Archive for May, 2009

We had to go to the Jeep dealership in Stoke this afternoon, so decided to pick off a few of the Newcastle-under-Lyme caches on the way home.

The first was one of the caches in a series about famous writers and the Potteries. The co-ords took us to a house on a very ordinary street, where H G Wells had lived for a year. We soon calculated the co-ords for the final cache and a short walk later, the cache was in hand.

Next, it was a quick nano on the back of a road-sign, put here in memory of the cache owner’s Dad, who lived on that street.

A short drive later and we were at a super-sneaky hide at a Staffordshire Church Gem. We searched around for ages before giving in and phoning the cache owners, our friends cannonedwards. We were then given a good hint and soon had the cache in hand – a very unusual hide and in a place we’d not even thought to look – doh!

Last one of the trip was in Three Parks in Newcastle and not far from where one of our Cache Dispenser’s offspring had been hidden. A nice easy find was had here, despite us hearing that it might be a tricky find. At least that makes up for our efforts at the previous cache ;-).

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I was just settling down for the evening after work when up popped some new caches in Baschurch. Hmmm – too hard to get to to go and find them now as it’s narrow, windy country lanes virtually all the way.

Then two new ones popped up in Stafford. Tempting, but still a bit far so they will wait for another day.

Next, one pops up in the same quarry at Nivek’s old cache and the new Telford Bookshelf cache. A nice spot, but not somewhere I really want to be wandering around in the dark.

Finally, a nice easy cache in Shawbirch pops up. That’s more like it. I was still not convinced as the sofa was *very* comfy but was chatting to Allun (from the Shropshire Seekers) on Facebook and he said he was going, so I thought it would be a good chance to finally meet him.

Off I set, but suspected Allun had quite a head start over me (especially because I had to almost go past his house on my way!). I was soon parking up opposite the pool and had just got out of the Jeep when Allun pulled up behind me. He’d already got FTF and was on his way home when he spotted me arriving.

I went off to find the cache and made it harder than it needed to be as I wandered off into some brambles (ouch!) before spotting a much easier hide. Afterwards, myself and Allun stood chatting about caching until it was nearly dark and we both headed off home.

YAPITIDNKA – Yet Another Place In Telford I Did Not Know About.

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We were due to drop the children off at their Grandparents near Blymhill for the afternoon, but could not resist taking in the nearby new Wheaton Aston caches while we were there.

We stopped to pick Grandpa up on the way and were soon parking up by the lovely church in Wheaton Aston. The first cache was about 40ft from where we parked and I spotted the hide as I got out of the Jeep. I kept quiet so as the children could spot it themselves (which they soon did!).

Isaac had Memory Map on the PDA so guided us off down a nearby lane, which then turned into the farm track we needed to be on for the next few caches. The first bit was very muddy but just about passable at the sides. The caches were all easy finds, which Freya especially really enjoyed.

As we approached the end of the track, the walk bent to the left and headed towards the Shropshire Union canal for the return leg back to the Jeep. As we approached the canal, there was a puzzle cache that we’d solved during the week nearby, so we stopped to find that one first.

The GPSr’s were pointing 400ft away from the canal and into some fields. Hmmm – something is not quite right here as that was not where the cache was on the map when I plotted the correct co-ords for it. Looks like I must have mis-typed a digit when I was putting the correct co-ords into GSAK – doh!

Thankfully the hint was clear and we knew we were looking for an ammo box, so a bit of searching in what I thought was roughly the area for the cache, soon uncovered the box.

The rest of the walk was up the towpath and all nice and easy caching wise. Grandpa was telling us of a swimming race he was in in the mid 1960’s, along the stretch of canal here. I don’t think I’d fancy having to swim in the murky water much.

We were soon walking down the road back to where we’d parked up, for the short drive back to the in-laws. 8 caches found and a lovely circular walk which we all enjoyed.

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On Saturday we decided to have a return trip to the lovely Clent Hills to the South West of Birmingham.

A new series, themed on the old TV show, The Waltons, had come out on nearby Walton Hill (not quite Walton’s Mountain, but it’s a lovely location nonetheless) and the National Trust has put out a series of 5 caches on the Clent Hills too. It sounded like a lovely circular walk (and it was!).We parked at the foot of Walton Hill and headed off on foot on what was looking to be a very promising day, weather wise.

The first cache was not too far from the road and a nice easy find. We then carried on down the road to the start of the path up the hill. The next few caches were quick finds and we were soon at the trigpoint at the top of the hill. I’d been here ages ago as the trigpoint is one that counts towards the Ye Olde Survey Monuments cache. That time it was in thick fog and I could hardly see in front of my nose, let alone see for miles like we could today.

The next one appeared to be down the other side of the hill, off the path, so off we set for some off-roading as there was no obvious route to it. We then met us with a path that was following the contours of the hill further down the bank. This lead us to GZ and then onwards to the rest of the caches, all of which were nice easy finds (apart from one, where we had to use a PAF and then kicked ourselves as we’d missed a very obvious hide – doh!).

After we’d finished the Waltons series, we headed round to the start of the climb up the Clent Hills and onwards to the new National Trust caches. On the way we bagged a couple of other caches, one of which was aptly named OUCH! as it was in the middle of a gorse bush!

The National Trust caches were all really big tupperware containers with tons of interesting things in them like cards helping you identify birds that you might see and cards showing you the different kinds of clouds and how to recognise each type. We spent quite a while enjoying the tasks that were in the caches before moving on.

The only problem we did have with the National Trust caches was on #2 which we could not find. All of the caches did not have any hints, although is not usually a big problem as there are usually only so many places you can hide a big box. Number 2 might be missing and without a hint it’s really hard to know if you missed something obvious.

We also bumped into The Twilleys 2 at one of the caches. Great to meet you both.

After we’d completed our circular walk and arrived back at the Jeep, we set off to try the new Bromsgrove Feeder series. These are all situated around the main road between Kidderminster and Bromsgrove and while not exactly scenic, had fun challenges of their own – namely, how the heck to get to most of them without going on the main road (it’s a dual carriageway with nowhere to stop).

At the second of the caches, we spotted some suspicious figures as we approached that just had to be cachers. They turned out to be monkeyhanger. We had a nice chat while we all searched for the cache.We found all but about 3 of the series as those were on the west-bound carriageway and we did not want to double back on ourselves. The last one we did was at a lovely location by the side a sand quarry, with great views over the quarry itself. It was also an ammo box, so a very nice cache to finish the series on :-).

Next, we decided to head over to a cluster of un-founds on the far side of Bromsgrove and picked up a couple of drive-by’s on the way.

As we approached one cache, we spotted some familiar faces but could not place them. It was Ailec Nor, who we’d last bumped into at the M1 J30 cache when we were on our way to the Mega Event in Harrogate last summer. Great to meet you both again.

The rest of the caches were uneventful apart from bumping into yet another cacher: acring.

Isaac was then soon guiding us to the nearest junction of the M5 (but not before we grabbed a final cache on the way) and the journey northwards to home.

36 finds for the day, 4 different caching teams met and wall to wall sunshine all day. A great day out!

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This weekend, we could not decide where to go caching. I was toying with the idea of a return visit to Poynton and then on to the new caches in Hazel Grove and Gatley but was not convinced as they were virtually all micros (not our favourite size cache).

Myself and Isaac were looking at un-founds on Memory Map on Thursday evening and he said “What about the Wirral?”. I didn’t think there were enough caches still to do there to make a day out worthwhile, but a quick count and there were about 50 odd ones we could try for. Also, there were two good looking circular walks – the Ben Ten series and some caches around Bidston Hill, near Birkenhead. Perfect!

With the decision made, I set about solving as many of the puzzle caches we had left to do in the area and by the middle of Friday had a good plan of where we would be hitting.

After an easy drive to the Wirral we were parking up for the first of the Ben Ten series. The series is triangular in shape, with caches along two sides of the triangle and the third side strangely devoid of caches. The parking place was familiar as we’d parked there ages ago to go and find the final stage of the now archived Wirral Challenge puzzle cache.

The series was nice and easy with pretty much all the caches being containers of similar size to the preform caches you see a lot of just south of Derby. Along the way we picked up a stand-alone cache and were soon at the end of the trail and making our way back to the Jeep.

We calculated the co-ords of the bonus cache and set off to drive to a nearby industrial estate, where there was quicker access to the bonus cache and also one other cache on the way.

Next, we headed off to park at Tam O’Shanter’s Urban Farm for the walk around the Bidston Hill caches. On the way, we picked up another cache at this very old park that you could easily miss if you did not know it was there.

After our soup and sandwiches at a picnic table near the car park, we set off on foot. The first cache was a Christmas present related cache and a nice BIG ammo box. Just the size we like :-).

We then had a lovely walk around all the interesting spots on the hill, picking up the caches as we went. Most of the caches were short offset multi’s as the cache owner wanted to take you to specific points of interest but there were not always good cache hiding places at these places. We visited the Windmill, Observatory, Viewpoint, Lighthouse and an ancient carving of a Sun Goddess in the rocks on the way. Great stuff!

Our luck then ran out and we had 3 DNF’s on the trot. The first turns out to be still there but was hidden under a lot of leaf litter so we missed it. The second was missing and the third is apparently still there, although we checked the exact hiding place and did not see it (can’t see how we missed it though).

Isaac was working Memory Map and doing the directions for the day, so he suggested we head over to the beach at Hoylake and two un-founds there. A short drive later and we had an easy (if not a bit nettly – is that a word?) find of the first one. The second was at an old Victorian drinking fountain right by the beach, with fab views over the sand. We spent a while admiring some people with one of those skateboards with a sail on (not sure what they are called) zooming back and forward along the beach. Looks like great fun.

Next, we re-located to a tricky little cache by a Mariner’s column near West Kirkby. We’d done one of these hides in Derby a few weeks ago so had an instant find. It took a heck of a lot longer (and one paperclip) to get to the logbook though. All good fun :-).

Time was getting on by now, so just time for a quick puzzle cache (I won’t say any more as I don’t want to spoil the surprise) and a Traditional, before heading over to the cache in Hazels’ front garden to pick up a TB that we needed for something else I cannot mention here ;-).

By this time, we really should have been heading home but there were 3 caches in Eastham Country Park around the corner and we could not resist. The first was by the side of the Mersey and we were treated to a boat going right past where we were stood.

Next, it was on to a Multi at the location of the original crossing point of the Mersey and then a fun Puzzle cache, which I cannot really say any more about as we don’t want to spoil it for others.

A great day out in an area we always enjoy caching in and a great opportunity to clear up a few of the more tricky puzzle caches. 33 finds for the day too!

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This weekend, a caching visit to the North West was long overdue. We’ve been caching in other areas, so the NW caches build up again and there was now quite a few new ones to find.

We planned the day in two halves: the morning would be spent along the Leeds and Liverpool canal to the west of the M6 and then in the afternoon, we’d move over to Shevington and make a start on the Wandering around Wigan series.

We parked up not far from the canal in Parbold and got the bikes out of the Jeep for the stretch of canal to the east of Parbold as it’s a long linear walk otherwise.

We could not find the first cache quickly so decided to leave it until later when we’d got a feel for the cache setters hides (we’ve not found any of their caches before). The second one in the series was an easy find, once we’d ignored the GPSr’s as they were sending us to the wrong side of the bridge.

The third cache was an even easy find as we could see a group of cachers at GZ as we rode up. It was grufftymilo, bettyboo and the linedancers. Great to meet you all again. We were handed the cache for the ‘Isaac with the cache’ photo to be done.

The rest of the caches along this stretch were easy enough, with a nice variety of hides and containers. On the way back up the canal, we bumped into the funkey monkeys, so stopped for a nice chat as we’d not met them before.

Once we got back to the Jeep, we headed off for the western end of the series and started to work back along the canal from there to Parbold. Of note on this section were:

  • Two of the caches seemed to be missing so we logged DNF’s.
  • We bumped into grufftymilo, bettyboo and the linedancers again.
  • We also bumped into Channelhopper and SammySandpiper at another cache.

With the canal series finished, we drove over to Shevington and picked the first two caches in the series off (they were not on an obvious circular walk) before moving the Jeep round to a more central location for the main walks. We stopped for some well needed soup and sandwiches before setting off.

We’d not been to this part of Wigan before and really enjoyed it as it’s full of history from the old mines that used to be here, with lots to see on the walk, including tons of wildlife in the lovely wooded areas.

None of the caches were any problem apart from Bridge Over Copper Stream which we knew was a big box under the obvious bridge, but was nowhere to be seen. We PAF’d to the cache owner who confirmed we’d not missed anything obvious and that the cache must be missing :-(.

After we’d finished this set of caches, we arrived back near the Jeep and relocated to near the Heinz factory by the M6 for the last circular walk of the day, taking in another 6 caches. Little did we know but this would be the most scenic walk of the whole day with great views over towards Winter Hill, a lovely dingle, tons of wild garlic and bluebells and even a nice stream thrown in for good measure! We did not see any factory or motorway the whole way round.

I was telling Isaac earlier in the day about a new Puzzle cache with dummy co-ords in the centre of Wigan, but where you have to go up a long(ish) stretch of road on the way to Standish, looking for an old fashioned and very ornate sign. It sounded like a lot of fun so we headed off to do this on the (scenic) way to the M6 and onwards to home.

On the way, Isaac announced that he knew exactly where the cache would be. I was wondering how he had worked this out without going there first until I saw him looking at something on the OS Maps on Memory Map. He turned out to be spot on too!

35 finds for the day and lots of new and really nice areas explored. Great to meet lots of cachers along the way too :-).

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I was just about to settle into work this morning when I spotted two caches published, both 16.8 miles from home and in great locations. The sun was shining and it would not take *that* long to go and find them…

I went for the one in Atcham first. This is a replacement of a now archived Shropshire Church Gem cache and is in a fabulous location, by the historic church on the banks of the River Severn.

I parked by the nearby pub and had a short walk into the churchyard and a quick find. A great cache container too – I now know why the cache is called what it is (Grabbed By The Ghoullies)!

Next, I drove round Shrewsbury and up the Ellesmere road to Harmer Hill. We’d done a cache at the north end of these woods ages ago but had not been to the part of the woods this cache was in.

I parked to the south and walked up a permissive footpath to the woods and then scrambled up the side of the hill to the top, taking a direct route as I could not see where the path going to the top was. Once at the top, I walked over to GZ for an easy find with spot on co-ords.

Absolutely loved this location as the views all round and great and the woods are very well kept with lots of paths to explore. I had quite a wander round exploring the woods before heading back to the Jeep and homewards to get some work done.

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Two New Caches Set

Our Jeep Challenge was unfortunately muggled a while ago so we were keen to put out a replacement.

We’d been in contact with some cachers in that area who work the land there and despite them asking around, no-one was admitting to taking the cache. They have their suspicions though!

Anyway, between us we developed an idea for a replacement cache in a place that should hopefully never get muggled, yet not too far from where the old cache was. Some special equipment needed to be made as this was part of the fun of getting the cache.

All was ready at the end of the weekend so I popped over with a replacement cache and set it all up, giving the special equipment a final run-through to make sure all was spot on. It was!

While I was in the area, I went off to explore another place just down the road called Hundred Steps. A great location for a cache too – after going down the ancient steps, there is a lovely bridge over the River Roden with lots of wild garlic and a small waterfall. I had a cache with me so hid the ammo box nearby.

When I got home later, I made the final adjustments to the Jeep Challenge 2 – The Rescue cache page (which I’d already set up over the last few days) and set up a cache page for the other new cache.

Both caches were submitted and Deceangi was on good form as they were both published within something like 10 minutes of being submitted.

Now to wait to see who will be FTF…

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We fancied a day out on Bank Holiday Monday and whilst looking for things to do in South Shropshire, we spotted that the Green Man Festival was on in Clun all weekend. Clun is right in deepest South West Shropshire and not the easiest place to get to, but the countryside is absolutely beautiful in that area.

We drove down, thoroughly enjoying the drive and had a great time at the festival. Lots to see and do and the whole town had really made an effort to welcome all the visitors.

On the way home, we thought we’d take an even more scenic route home via the Stiperstones – and a couple of caches of course!

The first was on a hill just to the north of Clun. Try as I might I could not find it. There was a very obvious place it must have been but I just could not see it. I doubt it’s been muggled as it’s a remote spot but you never know.

Next on the list was two of thefortytwa’s more remote caches, to the west of Bishops Castle. The lanes round here are really narrow and some are almost like farm tracks. Great fun in the Jeep though!

Both were easy finds with some stunning views as they were both on the top of hills overlooking the whole area. The first one was on Offa’s Dyke – we never realised this extended into England but it does!

After stopping at the old Snailbeach Lead Mines near the Stiperstones so Freya could look for quartz crystals amongst the old mine debris, we did a quick nano on the way into Minsterley.

From there it was a quick trip to home along main roads.

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On Sunday afternoon, I was due to go over and meet my business partner who lives in Florida, but was on a flying visit to the UK, staying at his parents house in Saughall.

I set off a bit early to try and bag a few caches on the way as it’s ages since we’ve cached in the Chester area and quite a few new caches have come out since.

My main aim was the Insy Winsy cache just south of Ellesmere Port as it’s been recommended to us by several friends.

As I approached Chester on the A41, I was very close to Shroppie – Christleton, so I stopped for a nice quick find. I then carried on up the A41 round the side of Chester and stopped for another quick find at Backford Dipper on a towpath by a nice canal.

Next, was a quick micro down a disused road and then on to Insy Winsy. I knew it was a sneaky one where you had to do *something* to get the cache out but had no idea what to look for. I was thinking the cache would be high for some reason and whilst checking this theory out, I literally came face to face with the cache, much lower than I thought!

The log came out all too easily, but then the fun started as it was not the log at all – just a note telling you there was more work to do. I won’t say what I did to get the cache itself as it would spoil the fun for others, but rest assured, if you have not already done this cache, it’s great fun and something a little bit different.

Just time for two quick other caches before my meeting so a nice cache and dash by a pub near Cheshire Oaks, followed by a dive into some lovely woods for another cache were in order.

After my meeting, I set off to bag the two new caches in Saughall. I could not find the first one and spotted some DNF’s on it. A PAF confirmed what I was looking for and where it should be. It was nowhere to be seen to I marked it as a DNF and set off for the next one.

I then had a lovely walk through some gorgeous bluebell filled woods to a cache called (appropriately enough) Bluebell Woods. I spotted Pieman had found this two days ago so wondered if he had managed to find the last one that I could not find. After eventually getting a data singal, I looked it up on my iPhone to see the cache was indeed missing but had been replaced yesterday.

A quick walk back over the field and I found the cache, thus saving me having to log a DNF.

I could not resist one final cache on the way home so returned to Stanney Woods for another cache by the people that had set Insy Winsy. This one has multiple cache containers hidden in the same area and your job is to find the one with the logbook in. A bit like our What The Heck ??? !!! cache but different. I actually found the correct one first time round but did not spot the logbook so carried on searching. After finding two more, I looked at the first one again and spotted the logbook – doh! I won’t spoil it for others but will add that there is a fun surprise when doing this cache – you’ll have to go and do the cache to find out what though ;-).

I was getting hungry by now so headed off home with a very respectable 9 finds for my trip out.

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