Geocaching and Trigpointing

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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

310 - 434  28/05/2007 - 05/08/2007

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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


23rd December 2007

We only had four caches planned, as that would take us to 600 finds. Usk has never been heavy on caches and every time one is archived a new one seems to pop up. It's as though there were a rule that says you can only have two caches there. Next we headed to a multi in Mahmilad. I'd been messing around with the PDA downloads that morning and had written the data relating to all caches with the word "lost" to the PDA instead of the few I actually wanted. We were very lucky that Cath was home and managed to relay the information we required. Next we parked up at Folly Tower to make a walk to Get Stoned on Garn Wen. We had a great walk, but needed another call home as, though we thought we could find the cache having seen the location on Memory Map, there were just too many hiding places without proper coords.

Get Stoned on Garn Wen
Above Big Pit

We parked at Big Pit in Blaenavon for number 600. A steep mountain climb at dusk to complete a great series of caches. We were the first to complete all ten caches - and without a single FTF. We could see the steam train below billowing smoke and the wind was bitter once we reached the summit. The views to Mynydd James were excellent and Will, Bob and I really enjoyed spending some quality time together. As with all of the series, the cache was very easy to find thanks to the accurate coordinates. We got caught in a bog or two, but that's all part of the fun. I'd passed the location last April when doing another cache by morgs4mountains, but it's a great place and it always adds a different perspective when you approach from another direction. We didn't need the head torch, but it was definitely getting very dark when we returned to the almost deserted coal mine. 600 caches down and time to turn a new page.


15th December 2007

Stroud is less than 20 miles from our home - for the crows anyway. Unfortunately there is the little issue of the River Severn. This means that the round trip is at least 80 miles and could include a toll charge at the Old Severn Bridge too. We'd pretty much cleared out this area in much earlier caching days, and despite coming back recently there were easily enough new caches here to last us two more trips. There's been a debate about Sidetracked caches recently. These are caches at railway stations. It just seems a easy option for people with no imagination to place these and our first cache did nothing to change my opinion. Some people don't seem to understand the difference between convenient caches and good caches. This was certainly NOT good.

Swan Lake Meningitis Trust
Getting dark on Over the Edge

My photos are my reminders of what happened during the day, and there was a very unusual lack of photos on this day. We scored two DNF's at Swan Lake and Toadsmoor Lake, though we enjoyed the caches anyway. The next three finds were so quick that they were over before they started. I sometimes feel that some placers just don't get the fact that a cache should be interesting, or possibly a challenge. We mopped up a few and then revisited Over The Edge, which we had messed up some time ago. This was indeed a proper cache. The views from the Topograph near Haresfield Hill were excellent and we found the cache by torch light. Other points of note were a cache in someone's back garden and a really badly explained puzzle cache, which wasn't listed as a puzzle, but turned out to be OK despite all attempts to sabotage it. We also grabbed an average trig. Not the most exciting of days really.


24th November 2007

Another late Friday evening spent in front of the computer looking at puzzles and planning routes. I was sure that I'd done some of Chaotica_UK's caches in the past, but must have mixed them up with Hugh Jampton's in my mind as they often cache together. His caches are mostly situated between Bristol and Bath. We arrived at our planned start point and it was pouring, so we went in search of petrol and on the way back it had stopped. As we were by CC10 Starbug's Starlight we went in search. Yet another case of wrong side of the stream. We decided to cross a dodgy fallen tree. I couldn't help thinking that the whole day would be wasted if we fell in now, but it all went well.

Industrail Art alongside the track
Riddle me Rodway

We went back to the parking place and got Will's bike out from the car. The idea was that he would ride and I would walk, though he ended up doing a fair bit of walking himself. He's a tall 9 year old, so I got a ride of the bike from time to time. It was weird sitting in an underpass to keep dry while we had lunch and I've had some spectacular lunch spots recently. This was not one of them. There were a clutch of micros, which really don't do a lot for me. The highlight of these was when we met The Evil Poles at a cache. They were great and even managed to find the cache for us, as it was easily the hardest of the micros.

A busy A-road runs along side much of the Bristol to Bath Railway cycle track, so it was pretty noisy in place, but we'll try most things for a change.

The final cache of the day was the real reason for coming here. CC13 Starbug's Spirits is a night time cache, and the first of these for us. We timed the walk to perfection, as it was just getting dark as we got back to the car. We dropped off the bike and put on our head torches. Once we were on the right side of the fence we found the micro very easily, then off through the undergrowth following reflective fire tacks. Chaotica_UK had given us his phone number just in case, and we needed it. I was embraced to find that I was sitting on the cache when I called him. If you do this one be sure to take a machete as the brambles are thick, even at this time of the year. Having said that we both agreed it was one of the most enjoyable semi-urban caches we have done in a long, long time. A shame the water fountain doesn't work
Talybont Reservoir

17th November 2007

I'd spent the previous weekend walking in the Brecon Beacons and this morning at Fan y Big, but I changed my route to cut out Pen y Fan and do A Cache With A View. The only downside was that this didn't leave enough time to visit the trigpoint at Pant-Y-Creigiau. We really enjoyed the walk and the new boots are doing great, though I must say they are harder on the souls of my feet than the Berghaus'. It's so nice to get back to having dry feet. The route was almost a straight line from the dam gradually leading up the hill. You really need to take a map as there are a couple of tricky double-backs required. They are only for a few yards, but are pretty critical to ending up without a hillside slog. The views were great and the cache couldn't have been easier to find.
I did some dull caches on the way from Gloucester to Bristol in the week. One was so bad I stayed in the car.


3rd November 2007

Yikes! I've let this page get a month out of date, but fortunately we haven't done a huge amount of caching, as it's mainly been walking recently. Once the autumn/winter comes along I seem to prefer to walk than cache. The idea of traveling a long way only to get a soaking doesn't really bother me, but it's not really fair on Will. Having said all that the weather was great this weekend. We headed to the Trowbridge area to find some puzzle caches I had been looking at the previous night. A couple of Gowenhouse puzzles proved to be pretty easy. p404 DVC has it's clue firmly in the cache title as you would expect, so it made me laugh when I read a log where someone had found the cache, but still didn't understand why the cache had the name.

Southwick Country Park
One of three pill boxes at Tellisford Wier

There were a few caches in and around Southwick Country Park. The park thing isn't really for us, but we enjoyed chatting to a few locals while Bob played with their dogs. We ended up on the wrong side of a stream only to find that we could have crossed a bridge later after jumping it. We enjoyed watching a hawk earlier, which was circling above us at a very low altitude. One of our favourite cache setters is Stonefisk. We especially love the puzzles. Forty Caches in 5 Minutes is a blast. He's taken the source code for Minesweeper and made it into a geocaching game. Brilliant. We picked up this cache on a nice little circular walk around the park and then moved on to another of his caches at Tellisford Weir, where there are three Pill Boxes, though we only found two of them. There was plenty to look at with the weir and a para glider, as well as the lovely countryside.


The light was fading as we got to Avoncliff Aqueduct. This was an excellent cache, obviously taking us over the aqueduct, then along the canal past narrow boats and several rowing boats where the crew had to stand up. We had to leave the canal and head up the hillside in the dark, but we had the head torch, so it was no problem. Being the Saturday before Bonfire Night we were treated to a display through the perfect darkness, looking down from the hill top. A great walk and great fun. We picked up our first (and maybe our last) Sidetracked cache. What a dull idea they are. Then we tried to find a cache near the river, but decided it was too dangerous in the dark so sat outside the lovely pub with a drink before setting off home. A great day's caching.

Standing up boats at dusk

28th October 2007

I had Friday off work and Will was on half-term break so we headed of to Cwmcarn to do a moderate walk. Merlin's Cache 4 is the penultimate cache in a series of 10 for us. The final cache uses data collected from the other nine caches. We knew where the cache was before we set out despite being a multi, but decided to do it as intended as it's all about the walk for us. We had a great 7 mile walk, which was all up hill but not at a difficult gradient, took us to the cache. The view is reputedly excellent, but I can't was it really did it for me. It certainly didn't match the views we've become accustomed to in the Black Mountains. Each to their own. It's nice when a cache is set by someone with a decent GPSr, as the coords are so much more accurate.


There was no easy circular walk so we zoomed back down the way we had come. The ferns are dying back now and the leaves turning brown, though most trees were ugly coniferous ones here.

We stopped to find another local cache after grabbing a drink and a sandwich from a local shop. Will made the find of a very small cache, which was almost a micro. We then went onto another cache at Ponthir, which we know quite well due to my sister-in-law living there for a number of years. The hide here was a bit odd as it was a large cache in some brambles in a couple of plastic bags. I was just cursing the person who'd dumped more bags in the countryside and went to pick them up to add to the collection we'd already gained when I realised they contained the cache. I'm not sure that this is a very good advert for geocaching. It's certainly not something I'm at all comfortable with. The Friday night traffic had been very heavy on the short stretch of M4 to here, so we decided to go home.


Sunday saw an 18 mile circular walk along Offa's Dyke Path from Brockweir via Chepstow and then back on the other side of the Wye along the Wye Valley Walk. This allowed us to complete one excellent cache (Piercefield Grotto) and set The Giant's Cave along the way. Read the cache listings for an overview of some very interesting history in the area. We revisited about 8 other caches along the route determining which geocoins a scumbag local cacher had stolen. A superb walk on a very wet, yet beautiful autumnal day.


21st October 2007

After planning another walk in the Black Mountains it was only at the last minute that I realised I would be walking past a cache. I've done a good section of this walk before (14/01/2007), but decided to do an 18 mile loop round Grwyne Fawr Reservoir taking in Bal Mawr, Rhos Dirion, Waun Fach and Crug Mawr trigpoints. I visited the later last week. Waun Fach is the highest peak in the Black Mountains at 2661 feet. The trigpoint is called Gwynydd Bach and is missing. All that is left is the concrete base which sits high above the boggy ground where it has eroded badly over the years. There are many fantastic views along this walk which I'll cover in more detail on my walking site. I got a new pair of boots on Friday, so having only walked 10 miles in them before this walk I ended up with a nice big blister with 10 miles to go. Lovely.


14th October 2007

We were going to have the weekend off caching, but after a productive day at home on Saturday I decided to get in a days walking with Bob. I’d long since plotted a route taking in Table Mountain, Sugar Loaf Mountain and Crug Mawr. Since then three caches had been placed at the three peaks. I parked up in Llanbedr at sunrise and walked the lanes before climbing the hillside on to Sugar Loaf. It was quite misty, which I knew would keep down the number of walkers, but I still wanted to do this one early as it can get very busy up here. Sugar Loaf and Pen y Fan are possibly the two busiest peaks in the Brecon Beacons. We arrived at the peak at 09:20 without a soul around. It was so different from every other time I have been there as it’s always been clear with wonderful views, but busy. It’s hard to know which is best as two of the most important factors for me are solitude and views.

Me on Sugar Loaf
Crug Mawr trigpoint in the mist

Sweet Mountain was our first mountain cache and it was a turning point for me. Since fighting our way up here 18 months ago with the rest of the family I have been up many of the hills in the Brecon Beacons and many of them on several occasions. I would miss them terribly now and hope to enjoy them for many years to come. After Sugar Loaf Bob and I descended into the lanes below and then tried to find a way up to Crug Mawr. There aren’t many ways onto this hill, especially from the south. After diverting through a couple of fields we picked up a track and were on our way. Every time I’ve visited Table Mountain I’ve looked up to this hill from the lanes below and thought how fabulous it looks, but today was my first visit. Although it was great walking, there was precious little to see due to the fog. I’ll be back again soon though to check out it's magnificent scenery.


As we arrived near the base of the mountain we took a wrong turn at an unsigned junction. Until now our route had been perfect. This added another mile and when we reached the base of Pen Allt Mawr I stupidly decided to head straight up the side of the hill rather than to take the route I had planned, which would have been two miles longer, but much simpler. We had a full mile with 1060 feet of ascent though think heather and ferns which were soaking from the overnight rain. This was the hardest climb I had ever done and I was exhausted at the top. Every couple of paces my ankle would be turned over and gravity would be trying to hurl me back down the hillside.

Approaching Table Mountain - nearly done

I got to the top and kissed the pile of stones which greeted us. I really must learn to stop improvising. The rest of the walk was as it should be. It was the hardest 19 mile walk I have done, but much of that was due to the last section. All three of the hills are at between 2000 feet and 2300 high. The total climb was 5,000 feet. We did not see one single walker all day long. Bliss.
On the walk back to the car I mulled over where to stop for a pint, as I was very thirsty, but we couldn’t find anywhere which allowed dogs in and I wasn’t going to leave Bob in the car after he’d been such a brilliant companion as always.


7th October 2007

It always feels strange for us to go to the Olchon Valley as it’s north-west of us, but despite almost living on the Welsh border this area is in England. We started with a few low level caches by the side of the Monnow and the Olchon Brook as well as a confused multi at Longtown Castle. I must say that this is an area that I could happily live in, though it is short on amenities. I only say this because, as with first time I was here I came with a very low supply of fuel. This is not a good idea in these parts. After another multi we got to the caches we really wanted to do. The Black Darren is just along the ridge from Hatteral Hill and on the other side of the ridge from Llanthony Priory. The cache is hidden in a precarious spot at the top of the Darren. It wouldn’t have been that tough had we gone up the right way, but we made it very difficult for ourselves.

Longtown Castle
The rock that nearly fell on me

I had to leave Will with Bob once we were almost at the top as it was too dangerous for him to circle the peak. I made the find, noticing the easy rout we should have taken, and had to climb back to Will as it was far too steep to let him go on his own. On the way down I held onto a huge stone for support only to find it was not joined to the rock base it was sitting on. The large rectangular block of stone came crashing down the steep slope behind me and I had no option but to slide down the slope to try to avoid it as I had visions of being crushed. It was all quite exciting in hindsight.


Another cache has been placed along the Cat’s Back. It’s a nice place to walk but I much prefer it when a cache takes you to a new place rather than just revisiting another caches location. We found this one without too much trouble and walked the route for the forth time in just over a year. Finally we had planned to do The Olchon Trout, but as the cache is disabled due to not having a log book we didn’t have the cords with us. This was a real shame as we’d been looking forward to this challenge. It looks like the cache is hidden in the river and it’s reasonably deep, well too deep for wellies anyway. As we were on petrol fumes we resigned ourselves to leaving the cache and visiting again another day. There was no petrol until Abergavenny as the station next door to the Skirrid Inn was shut despite it being 15:45 on a Sautrday. Will training for the SAS on The Cat's Back
Nottingham Hill

30th September 2007

After a week being stuck in the office, I went out on Friday lunchtime for a walk up Nottingham Hill. The cache was easy enough and made for a very pleasant circular walk with some great views. I particularly liked the pile of stones which marked the summit and I'd seen these last week from Cleeve Hill, though I couldn't make out what the distant object was then. On the way home from work on Friday I picked up a Motorway Mayhem cache by the M50. These are caches which are designed to break up a car journey, rather than be particularly interesting.

On Saturday I did a walk via Between a Rock and a Hard Place as I wanted to rescue the Weis Family's TB, which I'd left there quite a while ago. Coincidentally it had recently been taken, but not logged on line.



I didn't get to plan where we were going until well into Saturday evening. I usually export all caches within 60 miles of us from GSAK and import them into Memory Map. I then pick an area we haven't been to for a while and try and find an interesting group of caches. Ebenezer's Lunchbox was the one that attracted me to an area just east of Weston-Super-Mare. The well crafted listing is well worth reading to see how it should be done. I'd also spotted a series of three Sonic the Hedgehog puzzle caches and ended up staying up later than I intended to crack the locations. After finding Ebenexer's Lunchbox we carried on walking up to Crooks Peak to find two more and enjoyed some pleasant views with one or two hills on the generally flat countryside. The hill was busy with runners, walkers and model plane flyers.

Climbing Crooks Peak
Weston-Super-Mare pier

All the caches throughout the day were great and we only had to use the car twice to find eleven caches. The afternoon was a great little trail which ended up with me being caught out by a muggle who owner the land on which the cahe I was holding had been place. He asked me what I was doing. When I told him I was on a treasure hunt he was fine. As Cath was on night shifts, Will and I went into Weston for some food. The chips were excellent, though it does bug me that Will would rather have a burger from that place. Will had an ice cream and a few bob in the amusement arcade at the end of the pier and we all enjoyed a stroll along the sea front. It's a shame that there aren't more caches here as we cleared them out in a day a while back.

All the caches (bar one) had proper hides. By that I mean they weren't just behind a tree with sticks piled up on top of them. Stick-o-flage is becoming my top dislike when caching. It's just a lazy hide for those who can't be bothered to find a real hiding place. All of these were hidden, but still easy to find. This had to be one of our most enjoyable caching days for a while.


22nd September 2007

Having moved offices to Bishop's Cleeve I now have a bunch of caches near my work which need to be found. Cleeve Hill is outside my window and although the journey is a nightmare it's a much nicer place than Barnwood. I popped up the hill a few times during the week to find four caches. I also bagged a couple of trigpoints. It's a nice hill for the area, but it's too built up for my liking. Cleeve Hill trigpoint was a major disappointment. I find it a real shame that casual triggers always seem to give ridiculously high scores to their local trigs. Someone had given this a 10! The only view from the trig is of a mast. Because it's near a built up area and access is easy it gets a large number of visits, which totally invalidate the scoring system. The Ring trigpoint was much nicer, despite being in the middle of a golf course. I picked up another cache on the way home from work on Friday night.

Bishop's Cleeve
White Horse

We went just south of Swindon on Sunday to do some RoobyDoo caches as Keith is a friend I work with. Where Are You? was probably the best of the bunch, though they were all good. This took us up one of the many local white horses. I wished I'd worn thicker trousers as the nettles were everywhere. The day was a little overcast, but it was fine for September. We managed to link a pair of caches at Chalk & Cheese, as we really aren't keen on the drive, cache, drive, cache thing. This is, apparently, where the phrase came from, due to the chalky hills and the extensive dairy farming below. Will brought a chunck of chalk home. These sort of things never get looked at again, but it's all part of the day and it's pretty educational too.


We found another massively over-rated trigpoint at the side of a road and had to avoid showers later on in the day whilst at Clouts Wood. There's been an event here recently, so a cache had been added for that and another one for Little Quest which is a new national series with a cache in each county leading to a final puzzle location somewhere in the UK. I had to do a quick dash at the penultimate cache as it was raining so hard, but it stopped, allowing up a gentle stroll by a short section of refurbished canal which was bright green on the surface due to the inactivity in the water. The heavens then opened wide and we decided to call it a day for another week. The Sunday evening traffic was getting heavy on the M4 heading towards London. I used to play that game, but not any more. It sucks!

Will on Chalk & Cheese
It was a bit dark when we placed the cache over Valley Brook

15th September 2007

Will and I went out for a Friday evening walk along Coxbury and Wyegate Lane. It's an ancient pathway which was once a trade route from St. Briavels to Monmouth. We had planned putting a cache on Offa's Dyke Path as there's a section here which isn't of FC land, but we went to C&W Lane as there are some great views over Valley Brook and the Wye Valley. We love the high banked section through the woods too. Sid joined the rest of us to make a circular walk via ODP. He really enjoys the walk and I only had to man-handle him over a couple of stiles.
On Saturday we headed west to do a single cache. Oaks 'n' Apples was a pleasant enough stroll through some of Bulmer's apple orchards. I bet not many people know they have so many in Wales.


We had to contend with muggles workmen laying a stone track right next to the cache, but we managed to extract it without attracting too much attention I think. Our main reason for coming to this area was to place three caches which I had planned during the Three Castles Walk a few weeks ago. There was one cache for each leg of the journey. Two were at wonderful viewpoints and the other near Traveller's Seat. The climb above Grosmont is reasonably tough for a 9 year old and as we'd hust climber 400' to place the previous cache I took Will to visit the ladies in the shop by Skenfrith Castle for an ice cold drink and some sweets. We were going to go caching on Sunday, but I gave him a day off for good behaviour and we went for an excellent walk up to The Narth instead... and we spotted two excellent cache locations on a 7 mile walk with plenty of climbs. Not bad considering we just popped out for an hour. OK it ended up being 4 hours by the time we'd visited the pub for refreshments. A great weekend again.

View from Graig Syfyrddin

Old Severn Bridge from Almondsbury Hill

9th September 2007

I was doing a DR (disaster recovery) test in Bradley Stoke, Bristol on Friday and finished early enough to bag a couple of caches. At the second of the day I was greeted by a man with two dogs. We were both holding GPSr's. It was the infamous valliantknight, or Jerry as I now know him. We had a good chat whilst picking off a simple find and decided to convoy to another local cache. It's great to compare notes with someone who's logs you've seen since day one. VK is a bit of an FTF hound and I recall him bagging the FTF on a local cache to me the first week we started this hobby.


On Sunday the terrible three crossed the Old Severn Bridge and headed another 15 miles east. The first of the day was a nice cache called The Archangel & The Monk. No sooner had we got out of the car than we were greeted by the sound of a gaggle of geese. These birds are really impressive in flight. I had been disappointed to miss a great photo opportunity when we were in Cornwall and a gaggle flew very close over our heads whilst walking a cliff top path, so I whipped the camera out and recorded the moment this time.
We thought a cacher was on site, but it turned out to be a voluntary worker in the wildlife sanctuary at Winterbourne who was using a map to try and locate nesting boxes. How strange that we were both searching for something in such a relatively remote spot. Nice chap though. We did a series of Toy Box caches and quite a few multis. Some of the landscape reminded me very much of home. The rocky limestone wooded areas and the arched viaducts, though these were still in use here.

A gaggle of Geese
Chepstow cliffs

The last couple were interesting. We found one of The Blorenges caches in a park, which gave us a chance to get an ice cream on such a warm day. It also allowed Bob to get very muddy in a pond. A passing local lady remarked how this particular pond was the only filthy one around! Typical. There was a great kids play area, but this was dominated by over aged kids, so Will didn't stay long. The last cache of the day was an odd experience. Two girls came and sat down right next to us as we were writing the log. It may not sound odd, but we were amongst the undergrowth, right off the beaten track. They just wouldn't leave, so we decided to take the cache with us and hide it elsewhere. I took the coords and a photo of the location and contacted the owner - who has yet to respond.
Will and I stopped for a well earned drink at The Boat Inn in Chepstow. We love the view from the riverside. Will commented about investigating the cave you can see on the other side. Maybe one day, but we'd need a boat.


1st September 2007

The Shropshire Event is an annual caching and camping event which travels around the country. So, as odd as it may seem, it was held near Boughton on the Water, in Gloucestershire this year. We couldn't justify camping, so we attended as day visitors. It was great to see so many people that we had met for the first time at the South Wales event earlier in the year. After saying hello to everyone we went off to do a couple of caches on our own and then met up with The Royles to walk the Philosopher's Stone series. This consisted of 13 caches over 4 miles. We were joined by Team Phoebe after a couple of caches and a great time was had by all 5 adults, 5 kids and 2 dogs. There were more cachers at every turn. It was quite a surreal experience as it's normally quite a solitary pastime.

Will, Bob and I left the others to do some of the local caches which hadn't just been set up for the event. We bumped into the same group of three cachers at several caches until it became almost embarrassing. Unfortunately my Canon A80 decided to give up the ghost after 3.5 years of heavy use. It's been a great camera, so when I got home I did some investigation into the new Canon A-series models. I did contemplate the S3 with it's x12 zoom, but the most important thing for me is that the camera is small enough so that I'll always take it with me. I went for the Canon A710 IS. It doesn't have the flip and fold screen that I love so much, but it's 7.1 MP and a x6 optical zoom. As with the previous model the lens is great, picture quality superb and all settings can be adjusted manually. The screen has been enlarged considerably too. A great deal on eBay was delivered a couple of days later. I also managed to get a replacement Palm m505 for £11.50, which was way less than they had been going for. Caching without a camera and a PDA is something I don't want to do for very long. Sorry that there are no pictures this week, especially with all the folk we met, but now you know why.

We went back to the camp site before setting off home and met the hosts, who were charming, as well as saying goodbye to everyone else we knew. We'd smashed our single day caching record with a total of 21 without really doing a great deal. We also managed to pass the 500 finds milestone for our quickest 100 yet.


26th August 2007

After a 22 mile walk the previous day, Bob and I were joined by Will for a visit to the Malverns. The T-girls have a new series of caches around the area based on Edward Elgar, who lived his life in the area. We stopped off at Mordiford to pick up a couple of caches pretty much out on a limb. EE6 and another new one, which was still to be logged when we got there. The two allowed for a pleasant walk round the Mordiford Loop. After such a hopeless summer it was strange to be glad of the shade from the trees on this walk. The second cache was right next to Backbury Hill trig point. This was a bit different as it's a maze of brambles to get to the trig, but Topo lead us straight there.

Will and Bob near EE5
Pleased to meet you, Ed

The next cache we did (Kalata's Birthday Surprise) was interesting as we discovered a lovely arched monument in the middle of a wood, which had a bat hanging from it.

We met some Babatrek at the next cache. I mention this as we met a lot of cachers over the next couple of weeks, and it's usually a pretty uncommon occurrence. We had some lovely walks on a wonderful and sunny day, though nowhere near as hot as it was last year when we came here.

My PDA had died just before we left the house. As a consequence I printed the multi caches only (and the hints via GSAK) and relied on the GPSr coordinates for everything else. This would have been fine if it had not been for a Letterbox cache which was also an offset. We looked for ages in a bush by Elgar's birthplace. How frustrating.

We stopped on the way home at the flooded Gullet Quarry for a couple of caches. The site was loaded with hundreds of eastern Europeans. I think some sort of festival must have been going on.

I couldn't resist this road name

19th August 2007

We'd planned a trip to the Lake District again, but the weather forecast was so bad that we had to change plans at the last minute. The New Forest seemed the best option for good weather, but even there it wasn't great by any standards. So we traded lakes for ponies and hills for... well, flatness. We headed down on Saturday while the sun was out. It's only 100 miles away, but the roads are lousy and it took us 5 hours to get there and find a camp site that wasn't booked up. We stayed at Hurst View campsite, which I would most definitely NOT recommend. The toilet facilities were abysmal and the late night noise was very antisocial. Will reckoned that Hurst must be a local word for field or hedge, as that's as far a the view went.

New Forest ponies
Bob with a tick above the eye

Last week it was adders in the grass and this week it was ticks. This area is riddled with them, so be careful. After one had broken off in Bob we were given a little pronged device which unscrews them. It worked just fine. Check it out at your vets if you're planning heading this direction.

Our best trip of the break was to Hurst Castle and the lighthouse. The castle is not very interesting, but the walk along the pebbled pathway for over a mile into the sea is excellent. It was hard walking though and of course it was very blustery. It made for an unusually good micro cache. The picture is of Bob by the castle with the Isle of Wight remarkably close by.



The most fun cache we did was one called Higher or Lower. This was a great father / son cache as the hide required Will to climb up on my shoulders. When I was on tip-toes he just managed to retrieve the cache. Very different and lots of fun. There were a bunch pretty lame micros which we certainly didn't seek out, but stopped at when we passed one and a few nice multi caches taking us to the beach or through blackberry filled bridlepaths, forests and moors. It's a bit flat for us and the rain arrived in buckets full on Monday night after only three days. We packed up and went to visit family in Waltham Chase. After a really nice evening we headed to Wokingham to show Will where he spent his first 2.5 years of life

On the way to Hurst Castle
Will with a geocoin  near Ludgrove

We were very fortunate to live near the only really nice long walk in the area. From our house we could go straight out to Ludgrove School where Prince Harry and William were at the time and on to Bracknell Forest. It's a bit of a pine tree forest, but the best the area has by far. We retraced our regular walk and found Who'd a tho't it?, a tribute to a pub we used to go to with Will, which has since sadly been bull dozered. As we walked around the town to see what had changed (which was surprisingly little) we were reminded of why we had moved away seven years ago. It's a lovely town, but the traffic is chaotic and although the avenues give a leafy impression, that's all it is. Behind the facade are more houses, then yet more houses - all at ridiculous prices. We stopped to treat Will to pizza, then home to start eating some healthier food again! Let's hope we have a summer next year.


On Friday Bob and I took the opportunity to get out on our own in the mountains. The first three caches in a series of ten were out and looked just right for a days caching and walking. Merlin's Cache 3 was a pretty easy multi on the Blorenge. Funilly enough I had the first part of the information required thanks to a photo I had taken on a previous visit. It didn't help though and was far outweighed by keying in the coordinates incorrectly to the GPSr. I spent much longer here than I needed to, but who cares? It's a fabulous place. We next went to do a cache by The Blorenges which we'd been meaning to do for ages. Reservoir Sheep is an excellent cache in a beautiful valley by Cwmtillery Reservoir.

Reservoir Dog

We then parked at Cwm and walked a good few miles in a figure of eight up two very steep hills taking in the other 2 of Merlin's caches. It's a bit industrialised here, but once you're up top most of the noise and bad views are cut out and it's a great place. We had some very tough ascent with no paths and 7 foot high ferns, but this is how we like to spend our time - on top of hills and mountains enjoying the views, the solitide, the peace and the satisfaction of knowing it's all good healthy stuff. Bob absolutley loves it. I didn't measure it (or work it out when we got home), but I would reckon we did at least 13 miles with 1,400 feet of ascent. Not earth shattering, but the asthma was playing up, so it was OK.