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Posts Tagged ‘stoke on trent’

Looking down the canal on the Shep's Walk series

Looking down the canal on the Shep's Walk series

Ooops – I nearly forgot to write about this one…

The day before our holiday I had to pick up a computer from the Apple repairer’s in Stoke so decided to do some of the many caches that have come out recently while I was there. This was mainly cannonedwards’ Oranges series around Lyme Valley Park but also Shep’s Dog Walk series near to M6 J15. Along the way there were a few stand-alone caches.

Looking down into Lyme Valley Park from GZ at one of the Oranges caches

Looking down into Lyme Valley Park from GZ at one of the Oranges caches

I picked up a quick cannonedwards Puzzle cache (link) on the way into Newcastle and a nearby Traditional before going straight to pick up the Mac. After that I did a few quick and easy caches on my way back down towards Newcastle and the Oranges series. Nothing too taxing here.

A cricket match in full play, next to Lyme Valley Park

A cricket match in full play, next to Lyme Valley Park

Once in Newcastle, I parked the Jeep at a nearby Homebase store and set off on foot for the Oranges series. This is a set of 6 or so caches around the really nice Lyme Valley Park. We’ve been here for other (now archived) caches so knew our way round and the caches were all quick easy finds, with just one DNF on a cache that was missing. Some fun hides on some of them too, which is always appreciated.

Love this public art over the River Trent on the Shep's Walk

Love this public art over the River Trent on the Shep's Walk

Next, I headed over to just south of M6 J15 for the Shep’s Walk series. This is a set of 11 caches set around a local cacher’s dog walking route, including sections along a canal, along the River Trent and through some more urban housing areas. I had a great walk round all the caches and found them all without too much trouble.

The Britannia Stadium - home of Stoke City FC. Seen from the canal on the Shep's Walk series.

The Britannia Stadium - home of Stoke City FC. Seen from the canal on the Shep's Walk series.

After I was finished, I still had an hour left so decided to head up towards Keele University to try for some of the new caches there. As usual when I go here, I could not find anywhere to park as you seem to need student permits to park without getting your car towed away. In the end I opted to drive the Jeep down a Byway by the M6 and come into Keele Woods for the two caches there from that direction.

A lovely pool in the middle of Keele woods

A lovely pool in the middle of Keele woods

I had great fun bumping my way along the pot-holed Byway and parked up by a handy entrance to the woods. A nice walk through the lovely woods then took me to the first cache. As I approached, it was clear two other cachers were there already looking for the cache. It was the Water-Rats – great to meet you both.

We did this and the next cache toegether before parting and I then headed home to pack my bag for our holiday tomorrow.

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Isaac with a cache near to Stoke On Trent

Isaac with a cache near to Stoke On Trent

We don’t usually do much caching in the week but with the school holidays on, we inevitably end up finding a few.

4th August 2010

Isaac and Mrs Bolas Heathens had a few errands to run in Stafford and Stoke, so stopped off to find a quick three caches. Not much to report from what I hear apart from 3 easy finds.

5th August 2010

I had an hour spare just after dinner so decided to head out and pick off our closest cache to home – a cache by RAF Tern Hill, an active airfield and army barracks. I was a bit apprehensive about the cache given it’s proximity to MOD land and the very real risk of armed guards wondering what the heck I was up to. Thankfully it was an easy find, but it was (just about) on MOD land which is not allowed. I see now a Reviewer has archived the cache, which all things considered is very much the right thing to do. The last thing we want is our hobby coming under scrutiny for all the wrong reasons.

Me with one of the caches in Whitchurch

Me with one of the caches in Whitchurch

I was enjoying myself so decided to head off to Whitchurch to clear up the (quite a) few new caches that had spriung up recently in the area. On the way I picked up a straggler cache near Malpas in Cheshire that we’d been meaning to do for ages.

Not much to report on the Whitchurch caches apart from lots of very tricky and camo’d micros in ivy (not our favourite type of find at all). Two of them do stand out though as they were decent sized boxes full of decent swaps and hidden in nice locations.

Our FTF in a very dark Warrington

Our FTF in a very dark Warrington

I’d been working on a puzzle cache called Blank Canvas just to the south of Warrington on and off for the last few days and just after tea today I had a flash of inspiration on the final part of the puzzle and the cache co-ords were then revealed. I’d not normally drive just over an hour for FTF but given how many people are currently working on the same puzzle, I could not resist.

A quick call to Allun from the Shropshire Seeekers to see if he wanted to tag along and we were on our way. By the time we had arrived it was dark, so out came the torches for the walk over the fields to GZ. The cache was an easy find and we were delighted to see we were FTF :-).

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Hulme Quarry Earthcache

Saturday was the first day of the school holidays so Isaac was free to come caching :-).

We’d planned a trip to clear up the new caches in Parkhall Country Park to the SE of Stoke, just on the edge of the Staffordshire Moorlands. After we’d done there, we planned a circular walk near Weston Coyney, followed by the new caches near Endon, to the NE of Stoke. Finally, if we had any time left, we planned to clear up the newer caches in the south of Stoke on Trent.

The first caches of the day were 4 Mawgan’s Trail caches near to Parkhall. We’d had DNF’s on 4 out of the 6 caches in this series a while ago as they were nowhere to be seen. I’d noted lots of recent finds on the 4 caches so we stopped off and found 4 easy caches in the first place we looked on each of them. The caches were almost certainly not there last time I looked as I had checked the hiding places then. All very strange!

Frozen fisherman's pond near one of the caches

Next, we headed over to the car park at Parkhall Country Park for our walk around all the new caches in the area. As we set off Isaac mentioned the area looked very like parts of the L E G E N D letterbox trails in Lancashire. The likeness was uncanny – part moorland, part pine woods, some streams and a bit of terrain thrown in for good measure.

The caches around the park were all nice quick finds with some really good co-ords. We only messed up once where we had finished an Earthcache at the bottom of an old quarry and scrambled up to the top of the quarry for the next cache, only to discover that the cache was back down near the bottom of the quarry – doh! We did not think it was safe to scramble back down and could not be bothered to walk all the way back round so opted to leave the cache for next time.

Viewpoint looking down over Stoke on Trent

After we’d done at the main park, we drove round to the side of a housing estate to access to last two Parkhall caches. Both were quick and easy finds with the main thing of note of seeing a stretched limo decked out as a LAPD car, along with an ex-fire engine that is obviously used as a limo too. I can’t begin to imagine all the shenanigans that must have gone on in them!

We then headed up for a circular walk starting off at the excellently named Sheepwash. The OS maps showed a Byway leading up to the start of the walk and we were looking forward to driving the Jeep along it. Unfortunately someone has blocked the end off so you cannot drive down it – hmmm!

Lovely brook next to one of the Sheepwash caches

The walk was our favourite of the day (although the Parkhall caches were excellent too) with a lovely mix of open spaces, small streams and lovely woodland. This is definitely our kind of caching and a real treat to do :-).

After we’d finished our walk, we got back into the Jeep while Isaac directed me to the next caches near Endon, NE of Stoke. The first three were quick and easy cache and dashes. We then parked up for a circular walk around the rest of the caches. Another fab walk followed, with the highlights including walking alongside the massive Stanley Pool, getting back up to the higher ground for fab views accross the area and finally seeing the lovely church in Bagnall.

Bagnall Church

Once we’d finished here, we decided to head off to south Stoke to clear up the newer caches there, as they were starting to show on page 1 of our closest to home not founds. The first was one I’d DNF’d last summer due to nettles over head height around GZ meaning I could not spot the small stump the cache was hidden in. No problems this time of year though as we could clearly see the hint item as we walked up.

Some more quick caches folllowed, including one where you have to scramble up the very steep side of what looks to be an old slag heap. I sent Isaac up to do the biz with the cache while I stood ready to stop him if he slipped and started to slide back down.

Really strange looking black rocks near one of the south Stoke caches

The last caches of the day were three new ones around the beautiful Trentham Gardens, near J15 of the M6. It was just starting to go dark by now and we failed to spot the first one, which was a nano with no hint on the back of a horrible metal fence with 1001 places it could be. Not our favourite type of cache at all (I’m being very generous here!).

We gave up in disgust and walked off up the hill for the other two caches, which were both easy finds. On the way back to the nano, we called up some caching friends who’d found it for a hint. Armed with a good idea where it was we then had an easy find in the dark (the sun had totally gone down now).

Isaac signing out some of the answers for the Earthcache so we don't have to write them down

36 finds for the day and a lovely day out with my boy in some glorious countryside. The weather even behaved itself and was perfect all day long :-). Caching at it’s very best :-).

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Lovely pond near one of the caches I found

I was going to have a day doing non-caching things on Saturday and save caching for a full day out on Sunday.

Just after dinner I started to wonder about popping out to clear up a multi cache that has been sat at the very top of our closest to home not founds for too long. We’re not great fans of multi’s but it was making the map look untidy so off I set. I had a nice walk around Woodseaves getting the clues and a short walk to the final cache location for an easy find.

After I’d finished, I was pondering a trip towards Stafford to do the other multi we’ve been putting off doing near Seighford. It was only 6 miles or so away so off I set. This one was a micro leading to a final box and easy enough, with a nice walk thrown in for good measure.

Misty views over Staffordshire

By this time I was enjoying myself and wanted to go and find more caches. The only problem being we’ve done virtually all of them in the area. The nearest was at Sandon, the other side of Stafford.

Off I set and was soon parking up at the church the cache was set near. As I got out of the Jeep I spotted some other cachers a short distance away and decided to pop down to get the cache (100ft away) and then go back to say hello to them. The cache was a quick find but when I returned to the parking, the cachers were not there as they had already set off on their walk – doh! I think it was milly’s marauders, based on the names in the cache logbook. Great to nearly meet you anyway ;-).

Next, I headed up through Stone to a couple of quick drive-by’s, including one at Stoke Rugby Club which was nowhere to be seen the last time I’d tried to find it. This time it was much easier – in fact the cache was just sat there in plain view under a conifer.

The Stoke Rugby Club cache

Last of the quick trip out was a new cache in the south end of Stoke. It was a .3 walk up an old road that is now closed off to vehicles. Another nice easy find was had here, with the only thing to note a dodgy looking lone bloke lurking by the side of the path towards where I’d parked. I’ve no idea what he was up to but he looked very dodgy. I did wonder if this is what I must look like when I’m out caching and waiting for muggles to go past GZ before I can find a cache. Probably :-(.

7 finds and quite a bit of driving, but at least the local multi’s are now done :-).

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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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One last cache for 2009

Isaac and Freya with the cache

We could not resist finding one last cache to round off 2009 nicely. We had to go back to Stoke to pick up the Mac we took in for repair the other day, so this was the ideal chance.

After stopping off for something else in Newcastle under Lyme, we headed off for a cache by the Etruria Canal Museum. The hint narrowed down things but despite a thorough check of the item and several other things in the area the cache was nowhere to be seen. Just in case we’d missed something really obvious (would not be the first time) we used a PAF to a previous finder. They told us the cache was in the first place we’d checked, so it looks like the nano has blown off or something :-(.

Luckily we had a Plan B up our sleeve and an easy looking cache in Tunstall was just what we needed. Isaac guided us there using Memory Map and we parked up very close to GZ. Myself, Isaac and Freya jumped out of the Jeep and walked over to GZ. The were metal fences all over the place so we started to look for a magentic micro. It was then that I spotted the cache hanging off the gatepost – that’s a novel hide to say the least, but it does blend in very well.

Happy with our find we drove the short distance to the repair shop, picked up the Mac and set off for home.

We’d like to wish anyone reading this a very happy 2010. Hope you find all the caches you seek and don’t have too many DNF’s :-).

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Isaac with the cache

We had to pop into Stoke this morning to drop off a computer to be repaired at the Apple Authorised Repair Centre in Chesterton so decided to go and find the two nearest caches while we were in the area as they were not far off our route.

After dropping off the faulty Mac, myself and Isaac headed off to Bradwell and a cache in some woods not too far from Newcastle Crematorium. As we got out of the Jeep near the crem there was this strange burnt rubber smell. Isaac asked if this was coming from the crem! I’ve no idea to be honest and it’s not the kind of thing I’d like to be thinking about :-(.

Anyway, the cache was a short distamce down the bank in some woods, with the sound of cars whizzing past on the A500 below. Isaac soon spotted it while I was searching nearby.

Last on the list was a cache close to Keele University called Mochileros 100. We parked up and after some initial confusion over where the PF starts, we were soon on the right track and at GZ. We found the cache in the second hint item we looked at.

Now back home for some sandwiches.

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