Archive for February, 2009

Wimping out…

We were hoping to try the Reelers Trail section of the Witton Weavers Way today but we only got back from NY yesterday and jet-lag finally caught up with us. By the time we had got up it was 11am and way too late to set off for Lancs.

Thankfully I had a Plan B, which was a new set of 12 caches on a circular walk near Wolverhampton. Some good logs are coming in on them so we were looking forward to trying them out.

We parked up to try and pick off the three remote ones that did not seem to be on the circular walk. After finding the first two, we were on our way back to the Jeep when we spotted some familiar faces coming the other way. It was Rosie’s Rangers. Great to meet you all again.

We then re-positioned to a place we’d been to before for an old cache and a handy spot to start the circular walk. The weather was perfect with sunny skies and not much wind.

After making a meal of a closed footpath (we did not spot the sign in our still-sleepy state) we had a series of easy finds in some nice spots. The walk was really enjoyable, if not a little muddy in places.

We were soon back at the Jeep and there was just time for one more cache before I had to drop Isaac off at a friend’s house on the way home. A return visit to Autherley Junction, where the Shroppie starts it’s journey northwards ensued, where we had an easy find.

When I was logging the finds later in the evening, I realised there were 4 more caches added to the series during the week – we’d totally missed them as we were away and with our eye off the ball – doh!.

It bugged me all weekend, so this morning after I had done all the urgent things in the office, I popped out to find the missing caches. All nice quick ones, with some great views over towards the South Shropshire hills.

Read Full Post »

Last two days in New York

Not a lot to report, caching-wise for the last two days of our stay in New York.

On Wednesday, we got up early to go to Times Square and get tickets to see a show on Broadway. On the way, we took the scenic route via the nearest unfound to the hotel which was a virtual cache by a lovely statue.

The cache was easy to find as we could see where we needed to go from some distance. After getting some great tickets for a show this afternoon, we had 4 hours to kill so took the subway to Greenwich Village to have a wander around and try and find the few caches that were in the area.

We started with a DNF as there were too many muggles around to search for the cache. Then, we did a quick and easy virtual in Washington Square Gardens, just by New York University. A quick Traditional by the side of a park followed, by which time we had to make our way back to Broadway in time for the show. On the way, we bagged one more quick and easy micro. This was to be our last cache in New York for this trip.

Today, we did not do any caches as there were none to find anywhere we were at. We opted instead for a really interesting bus tour round the Uptown area, including Harlem. This was then followed by a Downtown tour, taking in all the usual places. By the time we had finished this, there was just time for a nice meal in town, before heading off to the airport and our flight home.

A really great trip which was very hectic in parts. We’ll now be glad to get back to sleepy Bolas Heath and some well deserved peace and quiet.

Read Full Post »

Adventures in New York

We flew to New York on Sunday and have found quite a few caches already.

On Sunday we just had a wander around the area near our hotel (just opposite Madison Square Garden). The nearest cache was a Traditional but we could not find it as the GPSr’s would not settle with all the big buildings around. We gave up and headed off to the Empire State Building for a trip up to see the views at night from the 86th and 102nd floors. While we were there, we took the time to bag the Virtual cache on the 86th floor.

On Monday, we decided to have a trip to the Guggenheim, starting off in the west corner of Central Park and walking through the park finding as many caches as we had time to. As Manhattan goes, this is the only real caching hotspot as the rest of the caches on the island are spread out all over the place. On the way, we found the cache near the hotel, after looking at the location on Google Maps and spotting somewhere we’d not thought to look before.

We managed quite a few in Central Park, including some Traditionals, three Virtuals and an Earthcache. Myself and Isaac got fed up with the pretentiousness of the Guggenheim so left Mrs Bolas Heathens and Freya to carry on looking round, while we popped out to find some nearby caches. We managed to find the 4 nearby urban micros and be back at the gallery in time to meet up with the others.

Today, we started off checking out the discount show ticket booth in Times Square, before heading off to the Rockerfeller Center, where Freya was really looking forward to trying the ice-skating. While she was doing that, I sloped off to find a nearby uber-urban micro.

We then took the scenic route to Ground Zero at the WTC site, via East Village. There was a small cluster of caches based round urban parks here and we enjoyed a walk round the different area in the sun, finding the caches.

We then took the subway over to Ground Zero and spent some time taking in the area and thinking of those terrible events that took place here in 2001.

Not many caches left to do in the area, but we do hope to find a few more before we go back to the UK on Thursday, including one in New Jersey as it would be rude not to get a new State for our caching map.

Read Full Post »

On Saturday Isaac and myself decided to try the Beamers Trail as it looked the shortest of the ones left to do and we did not want to be late home as we need to pack for our trip to NY tomorrow.

We’ve never been to this part of Blackburn before, but thankfully Isaac’s navigating (using Memory Map) was spot on and we were soon parking up at Witton Country Park.

We took a few moments to get our gear together before setting off to do the trail in one go. The first cache was just by the visitors centre and a quick and easy find. We then headed off anti-clockwise (this is becoming a habit as we’ve done this on all three sections of the series we’ve done so far).

Just around the corner was one of the chess themed caches that are in the park, so we stopped off to find this as we were passing. We had intended to do the rest of this series after doing the Beamers Trail but time was short so we will have to return to find the rest of them some other day.

Next, we headed up the hill and into the woods for the next section of the trail. On the way we passed a wood sculptor, demonstrating his skills to a family who were passing. Really interesting to watch – I’d love to be able to do that kind of thing.

Several easy finds later and we were at the high point of the walk and the flagship cache of the series. There were great views all around from here, so after finding the cache, we stopped to sit down at the top and have our soup and sandwiches, whilst admiring the views. We had great fun pointing out interesting things to each other and trying to guess what they were.

We then headed off down the hill, finding each cache as they came up. Nothing too taxing here, which was a nice change as we were thoroughly enjoying the walk and did not want to have to stop too long to look at each stage as it would detract from the great walk.

As we approached the part where the Hoghton Section (why do I keep wanting to spell that Houghton?) joined the trail, we were passed by a pack of cubs, with Arkela, all carrying provisions up to the camp site nearby. Looks like a great spot for a camp-out, with lots of rope swings etc etc.

The return leg of the loop passed much quicker as the terrain was flatter and the lack of woods made for even easier finds. On the way, part of the PF was closed, but we’d read about it on the forums and knew it was passable with care. It was and a short diversion into the side of a field got us on our way.

Just after we’d done the last cache in the series and were heading back to the Jeep, we bumped into Dave Mars who had just finished the nearby chess series. Great to meet you again Dave. We had a nice geo-chat as we returned to our cars.

Isaac and myself then drove round to try and finish the Hoghton Section before it got dark. We started off with two easy drive-by’s at the northern end of the section, before setting off on foot for the rest. The area was very familiar as we’d walked through a lot of it ages ago, doing the Pixellation series.

As we were re-positioning the Jeep for the last few caches, Isaac spotted a house which had not one, but two helicopters outside! Some people can have too much of a good thing ;-).

We enjoyed the flagship cache of this section, which was on a nice section of the River Darwin and was also a neat hide.

Just as it was going dark, we set off for home and our packing for tomorrow’s trip.

Another excellent day out with a great set of caches on a lovely walk. Very much recommended.

Read Full Post »

Tackling the Tacklers Trail

After making a start on the Witton Weavers Way series of caches last weekend, I could not wait to get some more found so decided Thursday would be perfect for the next section we were looking at – the Tacklers Trail.

I wanted to make an early start so decided to stop overnight near Darwen, which also had the added advantage that I could try and clear up the 6 DNF’s on the Warpers Trail from last weekend. Finally, there was a NW Caching event at a pub near Chorley, so I would get the chance to go to my first one of these meets.

I didn’t set off from home until 7pm so it was very dark (and cold!) when I arrived at the first of my DNF’s. This time it was a quick find as I’d found out from a previous finder that the clue was ambiguous. I then moved on to find two of the other DNF’s but still could not find Bumble Bee, despite speaking to two previous finders, one of whom would especially know where the cache was ;-). It was 11:30pm so I headed off for the hotel.

After a quick breakfast and taking a wrong turn in Blackburn, which resulted in a bit of extra mileage, I was at the Tockholes Visitors Centre for the start of the Tacklers Trail. I’d decided to tackle (sorry!) them in an anti-clockwise direction, so set off down into the woods to start the trail.

The first cache had a back-to-front hint, so when I took the absolute reverse of what it was telling me, I had a quick find. The next was easy enough and in a great little spot in the woods by a nice stream.

Then things started to go wrong and I struggled at the next two caches with the heavy tree cover and vague clue on the second one. I got there in the end though.

As I came out of the woods my spirits were lifting as I knew the next section of the trail was on moorland, which is some of my favourite type of solo caching as it’s really peaceful and the views are fab.

The rest of the trail was uneventful, with quite a few stops to sit down with a cuppa admiring the views, lots of easily found caches and great co-ords for each cache. I’m really enjoying this now.

All too soon I was up at the Jubilee Tower, overlooking Darwen. I’ve often looked over at this as I’ve been passing in the area so it was great to see it close-up. Even better, it’s open to walkers so you can climb to the top for some stunning panoramic views :-).

After coming down the other side of the hill, I missed the path into the woods and ended up asking a local getting into his car outside his house for directions. He was really helpful and suggested I go through his back garden into the woods so as to save a pretty big diversion on my tiring legs.

A few more easy finds, before struggling a bit with a cache hidden in the ‘cachers enemy’ just before I got back to the Jeep. Persistence paid off though and I soon put my hands on it.

It was still light and I had a couple of hours to kill before the event so decided to pop back down to the Warpers Trail to clear up the remaining DNF’s from last weekend. I took the short-cut though the woods and down the steep hill to Turton / Entwhistle Reservoir and soon found the two DNF”s we had there.

I’d had a tip off during the day that Bumble Bee had been re-located and was given the new co-ords and hint. I returned under the cover of darkness again and had a quick find – phew! I was beginning to think we’d never find this one, with 2 DNF’s already under our belt.

Finally, it was a drive up over the tops though the fog and round to the pub the event was being held at. I’ve never been to an event this far north so did not know a lot of people there. Not a problem though as everyone was really friendly and welcoming and I was soon chatting with lots of cachers I’d seen signed into the various logbooks we have found on our travels.

I was planning an early get-away from the even but it was not until after 10pm that I left the pub! The drive home was easy as the roads were nice and quiet.

A great day and a bit out, with some of the very best type of caching along the way. The Tacklers Trail is now our favourite on the Witton Weavers Way.

43 finds in total :-).

Read Full Post »

New York, New York

We’re off for a short break in the Big Apple this Sunday and can’t wait. There are not exactly a ton of caches to do, but enough to keep us busy in between other, more touristy things.

We’ve got US Topo Maps on our GPSr’s so that bit is easy. We would like Memory Map to work too but only have the maps for Florida and California, so set about trying to create our own using Google Maps. This turned out to be easier that we though, using the Google Maps Hack at this link.

There seems to be a lot of Puzzle caches when you first look at the map, but most of them turn out to be simple offset multi’s where you have to walk a specific distance on a specific bearing to find the cache. Nice and easy as our GPSr’s do waypoint projection.

Some of the actual puzzles are a lot trickier and I’ve had to learn about the US Congressional Library, amongst other things, to get the solutions. I bet we don’t have time to find all the ones we’ve solved, but at least we’re prepared, just in case.

Read Full Post »

Last weekend, a HUGE series of Letterboxes came out on the moorland between Bolton and Blackburn. They are all situated along a long distance walking track, known as the Witton Weavers Way. This is then split up into bite sized chunks, making for an easier way of deciding where to start on the 157 caches!

We opted for the Warpers Trail, which runs round the Turton / Entwhistle and Wayoh Reservoirs and onwards via Jumbles Country Park. 37 caches in total around the trail and a couple of other ones we had not yet found on the way.

We did a quick drive-by cache on another section of the walk on the way to our parking location, hoping for a FTF, but we’d just been beaten by some other cachers. Not a problem as we got a FTF later in the day anyway :-).

After parking up, we got our things ready and set off on foot. There was still quite a bit of snow lying around up here, but nothing bad enough to stop you caching. Some of the tracks were like skating rinks though, which made walking a bit interesting to say the least!

We had a series of easy finds, with a particularly memorable hide on one called Bird’s Nest (the clue is in the title). After that, it was down into the Jumbles area and along a path we’d not been on before.

It all started to come undone at a cache a bit further along the track. It was a heavily wooded area in a valley and the GPSr’s both pointed to an obvious location. We took a quick peek at the hint which said ‘mossy stump’. Hmm, not a single mossy stump anywhere near where the GPSr’s were pointing. There was a fallen down tree lying down the bank with quite a bit of moss on it but it was not a stump. We had a quick look around it but could not find the cache. We were conscious we did not want to start disturbing the moss too much as we’ve all seen a lovely mossy tree after some cachers have massacred it and that’s the last thing we wanted to do.

We ended up having to scale the very steep bank to the top so I could (just about) get a mobile phone signal. We phoned a previous finder who gave us some hints. We went back for a look and none of the hints matched. We decided to carry along the path, hoping to see something that matched the hint, but it was not to be. We actually arrived at the next cache, still none the wiser.

We thus back-tracked to GZ and scaled the bank again. This time I managed to describe our location properly and got a really good hint. I shouted it down to Isaac and he had the cache in hand in seconds. It was in the fallen down tree under lots of moss. Hmmmm…. if only the cache owner had given a proper hint that was not misleading, we’d not have had about one and a half hours of total frustration :-(. You live and learn.

The rest of the caches were easy enough, with some pretty tricky finds on some of them. We did have more DNF’s though, notably on one where it was supposed to be behind a log but there was no cache that we could see anywhere near the logs at GZ. There were other logs up the bank, which we also checked, but these would have been 90 or so feet off the stated co-ords so we’re not sure that is the right area.

After a brief stop for soup and sandwiches at Wayoh Reservoir, we carried on, thoroughly enjoying the absolutely stunning walk. It was soon starting to go dark (where did all the time go?), but it was a full moon with a clear sky and the moonlight was reflecting off the snow nicely. We did not need our torches to see where we were going.

Quite a few more easy(ish) finds ensued, but it was starting to get late so we were looking forward to getting back to the Jeep for a nice cuppa and the journey home for some well deserved tea.

The return leg via Entwhistle Reservoir was great fun as there was ice all over the paths so myself and Isaac virtually skated our way back. On the way, we had yet another DNF – I suspect this one is a lot easier to find in the daylight though (or so I’m hoping).

Anyway, I don’t want the few grumbles about DNF’s and dodgy hints to detract from the fact this is a fabulous series of caches in an absolutely lovely place. Just the kind of walking we like anyway and the bonus of a few caches to find on the way round really is the icing on the cake.

We ended up the day with 32 finds, which we were really pleased with and are now plotting a return visit for more of the series.

Read Full Post »

We were due at the in-laws for a nice Sunday dinner today but could not resist taking the ‘scenic’ route via the north side of Wolverhampton to bag two caches that have been on our radar for way too long.

The first one was near Autherly Junction, where the Shropshire Union canal meets the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal. Mrs Bolas Heathens has been tracing her family tree and one of her ancestors, about 3 generations back, used to live in the lock-keeper’s cottage here, so it was a nice excuse to have a look at that too.

The cache was a quick find by Isaac, while all around the snow was falling. It had not been snowing at home, but the closer we got to the area the cache was in, the heavier the snow was.

The second cache was by one of the junctions just before the M54 meets the M6 and is a location we’d been to before for the cache’s predecessor. Another easy find was had by Isaac.

Now, just a short drive to the in-laws and a HUGE Sunday dinner awaiting us. Perfect :-).

Read Full Post »

This weekend, we decided to head up to just about the northernmost extremity of our days caching zone: the area just south of Preston.

We’d seen the caches in Much Hoole come out for the NW Caching event that was held there a few weeks ago (too far for us to go just to attend an evening event) so decided to start there. The route from the M6 took us past a couple of Sidetracked caches so it would have been rude not to stop and find them.

Much Hoole presented no problems although we were expecting two of the caches to be trickier than they turned out to be, as they both had DNF’s on them. Isaac walked straight up to the first one (that’s my boy :-)) and the second one looks to have been replaced by the cache owner.

The only one we could not find was the last one in the series, which looks to have been muggled as we spoke to a previous finder, who confirmed where it should be.

Now, to head over to the north of Chorley, via a few other quick caches, so we can start on the new Eco Friendly series. They are all Puzzle caches, but are hidden at the stated co-ords. The Puzzle icon is there because of the additional logging requirement: you must post a photo of you with your bike at each cache.

No problems with any of these as they were all in the obvious place. On the way round, we fitted in a few other caches, notably one where you had to go up and down a road, until you had lined up the Mormon Temple in Chorley with Great Hill, up on the moors. Great fun and an interesting way to pin-point a cache.

After we’d done the Eco Friendly ones, we headed into Chorley to clear up the newer urban caches there. No problems there apart from dodgy co-ords on a certain cache setters caches. We’re used to the co-ords on their caches being out, so used the hints for easy finds.

Just time for a few more caches now as it’s starting to get dark and we’re starting to get hungry, so want to think about heading home for some tea.

A nice quick cache by one of the oldest pub’s in the area was followed by a walk down a great PF past some new houses and onwards to a lovely little dingle area. On the OS map, this looked un-remarkable, but when you get there it’s a great spot.

On the way back to the M6, we stopped by a hotel near the Standish exit of the M6 to bag a last quick cache. An easy find, but there was quite a bit of broken glass at GZ (we’ve noted this in our log, so other cacher’s know to watch out).

44 finds and a *really* satisfying day’s caching.

Read Full Post »