Archive for March, 2009

We’ve had a Whereigo cache live for quite a while now. It’s a nice walk around the North Shropshire town of Whitchurch and takes a light-hearted look at the town’s historic clock-making industry (it’s more interesting than it sounds – honest!).

We have a self-imposed rule of not hiding micros, so in the case of this cache, we had our work cut out for us as there are not a lot of places that are:

  • Nice locations
  • Close to the town center
  • Able to take a small or better still, a regular size cache

In fact, we only found the one place that fits all the criteria and it’s been getting some nice comments.

The original Regular sized cache was muggled after a few months so we replaced it by a Small sized cache in the same place, but pushed further in so it was less obvious to muggles. This has also been muggled recently, so it’s obviously time to move the hide a bit.

Our dilemma now is if we do move it, we’ll almost certainly have to make the cache a micro which we really do not want to do.

On the other hand, most if not all of the likely suspects have already done the cache so we’re wondering if it’s worth the effort to replace the cache. Maybe we should just archive it and chalk it up to experience?

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A local cacher contacted us late last week as they could not find our Jeep Challenge cache. After checking they had correctly solved the puzzle I gave some more hints about how to find the cache.

They went back and still could not find the cache. Hmmm … it *should* be an easy find. I feared the worst and popped over yesterday afternoon to find the cache had indeed gone :-(. There was a brand new fence on both sides of the green lane the cache was hidden on and I suspect a farm worker has discovered the cache and taken it with them.

I have a few contacts in that area so will ask around and see if I can find out what happened to the cache but at this stage it does not look promising. In the meantime we’ve had to archive the cache as it’s not an easy one to replace as we need 4 Jeep TB’s, one of each of the colours to put in it.

Feeling thoroughly deflated, I returned home to see a brand new cache had just been published quite close to home. Tea was just about ready, so after eating I popped over to look for the new cache.

The cache was a nice quick find in the obvious place and I was FTF :-). It was by a new cache setter too – always good to see new people start to hide caches.

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When we got back from a day caching around Manchester on Saturday evening, we spotted a new cache not too far from home which looked like a good one.

On Sunday morning, the children were settling down to watch a film, but it was a glorious day outside and they should not be indoors missing it. I know a nice easy way to sort that out – a quick trip out to find the new multi :-).

We parked up and set off for stage 1 along the side of one of the three big pools. A nice quick find by Isaac. Detailed noted, we set off for stage 2, which turned out to be sneakier than we were expecting but very good nonetheless.

The last stage was found by Isaac after eliminating other possibilities. It was then a short walk up a nearby hill to the final cache and another easy find.

A really well thought out and interesting multi in a great spot.

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We decided to try the Alkington Nature Reserve caches near Middleton and then move on down the M60 towards the Romiley and Poynton areas today. Lots of potential caches to hit and areas we’d been to before so no problems finding our way around.

We parked up in the road opposite the Nature Reserve and set off on our bikes. We’d checked with the cache owner during the week just in case bikes were not allowed in the reserve – they were :-).

There were something like 20 caches hidden in the reserve, on a (sort of) circular route. Most were micros but some were smalls. All were very easy finds with absolutely no problems at all. The hardest part of the series was finding our way round the caches using the many paths and tracks within the reserve.

After we’d finished, we did a quick and easy drive-by on the way into Middleton. Next was the St Leonards cache not far from the center of town. We drove up the very old (and very rickety – is that a word?) road to the top of the hill where the church was. The cache was a quick find, right in the middle of the graveyard.

Isaac was joking that the church could easily be part of a Greater Manchester Church Gems series (a play on the Shropshire Church Gems series) as it was a really beautiful building. The views from GZ were fab too and pretty much panoramic. The light today was really good and we could literally see for miles.

Next, we re-positioned down the M60 to Romiley to tackle the Romiley Stroll series. We always like coming back to this area as it’s so close to Stockport but yet a total world apart. Great scenery and tons of history – that’s apart from the fact that there is the River Goyt nearby so there is wild garlic around everywhere this time of year!

A nice walk round the caches and no trouble with the finds. We also did the Grandma’s House cache that was nearby and was one we’d been meaning to find for ages.

After we got back to the Jeep, we had our soup and sandwiches before heading off to Poynton to tackle some of the newer caches there. On the way we stopped at Pete Numbers’ Scotland or England? caches, which was an easy one.

Poynton caused us quite a bit of trouble as the caches were all set by new(ish) cachers and the placement of some of them was not great:

  • One was a micro in an ivy covered post right by the roadside. To make matters worse, the traffic waiting for the traffic lights to change was sat night by GZ. Searching was near on impossible as we started to get some very funny looks.
  • One was in an ivy covered tree at the fenceline behind what looked like some elderly people’s bungalows. Our searching could so easily have been interpreted as snooping on the old people so we knocked it on the head and moved on.

We’ve logged DNF’s on the suspect ones with a few well meant comments about them. The cache owners have thankfully taken this as it was intended and the first one has been moved to a more suitable area and the second one now has a *much* better hint. Result!

We then re-positioned again to Hale Barns to do a new set of caches that had come out in areas I used to play as a child and later, go listening to loud rock music with my mates. Lots of nostalgia on these ones – I was keeping Isaac entertained with running tales of my exploits at each location.

Just time now to nip into the centre of Altrincham and clear up a DNF on what should be a very easy find outside a pub I used to drink in as a (late-ish) teenager.

39 finds so far so to make it up to 40, we drove out to Dunham to do a quick Sparrow Boys cache. Usually their caches are anything but quick as they have the sneakiest and best-crafted caches of any hider we know.

The first one was a small so we were confident in an easy find and sure enough Isaac spotted it immediately. What a fabulous hide too – I can’t say any more here as I’d spoil it, but if you are in the area, make sure you try it – it’s well worth it.

There was another one 0.35 along the old railway line, so we could not resist. A short walk later and we were struggling to find this one (a sneaky nano). We eventually got it though and what a great hide again.

Now, we really must get going home as we’re both getting hungry. 41 finds for the day and a very satisfying day out once again.

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2 FTF’s today!

Two new caches came out last night that were not too far from home.

This morning it was such a nice day I thought I’d pop out to go and look for them. We’ve all but given up chasing FTF’s seriously but we thought we might be in with a chance.

On the way to the first one, I had a PAF call from a cacher stuck on the Charter’s Moss cache on the Witton Weavers Way in Lancashire. I described where we’d found it and he still could not find it. I then realised I’d seen a co-ord change notification email for that cache this morning. I asked if they had mobile net access (they had not) so I offered to look it up and get back to them. This I did and they soon found it :-).

My good deed for the day done, I was just about arriving at the parking location for the first cache, at Cop Mere near Eccleshall. I had a lovely walk over the fields at the side of the mere to GZ and an easy find – FTF too. It was the first cache by this cacher and a nice one too!

A short drive southwards and I was parking up for the second cache. This cache is by a new cache setter who seems to always hide the caches on private land. This one was no exception and I had to sneak down a track I should not be on and into some woods I did not think I should be in, all in order to bag the cache. It was another FTF.

Just up the road was one final cache. We’d actually already found this one, but the cache owner thought it was missing and archived it. When they realised it was still there, they set it up as a new cache, so we had to go to the same place, find the same box to claim a new find.

Then, it was a short(ish) drive back home, via our Behind Enemy Lines – Hinstock cache, which had had a DNF on it. Sure enough, the cache was still in place and nicely hidden.

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The weather was beautiful all morning so by lunchtime I could not resist popping out to bag a few new caches.

The first was in Coalbrookdale, near Ironbridge and by our friends The Pirates Of Shropshire.

The most obvious place to park was a Pay & Display and as time was short, I paid my 50p so I could go the short distance to the cache and not waste any more time finding somewhere to park that was free. Always a pleasure to do caches in this area by the River Severn as you are virtually guaranteed great scenery and at this time of year, the lovely aroma of wild garlic.

Then it was off to a part of Telford we’d not been to before for the last two caches. One was a multi but the new cacher had given away too many details on the cache page, so we turned it into a quick drive-by Traditional.

Last of the quick trip out was a cache by the lovely (I’ll leave you to decide if I’m being sarcastic here ;-)) Telford Shopping Centre. Another quick find.

Now to get back home and get some work done!

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We’d done a few caches during the week with the aim of making our 6000th find achievable this weekend. Only 22 caches to find to get the milestone today, so we picked what looked like a nice area and a set of caches that were getting good logs.

We don’t usually go this far up the M6 caching, but we made an exception for these. Isaac was navigating using Memory Map and took me a way I was not expecting to the cache parking area: approaching from the west rather that the east.

We got kitted up and set off on our walk, with the aim of doing the Jungle Book series first. After about 0.3 of the 0.4 walk to the first cache, I glanced at my GPSr to see the distance to go going up rather than down. Hmmmm…

I then took a look at Memory Map and realised our mistake. Not a problem though as we’ll just do the Wallace & Gromit series now and do the Jungle Book ones after lunch.

The walk was absolutely fabulous as most of it was alongside the River Brock and there was wild garlic everywhere. None of the caches were too taxing, but they were all nicely hidden and with a good mix of containers and hides.

All too soon we were at the bonus cache on the Wallace & Gromit series, which we found after a short search. We picked some wild garlic to take home as Isaac wanted to use some in the Sunday dinner he was planning to cook Mrs Bolas Heathens tomorrow on Mothers Day.

After some soup and sandwiches at the picnic area by the car park, we set off to do the Jungle Book series. This was a similar format to the earlier series, but in the opposite direction along the River Brock.

Lots of nice hides and locations with easy finds were the order of the day. Part way round, we veered off to the other side of the river to pick up a very sneakily hidden Traditional cache that was not part of the Jungle Book series.

With all the details we needed gathered, we headed off to find the bonus cache. Without giving too much away, we’d actually almost walked past it doing the Wallace & Gromit series earlier so knew where we needed to be. It was a steep and slippery climb up to the cache but well worth it as it was a nice hide and more importantly, it was our 6000th find :-).

With both series complete, we had time to go and find some more local caches. Isaac suggested picking off as many drive-by’s as we could in the time, which sounded like an excellent plan.

He navigated us down lanes I’ve never been down before and to places I’d never even heard of, but we managed to bag lots more caches. Highlights of these included:

  • A visit to the remains of a Roman baths in the Roman town of Ribchester.
  • Seeing the Lightening and Camberra gate guardians at BAE Salmesbury.
  • Having to cross a very smelly field that had just had muck spread all over it.
  • A nice hide in a well crafted log, with an end that moved to one side.

We’d planned the Preston Geo-Post Office cache as the last one of the day as it was right by the M6 and a handy way of getting to home quickly.

A fantastic day out in beautiful countryside. 35 finds for the day and our 6000th find completed too.

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We had some free tickets to the Homebuilding and Renovation Show at the NEC so stopped by for a quick cache on the way into the show.

Handily enough, the cache was literally half way on the walk from the car park to the show hall (I could not have planned it better myself!). The clue indicated it was a bench cache so we were hoping no-one was sat on it as it was a nice sunny day and it is a nice spot for a sit down.

Our luck was in and we managed to palm the cache in between passing muggles.

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We had an email from a new cache finder who has 19 finds yesterday. They had done all the legwork on our Newport By Numbers cache but could not find the cache.

What they described sounded like the right area to be looking but we know the cache can be quite a tricky one to find. This is deliberate as we suspect quite a few dog-walkers go past GZ and we don’t want the cache being found accidentally.

Anyway, the conundrum was do we go and check on the cache, given it was a relative newbie and they could easily have missed it or do we wait for another DNF before checking on it.

As luck would have it, I needed to go into town for some petrol so made a diversion on the way to check on the cache. Sure enough, it was tucked up all snug in it’s hiding place and waiting for someone to come and find it.

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This morning, as I was settling down to the day’s work I spotted three caches within 10 miles of home that had just come out. I could not resist.

10 minutes later and I was at GZ for the first one, by the Shropshire Union canal in a field. I scanned all around the abandoned hut at the side of the field but could not find the cache. I gave up and went on to the second cache, which was not far away.

For the second cache, it was a 0.35 walk over some very flat fields. I was soon at GZ and had a quick find of the nicely hidden cache. Just when you think you have seen all variations on a hide, a new one comes along!

I then returned to the Jeep and went back to check again on cache 1, but still could not find it.

A short drive later and I was nearing the third cache. It was in some lovely woodland that we had eyed for a cache hide ourselves ages ago but never got round to taking it further. Anyway, the woodland turned out to be just as lovely as I was expecting and I soon had the cache in hand.

When I got back home, I emailed the cache owner of the one I could not find for any further clues they may have. An hour or so later they replied to apologise that they had had problems with the cache and had only actually hidden it an hour or so *after* I had been to look for it – doh!

I dashed out again, confident I knew all the places to look for it now and sure enough, found the cache in double-quick time.

That’s now 3 FTF’s for the day – very satisfying :-).

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