Archive for January, 2010

Lovely countryside views while on the Codsall series

Isaac was studying for exams at school all weekend so I opted to go out caching on my own on Saturday and then help him with Maths and the sciences on Sunday.

A new series of 19 caches near Codsall looked all too tempting. On Friday while I was wondering where to go caching after I’d found these 19, a set of 5 new ones near Essington came out, followed by another nearby one later on in the day. Decision made, I’d start at Codsall, move on to Essington and then head over towards Brownhills, perhaps via Bloxwich, for the rest of the day.

The lanes around Codsall were really icy which made for some interesting driving to the first three caches which were all drive-by’s! I then relocated to near Codsall church and set off on foot for the rest of the series. The first were down a PF by the side of the cemetery and all quick and easy finds.

Great countryside for a walk!

As I returned to the Jeep I bumped into The Haywood Hornet who was just parking up. He’d not done the next two caches on my list yet so we set off together chatting as we went along. Two quick finds, although the second was probably the hardest find of the series.

I then said my goodbye’s to Iain and headed off for a circular walk around the rest of the series. Not that much to report on these apart from:

  • Some very vicious looking dogs on the walk between two of the caches. I’m very glad there was a big fence between us!
  • A cache at the exact same spot an old Washers cache was. It was even in the same hiding place. What’s the chances of that happening given the new cache is set by a much newer cacher who almost certainly never found the old cache there?
  • Having to be really stealthy at one cache as a teacher was stood very close to it supervising a school map reading walk.
  • Bumping into delta68 a bit later in the walk. I saw them coming over the field towards me and thought it looked a bit like them. As they got closer I realised it was! Great to meet you all again :-).

A friendly horse near one of the drive-by's

I was soon back at the Jeep and drove round to the final two caches of the series (that were off the circular walk for some reason) and the new Washers cache at the Leper’s Well.

Next I headed off to the new series in Essington. On the way I passed the Essington Moat 07 cache which we’d previously DNF’d (it had been muggled). It had been muggled again in the meantime but I’d heard part of the cache was still in place and also hoped the owner had had chance to replace the cache again. My luck was in and I found a brand new cache at GZ :-).

Not too far away I parked up for the new Why Not series in Essington. At the first cache I saw The Mighty Shark and susannye were ahead of me. I’d started the series from #4 and then did #5 before continuing on to #1, #2 and #3. We never seem to do series in the way they are intended, but this seemed like the logical place to park as it was closest to the direction I was coming from. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!

Double sided weir on the Horse Trail series

At cache #1 I spotted a familiar car and sure enough saw snerdbe had signed the log. Just past the next cache I thought I could see them in the distance so phoned them to see. It was them and they stopped to wait for me to catch them up as we’ve not seen them for ages and it would be good to catch up.

I was having a nice chat with Des and Bren when along came The Mighty Shark and susannye re-tracing their steps round the series as Mark had dropped his mobile phone somewhere :-(.

Once back at the Jeep I tried for a drive-by at the start of the Chicken Licken series but a guy drinking beer was sat right by GZ and looked settled in for the day. Hmm… time for Plan B. Now what was Plan B again? …

HUGE miner status in Brownhills

Plan B was two quick caches on nearby Long Lane. The first one had me foxed at first and I was still looking for it when snerdbe pulled up to look for another nearby cache. After Bren pointed out the error of my ways (a very nice hide it was too) we all walked over to the next cache for a really easy instant find.

I then said my goodbye’s once again (but not quite for the last time today as I would later find out) and headed off to a cache called ‘Love Bloxwich’. We’d DNF’d this a while ago and it has since been relocated down the towpath. Needless to say I still could not find it. I don’t know about Love Bloxwich, I’m beginning to hate the place as we never seem to find caches here as we had similar problems with the Sidetracked Bloxwich cache ;-).

Next on the list was a set of 3 caches on the east side of Walsall called Horse Trail. All nice quick finds by bike but not before I’d set off down the wrong bridleway, on the wrong side of a stream from GZ – doh!

Great statue - or is it a statue?

I still had time for more caches as I’d polished off a lot of them in the morning and made good time, so I headed off towards Brownhills for more caches. The first was to clear up a previous DNF (it had been muggled) at a Walsall Church Gem. Then a micro by a really big statue of a pit head mechanism. I assume it was a statue as it looked not quite big enough for a real one.

The next caches were in the Captain Beaky series and set along a canal and old railway line that is now a cycleway. I had just climbed up with my bike to the old railway line when a car going under the bridge beeped at me. It was Des and Bren again!

Old signal on the ex-railway line

The first one was a DNF (magnetic nano with 1001 hiding places). I got bored looking and moved on for 3 more easy finds.

By this time I was wondering about picking off two new caches near to home while it was still light so decided to head up to the A5 and head homewards via the new caches. On the way I passed another drive-by Walsall Church Gem so could not resist stopping for an easy find.

The first new cache near home was on the Shropshire Union Canal by the old Wheaton Aston WW2 airfield. A nice quick find was had here with co-ords that were spot on under the tree cover.

Views down the Shroppie near the cache

Last of the day was a puzzle cache by the ford at Seighford near Stafford. It had only come out last night but I’d resisted popping out for it then as the puzzle bit was a walk along a stream looking for the cache with little or no clues and about 0.25 of a mile to search. Luckily an additional clue had been added to the cache page since, which narrowed down the search area quite a bit.

I soon found something that was not the cache but found the actual cache a short while later just as it was going dark.

39 finds for the day and a nice dent made in our closest to home not founds. Can’t wait for Isaac to be free as it’s much more fun caching as a team than on my own. That won’t be next weekend as we have to go to a party at friends in Yorkshire (although we may get one or two caches while we are there!).

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Self portrait with the logbook

Another evening and another FTF dash with the Shropshire Seekers. There seems to be quite a few new caches coming out at about 7:30pm ish at the moment and I for one are really enjoying both seeing new caches coming out in the area and also a good opportunity for some nighttime caching.

I’d missed the usual notification email for the new one this evening – in fact it’s still not arrived two days later! I think Goundspeak need to feed the mail server hamsters more ;-). Luckily Allun noticed the new cache so popped up on MSN to see if I fancied the FTF dash. Daft question ;-).

He was soon round at out house and we set off in the Jeep. The cache is by the old airfield at Seighford near Stafford. The airfield is a busy gliding club at the weekends with another part of it used for a ‘Fast Car Experience’, where you can zoom round the track in Ferrari’s, Lambo’s etc etc. Must try that sometime :-).

Anyway, we were soon at GZ and the co-ords were good so we had a really quick find of the sneakily hidden cache. Not only am I enjoying the new caches in the area, but also some really nice hides too. Long may it continue.

I was back home with Mrs Bolas Heathens in just less that an hour.

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Beautiful canal boat at Fradley Junction

On Sunday we’d planned a day out doing all the new caches in the Fradley Junction area just north of Lichfield, by the A38. There were lots to aim for, with a countryside walk, canal cache series, business park caches and finally some caches set around a wood.

Isaac was going to come too, but he’s got his first exams at his new school starting a week on Monday so we decided it might be better for him to stay at home and get some revision done with his Grandpa (who is an ex-headteacher). Off I set on my own…

First stop was a quick Sidetracked cache at Lichfield Trent Valley. Nothing much to say here apart from a very quick find.

Old WW2 buildings seen on my walk round the caches

I then carried on down the road to the end of the PF for the countryside walk cache series. The sun was out by now and it was looking to be a beautiful day – just perfect for this kind of walking :-). Off I set and had a nice hour or thereabouts bagging the 8 caches in the series. All quick finds and some fun containers as the series was based around the concept of 5 vegetables a day. I bet you can guess what the cache containers were ;-).

Next, I relocated to the NW of the caches on the Trent and Mersey canal and got my bike out of the Jeep. This was a lovely quiet stretch of canal with very few people on it, which obviously makes for quick finds as I could searching un-hindered. At the far end of the series, I had to cross over to the other side of the canal for the last two caches. A quick back-track to where I’d parked was then in order.

Lock and lock keeper's cottage on the Trent and Mersey Canal

Fradley Business Park and it’s many new caches were next on my list so I drove round to a handy starting point. Part of the business park is built on the former site of the WW2 Lichfield airfield and there are bits of old runway and lots of the old hangars still there. Having set the ‘Behind Enemy Lines’ series round old WW2 airfields in Shropshire, I was very interested to see what I could see here.

The walk to the first three caches took me past some of the old hangars and I managed to get to the end of the old runway and get a pilots eye view of it – something many pilots would have seen when the airfield was operational :-).

Pilot's eye view of the old runway at WW2 Lichfield airfield

The next two caches were quick drive-by’s in the business park, before I headed off to the other side of the main A38 for the next set of caches. Out came my bike again for a short stretch of 4 caches along the Coventry Canal.

After I’d got back to the Jeep I drove round to make a start on The Mighty Shark’s Brookhay Wood series of caches. There was a puzzle (solved during the week), a micro, a regular and a multi. We don’t normally do any multi’s when caching away from home but I was walking past the first stage between two of the other caches and it was only a micro leading to a final box.

The puzzle one was a quick find with lovely views over a newly planted area of woodland that had a purple haze look to it. The first stage of a multi involved something a little different (the hint was 8ft from the base of a tree so I’ll leave it up to you to work out what I needed to do). The rest of the caches were easy finds, although the micro came as a bit of a shock when I found it (I won’t say why – you need to do the cache to work it out!).

Purple haze over the new woodland at Brookhay Wood

I’d now managed 29 finds and had tons of time left so decided to head home the ‘scenic’ route across country via Rugeley and Stafford and pick up a few caches on the way. The other aim was to bag the YOSM cache at the trig point on Hunger Hill. which was only a short diversion off my route.

The next cache was by an old bridge over the River Trent. I had a very nice surprise when I stuck my hand in and pulled out an ammo box – our favourite type of cache container :-).

Next, was a quick drive-by followed by a nice walk up Hunger Hill to the trig point. When I say Hill, I really mean a gentle incline as it’s not that high at all, but is the highest ground in the area and hence where the trig point is. The views were pretty good from the top though so it was more than worth the walk.

Hunger Hill trig point

Just time for a few more caches near the very unusually named Mavesyn Ridware. I’m not sure where the village name comes from but it sounds Welsh maybe? Anyway, the three caches here were all quick finds, with rain starting just after I found the first one.

On the way through Rugeley I picked off two more drive-by’s – the latter actually being in Colwich just north of Rugeley and by the site of a horrific railway accident in 1986.

Rugeley power station in the distance

I checked how many finds I’d got and noticed it was 39. 39 is such an uneven number and 40 would be a lot better, so I had a look on Memory Map to see if there were any quick and easy caches nearby. There were, so off I set to get the nearest one. Another nice easy find.

40 finds in total over just 6 hours, which is not bad going even though I say so myself. I ended up getting home really early and even had time to fit a nice James Bond film in with the children :-).

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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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One of the caches we found

I was just settling down for the evening when up popped Allun from the Shropshire Seekers on MSN saying a new cache had just been published near Brewood. By the time I’d checked the one cache has multiplied into 4 new caches! Should we go for it knowing some very prolific FTF hounds live so much closer to it? Of course we should – beats Friday night TV anytime :-).

I picked up Allun on the way and we were soon on the M54 Brewood bound. On arriving at the parking location we half expected to see the familiar silver car we often see in these situations but it was not there.

The first cache was just by the parking area and a quick find. Even better, there was a virgin logbook :-).

We then set off down the dark bridleway for the rest of the caches. The next two were quick finds and we then had the co-ords for the final cache of the series (it was one of those sets of caches where one cache has the co-ords for the next cache etc etc). Without giving anything away, we realised we would be best going back to the Jeep and driving round to make the last cache quicker, just in case any other noctural FTF hounds were out.

On the way back to the Jeep we stopped off so Allun could find an older cache we were walking past anyway (we’d found it really early on in our caching career). As he was signing the logbook we spotted two torches coming along the path – it was Paul and Izzy of Izzy and the Lizard Kind. Fancy bumping into you two here ;-). We had a lovely chat, catching up on things as we’ve not seen them for ages.

Isaac and Freya with the old Lodge Hill cache in 2005

They then carried on to number 3 of the series and we zoomed round for a quick FTF on the last one in the series.

On the way home we did a quick drive-by of a new cache in Brewood before heading off to Lodge Hill near Shifnal to bag another new cache that only came out a few days ago. This was a very nostalgic location for us as there used to be a Washers cache here that was our second or third ever find. The new cache was *very* close to where the old cache used to be hidden.

Now to get back home as it’s getting quite late. 4 FTF’s for the evening too :-).

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Self portrait with the cache

I was at home looking after the children last night while Mrs Bolas Heathens was out, when up popped a new cache towards Stafford. Not long after, Allun from the Shropshire Seekers (who lives in the village nearest to us) popped up on MSN to ask if I fancied a FTF dash for it. Of course I did :-).

Allun arrived round just before Mrs Bolas Heathens got home and as soon as we could we dashed out to the cache. It was by an old bridge over the old Stafford to Newport railway line, which is now a lovely cycleway. We suspected the cache was on the cycleway so down we went.

My GPS zero’d out by a fence near the bridge so I set about searching there while Allun was looking nearby. We then wondered if the cache might actually be up on the bridge itself (the cache page said it was a sneaky hide!). One of us went up while the other carried on looking down below.

A short while later Allun came up with the cache, although I won’t say if he was ‘up’ or ‘down’ as we don’t want to make it too easy for future finders ;-). Even better, we were FTF on the cache :-).

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A few caches around Stafford

The flooded cache field in Stafford

I had to pop into Stafford this morning to pay in some cheques at the bank. Naturally I could not resist the chance to try for the caches we’d missed out on on Sunday due to the flood waters.

After I’d been to the bank I drove round to the first one, which was under 2-3ft of water at the weekend, with all the melted snow causing the nearby River Sow to burst it’s banks. The water had subsided quite a bit and I could see I should be able to pick my way round it to all the caches I needed to do.

The first one was close to where I’d parked and a nice easy one, hanging from a branch in a tree. I only had to stand in an inch or so of water to get it. The next one was on the wrong side of a (temporary!) pool so I left it for the way back to the Jeep. The final one was a quick and easy find.

A rather high River Sow

One the way back to the Jeep I stopped to look for the one I’d missed out on. It was nowhere to be seen and I can only assume the water has washed it away. As luck would have it, the cache has only recently been relocated from a spot about 350ft away and the previous logs indicate the old cache is still in place. I wonder if I can find that one instead so at least I can tick this cache off the list? Needless to say I could – the cache was seriously damp but at least I found it!

The remaining cache in the area was not there at the weekend but the cache owner has since replaced it. I cycled down the path to it and found it quickly enough. I can’t help but feel it will blow off again as it’s only a tiny magnetic cache and it’s in an exposed location high up, with lots of wind. It’s already gone missing something like 4 times in it’s short existence.

A rather ghostly picture of me on one of the Stafford to Newport railway caches

On the way home I stopped for two quick caches along the old Stafford to Newport railway line (which is now a lovely cycleway and getting filled up with new caches fast) before heading off to the canal at Gnosall and try and find what would have been our 30th find on Sunday.

As I walked up to it I could see a cacher at GZ acting furtively. It turned out to be a new(ish) local cacher called Yagoobian – great to meet you :-). The cache was a really quick find in the place we’d thought was the most obvious hide on Sunday, but the darkness had prevented us from seeing the less than obvious hole the cache was in.

Right, better head back home now and get some work done!

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Thinking the cache might be in a sneakier place than it was on the Ned's Walk series

We’d left Sunday as our main caching day this weekend and with the snow finally melting, we were looking forward to a full day out and some proper caching, rather than having to pick and choose caches near main roads to avoid the worst of the  snow.

We planned to start with the new caches to the NW of Wolverhampton not too far from the in-laws house, before heading up through Penkeridge to Stafford and picking off two new series there. Finally there were 3 new caches between Stafford and home, to bring the total finds for the day to about 30.

The first caches were a set of 3 on a short walk over some fields not far from Chillington Hall (where we found our first ever cache!). All nice an easy and totally un-eventful apart from me scraping my head against a tree and getting a bad graze. Ouch!

Handy arrow which pointed to one of the caches

A quick drive-by followed, on the way to a nice looking circular walk called Ned’s Walk which was along bridleways and canal’s just to the north of Wolverhampton. We parked up and got the bikes out of the Jeep as we’d seen several other caches had done the series by bike.

As we rode up to the first cache we could see 3 cachers stood by it with the cache. It was Shropshire Seekers, Big Farmer Giles and Wild Goosey. Great to meet you all again :-). Wild Goosey insisted on us turning our backs while she re-hid the cache for us to find. I might have had a quick peek over my shoulder as we soon found the cache ;-).

We then all walked up to the next cache which was a quick find by Big Farmer Giles. We left them all to carry on at their own pace and headed off ahead on our bikes. The rest of the caches were quick and easy finds apart from one where the co-ords were about 25ft out. The main problem here was the co-ords took you to a place that matched the hint perfectly – it’s just that it was the wrong place!

Lovely urban canal cutting

On the way round we bumped into the Nozi Parkers who were doing the series in a different order than the others we’d met earlier.

Once back at the Jeep, Isaac guided us up to Penkeridge for the two closest to Grandpa’s house not founds. Both really quick finds and one of them was our first non-micro of the day – woooohoooo :). What’s with all the micro’s today :-(?

In Stafford we headed off for the strangely named ‘Over-un-under-um’ series (what the heck does that mean?). This is a circular walk around a flood plain by the River Sow, continuing on to a canal at the far side of the walk. Needless to say with all the snow melting the flood plain was under quite a bit of water and the first three caches were impossible to get to without a boat.

Flooded cache fields in Stafford

We decided to try the other side of the loop and see how many we could get to. Luckily the path was much higher up on this side and we had no problem cycling off for 3 finds and 1 DNF (the cache was missing). On the way we bumped into BigCe, a local Stafford cacher who we’d not met before. Great to meet you :-).

We then re-located to the other side of Stafford and the other strangely named series, the ‘Clog & Knocker’ series. This time the cache page explained that it was named after the local nickname for the old Stafford to Uttoxeter railway, along which the series is set.

We set off on our bikes along the cycleway for the 6 caches in the series. All nice quick finds, but well hidden which is good as the cycleway is seriously busy with muggles at times. Along the way we bumped into WiliamTM – another local Stafford cacher we’d not met before :-). We saw that snerdbe and cannonedwards were also doing the series but did not bump into them unfortunately.

Once we’d finished we realised we were short of the 30 finds we had planned for due to the flooded caches we had to abandon earlier. A quick check of Memory Map revealed a conundrum – we’d done all the other caches in the area! Hmmm!!

We ended up back on the M6 heading south to the Cannock area as there were a few quick caches we’d not yet found there. Nothing much to report here as they were all easy enough.

The last one (which was to be our 30th find) was down a bridleway and a short walk later we were looking for it. I’m not sure it’s still there as we had a good search and it was nowhere to be found. Drat! There are also no other nearby caches we have not already found – one of the pitfalls of caching in an area we frequently cache in.

Unusual bridleway sign

We decided to start heading for home and do a new cache by the canal at Gnosall for our 30th find.

It was totally dark by the time we arrived at this one and despite searching for something like 40 minutes on a very slippery canal banking with tons of places to hide a cache we could not spot it. I bet it’s dead easy to find in the daytime too (see a later blog post as it was indeed really easy to spot in the daytime!).

That’s 29 finds for the day but a good day out nonetheless and possibly a record for the number of caching teams we’ve bumped into in one day – 6 in total :-).

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Memorial stone on the Montgomery Canal

On Saturday I was wondering where to go for a few caches after dropping Isaac off at school as we’re saving the main caching day out for tomorrow.

A quick check on Memory Map revealed quite a few new caches to do in the NW Shropshire area towards Wem and Ellesmere and mostly out in the wilds on very narrow country lanes. I could then head home via Shrewsbury and mop up the new caches there along with a chance to take some co-ordinates for our new Earthcache at Haughmond Quarry.

I dropped Isaac off and headed off round the Shrewsbury ring road northbound to the first cache of the day, a drive-by by thefortytwa. This was a nice quick find with a very nice neat TTPOS to guide me to the hide.

After this I headed for a series of 5 caches on a circular walk just south of Baschurch. I parked by the first one but could not find the micro so decided to leave it for the way back. The next one alluded me too, but there was a shorting electric fence right near GZ and the hint implied the cache was hidden in a pretty thick hawthorn hedge – hmmm.

Rather wet path on the way to the caches near Baschurch

Undeterred I pressed on to the third cache and had a quick find of the nano here. Now knowing this cacher setters co-ords were reasonably good I headed back to try and find the two I’d failed on. The first one I spotted just as I was about to give up. It was not in the hedge at all which is why I’d not spotted it earlier. The one by where I had parked was also a quick find, about 2 inches from where I’d looked on the way out – doh!

Next on the cards was a series of 4 new caches along the river just to the west side of lovely Wem. I parked near to the second one and headed off on foot to find the caches. The first was an easy find. On the walk to the second I passed what was left of what must have been quite a big snowman – all that was there now was a lump of snow in the middle of a grass field.

Bridge with no sides near the Wem caches

On the fourth cache I got a nice surprise as a light aircraft was just taking off from nearby Sleap airfield so I looked up to see what it was. It was G-LFSA from Liverpool School of Flying – the very same plane I’d done my first solo flight in just over 10 years. How nice to see it unexpectedly like this and for it to bring back lovely memories of that milestone day :-).

I could not decide whether to head down towards Shrewsbury next or to head NW towards Ellesmere and bag a rather remote cache on the Montgomery Canal. The latter won over and after driving down some seriously narrow lanes in the middle of nowhere I drove up over what has to be the steepest canal bridge I’ve ever seen just before the parking spot.

I’d been here ages ago to get our 2nd and 3rd ever FTF’s so knew the stretch of canal well. I have to say it’s our favourite part of the canal system as it’s always lovely and quiet out here with just the sound of wildlife to keep you company and some excellent views over great countryside.

Lovely tranquil views by the Montgomery Canal

Next, I headed over to the A5 just south of Oswestry and then southwards to Shrewsbury. On the way I picked up the only cache we’d not done on our trip to the Oswestry area last weekend. Once in Shrewsbury I did a few easy cachees including one at a lovely spot on the Severn Way, overlooking the River Severn (there’s a surprise!).

During the week a great looking cache based on getting clues from bridges over the Severn near the centre of Shrewsbury had come out. I’d picked up the clues soon after the cache was published but ran out of time to do the final cache. Knowing where to go for it now, I drove straight there and parked up not too far from GZ. The cache was an easy find in a great spot I’d not been to before. It was really lucky I’d picked up the clues during the week as the Severn was very full and was covering the path along side it, meaning I’d not have been able to get to the clues today.

Haughmond Quarry Earthcache

Next stop was the car park at Haughmond Hill for the walk down to the location of our new Earthcache to take some photos for the cache page and double check the cache co-ords. All nice and easy and I was soon back at the Jeep.

Last cache of the day was a nice walk down the side of Haughmond Hill to a new cache that was published during the week. I parked at the Abbey Woods car park and then had a lovely walk down to the cache, followed by a very slippery scramble up the bank to the cache which was near the top of the hill.

17 caches for the day but it’s made a serious dent in our closest to home not founds and I’ve had a ball driving round some beautiful countryside and finding some nice caches.

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The viewpoint overlooking the quarry

Over the past few weeks we’ve been developing an Earthcache at the new viewpoint overlooking the quarry on Haughmond Hill near Shrewsbury. Every time we walk past the viewpoint we say we must set an Earthcache here so we decided it was time to actually get on and set it!

Looking at the maps it looked like the viewpoint might be on Forestry Commission land and I know there is a caching agreement with Forestry Commission West Midlands, so I emailed the Ranger contact to ask for permission over Christmas.

Just after the New Year I had a reply saying it was actually just on the quarry land and giving me details of the Geologist contact at the quarry firm. I thus emailed him and this lead to a phone call where we went through the finer details of what I was asking for. He was really enthusiastic as he’d not heard of Earthcaches before :-).

It's this way to the cache

Everything was ok apart from they asked for the cache co-ordinates to be put a short distance from the quarry wall iteslf as they did not want cacher thinking you have to enter the (very active) quarry to get the cache. This put the co-ords back on Forestry Commission land so I emailed the Forestry Commission contact back to ask if this was ok. It was :-).

The next thing was drafting up the cache page as the reviewing for Earthcaches has changed from the Geological Society of America to Reviewers appointed by Groundspeak themselves. As part of the process there has been a tightening up on permission issues for an Earthcache and they also now require you to ask more geological questions than before. Finally, you are no longer allowed to insist on a photo of the cache or their GPS at GZ to prove they have visited the site. You can request a photo but not insist on it like you used to be able to do.

On the walk to GZ

After quite a bit of writing and re-writing we finally had a draft that looked good and was not too technical as to put cacher’s off reading it. After all, what would be the point in the Earthcache if cacher’s don’t learn something from it?

On Saturday we took some accurate co-ords for the cache and also got some photos to make the cache page look nicer and to break the necessary text up a bit. When everything was put together we submitted the new cache and it was published just over 24 hours later :-).

We hope cacher’s enjoy doing it as much as we did researching and setting it.

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