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  1st Apr 2006 - 6th Aug 2006

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Archive of finds 101 to 205. 13th August 2006 to 25th February 2007

Blog - A cachers / triggers diary

Black clouds at Birdlip Hill

25th February 2007

The weather forecast was good to the west, but even better to the east, so we headed for Cheltenham. I'd planned this trip for Thursday when I'd had the day off, but it had rained solidly all day, so we were forced to stay at home. The sun was really getting in our eyes on the way there, but as soon as we got there it was just dark and miserable. It stayed that way all day, but only rained ever so slightly. We did Cheltenham Film Festival at Birdlip Hill first. It was one of those caches where you gather a lot of information for the sake of it. It wouldn't be so bad if the waypoints were entered on the listing as we spent more time keying in coordinates than walking. We popped up to a nearby cache we'd already done to exchange TB's. This is one of those weird places where people drive up and sit in their cars admiring the view, rather than get out and walk. Very odd.

Glorious Gloucestershire and View to the Hills are close to each other, so we parked at Crickley Hill Country Park and enjoyed a couple of easy finds. There are Belted Galloway cows near the first cache which Will thought should be called Border Collie cows. They were friendly enough though. Now we could see the brilliant sunshine over our home, which was a bit annoying as it was still black where we were. There was a bit of sloshing in mud, but Will found a Leatherman type tool on the ground, which made up for it. We passed a group being shown how to dry stone a wall. They looked like they were going to fall asleep at any moment. I guess it's something you've got to do rather than watch some else doing it. So off we set to find our 200th cache. Border Collie cow
Roman Villa at Runic Unique Grandad's Game of Cards is a cache I attempted in the summer in lunch breaks. The idea of laminated poker hands is great, but the execution is just too long winded. You must spend an hour or two just keying in coordinates and logging information. We couldn't find micro 6, but after 6 months the owner offered help as no one else could find it. We finished the cache easily, though the final location was very disappointing. I think the 4.5/4.5 must be for persistence. It's a shame, as it's a lovely place to walk. We celebrated our 200th find with lunch in The Bell in Shurdington. They didn't seem to mind us being covered in mud, though we did have a change of footwear.
We moved into the 200's on a bad foot with a tromp through an extremely muddy cow field to find another waterlogged container in a dull location. At least the cows were OK. We moved on to Runic Unique and enjoyed a lovely walk near Coopers Hill. Unfortunately it looks to be a cryptic cache and we were on a fools errand, but we had a good time anyway. Will spotted a good circular route and we saw some very unusual (and very friendly) chickens. This took up a good chunk of the day, so we moved on before light went. Gladys' Leap
Painswick Hill Gladys' Leap is a lovely cache with a great tale. This one's been on the radar for ages. It's in a lovely valley and the primary school we parked by in Craham Common has a view only bettered by St. Briavels in my limited experience. Will had had enough by now, so we compromised by doing The Lost Hare. An ammo box at last. A lovely dry container, the first all day. We bagged the nearby trig and enjoyed running up and down the hills and taking some snaps as it's obviously a popular place, but everyone had gone for the day.

On Sunday Will, Sid, Bob and I did a couple of local caches we'd been saving for a day like this. Both were on very familiar ground at Brockweir Bridge and Tintern Station. We had planned to do the circular walk to The Devil's Pulpit, but the weather kept changing it's mind and after the third shower (and making a real meal of finding the second cache) we decided we'd head home, especially as we'd left our coats in the car as it was so sunny when we started out.

So there you have it. 205 caches found and 99 trackables found. We also booked a pitch for the 2007 South Wales Day Event in May. I've really got to investigate some sort of camp bed before then or it'll be hell!

Tintern Station
Start of Bird's Marsh

18th February 2007

Another big caching Sunday. Will, Bob and I were up early (Cath was already at work) to hit the M4 to Chippenham, Wilts. We stopped on the way at J18 for a very quick micro. The roads were so quiet we parked in an entrance yards from the home-made container which stuck out like a sore thumb in winter's sparseness. I left Will in the car with his Nintendo DS. We got back on the road and soon arrived at Bird's Marsh Woodland Walk. Twice we had to divert around a flooded path. The second time had us jumping streams, climbing steep muddy banks and fighting off undergrowth. The path was muddy at best and we were surprised when it just disappeared. The GPSr told us we were in the right place - the OS map showed a good path - but it had gone! We fought through the thick undergrowth to where the arrow pointed, we checked the hint and were amazed to find it immediately.


Getting to the next cache, which was nearby, was even harder as we had to fight our way onwards through the thicket. After that it was plain sailing. It was only when we read the other logs once we were home that we realized how hard most people had found this one. Although it has a 2 star difficulty rating there are calls for 5 stars and comments like "This is the hardest cache I have ever done" from experienced cachers.

After a few more caches we did two at Pewsham Locks. This was really the only decent walk of the day, though I guess we covered a few miles in total. I wonder if I make my caches too hard. Most of mine require more walking (and much more strenuous walking) that at least six of these caches combined. By this stage we had found one geocoin in 7 caches. There should have been 6.


Pewsham Locks
Sandy Lane

Next we did A Place to Retire in the lovely village of Sandy Lane. On a short saunter down a country path 3 young deer ran out in front of us and came close to trampling the cache. It's always a great sight, but I never seem to have the camera ready.

We did a couple more caches which consisted of a large ammo box with a few sticks piled on top and then headed towards home. I fancied SEMA4, but we decided on Castle Combe instead. This village is a real tourist trap and it was swimming with Sunday afternoon strollers in pink wellies and white fluffy coats - not my scene at all. Cars were parked nose to tail all along the leafy (or not so leafy at the moment) lanes. The houses were all of cotswold stone. This place has won best kept village on numerous occasions. More importantly the cache was an easy find and Bob got one last stroll


We found all 11 caches without a trace of a DNF and what's more we never spent more than a minute looking for the actual cache, which is not like us at all. We picked up 5 TB's and moved on 8, enjoyed apple turnovers and crisps and actually ate fruit for once whilst geocaching - and I don't just mean the apple turnovers. I think the best bit was doing a 2 man conga down a lane to Homer's "You don't win friends with salad". Anyone watching would have had us committed on the spot.

On Saturday we'd all gone up to The Lightning Tree as Cath and Will hadn't been there before. We swapped TB's as one had been there for a while and as luck would have it someone else visited the cache after us that day. Will enjoyed finding the cache and the trig, which can be a challenge.

Castle Combe
Valley between Newland and Redbrook

11th February 2007

After last weekends success we were all revved up and ready to go, only to be snowed in for three days. We had about 8 inches of snow and combined with a steep driveway we couldn't get the car down. Woke up on Sunday to find the rain had melted it all away so we set off to clear up four caches from The Blorenges which we've been meaning to do for a while, plus one new one. The first was very simple and we followed it up with Through a Glass, Darkly. This is a pretty unusual cache placed in the owners front garden. We enjoyed a cup of tea and a chat before heading off to find Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. This is a not too difficult multi along the banks of the River Severn and under the M4. I've never seen such an expanse of concrete with no graffiti. It may be something to do with the CCTV.


Up the Junction is our nemesis cache now that Coed y Cwm has been cracked. I thought that having Cath with us today would sort this, but I found it pretty quickly myself on our third visit. I know I'd looked in the right place last time we were here too. We went to The NorthGate in Caerwent for a Sunday Lunch (a rare treat whilst geocaching). The food was quick to arrive, but very poor. Shame as it's a friendly pub. We finished up with the 5th cache at Black Rock which was easily our fastest multi cache ever. We may finally have the measure of Blorenge caches. We stopped at Slip Wood, near Bigsweir Bridge and walked Bob in the woods for a while on the way home. I plan to place a cache further along Offa's Dyke Path here when it's a bit dryer. It's a lovely walk.

I may need help as I ordered Not Another Micro geocoin this week. RobAndTiina moved back to Florida eventually, so I'll see if we can send a geocoin over to visit them.

Severn Bridge: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
Lydney Park

4th February 2007

I placed Wye Eye in the week. I had discovered the location last year, but kept it on a back burner. A (not too difficult) puzzle popped into my head on the way to work on Tuesday, so I went out at night to place the cache. The full moon was so brilliant that I turned the torch off most of the way.

Insta-Notify failed to notify me of two new caches in Lydney so we missed the FTF's. Popped out early evening on Friday with Will, Bob and the Petzl. Both were easy finds and we grabbed the three travel bugs to set us up for Saturdays caching. It's a bit odd searching for a cache by torch light in a place that has quite a few passers by, you feel pretty conspicuous. A guy was working in an industrial unit by the other cache. I'm sure if we'd been any longer he'd have been phoning the police.


Saturday saw Will and my first full day of caching since Parc Cwm Darran. Was that only mid November? It seems much longer ago, but we were quiet even before that. We were up and off early for us. As we came to the Old Severn Bridge we couldn't see the water for all the fog lurking above it's surface, but the sun was out and soon had burnt it all away to leave a fantastically sunny winters day.
We made an unplanned stop on the was at Motorway Mayhem M4 J17. It was a large cache, the hint was good and the previous logs reckoned it was easy - but could we find it. On getting home I found the cache had been archived some months before. Hmm. Best keep this one to ourselves!


Neigh Bridge
Will and Bob - top dogs!

The first cache in Cotswold Water Park we did was Neigh Mr Wilks. I would be fair to say that few of the caches during the day were classics. This was a perfect example. The cache places in a random tree, by a random lake. Don't get me wrong it was a great day to walk the lakes and this cache had a nice idea of caches logging a favourite quote from film or TV. The water was crystal clear and the levels pretty high as you can see above. The Thames ran by the cache. It's only a few feet wide here, but the current was strong. A series of around 20 caches titled Thames Path follow this section of the Thames from it's source. We did six of them.

After the first couple we went back to the car and decided to get petrol as we were very low. The next hour was a nightmare traveling from one non-existent garage to the next. We ended up almost in Swindon!

The Lonely Church was our favourite cache of the day and the only one not next to a lake. A tiny, tranquil little church lost in the fields. The stuff caches are made of. We took a different route back and lost the trail heading through a field of just a few cows. They were far off, so we got across without incident. We then realise that we were cut off by the river and had to go back. Half way across the large field a cow got up and starting cantering at us. I have never seen a cow charge before, but this was it. I tried to get Will in front of me and was prepared to face off the beast, though I must admit the adrenaline was pumping. I was amazed when it stopped 200 feet before us. Ha cow, you're not fit enough. You'd better cut down on your pork life. The Lonely Church
Thames Path - Poplar Trees

We had another DNF and then did the last cache in darkness. It was easy enough though. On the way home we stopped at Ermin Street 2. I normally avoid Gloucester at all costs, but the lure of making double figures was too much. The cache was a micro (Arrrgghh) and it was right next to a bus stop with someone waiting at it. Now I probably wouldn't have found it anyway, but I decided not to stress the girl out and left the cache for another lifetime.

Wye Eye was found by a guy who drove 120 miles to do it and our World Travel Geocoin was placed in Scotland. It's been to three caches and three countries. Not a bad start.

I bought two more geocoins from eBay on Sunday night. I really fancy that gingerbread man one too.

Can't wait for next weekend. Just hope the weather holds up.


28th January 2007

On Saturday Will and I took Bob up Sugar Loaf. We parked in a car park which was new to us. It was so close to Coed y Cwm that we crossed the valley and gave it another go. The stream was too large for Will to jump so he jumped while I pulled him over, which he thought was great. We'd seem the spoiler now (though hadn't brought it with us) and were sure we could find it on a third attempt. It took a few minutes, but we found it OK. Then off to the top of the mountain on a lovely clear winters day.

On Sunday we parked up at St. Briavels Castle and enjoyed a few hours walking the paths and lanes down to Bigsweir to find Offas Valley View. A wonderful avenue of Chestnut trees stands along the edge of the field. Each tree is very different from the next. Some hollow, some split by lightning, some twisted and others gnarled and knobbly. There were tiny lambs too. We climbed up into Hudnalls Wood and then came back down again before returning to the car, then on to The Kings Head in Monmouth for some drinks and unusually poor food.

Will "smoking" a lollipop near Offas Valley View
Symonds Yat East ferry

21st January 2007

MoonHerb asked if we wanted to adopt a couple of his caches. We took them up on Wye Rapids, but thought it better if they hung on to an unpublished cache in Berry Hill. After some investigation and three trips to the site (two at night) I eventually sorted it. Turns out that there are two caches here, though one was placed in error just before we recorded our find. I was dead chuffed with this find too! This explains a lot as the real cache is much, much harder to find. I asked The Flying Boots to check it out for me (as we couldn't find the cache) then Dreamer1969 told me he was going too. It's the bus thing.

We did A Poor Allotment on Saturday before we going up to the Wye. This is the first local cache that's come up in ages. With other local cachers leaving the scene let's hope some of the newbies get stuck in. A gentle stroll on the other side of the road from Tidenham Park. It's a wildlife haven and has good views over the Severn.

Grabbed Berth Wood trig on Sunday whilst walking around Skenfrith and Garway. Another family day out. Started in brilliant sunshine, but soon deteriorated to freezing rain. We all had a good time though.


14th January 2007

During the week we went out for a few evening walks to check on our caches and visit Newland Quarry in the dark. Between a Rock and a Hard Place was particularly good in the dark with a couple of owls hooting away. The new head torch was brilliant, though I was a little edgy at King Arthur's Cave as there are a few drops, and it's pretty hard to keep an eye on Bob.

Bob and I grasped the first decent weather of the year with both hands. We arrived at Llanthony Priory at 08:20. There's a cache here, but that was for later. We walked up the steep incline of 1500' in the first two miles up to Bal Mawr and then an easy descent to the Grwyne Fawr reservoir. We crossed the dam, which was impressively full and made a nice easy find.

Llanthony Priory
Grwyne Fawr dam The following day a late post was made against this cache which makes the saddest reading I have come across on a cache listing. The coords were spectacularly precise, which meant the cache was under the first stone we picked up. It's one of those caches that tick all the right boxes for me. We retraced our route to the Blacksmith's Anvil, a stone which was a little less impressive than I had imagined, and then descended to Capel y ffin. The descent was steep and rugged. I got the impression that you weren't very welcome here. The paths were poorly signed, but with a GPS and the route loaded from Memory Map this was a minor problem. We had to cross a stream (now more of a river) with a fence crossing point on a muddy ledge. There was no stile and little space to pick up Bob on the tiny ledge. If the yellow arrow hadn't been attached and the No path to hill sign, you'd never have known it was a ROW.
The next field was strewn with four sheep kill sites within yards of each other. The rotting carcases still lay there. The following field was even stranger. There were individual bones every few feet throughout the field. They weren't that recent, but I've never seen anything like it. Now I can understand why a farmer might be upset if his sheep are being killed, but as Bob walked against by leg a miserable farmer started moaning about dogs being on leads. People like this just bring the day down, but we tried to ignore it. We could hear him shouting at his dogs as we left. Maybe he assumes all dogs are as out of control as his own. Who knows. Above Capel y ffin - not a bad spot for lunch I'm sure you'd agree.
Old Nick and Along the Border

We finished up with Old Nick. A three mile stroll through muddy fields to a very pleasant spot by a river. I was surprised to find our latest cache, Along the Border was less than 0.5 miles away, even if it's 0.5 miles upwards. As there was plenty of light left we sat for a while and enjoyed reading the logs whilst finishing the coffee. I don't do that very often. This cache was as easy to find as the last one (didn't get the 3 star difficulty rating on that one) which was well received as we were both pretty tired. We had a quick look round the priory to finish the 16 mile hike. We'll definitely be back soon, though I hope it'll be a little dryer. It was such a mild / sunny day for this time of year it makes you worry about global warming. There were even midges in places!
During the week we checked up on The Cathedral in the Forest as it has so many DNFs. All was good and we found it easily. Might sound simple, but Cath found it last time and it is very well hidden. The Wombles (owners) told me they had failed to find it one time on a maintenance trip!


18th December 2006

Although it was a Monday, we'd finished work until the New Year. It was a misty day, but Bob and I fancied the mountains. For some reason (maybe yesterdays failures) we decided to take in a few caches, but to make a good walk of it. We parked in the centre of Llangynidr, 10 miles west of Abergavenny. There's a really narrow bridge over the River Usk here. A small truck driver was out with a tape measure seeing if he could squeeze through. A Fisherman's Dream is a lovely little stroll down the bank of the river. It's a little precarious in places, but the river was so high it was a really impressive sight. After emptying the water from the cache we walked on past the site to pick up another path to give a circular walk to the next cache. We met friendly farmers who warned that the large rams might attack Bob! They didn't.

River Usk
From the canal over the River Pauline's Peak was an altogether different affair. Between the village and Tallybont Reservoir the peak stands at over 1800 feet. This may not sound massive, but when you consider that you start by the river at less than 300 feet the relative height is well over 1500 feet. That's more than The Storey Arms to Pen y Fan, the highest peak in South Wales! A gentle start past the canal, which is carried over the river, then the climb starts through a few farmers fields. The stiles were incredibly high. This was the only time I have ever had trouble getting Bob over a stile, but soon we were above the farms and truly on the hill. The views all disappeared as we entered the mist. I knew there would be no views, but it was still a lovely walk. The problem with fog is that you can't see the final goal, so the slog seems to go on forever - and it was hard work, I can tell you.
The find was nice and easy (even without the GPS) and we set off back down the hill. It was so steep it was hard on the knees coming down. After descending the ancient path we saw a route to a canal bridge an took it despite the lack of paths. It's a shame to see a bridge like this fenced off. Still, it was pretty remote and as I could see we were doing no harm we jumped the barricades. It was just like being on the trail of the railway tracks! A section of the canal had been drained for maintenance work. We had planned going down to the river and then north to Buckland Hill trig point but the days are short in December and we had one more cache to do, so we had to head back to the car. I'll definitely be back for it soon, but I'll save it for a day when the views are better. Fenced off canal bridge
Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal I'd left my back pack in the car as i was intending to pick it up after the first cache. This meant I hadn't had a drink all day. The piping hot coffee was bliss, but I had been glad I hadn't lugged it up that hill. We drove a short distance to the car park at Mynydd Llangynidr. It was completely empty. That's unusual, but not in this weather. We walked to the cache, found the huge ammo box (thanks to the hint). Bob wasn't bothered that there were no views. He loves it up here. I'm sure we'll be back here many times next year to enjoy the hills, the peace and the beautiful views, but for today Mountain Views is not the most appropriate name!

17th December 2006

All the lads attempted the three caches around Caldicot which we've managed to somehow avoid or fail. Well me failed on all three. Despite Up the Junction having been moved a few feet, I still just couldn't find it. We had to find a shop to check on the co-ordindinates for Through a Glass Darkly as it was in someone's garden(!) Our calculations were correct, but there were people around so we left as it's not my idea of fun hanging round a housing area in Caldicot. We started Let Us Now Praise Famous Men and it was just too muddy. Also there were cows in the field, so we set off home, grabbing a couple of trig points on the way.

Up the Junction
Part of Goodrich Castle

9th December 2006

I had a two hour window and Bob needed a walk, so I decided to use up my only remaining local cache. Welli's Wanderings starts at Goodrich Castle and takes you up Coppet Hill. I know these places like the back of my hand so it was pretty easy really. The hill has spectacular views and is only spoilt by a little road noise. It's great to have another local cache, but a pity it's on the same hill where there's already one. A muggle estate worker had found the cache by accident a few days ago whilst working on the stone wall nearby. I finished up just in time to head back to Little Follies to pick Will up and then it was back to dismantling trees that were blown down in the storms last week. This work made the climb seem easy.

Whilst on a 13 mile hike in the Black Mountains on Sunday morning we planted Along the Border along the top of the ridge. I love these ridge walks. Now let's see if anyone else does. We started the walk at 07:00 while it was pretty much pitch dark and by the time we made it to the top of the hill the sun was peeking through on the English side. The views were some of the best I've seen. There's much more about this walk here.

That's four caches placed and one found in the last five caches, though I have looked in on three caches that I've already found whilst passing.

Along the Border, Black Mountains
View from the cache of flooded land 25th November 2006
No caches done this weekend, but three published. We'd placed the first last Sunday, but waited for Friday afternoon before publishing. On Saturday I was up early and had to wait for the sun to come up, then I had to wait for the rain to go away. Climbing Offa's Dyke Path with a coat on is hot work, especially with a day sack with an ammo box and the necessary items to set up the cache. I obviously can't say which items, but I hope you'll find out one day. I've been on this hill six or seven times in the last two months, but today was the first time I had been when it was really wet. The starting point was flooded and I realised why it was called Watery Lane. There are several interesting locations on the walk, but after we placed the cache we finally made it to Caxton Tower. I searched for ages trying to find a location for a hide. I may have to resort to a micro to get something here, as it really is a great location for another cache.

After 4+ hours of walking, searching and hiding the cache I came home, typed up the listing and then went out with Will, Sid and Bob to place Sleep Well Old Friend. We'd discovered this location two weeks ago whilst walking from Flaxley to Longhope and the round to Gunn Mill. It's like this place was made for a cache. You walk through Mugglewort Wood, exit the wood to reveal great views of the Severn at the point where a memorial to, what I assume is a farmers Border Collie, called Cleo. Very touching. The hiding place is cool, but very easy to find due to being in the middle of a field. Flaxley Abbey is just around the corner too. The cache didn't get published until Sunday lunchtime, which is too late for it to get done.

At the end of the weekend, sniffadogz had found Between a Rock and a Hard Place, and the other two hadn't been found.

Flaxley Abbey. We've seen enough views of the Severn
It was raining hard, but you can't see it.

18th November 2006

I checked the weather forecast as it had been raining all week. Sunny all weekend! What a result. Se headed off to Parc Cwm Darran in the Rhymney Valley. There had been a caching event there just after we started geocaching, and as a result there were several caches in a confined area. It took an hour to get there, but the first micro was right next to the car park. I searched for 20 minutes and then gave up. Did I ever mention I hate micros? We decided to come back to it and headed for the next. Just as we got too far from the car to turn back the rain started. Slowly at first, then ever harder. We circled the lake and walked down to the bridge at the far end of the park. An easy micro was ours for the taking. Success at last!

Very close by was a multi, and although we had to back track, the clues were so close together it took only minutes. Well it would have if we didn't have to crouch behind some relics of coal trucks to take shelter from the hail. It wasn't just a bit of hail either, there was plenty of it. We braved it to the final cache site and searched half heartedly for about a minute. The other logs told a tale of woe, so it was hard to get enthused in the circumstances. We decided to head home. We were soaked and freezing. Then the hail stopped. We were right next to another traditional cache, so we grabbed it. How come they've got the sun?

I managed to talk Will into doing CC44 Twyn y Fidffawydd, which was nearby, but not in the park. The weather was strange. One minute sunny, the next minute it would turn black. The hail started again. We made it to the cache OK, but I could bearly write by this time. Then we had to turn around and walk into the hail. It was driving down so hard it was painful.

We spent more time driving than caching and decided that we would take a break from caching until the spring. This would have been a great day out in the right conditions, so it seems a good idea to save it (and others) until we can enjoy it. We still plan to do the odd few local caches, so Blorenges beware.

On Sunday we set a new cache, but we'll publish it in time for next weekend. We have two more pretty much ready for completion, so I'll be down the shops this week for some nik naks.


11th November 2006

I decided that Caldicot was going to be the area to cache this weekend. There are six caches left in this neck of the woods which we have never completed for various reasons, such as 1. ran out of time 2. didn't realise there was homework and arrived unprepared 3. DNF 4. Newish caches and 5. Didn't fancy it. Number 5 reason was Severn Thunder Above n Below. From the logs I pretty much knew what was involved in this multi. The devious Stonefisk planned that we should walk to the middle of the Old Severn Bridge, find a virtual which would lead us to a location only yards away. But how to get there? The logs indicate a 16+ mile trip. Neither the dogs, Will nor I wanted to walk next to a motorway so I started looking for an easier solution. The logs pretty much gave away the rough location of the cache.

Severn Thunder
I've completed several multi caches and then thought that I could have avoided all stages prior to the final with a bit of thought, but I'd never really wanted to as it's all about the walk for me - usually. Anyway, we found the cache in 15 minutes from start to finish, without the need to walk with the traffic. We were feeling pretty smug. This was a strike back for all the grief that Wintour's Leap gave us.
Slimy SidAndBob

We moved on to Slimy Trail next. The first of four planned caches today by The Blorenges. Whilst making our way to the first micro we were dragged into the boggy mud and covered in muck. The GPS in brand new Garmin case went in. The mud was way over our walking boots. Even Sid was struggling to pull his legs from the mud as his belly was touching the ground. I didn't see how Bob faired, but he seemed pretty clean considering. Mind you, you don't sink at the speed of sound. We managed to carry on and find the cache, but Will didn't fancy doing anything but going home and getting cleaned up, and he was right. It took 30 minutes to clean the boots and GPS. The insides were black. This was a really disappointing end to a days caching. The only good thing was that at least we hadn't traveled too far. We went home, set the Gamecube up on the plasma and raced Need for Speed Carbon whilst eating out picnic and slurping tea from a flask. After all, tomorrow's another day.


Sorry Severnsiders, we're not avoiding Border Town Walk. We will finish it one day. We just seemed jinxed with this one.

4th November 2006

After some great caches in the Brecon Beacons, Will and I decided to spend the day between Hereford and Leominster. There are very few caches in this area, but enough to give us a day out. We knew we'd regret it, but we decided to take Sid with us as well. The first cache we hit was appalling. I could have thrown a sandwich box out of the car window at a random point and had a better cache than this. It really annoys me when other cachers treat it with respect. "TFTC...a nice easy cache...etc". There's nothing nice about a cache like this and there is certainly nothing to be thankful for. I just wasted petrol going out of my way to it. Anyway, that's enough of that. The next cache was HHH3 -Gone of a Burton. A proper cache taking us up Burton Hill on a lovely sunny autumn day. The climb to the trig was pretty steep and Bob flushed out a juvenile deer on the way back, which was within yards of us. The views from the ridge were blocked by trees, which obviously hadn't been here when the trig was built around 70 years ago, but it was very pleasant none the less.

View from near the bottom of Burton Hill
Nearby was the archetypal English village of Weobley, home to HHH2 - A Weobley Wander. Most of the houses here are timber frame, painted black with white walls. The church was something special too and a final stroll down a farmyard track proved not to be too difficult despite managing to forget to collect one of the clues on the way. A procession of 3 tractors on a narrow lane proved a challenge with 2 dogs and a child in tow, but again we got there in the end.

The HHH series of caches was proving much better than the other cache in the area, so we decided to finish the remaining two caches in the series. HHH4 - Wapley Hill was a nice stroll in wooded hillside, though it's all pretty flat in this neck of the woods. Bob was in his element running through the trees and Sid was flagging badly. He's been doing well recently, but I think this was a bit too much for him.

HHH5 - A Riverside Ramble was easy, though again pleasant. The sun was getting low and the high trees to either side of the River Lugg meant it was cold. Bob was violently sick when we got to the cache and Sid would be sick three times once we got home. I don't know if they'd been eating some of the plentiful mushrooms or they just had a bug. There was a bizarre bridge across the river which consisted of steps up to two or three logs suspended over the river with fencing acting as railings on either side. We left Sid to have a snooze in the car while we did this one.

Weobley Church with sundial above the door
River Lugg

We drove up to Stonewall for another uneventful cache and finished in pitch dark at Wedding Cake Underneath the Arches. A torch and a 30 minute search ended with our 7th find of the day. A full moon made things less spooky, but the trees cut out a lot of the light. We would have looked very suspicious if anyone had come by.

Our total now stands at 152, finally passing the 150 mark. I thought it would never happen! It took 90 days to clock up this half century, which is pretty slow considering the last 25 took 14 days and many of these were several miles long through the mountains.


29th October 2006

I really wasn't planning much on Sunday, but the others were tired from yesterday and weren't going to do much so at 11am Bob and I headed back for the Brecon Beacons, my new found favourite place in the world. We'd done no planning, but I wanted to see the Chartist's Cave so Chartist's View was the obvious place to go. We parked in one of the roadside car parks and headed off to the trig point 1 mile south of us. The initial climb wasn't too hard, but I still had to get down to a T-shirt despite it being almost November. After a chat with a group at the trig we saw nobody else at all apart from when we crossed the road later. The path was OK and the walking easy for the next 2 miles until we reached the cave and cache. In 1839 the cave was used by the Chartists to hide weapons prior to there storming Government at Newport.
Chartists Cave
T2520 Memorial The cache was an easy find despite the large number of rocks. I was grateful for this and decided I just about had enough time to visit T2520. I needed to cover another 3+ miles to get to the cache and there was a steep drop to the road and then a climb of several hundred feet up another hill. What I didn't bank on was the lack of any sort path. The going was boggy at first and I appreciated my new boots, then the heather made climbing more arduous. We got there in the bright sunshine and once again paid our respects to another Wellington bomber crew who had died in these mountains. T2520 is the name of the plane. In the background of the photo is the site of the Wellington bomber crash I visited on Thursday. Very sad. Bits of the plane lay around, though the pieces were somewhat smaller than those at A Canadian Memory.

The walk back was very enjoyable despite the kids constantly revving motorbike engines on the dissecting road. I was glad when the road was out of earshot. It eventually became cool enough to wear more than a T-shirt and the sun began to fade. The clocks had gone back in the early hours of the day and winter would soon be upon us - but not just yet. The sun was setting as we reached the trig and we hurried as we had an hours drive home. Another fantastic walk in the mountains and Bob, as always, had a brilliant time. I'm sure we'll be back very soon.

Baron von Beautiful
Penterry Church

28th October 2006

Wow! Two new caches very close by popped up last night and as we were all going to walk the dogs today anyway this seemed a perfect opportunity to take in a cache and maybe even get an FTF as well. Penterry Panorama sounded just the job, so we drove down the winding Wye Valley road to Tintern in the fog. The GPS was playing up and wouldn't pick up a single satellite leaving us to flounder on the tiny back roads. It kicked back into life and we were at Penterry Church in no time. We managed to avoid the stiles, as Sid was with us and came to the crest of a hill with a mobile phone mast enclosure, which was hiding a trigpoint. We bagged the trig and the cache, which was an FTF, but there were no views today.

The map showed that we could make some good circular walks round here - but not today. It was wet and miserable so we stopped at The Cherry Tree, a small pub near Tintern with a shop and post office attached. The conversation came round to Catsash, a nearby(ish) village. The sun was now creeping out, so we headed for one of our nearest remaining caches, Catsash Cat's Cache. We parked in the lanes a to make this a good walk. We were only a couple of miles from the cache, but I knew that there was no direct route. After meeting a particularly miserable farmer and local, we came to the folly, with indoor swimming pool, tennis courts and stables the size of a house. From here we plummeted down the forested hillside to the cache. Trying to get back via a circular route was another matter as the path was very neglected and our way was frequently blocked by fallen trees. Kemeys Folly
Bob near the crash site. The ridge behind is where we came up

26th October 2006

We had all planned to go down to Weston-super-mare yesterday, but it rained solidly. I'd loved Corn Du and Pen y Fan so much earlier in the week that I decided to go back for more. Alien Encounter I has been disabled for much of my geocaching life, but it's back in action now, so I drove to the car park and started the walk. I met up almost straight away with Alex, a walking enthusiast who was here from Rutland for the week. He'd already walked about 9 miles by this stage and was going to Fan y Big, so we teamed up for a few miles. After scrambling through a thicket we were at the base of the hill and climbed up 1000 feet in the first 2 miles. The views were spectacular and my first port of call was a memorial to a Canadian air crew who's Wellington bomber crashed into the hillside in 1942. Remarkably much of the aircraft still remains here after 60+ years. A Canadian Memory cache is placed at this site.

We followed the clues round the ridge to Fan y Big. I must say this was a great experience, and one I shall be repeating again soon. I fancied taking the route up Pen y Fan, Corn Du and Craswall, but as I pulled out the map to plan the route the cover was whipped up in a gust of wind. I chased it down the hill where it caught on the only fence I'd seen all day (some luck), but like in some duff comedy the map had become unfolded and was whipped over the edge into oblivion (that's more like it). At least I had the the cover though! Anyway, I decided not to do Pen y Fan and followed two more soldiers running down to the reservoir. I picked up the Taff Way and a few miles later was at the car park. 10.5 miles doesn't tell the full story - but what a great walk. This was my first back pack walk (excluding The Tree Castles) and I must say the cups of tea and picnic was well appreciated. The scale of the place is incredible
Tallybont Reservoir

On the way home I stopped off at Tally Ho to Tallybont. This is a pleasant little stroll around Tallybont Reservoir. I must admit I can never understand the point of having to collect so many bits of irrelevant data to make up a final co-ordinate, it just detracts from the enjoyment of the walk. I keyed in one digit incorrectly and spent a while looking in the wrong place before re-evaluating and making an easy find. Light has fading fast and my plans to to A Fisherman's Dream quickly disappeared.

The day had been a great success and the weather was great even though the forecast was poor again. This caching lark is pretty good after all.


23rd October 2006

Bob and I took a 50 mile drive to the centre of the Brecon Beacons and parked up in a very popular parking area at the foot of Corn Du and Pen y Fan. These are the two highest peaks in the South Wales. This is a wonderful trail which starts by crossing the river Taf and then leads up a path to the peak with streams frequently crossing the path via man made gullies. The weather was very mild and clear for the time of year and there were lots of young children with their parents and a a couple of very young puppies, though I always surprised at how few dogs accompany walkers. Bob was the only dog I saw off the lead all day (bar one Border Collie). One couple stopped to ask me how I stopped him from chasing the sheep as they were afraid to let their black labrador off. Bob's a great dog and is so eager to please he'll do anything for you - even though it's in his blood to play with sheep.
View from Corn Du
Pen y Fan on the left, take from Corn Du

After the last steep section we arrived near the cache location. As we headed down a steep slope to the co-ords we noted a good hiding place, only to find after 15 minutes that this was the location, but the co-ordinates were out by a long distance. People must have wondered why we were scrambling down the side of the hill and looking under rocks. The cache is located very near a memorial plaque and further round the walk is an obelisk which marks the place that 5 year old Tommy Jones was found dead in 1900, hence the caches name.

I was expecting much more of a walk to Pen y Fan than the 0.38 miles which only drops 100 feet. Pen y Fantastic is the highest cache in South Wales. I was also slightly disappointed to find that the Brecon Beacons trigpoint appears to have fallen over the edge in the 80's.

We did the two quickest caches, we've ever done after this. Both were roadside pick ups. After a much needed cup of tea from one of the many friendly roadside vans we did Mint 8, which was also pretty quick and gave some good views of the mountains we had just climbed. We had only planned the first 2 caches, so we were just playing it by ear now. We headed in a homeward direction and just watched what the GPS threw up. I can't recommend paperless caching enough as it lets you do this. In our early caching days we used to have to plan exactly which caches we were going to do and print out the listings. I fancied doing A Canadian Memory as I've been waiting for a chance to do this on my own, but it was too late in the day to start now. I passed close to Allt yr Esgair, which I knew little about, but decided to do it. View to the west, with ruin
View to the east from the summit

I was not at all disappointed. We started in a field of donkeys. These animals are also curious of dogs, but much less intimidating than some horses and cows. (A cow very recently hospitalized a local farmer after kicking him in the head.) A cracking climb followed through a variety of beautiful countryside giving incredible views from the summit. It's easy to put a cache on the top of a well known peak, but this added something a little extra. I may never have come up here otherwise and in contrast to the mountains, I never saw a single person on the whole walk. Bob was again in his element, though he doesn't seem to run as far out of sight these days. He's given us a few scares in the past (usually whilst on the chase), but as the ferns are dying back it's easier to keep an eye on him.

Six caches, three were tough, three were very easy. Apart from the inaccurate co-ords on the first all were very easy finds, so we spent our time walking instead of search. Fabulous. Although we drove a good 100 miles, it was well worth it. Hopefully I'll be back on Thursday for more.


21st October 2006

The weather forecast for Sunday was terrible, so we decided to make a day of it on Saturday. We crossed the Severn Bridge in brilliant sunshine with shades on an sun visors down.

AA One at Heathend was first up. As it was a multi cache we were looking forward to stretching our legs after the long drive, but it was not to be. We walked down a lane and were amazed that we had arrived at the cache. A cute school and church stood at the end of the lane and the micro was easily found in the graveyard. The problem was that a couple were tending a grave right next to the micro, so we had to wait for ages. In the meantime Will befriended a lovely cat, who even wanted to meet Bob. After 15 mins I could wait no more. I checked the hint as I needed to make a swift find and with the pretence that I was tying my bootlace I grabbed the micro. Replacement was a similar affair. It must have appeared pretty strange, but there you go.

Friendly cat at AA One


Black clouds at Zero One

We moved on to Heartbreaker at Breakheart Nuclear site. I wasn't really aware of this cache as it's appeared recently, but the details were on the PDA and the GPS showed it as the nearest cache, so Geiger counters on standby we threw caution to the wind. We were at the cache site with 2 minutes of parking up and spent the next 40 minutes searching a pile of rocks in the desolate disused quarry. The co-ords were a fair way off, which is pretty important when you're in a pile of rocks. We went back to get the PDA and checked the hint. From this we eventually found the cache. With 15 minutes walking and over an hour searching /hanging around so far I was beginning to wonder why I was doing this and Will and Bob were getting pretty bored too.



On to Zero One and at last a chance to stretch our legs. We took the wrong path and had to double back, then took the Cotswold Way path. We needed to be between the two, but the view from the top was great, or it would have been if torrential rain hadn't started the second we came out from the tree cover. We were soaked in seconds and had to wait by the cache under tree cover until the rain passed. This was down the hill so should have been safe. The skies went from clear, to black, to clear again in half an hour. By the time we were back at the car we were well on the way to being dry.

Normally I can't persuade Will to eat all day, but despite having a good breakfast he was starving so we went in search of food. This took us miles out of out way. We eventually found a corner shop a made an impromptu picnic.

A soaked Will, back to sunshine in minutes
Rainbow after Don't push me...

We drove back to Coaley and made a quick find of Ham and Eggs (Will wished there really were ham & eggs there). My wedding ring came off in the cache's hiding place and I only just noticed. I think I must have lost a few pounds with all this walking lately.

Next we drove to Coaley Park and walked down to Don't Push Me Over The Edge. Only 3 finds in 12 attempts since this cache's release in April 2006. Most failure were down to poor GPR coverage, so with the CSx we were pretty confident. The GPS had no problem, but we still couldn't find the cache. The 1.2 metre accuracy stated here is very optimistic. There were tree stumps and fallen boughs (as the hint told us to look for) all over the place, all covered by fallen leaves. Sifting through leaves where there's broken glass is not a good idea. On the way home we stopped at The Best View for a cache and dash.


I've kind of lost interest in caching a bit lately and this trip did little to get that passion back. We spent too much time in the car, hunting in futile places and not enough walking. Some locations were good, while others were not so good. I'm off work next week so I hope to get out for some good long caches in Wales if the weather holds. I chose these shorter caches as Will is only really up for one long cache per trip, and it's a long way to drive for one cache. I hope to place a series of caches based on my Tracks Project in the next few weeks/months.


8th October 2006

Despite the weather being miserable all week the forecast for Saturday was great, so Will, Bob and I packed a picnic and headed for The Lonely Shepherd. The story goes that the shepherd treated his wife so badly that she drowned herself in the River Usk and as a punishment the shepherd was turned to a limestone pillar. He goes down to the river to call her name each mid-summers eve, but to no avail. This was a great walk with spectacular views, so we decided to make a morning of it by walking to Mynydd Llangattwg trig point. There is a large circular cairn at the trig and the trig can be seen from a long way off, so no need for the GPS.

The Lonely Shepherd
Sink Hole, or Sarlacs Pit, as Will calls it

There are loads of sink holes round here which are created by the land caving in onto underground caverns. This usually occurs in areas rich in limestone.

At the trig we found the remains of a sheep. Will loved the impromptu biology lesson. Seeing the tendons, cartilage, spine et al is so much better than those plastic things they use at school.


We took our picnic to Bryn Bach Park (Two) where we sat and ate whilst Bob played with a chocolate labrabor. Afterwards Will fed the ducks and we set off again (see 27/8/2006) in an anti clockwise direction stopping at the radio controlled boat to watch for a while. Bob was transfixed by them. When we got to the cache I spotted the obvious hiding place despite the co-ords being in the middle of nowhere, but no cache. I was just beginning to think this was not our lucky cache when Will went back to the same location and made the find. A tiny cache in a great big hiding place seems crazy to me.

The sun was still beating down so we decided to keep going.

Bob was transfixed by the boats
A load of bullocks

Castle Meadow had appeared a few weeks ago by a new cache setter to the region. An easy stroll down a popular path by the River Usk in Abergavenny. It was a bit strange because Cath was working at Nevill Hall Hospital while we were caching. We'd been here before, though there weren't cows and bullocks in the field then. They just weren't interested in the passers by - thankfully. Will made the find again. This is becoming a bit of a habit.

We finished up by failing to find Coed y Cwm again. Next time we'll take the spoiler.

I must get my Welsh dictionary page up soon. Coed y Cwm means valley in the forest.


1st October 2006

No caching this weekend, but we did set one though. Looking for Linda is an offset cache in Lord's Wood near Symonds Yat West. I didn't want to give too much away in the name, but it is a helpful clue and sprang to mind instantly when I got to the site. It was also a #2 hit for Hue and Cry in the 80's, though not one of my favourites. It's a forested area 300 ft above the River Wye. There are some great views of the river like the one taken on 17/9/2006. I can't say any more, though if you've read my recent exploits you will no doubt have a good idea of what to expect.

The camera loses the perspective of the slope
View from Long Hill Wood; the grass really was that green too!

I've been up Longhill Wood a couple of times again this week, but still haven't managed to complete placing the cache there. There are a few places I could use, but I really want to find the folly, which I know exists there. It will take at least two more trips, but hey, it's a great walk and I really feel I know the area well now. I wanted to go on Sunday, but what with having to wait in to meet someone and the thunder storms we had to turn back and just went for a wander in the woodland between Newland and Staunton near the quarry. The tree cover saved us from a heavy down pour, so we turned back before it happened again.

There's been a bit of a splurge on Cached into The Wilderness as it's had four separate visits in two weeks. There have been quite a few other hits on our caches this week considering how quiet things are at the moment. The new cache hasn't been done today. I can't see it getting done before the weekend now. We'll see.


24th September 2006

Discovered a great new walk on Friday evening, but I'm going to cover that sort of thing on my new site at just as soon as I get time.
On Saturday we eventually took that trip to Hendre Lake to drop off a travel bug which was going from South Africa to this cache as its owners live near by. Not a very inspiring cache, but we'd planned a couple of the CC series while we were in the area. One funny thing that happened was when Bob tried to jump a stream onto a path/bridge and didn't quite make it. His face was a picture as he realised he couldn't hang on and fell back into the slimy green goo below.

We set off for CC49 Roam Lead Mines, parked up and had a picnic.

Guess where Bob ended up
Weird chimney thing This was a much easier walk than I had imagined and we found the cache without a hitch. I had planned a route down the hill and back up the next hill. This was a slight gamble as Topo didn't show the paths connecting, but it was fine. The climb up has hard work as it was blindingly hot for late September. We got to to CC3 Craig Ruperra, where Will claimed the find, and took a rest after the climb. We then completed the circular walk back to the car via a few old mines and a weird chimney thing. The climb didn't seem so bad as the trees gave plenty of shade.
Will finds CC3   Hendre Lake

17th September 2006

I got up early on Saturday and drove a couple of miles to Staunton. I parked up at the east side of the village and went walking in the forest down to the River Wye. I've been here many times before, but never down to the footbridge, so that was the aim. Bob and I passed through the camp site (which was still remarkably busy for the time of year) and down where a cave is marked on the OS maps, but we couldn't find the cave. We did, however, stumble across the tallest broad leaf tree in the Forest of Dean, at 108' high, the Gosling Ash was discovered by a boy from Newland. The bridge is a beauty and we crossed the river, but being aware that there was no other crossing at this time of year (ferry is available in the summer) we soon turned back to make a nice 6 mile circular walk. Apart from the camp site and a few fishermen you don't see anybody round here. It's a great place for fungi at this time of year.

One way to get to King Arthur's Cave
A fun guy This walk was probably the main reason I got a GPSr in the first place. Will and I were walking here about 4 years ago. We were due at the in-laws for Sunday lunch, but we didn't have a compass and it's incredibly easy to get lost as the thick tree cover hides any visible objects from which to gain your bearings. To cut a long story short we were pretty late (not all bad then) and pretty tired too as there were a lot of steep climbs and Will was very young. My old eTrex wouldn't get a reading at all under this tree cover, but the CSx has no problem whatsoever.
On Sunday we'd planned to go near Cardiff to complete the journey of a travel bug which started it's journey in South Africa. I'd planned the route for the other caches and we were just going out the door when I thought "Why are we traveling stupid miles to spend ages in the car when there are better places to go walking right here?". I think the geocaching thing might need a bit of a rest, but that's really because there are no caches left near us now. Cath had never been to King Arthur's Cave, so we saved about 100 miles on the journey and had a great morning walking the forest. We managed to find Merlin's Cave this time. It's a real cracker. I think it's may be too challenging for geocaching, but I may place a cache there one day as I'm sure there would be a few who would rise to the challenge. I need to go back with a torch to investigate properly though. Sometimes the paths fade to almost nothing and we would have been struggling to keep on them without a GPS. Merlin's Cave
Canoes on the Wye In a few years when all GPSr's can receive under heavy tree cover, places like this will be a whole new resource for geocachers, until then I'm not sure it's a good idea. I've got a real passion for walking and unveiling new hidden treasures, which is something I have to thank Geocaching and Trigpointing for. After last weeks new player in Trelleck, there's another player in Crickhowel. This is an area rich in caching potential, so I'm hoping for good stuff in the future from this one. Finally, Cached Into The Wilderness got done twice this weekend. It may not sound that astounding, but it's not been done since the weekend I set it.
I got some new walking boots this week. It might not sound very exciting, but the old ones were the worst I've every had, so it'll be great to be dry and comfortable again. I'm all ready for the Autumn / Winter. I can't wait. My new mission is to really get to know the surrounding area. I may plot all the paths, by-ways and tracks that I cover on a map so that I can see where I have and haven't been. I want to extend this to the Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons too. This should also allow me to find some really good site to place caches.
RIP Paul McKinley. June 1978 - 14th Sept 2006.

10th September 2006

Will, Bob and I set out for Crumlin to see off three caches within close proximity to each other. We started with Don't look down, which is a trip back 40+ years to when the huge viaduct dominated the mining town. We started at the top of the viaduct and went down the valley and back up the other side to staging areas where the viaduct was fixed. This is a pretty strenuous cache, especially when you're expecting a winters day and it ends up being really hot. We messed up on finding the cache and wasted a half hour looking at the base of the viaduct, but we had a great time. The only spoiler was the amount of broken glass, beer cans, and vandalism caused in the area. This seems to be a bit of a valleys trait.

One of the viaduct footings
How the viaduct once looked I'd promised Will a drink and the pub by the cache was closed despite it being 12:30 on a Saturday. The other town pubs definitely weren't suitable for an eight year old and there were no shops that sold drinks, so we drove miles to find a Coke. When we eventually found a general store it had closed at 12:00. It's like stepping back in time! We headed up a very steep hill to take the direct route to CC32 Coed Trinant, jumping fences and fighting through bracken. When we got to the top there were cows to our right - and a BULL. They were a distance off so we quietly back tracked out of view and then carried on, scaling another fence to get to the cache. This was out instantly, thanks to the great co-ords. Horses were all around, but didn't seem interested in us fortunately.
Then we spotted the problem. The bull had come out to investigate and was completely cutting off our return route. Once again I'd left the map in the car and Topo showed no easy route, so we made a plan to go directly to CC33 Crumlin Viaduct View and avoid the beast. There were several more fences to hurdle and I was just glad that Sid wasn't with us at we couldn't have done it. Bob's as light as a feather and Will's not too bad. After more bracken we found a marked path and were on the way passing another bull, this time safely penning in it's field. The cache took a little finding thanks to it's ingenious hiding place, but we knew the co-ords would be accurate so just kept on looking. From this point we could see the other side of the valley where we had started our day. We made the decent through the trees and stopped to watch some trials bikes climbing the rocky terrain before we returned to the car to set off home for the 80 mile round trip. The pub gate - very cool
A hazy view of Tintern Abbey A new cache had been placed near us during the week, so we set off to find it on Sunday. We need a regulars pass at White Stone near Llandogo these days. A stroll down the lane wasn't as quiet as you'd expect, probably because of the glorious sunshine today. We tried to make a circular walk, but the published path just disappeared and we ended up climbing through light undergrowth, jumping toppled trees and the like. Medieval music wafted on the air all the way from Tintern Abbey as though it were only yards away. We found the cache all too easily and sat and enjoyed the abbey views in the sunshine whilst filling in the log. The walk walk was very enjoyable through the woods. It's a shame there's no marked walk to avoid the road.
The evening was so lovely that I had to get out again and very unusually there were cows in the fields behind and in front of our house, so I stuck Bob in the car and we took the 5 minute jaunt to Redbrook and did the circular to Penaullt and back. We checked up on The Two Bridges cache while we were there and completed the walk in 1 hr dead despite stopping to chat to a couple of locals at Penaullt. There were some lovely pigs near the cache, so next time I'm up there I'll take the camera with me. I had an idea for a cache whilst on the walk, but need a good location to apply it to. Watch this space. Faster than the eye
It looks as though I may lose the domain name as it's registered to Euro1Net rather than me. If I do, I'll register I've been in communication with Nominet this week and the cost/legal process of regaining it may be prohibitive. Our profile at should always point to the correct location anyway. I'm just conscious that one day this site may just disappear, but it shouldn't be a problem as I'll just stick it somewhere else.

3rd September 2006

Another week without ADSL. Euro1Net reckon they're going to try to reconnect us, but the rats are leaving the sinking ship in their droves and I can't say that I blame them. I'll give them until Tuesday and then I'm off. Communication has been poor and a statement saying "we're trying to do something, honest" just doesn't cut it. On a good note my plasma TV died this week. I've never really been happy with the Hitachi and Richer Sounds agreed to swap it for a Panasonic TH42PX60 with a cabinet (which will be on eBay shortly). It was on the wall within two days of the first call. This is a outfit that really understands Customer Service.

You can see the monument above the horizon to the left Monday was a Bank Holiday and we all (except Sid) decided to cross the Severn to do some of our nearest outstanding caches. Although only 10 - 15 miles as the crow flies we ended up driving a 100 mile round trip due to the river and it's lack of crossing points. First up was Tyndale's View. This location is now a golf course on public access land on the top of a hill. The views are terrific to most directions and you can easily see Tyndale's monument as well and the Severn Bridges. The cache suffers from far too many points where co-ordinates are worked out and keyed into a GPS, which really detracts from the walk. We had a great time and even though we keyed in one value incorrectly and wasted half an hour we found the cache OK. An Intel baseball cap is still there which was placed in the original cache in Feb 2002.
We stopped for as drink before a quick visit to Twitcher's Paradise and then on to Bridges, Boats and Butty's along the Sharpness Canal. This brought back memories from that very wet day in May when we couldn't find Where Old Barges Go To Die. The co-ordinates here were much more accurate and we enjoyed a gentle evenings stroll up and down the towpath. With a bit of resistance from the others we finished up with Hock Cliff. I really wanted to get this done as it clears out the area for up quite nicely, but the others just wanted to go home. There were some great blackberries on the way, but it was too late to look for fossils. As we got back in the car for the drive home the skies opened for the first time that day. We had been very lucky with the weather. A peaceful canal adorned with swing bridges
Bob at the barges graveyard This is the first weekend since we started Geocaching that we have not done any caching at all. I did however register GSAK (Geocaching Swiss Army Knife). This is a great tool for managing geocache details on your PC. You import Pocket Query data to it's database and you can manage exports of data to your PDA and GPS really easily. I keep all caches within 100 miles of home up to date and can filter the data on anything at all. For instance, I have filters which show all unfound caches within 30 miles that aren't mine and aren't disabled. I can move the centre point easily, so if I'm going to Ogmore for the day I make that the centre point. I then load all waypoint and cache details into the GPS and PDA. It will also load additional waypoints, such as car parking, stages of a cache etc.

I couldn't manage without this at the best of times now, but with the loss of ADSL it's invaluable. When you're out finding a cache you have all the details along with logs and hints that decrypt at the touch of a button, but most importantly you're up to date and it only takes a couple of minutes to load everything. I used to spend an hour sorting waypoints and printouts then we'd decide to do a different cache and we wouldn't have the details. GSAK is $20 (£10.77) to register.

We found BOB, the beer for sheep dogs. As Bob is only half Border Collie he was only allowed a half! Only joking, but when we lived in Berkshire we knew a pub where the landlord regularly fed his dogs on bitter (two German Shepherds I recall). He reckoned they loved it, though I'm sure we'd be clearing the mess up for a week.

A poorly cut out BOB beer

27th August 2006

The week started with yet another bang as my ISP fell out with BT, resulting in my broadband connection being withdrawn. I have to wait until next Wednesday to find out if it's a money back or look for a new ISP situations. Best case scenario is that I'm without broadband for 10 ten days! This does not make me happy. The old 56K modem has been dusted off. Gee, it's slow. That's why some details are completed this week. Thank goodness for GSAK. It means I have a reasonably up to date geocaching database without being on line.

We've had more action on our caches in the last ten days than in the previous two months. I don't know why, but it's great news. I still don't understand what attracts people to some caches and not to others. Tractor Hill and The Two Bridges get very little traffic, but they're even better caches that Scowling at the Great Oak in my opinion, and this cache gets much more interest. Maybe it's all in the name?

Heading back to the beach at Ogmore After a day at the zoo on Monday we went to Ogmore-By-Sea, near Portcawl on Tuesday. We love this bit of beach because Cath grew up not too far from here and because it's a dog friendly beach. Sid was like a puppy on the beach and even raced Bob for sticks and the ball in the sea. We did a couple of caches, the first was past the far end of the beach, where it gets rugged and hilly. I was disappointed to find a micro in a dry stone wall, as this contravenes all geocaching rules and although the location was great I really don't enjoy searching for micros in such locations. The weather wasn't good, but we didn't get too much rain. There were a couple of groups of nutters in the sea.
I couldn't talk the others into doing the nearby trigpoint, but they were up for Plucking Pheasant. We had to go to the other side of the River Ogmore where there was a huge sand boarding dune and an old ruin of a fortified house / castle. All the tracks were thick sand, which made walking very difficult, but after a fence hop and a scramble up a wooded bank the find was ours. Sand boarding

It rained all day on Wednesday, so I bought a couple of maps in Monmouth and worked out the location of Coed y Cwm. You basically need to find the centre of three caches. I tried it on photocopied maps, but this wasn't very accurate, so I swept out some cobwebs and did it via trigonometry.

Thursday was a bit of a disaster. We went searching for Coed y Cwm. After a letter to The Blorenges it turns out we were in the right place, but just couldn't find it. The location was great anyway, so we'll be back.


I wanted to do The Lonely Shepherd, but had forgotten the maps, so finding a starting location was impossible. We moved on to Bryn Bach Park. A busy park based around a lake. This is supposed to be a 1/1, but we spent a good hour looking for a stupid micro to no avail. Have I said, "I hate micros". It wasn't all bad as we enjoyed a picnic by the lake and strolled round twice. Afterwards Will, Bob and I did CC10 Fochriw in the Rhymney Valley. This involved a steep climb to an easy find (thank goodness) and views over the industrialized mining town. I can't say that I like these views, it just shows what a mess man has made of the beautiful countryside, but there's a lot of it in this neck of the woods. Having said that, it was a pretty good cache and the views weren't terrible. There were also some wild ponies wandering about.

Later this week Bryn Bach Park was archived as it has been confirmed that it had gone missing. It has been replaced by Bryn Back Park Two.

Man's attempt to ruin perfection
Man's best friend at Lord Hereford's Knob After waiting in all Friday morning, my car finally arrived. What a relief. I'd already planned the afternoon, so after sorting the insurance we headed off (via a stop in Abergavenny) to Lord Hereford's Knob. This is a cracking walk in the Black Mountains near Hay On Wye. You walk past the knob and on to the trigpoint at 2350 feet. The views are superb. At just over 5 miles and a total ascent of way over 1000ft this is a very satisfying walk. It started to rain as we reached the cache, but it soon disappeared. We found a brilliant natural bench on our way back off the beaten track. I must stop doing this as it's really hard work and is very tough on the ankles. As much as I love walking with Will and Cath it's nice to do a walk like this with just your dog on occasions.

There are plenty of people walking these hills, though I am generally the least walker looking. I have no back pack, poles, trousers tucked into socks. In the summer it's trainers, camera, GPS, map if necessary and phone (and water if it's really hot).

As we'd traveled a fair distance we did Tack Wood whilst here. This was a nice cache, but pretty insignificant next to the previous cache. We saw some guy long distance running up the hills in army boots and full back pack. Very impressive. The SAS are based in Hereford, which is pretty close by. On the way home we called at a roadside cache (which shall remain nameless) to grab a geocoin.

Cool bench at N52 00.198 W3 07.419
Will feeds Nutnabber a nut

20th August 2006

Our first month and we're 25th on Cacher of the Month, not to mention highest score on trigpoints. I doubt we'll reach these heady heights again!

On Tuesday we had a chance to do NutNabber's Home, which had been posted on Saturday evening. The walk was around the Trelleck area in a triangle which takes in the trigpoint. Looking at the map afterwards we made it really hard for ourselves by not taking the best route and dropping, then climbing several hundred feet unnecessarily. We had the trigpoint information already, but in the true spirit of the hunt we ignored this and did the full route. Sid was nearly trampled by horses and we almost lost him in the bracken at the trig! but otherwise we had a nice walk.

On Wednesday we decided to stay in all day as the weather forecast said it would rain all day. By lunchtime it was looking pretty bright, so we headed out to do Night Glow and Roamin' Roman Ruins to complete a pair of Blorenges caches. The first was quick and easy. It's meant to be done at night, but that's not really practical for us. The second was again a pretty easy, but interesting romp through the Roman ruins at Caerwent. To celebrate our success (and to avoid the rain) we retired to the pub where Bob was the star of the show as usual. I tried to sort the clues for Metal, but messed it up and Will and I ended up walking in the middle of nowhere. We stopped to check the clues and discovered our hopeless mistake. By now it was too late to search the new co-ordinates. On the bright side the blackberries were gorgeous! and Will looovvveeees blackberries. Bob does a "one time only" Booboo impersonation
Ahh, how we remember tractor

On Friday we parked up near the Speech House and walked down to Crabtree Hill trigpoint. I feel kind of sad when I've done these trigs as they give a real purpose to a walk. There's a goal, and once it's reached, that's it;You can't set the goal again. The thunder and lightening set in once we'd reached the trig, but the forest gave a reasonable cover from the rain. We discovered a new lake that we didn't know existed.
On Saturday I got up early to do Graig Serrerthin trigpoint with a view to placing a cache. I'd been up here on the Three Castles Walk and knew the views were fantastic, so I grabbed a small tupperware and an ammo box (from the now quite large stash), stuffed them full of bits and pieces, and set off. I had to wait for Woolys to open as I didn't have a note book to fit the small cache.


I easily found a parking place and with the aid of a local couple with four large dogs in tow I confirmed I was on the right path (although unmarked). The hillside was shrouded in mist and I couldn't see a thing. I found a digger that reminded me of Tractor from Tractor Hill. Then, all of a sudden, the mist cleared and the view was more stunning than I remembered. I had a great walk round the area and was considering moving on to Garway Hill but realized the time was getting on and headed for home. I'd worked out some anagrams the previous day and weaved the two things together along with a secret page on this site and posted Cheetah Armagnac by lunch time.

In the afternoon we did Another Severn View, which was terrific. The skies open again, but we went on to our own Cached into the Wilderness, which Cath and Will hadn't seen before, only to get soaked again. Great blackberries here too.

Bob at a misty Graig Serrerthin (Edmund's Tump)
A failed trip to Metal, but a nice walk On Sunday afternoon we finished Metal, which was a great place to walk (Wentwood) and stopped at the Somerset Arms for a drink on the way back. The highlight of the weekend was seeing all those emails in my SidAndBob folder when I got home as everyone had been doing our caches for a change that afternoon. FB's had the FTF, followed closely by The Blorenges, both completing their 150th cache at Cheetah Armagnac. We had been closing the gap on the FB's, but it seems to be opening again. Not that it's a race.

During the week I spent some time on customizing GSAK and the Garmin icons. It's all pretty cool now and I can get a lot more info from the screen such as if there's a TB in a cache (last character of name). I could get this from the PDA before, but a picture paints a thousand words. I've got two databases; one for caches and one for trigpoints. I keep all caches within 100 miles up to date and send the relevant ones to the GPS and most to the PDA. I just send relevant trigs to the GPS as the POI (points of interest) are built into the GPS base map.

I'm gee'd up now and will start thinking about setting another cache asap. It's somehow even more enjoyable than finding them! Though sometimes I do wish more people would do them.

Cool GPS icons; it doesn't really appear yellow thankfully

Sunset from bottom of Coppet Hill

13th August 2006

I investigated a few other caching web sites during the week, signed up and in one case even applied for and gained sponsorship from other members. This might not sound that hard, but when you see how many members they haven't got you'd see it is. But when you see the number of caches you'd stop laughing and start crying. Most of these sites seem to have some hook, like superior quality caches, different games, point scoring systems, that sort of thing, but at the end of the day you need lots of cachers to set lots of caches. One forum I dabbled in talks about scoring more points because your cache hasn't been found for two years! Hey, I know what to do. I'll hide a cache and publish the details in my sock drawer, that way no one will ever find it. Brilliant.


Seriously though, I like the point scoring thing. It always seems wrong to me that you get 1 find / point for either a motorway services cache and dash or a five mile multi cache up a mountain.

I had another go at Grandad's Game of Cards on Tuesday, but micro 6 is like searching for a needle in a haystack. To top it off a couple came by and were obviously planning to use the area for a little whoopee time, so I had to call it a day on this cache. It's really frustrating as the rest of the cache has been quite easy.

Sunset from Symonds Yat Rock (west)
Man's best friend - yes I love trigpoints (only joking Bob)

I got home from work on Friday to find Folly Coppet had been posted 5.5 miles from home. Happy days. After some food we set off through Symonds Yat to the hill. Of course it was a Flying Boots cache, (there aren't really any other cachers in the area apart from the FB's and us) and that meant it should be good. I already had the trig point on my "to do" list and the cache is about 1/2 a mile from the one I was planning at Welsh Bicknor, but I hadn't been to the top of the hill before. The whole gang enjoyed a vigorous climb as the sun was setting. The views were wonderful and the sunset was spectacular as is so often true in this part of the world. The Wye twists and turns in ox bows in this stretch and you're almost surrounded on all sides by the beautiful river. We stopped at Symonds Yat Rock on the way home to admire the view and sunset. It's great to visit at this time of the day as you can park up right next to the rock and there's normally no-one else around.



I came back on Saturday as I'd previously left my camera, TB etc in the car. Bob loves bracken; he goes missing for ages as he tunnels through the stuff and eventually you hear a rustling as he bursts from the undergrowth. We investigated the eastern side of the hill where the views are also incredible.

I bought a car on Saturday and the two leading characters are FB, which made me laugh, but you've got to be into Trigpointing to know why. Will and I are off camping for a couple of days on Sunday while Cath's at work, so we did some chores and got stuff together for the trip. We'll have to forego the FTF at Nuttnabber's Home, which was posted Saturday evening and is even nearer than Folly Coppet.

Click for full size westerly view

On Sunday Will and I took a trip up to Shropshire for a nights camping as the weather looks worse for later in the week. We picked a spot to aim for (Church Stretton) and found a camp site when we got there. We managed to get the tent up before the rain came. We were both starving and it was raining so we found a pub that served food and killed an hour (or two by the time it arrived) in a packed pub full of elderly walkers on a coach trip. Afterwards we did a couple of caches and climbed a few vicious hills. I had some sort of sleeping sickness, because all I wanted to do was sleep and I found climbing very hard work - and I hadn't had a drink in the pub. We got back to the camp site and I had a snooze while Will played in the stream that ran behind our tent. After a stroll we played Top Trumps and cards before having a relatively early night.

One thing I've noticed is that photographs don't usually give the impression of the steepness of hills. This is certainly true in some of these shots.

Will and Bob at the camp site

I quite like the idea of camping (although I would far rather just pitch up off camp site), but I can't handle the sleeping arrangements. As Cath was working and there was plenty of room in the car I'd taken two double duvets, one to use as a mattress and one to sleep under. The rain thrashed down as we tried to get to sleep. It was strangely soothing to know it was so close, but we were still dry. After a night of tossing and turning we woke to bacon sarnies, but no tea (I'd brought the stove, kettle, matches, tea, milk and even water, but no cup). We climbed another incredibly steep hill before rain set in again and we decided to head for home. Every bone in my body was aching and we were both incredibly tired. Stopped at the Army Surplus store to get some more ammo boxes, but they didn't have any flare canisters. Got home aching like nothing on earth and just took it easy for the rest of the day. Can't wait to sleep in a real bed tonight.

It's funny how you see familiar names in the logs like Write and Mane, Rosie's Rangers and The Time Lord, though I believe the latter two are from this neck of the woods.
Ragleth   Gaerstone bracken