Archive for February, 2010

Views down the River Perry from GZ

We were supposed to be staying overnight with friends in Yorkshire last night but one of our dogs had had an operation at the vets on Friday and was having a big problem recovering from the anaesthetic (he’s a 17 year old Jack Russell, but with the constitution of a tank normally).

We had to take him to the vets several times on Friday night / Saturday morning as he was close to leaving us 😦 but thankfully by Saturday afternoon he was starting to show signs of improvement :-). We did not want to leave him with the dog sitters in such a state so ended up staying at home nursing him on Saturday night. He’s now made a full recovery and is back to his yappy self again :-).

The cache is somewhere in this picture

Anyway, by Sunday afternoon we were starting to get cabin fever again so I suggested to Isaac that we might pop our and try for the new River Perry caches between Shrewsbury and Ellesmere / Oswestry. We were soon on our way.

The first cache was near Montford Bridge on the A5 and down some seriously narrow country lanes. This was to be a feature of the whole series – we were so glad we were doing them on a Sunday as there are not a lot of passing places if someone was coming the other way!

We started off with quite a few easy finds and then moved on to an un-connected cache on a local hill with the grand title of ‘The Cliffe’. In reality it’s not that high at all and it is not really a challenge to get to the top. It’s a gentle stroll up a nice sandy bridleway to the great 360 degree views by the trig point.

Nice views from the top of The Cliffe

Next we did a few more quick River Perry caches before having a nightmare with the one in the middle of the (nicely named) Ruyton XI Towns. The cache was a sneaky hide and we soon spotted the cache but thought it was an official bridge measuring device and so did not want to mess with it.

We tried to use a PAF to the only finder of the cache so far but there was no signal on the phone at all. We ended up driving out of Ruyton to the east to the highest ground we could find and then only got a marginal phone signal. Our PAF confirmed we were looking at the right item and said he’d used a pair of pliers to get the cache open as it was very stiff.

Going the wrong way on the way to the cache

We returned to GZ and tried to open the cache with some other special equipment as we did not have any pliers with us. The result is the cache lid sheared partly off and meant we could not get the logbook out, even though we could see it through the clear lid. Hmmmm – we hate it when things like this happen as the last thing we want to do is break someone’s cache :-(.

We moved on to the next cache as there was nothing else we could do and soon had that found. The penultimate cache for the afternoon was the only walking one and a really tricky one to get to as the closest you could park was 0.44 miles away and the cache was over very boggy moorland.

Very remote bridge on the River Perry

The path from there over the moor to GZ was not marked and involved walking accross several fields with these HUGE drainage ditches seperating them. We had fun finding safe places to jump the ditches, probably making the terrain rating for this cache a lot higher than it’s supposed to be, but great fun nonetheless :-).

The last cache of the day was a quick drive-by on the way out of the country lane area and onto the main A5, which will mean we can get home really quickly.

Before we went home, I took Isaac on a quick diversion to the ridiculously steep canal bridge over the Montgomery Canal near Welsh Frankton (at N52 52.395 W2 56.413). He thought it would be a good idea to record our trip over the bridge on the iPhone and here’s the resulting video, with running commentary by Isaac too. It does not really do the steepness of the bridge justice, but you’ll get the general idea :-).

If you’re ever in the area and have a high wheelbase vehicle, give it a try as it’s like a rollercoaster!

12 finds for the day and an interesting set of different caches in lovely countryside.

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Gittings Jitty is this way!

I did not have much time for caching on Saturday but after dropping Isaac off at school I could not resist grabbing a quick 5 closest to home not founds, all in the lovely Ironbridge area just south of Telford.

The first four caches were all set on Jitties in Broseley. I bet you are wondering what the heck a Jitty is as I know I was when the caches came out ;)… Here is what the cache page has to say about them:

As the coalfield developed around the turn of the seventeenth century James Clifford provided plots for immigrant miners to build their own homes. This is particularly apparent in Broseley Wood where there developed a maze of cottages lining an irregular network of lanes and enclosed footpaths. Locally these are known as Jitties.

They were all quick and easy caches not too far from where I parked. The hardest bit was trying to find safe places to park as the roads are really narrow in this area of Broseley.

After I’d finished the four Jitty caches I moved round to the great National Trust house at Benthall Woods. My target was the new(ish) Pirates of Shropshire cache just off the Shropshire Way. The whole area was shrouded in fog and very eerie to say the least.

The walk took me up over two huge fields to GZ. At various points during the walk all I could see was the whiteness of the fog all around me and was very glad for my GPSr to guide me along the path. On Arrival at GZ the cache was a nice quick find.

Now to head back home as we’re heading off to visit friends in Yorkshire today.

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Lapley Loop Series

Welcome to Lapley!

After we’d done the new cache series around Codsall last Saturday a new series of 32 caches came out around Lapley, not far from Isaac’s Grandparents house. We were all cached out for the day so decided to leave them until later in the week. I’m glad we did as a couple of days later another 9 caches got added to the area, making a total of 41 caches on a roughly circular walk!

We’re otherwise engaged this weekend and won’t have time for that much caching so I decided to move our weekly caching day forward a few days and get my caching fix early. I suspected it would take just over 3 hours for all the 41 caches, so set off to do them on Thursday morning, hoping to be home by dinner time.

I parked the Jeep up by the church in Lapley and got kitted up for the circular walk around the caches. I planned to do them pretty much in numeric order, with a small diversion for the separate set of 9 newer caches part way round and then to mop up the few driveby’s in the middle of the loop later on as I could not work out a good way of fitting them into my walk without some back-tracking.

The first part of the walk follows the Staffordshire Way

The first cache was a quick find and set me up for what would be common during the rest of the caches – really quick and easy finds. This is ok with me though as this kind of series is all about the walk and the overall experience and not about any individual cache :-).

I was nearly stumped next as I could not see where the PF’s from the road to cache #2 went. I ended up clambering over a gate and soon found my way from there (I’m still not sure I went the correct way though!).

In need of a new sign, although I quite like the old one!

Quite a few more easy finds ensued before I arrived at a cache hidden in a holly bush. It was a Small and so should not have been a problem as there is only so many places you can hide a non-micro in a prickly bush. Or so I thought…

I ended up sticking my head under the bush and looking upwards in a vain hope of seeing the cache. No chance – the cache was nowhere to be seen. I was just about to give up and move on when I checked one last place and there the cache was. It would have been just out of sight from the bottom of the bush and hence why I’d missed it earlier!

New pool not too far from the dreaded holly bush

The next stretch of caches was no problem at all. The main thing of note was it took me into the nature reserve where the final cache of Somewhere Only We Know (Staffordshire), a multi-cache we adopted off MarcB was hidden. From what I remember when we originally found the now archived cache, the new cache is in exactly the same hiding spot!

From the nature reserve, the walk took me out over the fields to the north, on what is probably the stretch of the walk with the least caches on.

Flooded lane

Next, the walk took me along some quiet lanes and then over some more fields to near the hamlet of Whiston.

This is where the 9 newer caches started, although it meant I’d be doing them in reserve order. I’d just found #9 when I bumped into dmsstonerambler coming the other way. He’d done the main Lapley Loop caches a few days ago and had come back to do the 9 new caches. I waited for him to find #9 before walking back to where he’d parked near #1, with me finding the caches he’d just found as we went along.

I said my goodbye’s to Derek at his car and carried on up the lane back to Lapley finding the rest of the caches en-route.

It's still a bit misty

Once back at the Jeep I headed off to find the remaining caches which were in the middle of the loop I’d just walked round. All nice quick finds and all drive-by’s apart from one short walk up a bridleway to a cache.

On the way round I’d been chatting to the Shropshire Seekers on the phone and he mentioned Scrap Happy Annie was doing the series today. When I returned to the Jeep from my walk, I found a note from her saying she had started at 10:25, some hour and a quarter later than me. She had also bumped into stevo185 and The Web Rat and was doing the series with them.

Mt GPSr was pointing to this. I was hoping the micro was not in here (it wasn't)

I thus drove over to the furthest cache from the church to see if they had found that yet. They hadn’t, so they must still be somewhere on the northern part of the loop and on PF’s (which meant I could not easily find them without re-doing some of the walk). Shame I did not get to say hello to them all as it would be nice to finally meet Scrap Happy Annie and say hello again to stevo185 and The Web Rat.

41 finds for the morning and a total time of just over 3.5 hours. Not bad going at all :-).

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