Saturday was the first day of the school holidays so Isaac was free to come caching.
We’d planned a trip to clear up the new caches in Parkhall Country Park to the SE of Stoke, just on the edge of the Staffordshire Moorlands. After we’d done there, we planned a circular walk near Weston Coyney, followed by the new caches near Endon, to the NE of Stoke. Finally, if we had any time left, we planned to clear up the newer caches in the south of Stoke on Trent.
The first caches of the day were 4 Mawgan’s Trail caches near to Parkhall. We’d had DNF’s on 4 out of the 6 caches in this series a while ago as they were nowhere to be seen. I’d noted lots of recent finds on the 4 caches so we stopped off and found 4 easy caches in the first place we looked on each of them. The caches were almost certainly not there last time I looked as I had checked the hiding places then. All very strange!
Next, we headed over to the car park at Parkhall Country Park for our walk around all the new caches in the area. As we set off Isaac mentioned the area looked very like parts of the L E G E N D letterbox trails in Lancashire. The likeness was uncanny – part moorland, part pine woods, some streams and a bit of terrain thrown in for good measure.
The caches around the park were all nice quick finds with some really good co-ords. We only messed up once where we had finished an Earthcache at the bottom of an old quarry and scrambled up to the top of the quarry for the next cache, only to discover that the cache was back down near the bottom of the quarry – doh! We did not think it was safe to scramble back down and could not be bothered to walk all the way back round so opted to leave the cache for next time.
After we’d done at the main park, we drove round to the side of a housing estate to access to last two Parkhall caches. Both were quick and easy finds with the main thing of note of seeing a stretched limo decked out as a LAPD car, along with an ex-fire engine that is obviously used as a limo too. I can’t begin to imagine all the shenanigans that must have gone on in them!
We then headed up for a circular walk starting off at the excellently named Sheepwash. The OS maps showed a Byway leading up to the start of the walk and we were looking forward to driving the Jeep along it. Unfortunately someone has blocked the end off so you cannot drive down it – hmmm!
The walk was our favourite of the day (although the Parkhall caches were excellent too) with a lovely mix of open spaces, small streams and lovely woodland. This is definitely our kind of caching and a real treat to do.
After we’d finished our walk, we got back into the Jeep while Isaac directed me to the next caches near Endon, NE of Stoke. The first three were quick and easy cache and dashes. We then parked up for a circular walk around the rest of the caches. Another fab walk followed, with the highlights including walking alongside the massive Stanley Pool, getting back up to the higher ground for fab views accross the area and finally seeing the lovely church in Bagnall.
Once we’d finished here, we decided to head off to south Stoke to clear up the newer caches there, as they were starting to show on page 1 of our closest to home not founds. The first was one I’d DNF’d last summer due to nettles over head height around GZ meaning I could not spot the small stump the cache was hidden in. No problems this time of year though as we could clearly see the hint item as we walked up.
Some more quick caches folllowed, including one where you have to scramble up the very steep side of what looks to be an old slag heap. I sent Isaac up to do the biz with the cache while I stood ready to stop him if he slipped and started to slide back down.
The last caches of the day were three new ones around the beautiful Trentham Gardens, near J15 of the M6. It was just starting to go dark by now and we failed to spot the first one, which was a nano with no hint on the back of a horrible metal fence with 1001 places it could be. Not our favourite type of cache at all (I’m being very generous here!).
We gave up in disgust and walked off up the hill for the other two caches, which were both easy finds. On the way back to the nano, we called up some caching friends who’d found it for a hint. Armed with a good idea where it was we then had an easy find in the dark (the sun had totally gone down now).
36 finds for the day and a lovely day out with my boy in some glorious countryside. The weather even behaved itself and was perfect all day long. Caching at it’s very best.