Geocaching and Trigpointing

Check out for more stuff about Walking in the Wye Valley.

Our other Geocaching pages

Our Geocaches
Paperless caching guide

1 - 100      01/04/2006 - 06/08/2006
101 - 205  13/08/2006 - 25/02/2007
206 - 309  04/03/2007 - 07/05/2007

Profile for SidAndBob   Profile for SidAndBob    

Geocaching is a treasure hunt with a GPS.You find a log book in a sealed container hidden by other geocachers, while trigpointing consists of visiting Ordnance Survey pillars which are often located at hill summits. In both cases the real treasure is the discovery of beautiful countryside, near to you, or far away. It's just good, clean, harmless fun with plenty of exercise and we love it!

Find out more at GroundSpeak's web site and TrigpointingUK's site.

Blog - A cachers / triggers diary


5th August 2007

Our New Year resolution was to do much more camping this year. The weather during the last two months hadn't helped, but on Sunday morning we were off for the third time this year. We had planned to fo to the Lake District, but the weather wasn't too good there, so we swapped it for the coast and Cornwall. After a wet Saturday night (as forecast) the weather was brilliant all week. We had a ball. Will especially enjoyed fishing in the sea, Cornish Ice Cream, the ammusement arcade (he'd never been before), building sandcacstle on the beaches and camping, while I enjoyed the coastal walks, picturesque fishing villages (though too touristy for my liking), sea air, Cornish Pasties and Fish and Chips on the beach. It's just as well we did a lot of walking as the food was not at all healthy.

River Looe
Amongst the gods

We were very lucky again to get a brilliant pitch in Talland, near Looe right at the top of a cliff overlooking the sea and with hardly anyone near us. There were loads of Europeans there, mainly Dutch and German, with a few French. We didn't see much of the camp site as we had breakfast and went for the day, getting back late each night. There was a bar, which we popped into some night for a nightcap to aid camping sleeping! I must say on this note that the camp bed I bought is one of my best purchases ever. It's turned camping from a nightmare (not literally as I could never sleep) to a really great experience). The sea air even seemed to get to Bob as he was sleeping in longer than any of us.


We did almost 50 caches. Some were cache n dashes, some were long walks, but most were less than a mile. Our favourite was the cache nearest our tent. Monkey Island was a challenging 4/4 cache which required walking down from the cliff top, along the rugged tidal rocks for a good half mile and then climbing a rock face to the top of the small island. We had to wait at least an hour for the tide to go out far enough as my attemp to swim and then climb in bare feet was deemed too dangerous 15 feet from the summit. On the way back an adder was blocking our path. This is a pretty rare sight and the only poisonous snake in the UK.

Another great cache was Peninsula Perambulations: Rame Head, where we spent a great evening on a hill top, surrounded by sea with a terrific sunset and a tiny 11th century chapel near us. What a great place.

Beside Rame Head chapel
The chapel on Rame Head

There were plenty of good caches, though the tendancy seemed to be for very small caches and too many micros, which we tend to avoid. Our first cache of the trip was fun. We took an unconventional route which meant having to cross a river. The water was over 2 feet high and the ground was very wet and spikey. We had to carry on with no shoes as it was so sludgy and it ended up being a bit tortuous, but a very memorable experience. We blew a few caches, so me that took up a fair amount of time too, but we had a great week. We spent the last day on Dartmoor, as we wanted to leave Fish Eagle's (South Africa) Dartmoor geocoin there. We're only home for a week then we're off camping again. Hopefully this time we'll be able to make it to the Lake District.


28th July 2007

Despite living over 50 miles from us, sniffadogz are always up for a FTF in our area, so when they placed Pirate Treasure in our neck of the wood, not only was it unusual for someone other than us or the Flying Boots to place a cache, but we had to get the FTF. We spent a few hours pondering the puzzle. We had plenty of ideas, but there was a lot of trial and error involved and we eventually figured out the location on Monday night. Bob and I picked it up the next morning after dropping Will at school. I was working from home all week due to the floods in Gloucester. Thursday was the first day that the roads were passable, but there was no clean drinking water for weeks. The little guy pictured was sitting on the cache, which was covered in thick mud where it had been way under water.

Guardian of Pirate Treasure
Bob at Cardiff Bay

On Saturday we actually made the trip to Cardiff we had previously planned. The weather was good and we found 7 caches and had a DNF. The Tide is High was interesting as it meant a walk to the tidal Sully Island. Will was a bit concerned about the warning sign that told of how people had died walking to the island, so I had to convince his that we were a bit more sensible than them and had checked the tide times. He loved the rock pools and limpets and we collected more shells to take home. Mint 3 was an enjoyable walk over the barrage and round the bay. We couldn't believe our bad luck when we got to the cache site and it was fenced off for a fishing competition! We hame back at the end of the day to grab it.


We dropped the Guinness European Capital City Challenge TB after fullfilling one of it's capital city missions and did a cache which took us to where Marconi did his first successful radio tests. Are You Ready? is a pretty easy puzzle, but very interesting none the less. We had a great day by the sea and then went home to get ready for our week away in Cornwall, which started the next morning. It meant I was up very late writing logs and packing tents, clothes, food etc.

I got a very insulting email from 2202 about a cache he doesn't even own any more. I certainly won't be doing any of his caches. These simple people need to be ignored. It's such a shame that there are a few rotten apples in an otherwise excellent barrel.

Lock Bridge at the barrage
Will showing Knight of Malta No. 2 TB St. Briavels Castle

22nd July 2007

We'd planned a day of caching on the coast near Cardiff, as we'd picked up a TB which wanted to go there. It's mission was particulary interesting and when I had an email from SuperTed (aka Father Ted from I really wanted to help this TB which had been wandering somewhat aimlessly. Unfortunately the weather was hopeless and we postponed the trip.

We had saved two recent local multi caches for a day such as this, so we popped down to St. Briavels, home of The Flying Boots, for a nice easy stroll around the village. Most of the walk we were pretty familiar with, though it always amazes me how much more you see when you're walking than when you're driving. The castle now opperates as a youth hostel. Will is pictured with a knight TB. This cache was pretty easy as it was designed to be wheelchair friendly.


Next up was a cache by the chap who the last cache was primarily designed for. Hotwheels and Chomp live in Bream, which is apparentley the largest village in England. After Sid had drooled all over the back seats of the car on the short journey, he panted his way round the village, but seemed to enjoy himself despite being threatened by a very unfriendly greyhound which was wandering the lanes. He's so deaf now he probably didn't notice though. It was really nice to be able to Sid along caching with us, as it doesn't happen that often these days.

Sid and Bob in Bream, with Will behind
Bristol Panorama 15th July 2007

I popped out on Tuesday lunchtime and bagged Ermin Street 3 as I hadn’t realised quite how close it was to my place of work. An interesting little park with an old church which is now being used as a very active gym. The adjoining arboretum was a bit of a joke. I was back to my desk in 45 minutes.

For once I properly planned Saturday’s trip. We were going just NE of Bath. I’d planned 11 caches and even decided the route between caches. Things carried on in a military manor with an early start.

I normally struggle to get Will out of the house before 9:30, then there was a hiccup. We got to the Old Severn Bridge and it was shut.

It wouldn’t have been so bad, but I had just checked before we left the house at their web site said everything was flowing freely. So another 12 miles was added to the already long journey. We came off the M4 at J18 and stopped at Tog Hill. The weather forecast was quite good for the day, though it would be back to torrential rain on Sunday, so we had to make the most of it. We were disappointed that we had to walk down the side of a busy road from the starting point to the final cache. The views were good, but the clouds were still black. There are quite a few hills round here, but they look out over an expanse of flatness. It’s amazing how different it is to home and once again it really made us appreciate where we live. I’d given Will the puzzle in S E M A 4 to work out one rainy day quite some time ago. Little guys are holding semaphore flags, but there’s a simple twist too.

This is a Stonefisk cache. Some of our first, and favourite caches were by this guy, so we had high expectations. A nice walk through long wet grass to spot on cords and another great cache was completed.

The next walk was to Bristol Panorama. A flat multi cache to a trigpoint. I’d read the listing (and hint) and decided to ignore the multi stages, as they didn’t seem to add a lot, and go straight to the cache. Unfortunately the hint wasn’t very good and we eventually found the cache 10m from the trig, not the 5m stated on the hint. As there were many places to hide the cache, this wasted 45 minutes. The next cache took us on a public footpath though a private garden where we were verbally abused by the occupant. I made sure he knew exactly what I thought of him.

I won't be put off walking public ROW's, infact it makes me all the more determined to walk them. This guy shouldn't have bought a house with a ROW going through it if he doesn't like people walking through him garden!

There are two caches and a trig point on Solsbury Hill. This was a lovely little climb on to an unusually (so I'm told) empty summit. Peter Garbriel had a hit in the 70's named after this hill. Although I don't rate the song, I couldn't help singing it on the way up. Next was our only drive by of the day, and turned out to be our only DNF. Another Wombles cache at the meeting of three counties. A very interesting marker stone (must take a picture when I revisit), but we just couldn't find it. On to Hill Of Pain. I loved the name of this one, but it turned out to be rather gentle. A lovely cache none the less, through a beatiful meadow with a collosal amount of butterflies and a llama. We'd found a dog wandering the lanes nearby. There were no people about and after debating what to do (he had no tag) we decided to go back for him, but he was gone.


Next was PS1 St.Catherines. This was a cracker. We parked by the old house and church and wandered the lanes until we arrived at a steep climb through some woodland to an unusual hide. It always amazes me when looking through the logs at how many people will go to great lengths to avoid walking if at all possible, even if it means parking dangerously on a tiny lane.

We finished with two more Gownhouse caches, the last being an exellent stroll at Cold Ashton, though we were tired from a day of hills in the sun (and asthma) and the hill back just about finished us off. We drove back across the Severn (the bridge was now open) and stopped at Chepstow for a well deserverd drink by the River Wye and the Fish and Chips, which we ate at Lydney Harbour. An excellent day. Many thanks to all the cache setters.

8th July 2007

Wimbledon fortnight is a time I associate with scorching heat, but this year the second week was as wet as the first. I had to work on Saturday afternoon, so as I needed to be in Gloucester anyway and Will thought it was exciting going to dad’s office, we spent a few hours caching in town. I’ll make no bones about the fact that I don’t like Gloucester. I avoid it at all costs. There is little there to attract me and lots of reasons to keep away. Nevertheless we wandered around the small city finding clues and visiting some of the nicer parts of Gloucester. Unfortunately the final coordinates just didn’t work out for us and had us at totally the wrong place. I made a phone call to The Flying Boots, and we were on our way to the find. I still can’t see for the life of me what I did wrong, but I obviously did something wrong. During City Quest we stopped off to bag Glawster Central.


This virtual has been here since well before I started geocaching, but I’ve never felt any need to do it despite a free bus being available at lunch times to take me there. I do like some virtual caches, but just don’t see the point of this one. One day I may even do Severn Bore Earthcache (don’t hold your breath), but if I do it will only be to remove it from my nearest to home not found list. How you can have a not found on this cache is beyond me and I really can’t see it has any relevance to geocaching at all.
Lastly we revisited Ermin Street 2. We’d failed at this a few months ago, but it had now moved to a secluded corner of the park and was a synch to find. Very different from our last visit. We were at my work for quite a few hours and enjoyed a detour home via The Cross Keys near Ross on Wye and some excellent food.


Update : The Glawster Central owners have seen fit to delete our log as we stated the corner incorrectly. How petty! The idea of a virtual is to visit the location, and our photo was surely evidence of that. They also ask you to post coordinates. What on earth is the point of this? Wish I'd never bothered. I'm certainly not going back as the cache just is not worth it. Now I can use the ignore facility for the first time. I may stick that Earthcache on it too.


Sunday was the one we’d been waiting for. CC48 The Accumulator (5/4.5). Will, Bob and I headed off towards the Brecon Beacons, found a suitable place to park the car and started the journey to the micro. This is the only real micro in the who series of 50 caches. There were no paths marked on the OS map, so we planned a route ensuring that we didn’t have to cross any rivers / streams, but it turned out they were almost dry anyway. I’m not sure where all this rain we’ve been having lately has gone. The terrain was much better than we’d anticipated and we managed to follow a vague track for most of the way. When we got to the micro we has a break. Will had discovered an old air pistol of mine so I’d told him we could shoot it in the hills. It’s not very powerful and I was surprised it still worked.


I explained that there was no point in shooting it into the heather as you’d never know where the pellet went, so we looked for something to stand on a rock. The micro was the only thing handy, so thinking that we’d never hit it in a million years we retreated 20 yds. After some training Will took his first shot. Dink! He knocked it off! It must have been beginners luck. I tried and missed. He took a few more shots and on the fourth he hit it smack in the middle. This time it went flying. I checked the canister again. There was some damage this time, but the canister would survive. Sorry Write and Mane. There is a path that leads to the final cache, but it’s not a direct route. I gave Will the options and he decided that due to the occasion we should take the direct route. It was rough going, but I’m sure it could have been much worse.

We eventually reached the cache site and rather than look in the obvious spot I decided to go to where the coordinates indicated. I am told that this area is normally a pond, though today it was just a swamp. Well it was more like walking on a huge soggy sponge. I got out before I was soaked and we easily found the cache and rescued our “Are you taking the Mickey?” TB. We enjoyed the walk back in the rain reminiscing on yarns from the CC series. To tell the truth I was kind of sad it had come to an end. We had planned walking up to Pen y Fan, but we decided the weather wasn’t up to it and returned the 70 mile round trip after just the one cache.

1st July 2007

Halfway through the year and after a superb winter and spring it's a hopeless summer so far. We didn't go caching last weekend partly because Will had a school concert to do at Beechenhurst. While he was getting ready I popped into a portacabin / stall which was displaying information on The Sculpture Trail. Only two weeks before I had prepared a cache for the trail, which was quite a lengthy process and I was now just waiting for the Forestry Commission to respond to my request for permission. I popped in to kill some time and met a lovely lady called Carolyn, who runs the Sculpture Trail Trust. She was really interested in geocaching and offered to put a word in for me. On Monday I had an email from the FC saying permission was granted!

Will on Mellissa's Swing  

24th June 2007

Once again I set out to kill off those CC caches, but on our way we picked up an uninspiring new cache which was in a hedge in a lane whilst in the pouring rain. I've got to be honest and say I wouldn't even bother with ones like this if it wasn't for the fact that I was passing anyway. CC6 Maesycymmer took us across a magnificent viaduct which has been maintained as a footpath. It's great to see these in such a good state as they are often falling apart and are impassable. I had driven past the sculpture below a few days before while returning from a CC trip. I thought what a great stage of a cache it would make, then I saw this cache was nearby and guessed it was used. Sure enough I was right. I messed up the approach to the cache and found myself on the wrong path.


The trouble with doing a bunch of these caches is that they are spread out, so I don't always print out the maps I really need. I ended up jumping fences and walking through long, soaking grass. I had put my waterproof leggings on, but even these weren't really sufficient. I made the find and retreated to the car in the pouring rain. The next was CC26 Blackwood, which was partly in the town. These are rarely my favorites. I resorted to driving as much as I could of this one due to the rain and the town thing. I probably shouldn't have come out today, but with Cath working later in the week I had to grab the days I could. The good thing about having to go into the town was that we could grab a pasty from a shop, though it turned out to be luke warm, so wasn't really that good after all. The final cache was a toughie to find and the coords were a fair way out.


One thing I notice with some peoples caches is that the coords in the open are good, but as soon as the hide is under foliage the coords are way out. It's usually a sign of a weak receiver. For once there was a spoiler and I had remembered to load it onto the PDA, but it still didn't help, but as I was getting great cover from the rain I was in no great rush and eventually found the little box.

The next stop was CC28 Bedwellty. I arrived outside the small yellow church in torrential rain as the attendees of a funeral where leaving. I sat and drank coffee while I waited for the downpour to end and the stragglers to leave before we entered the overgrown graveyard in search of clues. The grass was soaking, but we were still clad in waterproofs. We moved from one graveyard to one down the road before finally stumbling at a clue that required you to be able to spell fictional names. I'm not sure what this has to do with geocaching, but it cost us our first DNF of the series.

View from Bedwellty Churchyard
A remote graveyard at CC9

CC8 Groesfaen consisted of a clever little micro and an easy find after a short walk. We had been to the micro location last week when we had messed up the PDA listings. I had guessed that we needed the information from a nearby telegraph pole, but this was completely wrong. So much for saving some time later.

We'd done a lot of the leg work on CC9 Cefn y Brithdir the previous week and it was really just a case of picking up the find today. The Rhymney Valley Ridgeway is a lovely walk and a small graveyard is hidden behind a stone wall along the way. In here we located the coordinates. It was right at the burnt out tree stump! Not again, I thought. But it was. I found the remains of a melted tupperware box with stashnotes clearly identifiable. At least the sun was shining on this graveyard, and like the last one we'd visited that day the view were brilliant.


We headed back to Parc Cwm Darran and another W&M cache, though not a CC. Like most of the caches here Down the Local was set up for the First South Wales Geocaching Event in 2006. After a couple of virtuals we needed a display board which was gone, probably to be refurbished. Things were going from bad to worse. I plotted the two likely coordinates, but failed to find. It was later confirmed that I had the right location for the cache!

We re-did Quasi Quarry once again and this time found the cache immediately, though once again there were loads of lads near the spot. We moved on to CC50 Complex Collection Completion Challenge, which is technically the last in the series, but we wanted to save The Accumulator until last. There were a lot of logs for this cache that reckoned the Internet research was difficult, but we hadn't looked at it until the previous night and it was all very simple.


After 20 minutes we had plotted the starting coordinates are were surprised to see it was here, where we had been twice in the last couple of weeks. After a series of virtual caches we enjoyed a lovely walk in the late afternoon sunshine. The sky was a wonderful blue with pure white fluffy clouds. What a change from a couple of hours ago. All stages were easy and the final find was obvious from a distance. All in all a great cache. Only CC48 remained, but I wanted Will to be a part of that as he had completed many of the caches in the series with Bob and I, but we'd have to wait some time for the weather to improve for that one.



The next days mission was to set a cache at Table Mountain above Crickhowell. I'd conceived the idea for this cache in December 2006. The idea was to have some unusual micros leading you round to Table Mountain and revealing the final coordinates, as there are plenty of places to hide a large cache there. I had to do the walk in reverse so that I could make the items as I went along and it was much harder in this direction. First I made the very steep ascent to the cache site picking up Table for Two on the way. There seem to have been an influx of micros into the area recently but this was was easy to find at least. The weather forecast for the afternoon was terrible so I wanted to get a move on, but I didn't count on how much extra time setting the cache was going to add on. When I got to A Room with a View I was set back even further.

Table Mountain
Room with a View

I knew where the site was before I set off as I had planned to use this for a stage of my cache, but what I didn't know was that the small cache was in a huge pile of rocks by the wind breaker - and there was no hint. The views from here are great and I tried not to ask myself why I was looking through rocks when I could be enjoying such views. Eventually I found it to my great relief and began to stride out before the rain came in. I had the last hour in thunder storms in what was to be the heaviest downpour in many decades. We were dressed for the occasion, so it didn't really matter, though my walking shoes are not waterproof. I ended up at a lovely old bridge, but realising I hadn't been here before had to double back in the rain up the steep hill to pick up the right track. It was a great walk, but it was much easier the way it's planned for the cache.



We finished up the week with a local cache from a new player in town. Wye Here is a nice stroll along the banks of the Wye on the dismantled railway line, so it's a place I know well. It's a multi, and for the first time I was able to answer the questions without visiting the site where no one else could. You see I had considered using the same virtuals six month previously, so I'd taken pictures of them as only a cacher would. I made hard work of the find as the coords were a bit out, but I should have known that the cache would be by the path as Hotwheels is a wheelchair user. I'll know next time anyway!


17th June 2007

Another day at the CC caches saw us starting by messing around with a W&M puzzle cache that's not part of the series. I'd lost some previously gained info when my PDA got smashed, but thought I knew what it was. After wasting time driving around I decided to forget it for now and get on with the walking. We zig zagged up a steep hill to CC2 Cefn Onn Quarry. It really would have been easier if we had sat down at the beginning of this series and planned which caches to group together, as I needed to re-walk paths I'd already walked to get to this one, but as a result chose a tougher but shorter route. There were great views from the quarry and I had to make a call home to confirm the identity of a plant in the hint for the first time ever.

Lime kilns at CC38

The next cache was only a mile or so away and we visited the mansion of Van Castle. We drove the next stage and got stuck waiting for a lorry from Longhope (pretty near home) of all places, to turn in the road. We couldn't believe it when it turned out we had to walk part of the route we'd just walked to get to this cache. It just goes to show that my rule of always doing multi's first is a sound rule - it's just I shame that I ignored it today! We had a straight forward walk taking in some railway artifacts, lime kilns, a monument and a decent hill and found the cache easily after waiting for some muggles to leave.


We moved on to a traditional cache with a trigpoint along the way. CC13 Mynydd Meio requires a steep climb from the road to the aforementioned trig, but once you're there it's an easy stroll past some horses and a lovely little fold and the obligatory sheep to a good vantage point over Caerphilly. It was a little hazy so the views were OK, but not great.

CC12 Eglwysilan starts with a tragic tale of the early death of four siblings in the same family. A straight forward walk in more beautiful countryside and the cache was mine. This one take you up the Rhymney Valley Ridgeway Footpath. The trouble is you get spoilt doing these caches. It may sound boring, but they are all way, way above par.

Fold at CC13
Senghenydd memorial

CC41 Senghenydd Disaster tells of not one, but two mining disasters in the colliery in the early part of last century where around 500 men from the community were killed in explosions. The memorial at the head of the mine, just outside the local school, is a stark reminder of how such events must have shaken a community like this to it's core. I was expecting some problems with this cache due to some ambiguity in the questions making up the multi cache and I wasn't disappointed, but like on many occasions, the false answers made no sense in terms of coordinates so there was no real problem this time. For the second time today we had to pick up a clue at a trigpoint, but this one was the first toppled trig I had ever come across. A sad sight, but at least it made a good bench to sit and have a coffee break on whilst enjoying the fabulous views.

Next up was CC11 Llancaiach Fawr. I knocked this on the head pretty quickly as it wasn't my favorite CC cache. Finally we did CC42 Coal Crown in a mine turned into a country park, which has to be one of the quickest and easiest CC caches we've done. We had a look at CC7 on the way, but time was against us.


The following day I placed a cache which I'd been planning for some time. MT2 Lydbrook Viaduct is the second in our Makin' Tracks series based on the disused railways of the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley. I knew where I was going to place everything as I'd done the ground work months before. I took the opportunity to check up on MT1 too as the footbridge over the Wye has been closed for repairs. The following day I went walking in Herefordshire and very nearly placed a cache near Hoarwithy before deciding that I can do without the maintenance overhead.

The next outing was to be back on the CC trail. I started by revisiting CC7. I had started this at the end of the trip last week, but couldn't find the name of the junction at Gelligaer before it was time to go home.

View from the viaduct
Destroyed trigpoint

Whilst at home I had plotted a couple of possible coordinates for likely answers, but on searching I found the answer pretty quickly. I headed off and made an easy find but along the way made the disastrously discovery that my tiny SD card in my PDA had not updated correctly. Our power had been out again the previous day and everything was prepared at the last moment. I had only that day removed the MobiPocket listing ebooks which I keep as a backup for an occasion such as this. I then had to abandon the idea of any multi caches I had planned, which meant most of my planned caches, and only look for traditional caches as I had the coordinates in the GPSr and needed no more information. I have since added 5000 caches to my GPSr as POI, just incase I ever mess that up too.


I picked up a trigpoint along the way and was sad to see that some idiots had smashed it into two pieces. The amount of vandalism and destruction in this part of the world is very worrying.

We headed to Parc Cwm Darran, where the first geocaching event took place last year and completed two local caches. One was a very tough micro which we had failed miserably at last year. It turned out to be magnetic and after showing my inexperience at this type of cache and getting stung several times I eventually found it. We then had a good climb in the rain to Paragliders' Paradise. My kind of a cache incorporating a good hill, so nice views and a not too difficult find.

Bob enjoying the views at Mynydd Bedwellty

The only CC cache I could do was CC36 Mount Pleasant. It's a shame as I was planning to pretty much finish the series apart from the two completing caches, but they'll have to wait. I did to some ground work on one or two, as sometimes if there's a sign at the coordinates you know the information required is going to be from there. We had mixed success with this method on this occasion, but as we were passing it seemed mad to to give it a go.

On the way home we made a stop to climb up Mynydd Bedwellty. Bob seemed to enjoy the views too. It was great to see a trig still standing and in one piece for a change. Probably something to do with the fact that the road doesn't come so near it.


10th June 2007

This was a pretty busy caching week. I started by walking up to Penallt Old Church on Monday morning. I'd planned a cache here from day one, but the thought that you can drive up to the church had put me off. It's much easier to park at Redbrook and walk up if you come from England and the walk, although quite tough, is superb. The views from the bench in the churchyard are superb across the Wye Valley. I revisited again on Wednesday to place the cache and this time I took Sid as well as Bob. You have to take things slower when Sid's with you, but he still enjoys it even if there is a lot of panting. Later in the week I started planning a cache around The Sculpture Trail.

  Sid and Bob with pigs on the way to Old Church Penallt

Mynydd Llwyd

On Tuesday Bob and I started with a good walk on Mynydd Llwyd to do CC39 Mynydd Llwyd, CC40 Cefn Rhyswg Dew Pond and Unky Sir "Cache No: 1". The later was placed nearly four years ago, is in terrible shape and the owners are no longer involved, so I wanted to get this done before the cache disappears forever. Although the whole walk stayed relatively level it curved round a steep valley, which made it tempting to take the hard route back, but I resisted. We're well past the half way mark in the CC series now and I'm really keen to push on with them. They are such a mixed bag of easy then very difficult, though I do like to incorporate the easy ones into a hike rather than just pick them up and be done. We now have about 10 codes towards the final accumulator, though I haven't even checked to see how many we need altogether.


Next on the list was CC18. I'd already had two goes at this one firstly walking straight past the starting coords whilst doing The Raven Walk and then a couple of weeks ago with Will the final cache was just too far for him after a days caching. I had the final coords in the GPSr, but following the path was still a challenge. It would just disappear. I could see where it was supposed to be on the GPSr, but it wasn't there, then after a few minutes pushing through spartan fir trees it would suddenly re-appear. We found Raven Post 3, topped with it's carved Raven, just like post 2. It turns out I'd circled round the post on my original trip, but the path is very poorly signed in this section and not even marked on OS maps.

I picked up CC34 on the way to CC22 Machen Forge, which was a pleasant and not too demanding multi investigating an ex-mining area as is so often the case in the series.

Pen-y-Fan, not that one, the stinky one!

After a day away from caching (well I suppose I did spend the morning walking Bob around the Sculpture Trail in the Forest of Dean with a view to basing a cache there) as it was my birthday, Bob and I went back for more CC's on Friday. We planned a hike around five CC caches and a couple of others starting at Pen-y-Fan Pond. There are many hills in Wales called Pen-y-Fan, infact there is one very near to where we live, but this is not to be confused with the highest peak in the Brecon Beacons. The summit of the hill was a horrible place. All the way up the hill where decomposing Brake's bread bags - hundreds of them. As I entered a field to bag the trig point the were about thirty dead crows in various stages of decay. The whole field absolutely stunk (yes, my smell is back, but that's not always good) and there was a huge flock of seagulls which rose as one as I approached the trig.


As I tried to find a path to CC31 Cwm Big View, I realized I would have to go to the farm along a private track. As the farmer obviously wasn't the sort of guy I wanted to meet, I gave that a miss and ended up walking past the trig yet again. This cache took me on quite a detour, but it was nice once away from the crow field. The views were great from the cache, and despite being the first CC I'd done with a spoiler (which I didn't have) I found it very easily. I retraced my steps back to the path I'd come from and then walked down a valley and up to Manmoel. It's a pretty village for this part of the world. It has a pub which looks like an ordinary house. You have to knock on the door to find out if it's open or not apparently. We passed the disused Marine Colliery, with it's huge spoil heap and then arrived at CC23 Manmoel Beeches.

One of at least 5 different fungi on the tree at CC31
Beech trees at Manmoel

This was a lovely stretch of scenic countryside, so we stopped for lunch. The next cache, CC24 Nant-y-felin, wasn't far away and had recently been made inactive due to chicks nesting on the cache. Fortunately they had gone. It's usually possible to log caches in these circumstances if a photo is provided, but it wasn't necessary here. It was 2 or 3 mile to the next cache. It started out easy, and was only spoilt by a burnt out transit van blocking the path, but then the path completely disappeared. A house stood where the path had been and the diversion around it obviously had rarely been used. Ferns were 5' high and the ground was very rough. This went on for 1/2 mile and we were pretty tired when we got out the other side. Soon it was evident that the path was a disused railway so things became much easier.


There are two new caches in this area by a newbie cacher. I looked for the first one, but it was in a tree covered area where it could have been anywhere and to a hint was given. I moved on after a frustrating search as my real mission was the CC series. CC25 Gwrhay was a real toughie. I ended up phoning W&M for some help, but it turned out I was almost sitting on it when I phoned them. A very sneaky hide indeed. A cacher normally looks for the camouflage, but this had no specific camouflage, just leaves, so unless you actually touched it you wouldn't find it. It wasn't until then that I realized we had never had a DNF on any of the series yet. Unfortunately we didn't quite manage to keep that record until the end of the series.

The Welsh seem to love setting fire to vehicles and dumping them
Cascade at Nant Gau

We finished up with the two caches I mentioned earlier. The second was altogether better as it did have an interesting water cascade by the cache. We revisited the failed one as we had to double back, and found it finally. We had a diversion or two on the way back to Pen-y-Fan Pond, having to jump a couple of fences and streams, but we finally got back on track and were glad to see the pond again. I didn't mention earlier that the cache here involved finding a point which was a specific distance from other specified points. Basically you needed to do a bit of trigonometry to get an accurate location and I have to say the cache was at the exact coords we had worked out. It's always a relief on this sort of puzzle cache as you never know how accurate the setter has been, and if you've made a slip in you workings somewhere down the line.

Another great gay with 5 CC caches and two others thrown in for good measure. The Flying Boots did CC48 and put our new Are You Taking The Mickey? TB in it to encourage us to finish the series soon. Thanks guys!


The caching week wasn't over yet as Will, Bob and I went out on Saturday to clear up a few caches on the other side of the River Severn from us. We had a disastrous start with two DNF's. The first was a micro in a lane, and I just couldn't be bothered wasting time with this. It wasn't an interesting place and anybody can hide a micros in the countryside. I just don't get these at all. The second had disappeared. We found where it was meant to be and when we got home it had already been disabled. How frustrating. We bagged a trig on the way to the next cache as we all needed to stretch our legs and then we did Tump,in hidden here and In the Woods. A pair of nice caches, but for very different reasons. The first took us inside an ancient burial mound and then we had to slide sown a very steep slope through some woods onto a path which lead up to the second. Unfortunately we then had to walk along a busy road back to the car.

Will in inside the tump
Will slipping down the very steep slope

We keep having deja vu moments whilst geocaching. Next we set off for The Delkin and were forced to drive miles to find a shop for lunch. We'd done the exact same thing and traveled from Coaley to the same shop a few months ago. Should have packed a picnic really. The cache was a quick walk across a field and not that inspiring really. Next was a long drive to a new cache called Heart of Oak. We thought we'd spotted a likely hiding place on the way to the first micro as a large Oak tree stood in the middle of the field with plenty of hidey holes, but the final hide was rather less interesting. We had to walk through a ploughed field (after the listing had told us to be sure that we kept to the paths) to find the cache over a fence in a ditch.



Next up we had to drive some very steep and narrow roads on the way to the next cache. As we stopped to let a car pass in the other direction a man jumped out of the other car and started running down the road (we're in the middle of nowhere remember). Two other guys jumped out and started chasing him. Judging by the way he went up to the lady in the car in front of me first I think the other guys were looking after him - but very strange anyway. We next did The Best View, a cache we had mistakenly log months ago when we had done Cache with a View. The views were great, but I must confess we've been spoilt with the views back home and from the Brecon Beacons. Our final stop was to locate the cache for Unique Runic. This is our first 5/5, the most difficult of caches

View from Haresfield Beacon
In a pub garden in Longhope

It was a little flat as we'd had some help along the way. There are four clues hidden in four other caches throughout Gloucestershire. You need to stumble across one and it will tell you where the next is, but even when you've found all the clues the puzzle is an absolute killer. I'm pretty sure that one of the clues is now missing, so I don't expect many more people to complete this challenging cache.

We stopped at a pub in Longhope on the way home. I pass it every day and had never been in. I will never go in again!

This lovely sunny day would turn out to be the last of it's sort for quite some time.


3rd June 2007

I had some surgery on my nose on Thursday night so I can hopefully breath through my nose again and taste and smell. It meant being signed off sick for two weeks, but I'm allowed to go out walking. Happy days. I didn't go caching at the weekend despite the weather being brilliant due to the nose. It was really frustrating when Trees on the Rocks was published on Friday afternoon as I couldn't get the FTF despite it being my closest cache to home (1.6 miles) and not getting done until the next day. I could resist no further on Sunday afternoon and Will and I popped out for a quick caching fix. A great cache in a area of scowles, or ancient open face iron mines. This gave me a kick to set Pokémon Puzzle which is just down the road from it and requires the identification of 10 Pokémon.

A tree on a rock

Tan House, Newland

28th May 2007

We set a quick multi cache on Saturday. It was too wet to go caching, but a simple stroll round Newland taking in some of the impressive houses seemed to be a good idea to appeal to spouses who aren't cache mad like some of us. We managed to use one of the big containers I got from Moonherb recently. I hopefully checked the weather forecast on Sunday and to my amazement the Bank Holiday was forecast sunny in South Wales, despite heavy rain elsewhere, so we planned out assault of some more of Write & Mane's CC caches.


We revisited the Newport Transporter Bridge (see 4/3/2007) on our way and this time made the find easily despite the micro having been half eaten. Judging by the amount of rubbish around here it's almost certainly rats.

Next up was CC43 Mini Daddy Myth Plot, a puzzle that turned out not to be too hard though most finders haven't solved the puzzle, but have found the cache because of the hint and the fact the the cache name is an anagram of it's location. As we neared the cache we feared the worst. The cache was on the edge of land where the scrub had been burnt. Sure enough the cache had disintegrated and all that was left was a charred travel bug dog tag and chain

Will feeding the ducks at Caerphilly Castle

Caerphilly Castle gate

The purpose of the day was to crack CC29 Caerphilly Pictorial. 23 pictures of things in Caerphilly need to be located. There are no coordinated, you have to wander round and find them. We'd set aside most of the day for this, so there was plenty of time to feed the ducks, have a picnic in the park and just relax and enjoy the sunshine. After 3.5 hours we had found them all. As we were calculating the final coordinates / feed ducks again Mrs. Flying Boots strode up from a day on the local CC caches. We found the cache easily enough, bagged a nearby trigpoint and found another cache on the way home. All in all a great way to finish what had been a miserable Bank Holiday weekend.


19th May 2007

We had a rest from caching last week, which was lucky, as it rained for most of the weekend. This week I'd planned to revisit a section of the Raven Walk with Will and his bike to do a few more of the Caerphilly Collection by Write and Mane. This is a monster series of 50 caches across the borough. There are a few easyish caches, but on the whole they are pretty challenging, but thoroughly enjoyable and South Wales is a much better place to cache for them.

We had a nice easy amble along CC17 Sirhowy Valley Country Park and managed to start just after a couple of showers. The cache was by raven post 3, which I had missed back in March. I'm not surprised I missed it as the path up into the forest from the main cycle track is not marked at all. I wouldn't have noticed it this time if it hadn't been for the GPSr telling me to turn off. We returned to the car to drop off the bike and walked for the rest of the day as there were some very steep hills to negotiate. We started out on CC18 Waun Pen-y-garn gathering the clues from the first two stages before detouring off to find CC5 Twyn yr Oerfel. A lovely climb of 900' through fungi ridden forest.

Raven Post 3
Big woody fungi

The huge fungi shown had been broken, but the base was hard like plywood.

We had to stop on the way up to shelter from a heavy shower, but otherwise the weather was good. Once we'd eventually found the cache we finished the 900' climb to the top of Mynydd y Grug to bag the missing trigpoint. I know it's nuts, but I've covered this before! We set back on the trail of CC18 and enjoyed a beautiful walk along a puddle ridden path (we'd almost forgotten what they look like) down a gentle slope. After approaching 2 miles we arrived at the final stage of the cache before the cache itself. Unfortunately, not only had I walked past it in March, but it was 1.75 miles up hill and I couldn't ask Will to do that, especially as we had a good walk back to the car and another cache to do. So we headed back to the main trail to do CC35 Moon to Mosaic.


This was one of the easier ones. It led us away from the Sirhowy Valley Walk and into a housing area, but what a surprise. Several incredible huge mosaics under and next to a busy underpass. The photo here only shows half of the largest and most detailed mosaic and surprisingly almost no graffiti. The hide was in a clever little sanctuary near this location and with only our third find of the day we set off home.

We had a great day out and were really enthused to get on with the rest of the CC series, though we will be mixing them up with trips to the east too to make them last that bit longer. I don't know what we're going to do with ourselves once we've completed them as they are so much more interesting than the box in a hedge caches we so frequently come across elsewhere.

Moon to Mosaic