Archive for December, 2008

The Crisis Point cache on the hill at Lilleshall that we adopted from MarcB has been suspected as muggled for most of December, but with all the Christmas festivities, we’ve only just had chance to go over and check on it.

It used to be one of those big ammo boxes hidden in the undergrowth under some ivy. When we arrived today, we recognised the area from when we originally found the cache but the undergrowth had been totally cleared away. I’m surprised the cache lasted so long with no cover!

We had a good look round and found a nice hiding place not too far away so left a new cache in situ there. We did not think it was worth the cost of a new ammo box though as the cache does not get that many visitors now as all the locals have found it. We replaced it with a regular sized lock ‘n’ lock in a camo bag.

All is now ready for cachers to come and find it again.

Later on, we were in Newport and parked near the Off Yer Trolley cache at Waitrose. We’d seen the two DNF’s on it so thought we’d have a quick check on the cache to save the cache owner a trip. Needless to say it was not where we found it and we could not spot it anywhere nearby.

We posted a Needs Maintenance log on it when we got home later in the day.

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After the last few days festivities, we fancied some longer walks and nice scenery. Lots of new caches to find in Mid-Cheshire, many of which we’d been past numerous times when visiting friends and family in Warrington.

On the way, we stopped for a quick drive-by near the old Calverley WW2 disused airfield. Nice and easy as it’s a lot more exposed in Winter.

Next stop was the Cuddington area, where there were quite a few new caches to find.

As we were approaching the first one, we got stuck in a line of vintage tractors going very slowly up the A49. We thought we’d be ok as we were about to turn off, but as luck would have it (or not as the case may be), they all turned down the same lane as us! Finding the cache was tricky as we had to time it in between passing tractors on the track – apparently there were 130 of them in total!

The next cache was a HUGE ammo box that was very well hidden considering it’s size. We then set off for a nice multi with a very original way of hiding the final co-ords at the first stage. I won’t say any more here as I don’t want to ruin it for future finders, but rest assured it’s a good one.

A few caches later and we were parking up at the Vale Royal Golf Club, for a very nice walk in the woods alongside the River Weaver. An absolutely fabulous place for caches.

We then got to find Caravan Of Love near Bartington. This one has been bugging us as it beeps at us on TomTom every time we go past on the A49 but it would take too long to do if Mrs Bolas Heathens is waiting in the car for us. Today it was just Isaac and myself so no problems with a longer walk.

We were intending to head over to Chester but the lure of three new Pieman caches at Tabley Mere near Knutsford proved too much to resist. We’d missed the deadline for the prizes in the cache but that’s ok as I always feel awkward about accepting FTF presents, let alone one worth potentially quite a bit.

The first of the three was a nice easy Traditional over the other side of the field from where we parked. When we opened this one up and saw the instructions for the start of the second cache we realised we’d be in for some fun on this one. What a great idea – wish we’d have thought of it.

After a bit of trickery and a stage or two later, we had the details we needed to actually find the final cache (it was a two part multi). Not as simple as just going to some stated co-ords, but not too bad after a bit of lateral thinking. This was our favourite of the three caches here.

We then had the last cache to do and this was more straightforward, but still great fun. A nice quick find of a bigger ammo box at the end too.

It was starting to go dark by now, so we thought we’d head down to Crewe to pick off a lone cache we needed to find there, before heading over to Alsager to clear up the newer caches there.

The Crewe one was nice and easy but we had fun and games in Alsager. One of the caches was themed around a local cacher’s dog walk and we made a right mess of it as one of the clues was ambiguous and guess what, we took the wrong answer. After realising the cache could not be where we though it was, we had to PAF twice to pin down the area we needed to be in (it’s trickier to see in the dark, that’s our exucse). It was then an easy find.

On the way home from there, we stopped at one last cache which was on a bridge over the M6 and you had to take a photo of yourself in some dressing up gear that was in the cache. Luckily Isaac was keen so I did not need to make a fool of myself (although the passing motorists would not have seen us as it was dark).

19 finds in total, but lots of really good walking and some fab caches.

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We’ve got a lot of family in the Warrington area (both my parents were from there) and so we had our annual trip to the area, delivering Christmas goodies yesterday. It would have been rude not to try and find some of the newer caches in the area while we were there ;-).

The first one we tried was in some woods and we were short on time as we had to meet my sister, so after an initial scout around, we had to give up for now. After that, it was a nice walk to an easy find of a puzzle cache, followed by two drive-by’s.

After visiting my parents grave, we had to go to my cousin’s in Birchwood so stopped to find the two remaining Warrington Sidetracked caches on the way (both easy finds).

We then returned to the Cheshire side of the Ship Canal and had some lunch in a nice pub. Just a few more quick caches and we were back at the woods for the cache we could not find on the way to Warrington. This time without time constraints it was a quick find and we were on the A49 going home.

Isn’t it typical that when you are up against the clock trying to find a cache, you never find it. When you have more time, you can relax and the finding comes a lot more naturally.

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On Saturday our destination for caching was the Derby area. The day was planned in two halves – first we’d try the caches along the Trent and Mersey canal from Willington to Stenson and then we’d go off and try and find the “A is for”, “B is for” etc etc series from JustAlan.

On the way we stopped off to find the A38/A50 Services drive-by and then did a few of the canal caches that were on a nearby road. We parked up and set off along the towpath on our bikes. The hedge was hawthorn all along the canal and it had been recently cut so we were hoping not to get punctures.

After the first few caches, sure enough, Isaac got a puncture :-(. We set off back to the Jeep with me carrying Isaac’s bike and Isaac pushing mine. All too soon I also had a puncture on my bike as well. Isaac insists it was my riding that got it but I’m not so sure ;-).

The rest of the caches were quick(ish) finds, with a little too much ivy involved for my liking on a few. One of the caches was a Large sized one, which is always good to see.

We then set off to find the Puzzle Caches…

All the puzzles were really easy to solve and all locations turned out to be drive-by’s or cache and dashes. Not too bad – all I need do is find a good route round them in an area I’ve never been to before.

We did not have any problems with these caches except for one which was hidden on a Bridleway sign that had since fallen over. We could not spot the cache anywhere, but it turns out the owner subsequently found it in nearby ivy, where it had rolled off to.

We finished our planned caches early and had an hour to kill before needing to head home so we stopped in Burton on the way back to try and grab a few caches there. Two nice easy finds ensued so we thought we’d try one last cache – mistake!

The “last cache” turned out to be a nano in a busy area without a hint. What fun – not! Needless to say it had a string of DNF’s on it and despite us having a very good look around for it, we could not find it. The item in the spoiler picture on the cache page is no longer there either.

35 finds for the day and some good fun along the way.

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Warwickshire Wanderings

The main target for the day was the Stag Ramblers new Kington Lane Loop series. The weather was forecast to be very wet, but clearing up later in the day.

We drove down the M6 to the parking location in steady rain and donned our waterproofs, including our new waterproof trousers, which were on their first outing. We’d seen the comments on the logs about the mud on the walk and expected it to be worse today – it was!

The walk was in some really beautiful countryside and I bet it’s an absolute cracker on a sunny summer’s day, with a nice stop for a picnic part way round. Today it was still a great walk, but very wet and with tons of standing water everywhere.

All the caches were easy enough. The highlights of the walk were:

  1. Number 5, where GZ was under at least a foot of water, so I sent Isaac off shimmying along the fence to grab the nano.He really enjoyed the challenge :-).
  2. Number 8, where there was so much water that the track was more like a stream. The cache was the trickiest find of the walk by far.
  3. Number 12: we made a right hash of getting to this one and had to bushwhack our way through lots of brambles. One of these days we’ll learn to read the instructions on the cache page!

After the series was completed, the rain had stopped, so we set off to clear up some of the newer caches in the area. Lots of Sidetracked caches round here to find, along with some familiar locations from old Wykenwizard caches.

We ended the day with a run around the new M42 caches in the SE corner of Brum before heading homewards. On the way back I dropped Isaac off at his Grandparents in Blymhill as myself and Mrs Bolas Heathens are out at some friends for dinner this evening.

32 finds in total today and another fun day out that we both enjoyed.

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Earthcache published!

Our new Earthcache has just been published. It’s at one of our favourite places in the Peak District – Windgather Rocks, in between Macclesfield and Buxton.

We were a bit worried about the proximity issue as a Traditional cache is 488ft from the stated co-ords and had seen the following quote from Deceangi on the NW Caching forums:

Geoaware is stricter on proximity than I am, if a Earthcache is within 528ft of a existing cache. He requires that you obtain permission off the cache owner for the location of yours.

We’d even emailed the owner of the Traditional cache nearby as suggested, but have not heard back from them. Luckily it was not a problem and the cache is now live.

I wonder who will be FTF as it’s in an area we’ve not set a cache in before.

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We still had the need to find some caches after yesterday’s half-day caching in Brum so planned a trip to try and find the new Lollybob caches around Bridgnorth.

On the way, we stopped off to find the three new Rabbit Run caches on the road between Telford and Dudley. We’ve no idea what the first one was about as it was a very convoluted puzzle with multiple answers, but a bit of lateral thinking soon put us on the right tracks.

Then, it was back into Highgate Common woods for the three new Trick or Treat caches. The first one “The Legend” was a really funny container – glad no muggles saw us holding it as it would have been a tricky one to explain our way out of.

After that, a nice easy one, followed by one we could not find. We were just on the verge of giving up when we heard someone shout “what are you doing in those bushes!”. It was Diane, Ron, Billie and Ben from The Washers. Great to meet you all again. We joined forces and Isaac soon came up trumps with the cache in a place we’d not checked (as it only partially matched the hint).

The Washers were planning most of the same caches as us today, so we set off in convoy to find the rest of them.

A few easy caches later and we arrived at St Georges Flute. I won’t give away what is involved here, but suffice to say some special equipment is needed. We all set off carrying a variety of things – another one where we’d not want to meet muggles as they would wonder what the heck we were all up to.

We had great fun getting the cache, with an initial attempt ending millimetres from the cache. Second time lucky, but not before dropping some of our special equipment, which rolled down into a nearby stream. We had to be quick to rescue it!

After that, we said our goodbye’s to The Washers and headed off to Severn Valley County Park for the two new caches there. Lovely walking in this park with some great views of the big river.

On the way back home, we stopped to bag the new Earthcache in Bridgnorth and then onwards to the final cache of the day – Severn View, near Buildwas. Great views over the river from here, made all the more special by the sun setting over the hills in the background.

We were now perfectly timed to make our way to Freya’s dancing school Christmas show, which was not too far away.

A great day out, made all the better by the great company of The Washers. 19 find in total.

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A trip to Brum

On Saturday, we were due to meet up with Mrs Bolas Heathens cousins and children, to go on our annual jaunt to the Symphony Hall in Birmingham to see the Police Symphony Orchestra and the children’s concert they put on for Christmas.

Myself and Isaac were dying to get some caches in, so set off first thing in the morning (not too early as we’re not morning people!) to bag as many caches as we could near the city centre before the concert.

Our main aim for the day was the Ring A Ring A Ring Road series, which is set round Brum’s middle ring road, with the bonus cache somewhere in the city centre. We’d planned to also bag the new Brummie Cut cache and a short diversion down to Bourneville along the way.

All started off well, with an easy find of the Brummie Cut cache and the first Ring Road cache. The latter was especially satisfying as we had a DNF on that one in the summer.

The next two Ring Road caches were DNF’s and we were starting to think we’d lost our touch. It turns out the first one had been muggled and we just did not look hard enough on the second – doh!

After that, we had a successful diversion to Bourneville and back, finding the new caches along the way. The only fly in the ointment was the Sidetracked cache at the University as there was nowhere to park.

We then headed off to find The Strangler’s puzzle cache, which was at a fab location not too far from the city centre.

A few more caches later, and we’d found all the Ring Road caches and had the co-ords for the bonus plotted. Time to go and see our concert now :-).

After the concert, we walked into the city centre for some food, but not before finding a cache right by the BBC Mailbox studios and then the bonus cache of the Ring Road series.

A good day out, but our caching itch has not been fully scratched for this week so we’re planning a trip out tomorrow as well. 20 cache finds in total.

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New Earthcache Submitted

We’ve just submitted our first Earthcache to earthcache.org. The form says to allow up to 10 days to get a response so we’ll be patiently waiting to see what they say.

Hopefully all will be ok and it will be fine as it is.

The only potential problem I can see is there is a Traditional cache 488ft from the stated co-ords. It’s very obvious which cache is which so we’re hoping that will not cause a problem as the usual proximity guidelines do not seem to apply for earthcaches.

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Earthcache confusion

We’re thinking of setting up an Earthcache and have the perfect location in mind.

Our main gripe is it’s not exactly clear what the process involved is. We know you have to submit the details at http://www.earthcache.org and then a member of the Geological Society of America reviews it and if it’s ok:
  1. They create a cache page on GC.com for it.
  2. You adopt the listing over from them.
  3. At some point (either before or after 2) above, they publish the listing on GC.com

We’ve also heard that it can take a few weeks for it to go live, assuming all is ok with your submission. Not a problem as I’m sure they have their work cut out for them with reviewing all Earthcaches submitted anywhere in the world.

Watch this space…

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