for the 6 caches in the series. All nice quick finds, but well hidden which is good as the cycleway is seriously busy with muggles at times. Along the way we bumped into WiliamTM – another local Stafford cacher we’d not met before :-). We saw that snerdbe and cannonedwards were also doing the series but did not bump into them unfortunately.

Once we’d finished we realised we were short of the 30 finds we had planned for due to the flooded caches we had to abandon earlier. A quick check of Memory Map revealed a conundrum – we’d done all the other caches in the area! Hmmm!!

We ended up back on the M6 heading south to the Cannock area as there were a few quick caches we’d not yet found there. Nothing much to report here as they were all easy enough.

The last one (which was to be our 30th find) was down a bridleway and a short walk later we were looking for it. I’m not sure it’s still there as we had a good search and it was nowhere to be found. Drat! There are also no other nearby caches we have not already found – one of the pitfalls of caching in an area we frequently cache in.

Unusual bridleway sign

We decided to start heading for home and do a new cache by the canal at Gnosall for our 30th find.

It was totally dark by the time we arrived at this one and despite searching for something like 40 minutes on a very slippery canal banking with tons of places to hide a cache we could not spot it. I bet it’s dead easy to find in the daytime too (see a later blog post as it was indeed really easy to spot in the daytime!).

That’s 29 finds for the day but a good day out nonetheless and possibly a record for the number of caching teams we’ve bumped into in one day – 6 in total :-).

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I had to pop into Stafford this afternoon to pay some cheques in at the bank and this cache was on the way into town – how handy.

I did the cheques first and then spotted the entrance to the church car park as I drove up the road on the way home. After parking up I crossed the road and walked up into the beautiful churchyard.

The co-ords were bang on and lead me straight to GZ for a very easy find. After I’d put the cache back, I had a mooch around the churchyard and took a few photos of the lovely church in the sun.

That’s Stafford cleared of caches again, for now ;-).

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An impromptu trip to Stafford

I had to pay some cheques in at the bank and the nearest branch is in Stafford, so I decided to find a few caches on the way home to make the trip a bit more interesting.

After I’d finished at the bank I headed off for the first two caches which were by the River Sow, near the town centre. I parked up at Morrisons and walked along the river to bag the two easy caches.

Next, I moved the Jeep round to park close to a canal in the suburbs and had a short walk to another cache. From there I went off to find another canal cache. There was no obvious place to park for this one as it was set by a narrowboater so I ended up at the end of a dead end lane and walking through a farmyard (which I later realised was not a Public Footpath!) to the canal. Thankfully the cache was a quick find and I was back at the Jeep really quickly.

A short drive up the M6 to the north side of Stafford saw me looking for a quick cache by a memorial to an American WW2 fighter pilot who crashed his plane here whilst attempting to avoid hitting the houses in the town.

It was now time to start heading home so off I set, but not before grabbing another 3 quick caches. All easy finds and a lovely longer walk for the last cache to a great little hidden location I’d not have known about otherwise.

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