Geocaching and Trigpointing

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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.

Our Geocaching Diary


13th September 2008 Cotswold Lions

I'll document last weekends walk on my walking blog page, as although the end target was a cache, it was really a walking day. Today we headed in the direction of Bourton-on-the-Water to do a Wrighty series. We'd been here for the Shrops Event last year, so knew something of the area. I had earmarked the walk as a good one to do with Will when it was placed, as it's about 8 miles. We added to it a bit by doing an additional 7 caches, but the weather is better is September than it has been all summer. Not that it's brilliant now. The day had started with a very pleasant multi at the village of Notgrove. A lovely pig lived in the garden next to the church. After another multi and a traditional cache we set about the series, which went off without any real problems. We forgot to collect a clue which was required for the bonus cache, but still managed to find it despite this minor set back. All the cows we came across were very placid despite being with young and only one cache took some real searching, although we did make rather hard work of another one too. I must be the only cacher who actually likes hills. When we did Another Bloomin Hill I was actually disappointed at the diminutive hill.


Stile or diving board?

You see the great thing about hills is that they give great vantage points, they give a sense of achievement and they keep the masses away, so they're quiet and unspoiled. It was the recently ploughed field here that would keep the masses away.

We had a lovely walk, even managing the bonus cache despite forgetting to pick up one of the pieces of information on the way round. When we'd finished we did a few more caches nearby, which included Diamond Dogs. On the way we saw a Heron and some unusual cows who's horns almost formed a perfect circle.

Will is standing on a stile on the way to the cache. Considering it's been relatively dry for the last week it just shows how much rain we've had over the last 2 months.

The tree photo was taken by The Cotswold Loins(4). It looks like an excellent hiding place, but it's not in there.

The perfect hiding place - it's not in there though.

30th August 2008 Cerney Wick Event

We had planned to stop off at the gFAB event near Burton-on-Trent on our way back from the Lake District, but now we had a chance to visit RoobyDoo's first event. We had to go via Gloucester to pick up the last of our belongings from our departed Ford Focus, so we ended up being a bit late. I wasn't really that bothered about caching as I've been here before and Will was having a great time with some kids of his own age for a change, so I enjoyed a drink and a chat with some of the attendees.

The downside of events is that you don't have the info in the GPSr so you either key it all in (those days are long since gone) or you walk round with others who have already keyed the data in. Having said this we had a fabulous afternoon / early evening (again) wandering around some flooded quarries. It was much like the previous day as the road noise was also evident, but no high rise flats this time. Ailec Nor have ventured from Trowbridge into our neck of the woods a couple of times. We noticed them because they like to cache the same way that we do, that is to link up a few caches and have a full day walking a good few miles. Wilburii (who I hadn't previously met) completed our small group and we all enjoyed chatting about caching and walking on a warm and humid day.

Wilburii and Ailec Nor
Kissing gate

One funny incident was when Celia let it slip that she and Ron always kiss at a kissing gate. Kissing is not something that ten year old boys are particularly in favour of, so Will showed his disapproval accordingly. After several caches (and revisiting a couple that we had found on a previous visit) the walk took us back to the pub where the event had been hosted. Unfortunately the pub had been closed so we headed off to grab a few more caches before returning for a quick drink and a chat with some other cachers before heading home.

Ailec Nor had recently done the Chiltern Hundred. This is a new series of over 100 caches that can be completed in a 20 mile walk. This seems to be the way that geocaching is going in the UK. I'm not convinced a cache every 0.2 miles is a good thing, but for novelty value I will certainly be giving it a go. It may have to wait until next summer now so that there's enough daylight as it's a long drive to get there, but as far as I'm concerned, it must be finished in a single day.


29th August 2008 Coventry (Middle England Series)

Having smashed my car up I needed to buy a car before the courtesy car went back, so I decided to treat Cath and get here a new car, meaning I would have to make do with the 307. A rare chance for a lovely MG TF Spark came up, so we drove to Coventry to view/buy it. This is an expensive way to get an afternoons caching, but needs must. At 15:30 Bob and I left the others to head back home while we pursued a series of 13 caches. The surroundings were quite different from what we are used to. Firstly it was very flat. There were a lot of wheat fields, not particularly unusual, but then you'd see a high rise block of flats in the background and a huge passenger plane flying low overhead. The Friday rush hour road nose was building up too. Having said that, it was a well planned series considering the available surroundings. I had problems at a couple of caches with people hanging about. Half way round the walk we stopped on a village green to work out where two multi caches would take us. After a good 30 minutes of work I determined that both would take us too far off course to be considered. The next cache had two lads playing by a stream. I knew the cache was by the bridge, but they were so happy petting Bob that I couldn't get a chance to search. Eventually they went on their way only for us to be caught up by a group of adults we had passed some time back.

MG TF Spark
Berkswell church

The next cache was the bonus. Although the series had a specific starting point, you could approach the walk in either direction as a set of clues were held in caches 1-6 and another in 8-13, so by the time you reached the mid way point you had all the information you needed. All the caches had very easy to find up until this point, but the bonus was a nightmare. There were quite a few DNFs, but we were determined not to be defeated. After at least 30 minutes and finding 2 brilliant hiding places (neither being the right one) we eventually found the cache at least 60' out. The laugh was that the coords were in a thicket while the cache was just outside it making a far easier find. The later section was though a quarry area, which was mostly disused. I laughed at all the signed warning of dangerous water when there was none at all despite the relentless rain this summer. The rest of the caches were all found without a hitch and with a quick stop on the way home near Ross-On-Wye we picked up a roadside cache that's been bugging me for ages. I didn't really want to even bother with it, but it's probably something to with an OCD that means I just can't leave it!


27th August 2008 Poynton, Cheshire and Lakeland

We put off going until the Sunday as the weather was poor again. We were heading to Poynton where I lived when I was Will's age. We stopped off to take a look at Jodrell Bank and then got embroidered in a car accident. Great. To be honest the roads were like ice and the police told us they were constantly coming out to this spot because of accidents. We spent the next few hours getting to Manchester Airport to hire a car as everywhere else was shut being a Bank Holiday Sunday. With everything crammed into a Peugeot 207 sorted we were determined not to let it ruin our trip. We found a campsite up in Higher Poynton. The owner wasn't going to take campers as the ground was so waterlogged, but they were very friendly and kindly obliged us. The pop-up tent too about 5 minutes to set up, then we set off to do the one cache we really wanted to do here. Poynton's Industrial Past is a great walk around this large village with it's coal mining history. It was a real trip down memory lane for me as we used to play in many of the locations when I was a kid. Will loved the stories of how I crashed my skateboard into that wall and ended up in someone's front garden, or a friend crashed his bike there and ended up unconscious by that brook. We did a lot of crashing then.

The Macclesfield Canal
Some things haven't changed. Another great part of the cache was when Will was waiting with Bob outside a pub by the canal for me to get the drinks. I recalled the exact same scenario with my dad when I was his age.
Lyme Park

After taking 5 hours to do one cache we headed a couple of miles down the road to Lyme Park on the edge of the Peak District. We used to walk our Golden Lab here on Sunday mornings. It's a fab place, which we never fully appreciated when we were kids. In a strange coincidence I picked up a geocoin which my friend RoobyDoo had left as the last visitor. Strange because it is so far from home and we work together.

We drove up through Manchester as we knew it would be quiet on a Bank Holiday and Will wanted to see Old Trafford. After a couple of caches in the area we headed up to Cumbria. As we crossed the boundary the heavens opened and it didn't stop again until we left. We sought refuge in a pub and had a great lunch then headed to Buttermere. I wanted to go there for no better reason than that when I lived in Poynton we had a narrow boat called Buttermere. We found a campsite on the banks of the lake and set up in the quagmire. The owner thought we were a bit mad, but when you've put a trip off three times and you have booked holiday each time you have to try to enjoy it. We had an early night watching movies on the PDA as it didn't stop raining.



The next morning we set off in the rain on one of several routes I had planned on Memory Map. This took us round the lake, but with a few detours. A very short walk from our tent took us to the edge of the lake. A large piece of rock would have stopped walkers from keeping to the lake side so a walkway had been tunnelled through it. There was also a very nice hide in the tunnel called Light at the end of the Tunnel. As we walked round the lake we spotted a white cross high up on the hillside. I said to Will "That's where I'd put a cache". Fortunately someone else had had exactly the same idea, so off we went to View a cross Buttermere. It turned out to be a memorial and collection box for the Mountain Rescue team. The first detour was up to the cross, then to Hay Stacks (almost) which was Alfred Wainwright's favourite spot in the lakes, in fact he had is ashes dispersed here. Then we visited the site of two mountain rescue fatalities where Will spent 45 minutes in the rain trying to stroke a sheep which moved away every time he got within 3 feet. Then a couple of waterfalls and then a quaint river.

By the time we were 3/4 of the way around the lake we arrived at The Fish Hotel and a café. We sat in the light rain with a mug of tea and a scone (dogs aren't allowed inside in any of these establishments) and the birds were taking crumbs from our hands. The next cache turned out to be a roadside micro, so we made a stand and walked on by. I just don't get the point - especially in such a beautiful place.

I have to say that most of the walk was way too busy for my taste. Towards the end we joked how we were getting sore throats from having to say hello to so many people. I dread to think what it's like when the weather's good.

Tunnel by Buttermere
Mountain Rescue over Buttermere

We went to Cockermouth in the afternoon and then stopped at a pub to kill some time on the way back. Our evenings were spent in the tent with Will watching The Simpsons and Futurama on the PDA. The next morning it was pouring again and despite Bob being the model dog to take on a trip like this it was still miserable with the three of us in such a small tent with a quagmire outside. We decided we would go home the next morning if the weather hadn't improved. It hadn't. In fact it was much worse. We packed up the tent in the pouring rain, paid for a shower, got clean clothes and dry shoes on. It felt great. Then we headed to Kendal as Will wanted to see some puzzle museum, which was pretty poor. We also had a full English at a Café.

The trip home was a long one and we had intended to stop somewhere to get in some walking and caching, but it never happened. So, 500+ miles a smashed car, a large bill from Avis and 16 caches later we arrived home. I promised Will that I will not go camping again until we are 100% sure that the weather is going to be good and dry.


10th August 2008 Our first hosted Event

After visiting the Maize Maze in Blaisdon and using the GPSr to get round we headed to Cherry Orchard Farm in Newland to welcome the early arrivals to our first Geocaching event which we were organising with The Flying Boots under the name of The Flying SidAndBobs. We spent the afternoon and evening chatting to the early arrivals. Some we knew already, but it was great to meet so many new caching faces. We rounded off the day sitting with some eventing regulars for a quiet chat with a glass of wine and a fire under a gazebo. Unfortunately I didn't take any photos, but you can see some on the event page for The Wye Valley and Forest of Dean Camping Event.

We handed out 9 new listings in the morning, which included our first Earthcache. An Earthcache is a non-physical cache which takes you to a site of educational value and gets you to explore it. Our cache is at the wonderful Symonds Yat Rock. The cachers headed off to find the caches braving the rain. In the meantime we sat in the tent greeting new arrivals. Some cachers travelled a long way just to show their faces, which was really appreciated. In fact, I don’t think there was a moment all day long where we were left on our own. A few people popped in on their way back from the Mega Event in Harrogate and a family came from Holland.
On Sunday we accompanied The Squirrellys to our Looking for Linda cache. This is our favourite cache and it’s logs show how much it's enjoyed. Despite all the recent rain the cave was dry. The funny thing was that our visitors were a little disappointed by this fact, which made us laugh. They had brough wellies and all sorts with them. It was great to do it in such good company.

Next year it looks like the Mega Event is being organised for this weekend and it will be in Bristol. We will have our event one week after it again and with all of the good publicity it’s received and the ME attenders being so close by it should be a far bigger affair. We will definitely need a larger venue in 2009.


7th August 2008 Blaisdon

Another new local cache and the forth FTF in two days. What's going on? We parked a few miles south at Flaxley and made an afternoon of it. The OS marked paths are often non-existant, so we walked much of the route on roads. It was very unusual to find a RoW through a door on the gatehouse at Blaisdon. This led us to the church where we were invited to listen to some bell ringers. We declined (as they ring in our village every Friday) saying we would listen from up on the hill. The cache was a simple find with nice views. We then continued through some very muddy forest with real drainage problems back via our Sleep Well Old Friend cache getting caught in a huge shower along the way. It was so heavy that we had to take shelter until it blew over. At our cache some wasps had built a nest and I managed to get stung as I retieved the cache. The pain was more than I remembered it to be from my childhood and by thumb swelled up badly for a good few days. We resited the cache, though it's a shame as we loved the old hiding place. The cache had been found by some local kids, who had inadvertantly taken the TB not knowing what it was. They had left some sweets in it's place, which was nice of them. The next day we came back to the area to try out the pub in Blaisdon, which was good.

Blaisdon Gatehouse
Bigsweir bridge from Coxbury & Wyegate Lane

6th August 2008 Newland and Clearwell

After a couple of days of being stuck in the house things brightened up slightly on Wednesday. Three new caches had appeared very near our house in preparation for the event, so I plotted a route from Newland to Clearwell, up to Coxbury and Wyegate Lane on the way to Redbrook and then back home via Valley Brook. There is no direct path to Clearwell without going on the roads, so we detoured quite a bit. They were all paths we’ve walked many times, but at least it got us out of the house.

The first of the trio was in Newland itself, so was our nearest to home find ever. After finding the second we checked up on our yet to be released Clearwell Splash 'n' Dash cache (removing some easy stepping stones) and then stopped at the Wyndham Arms for a drink. I had promised Will, we'd stop as it was so humid. After a quick check on another of our caches we headed up to A Better Offa, which surprisingly isn't on Offa's Dyke Path.


On checking up on another of our caches nearby we were amazed to find we had to be very cautious as there were farmers standing close to the cache. I only comment on this because the cache is so remote that this scenario must be 1,000:1 against. We returned home via Valley Brook, which is one of my favourite walks in the area. We may yet place a trail of caches down here for the 2009 event if it happens. The countryside is spectacular in the summer as it's so lush and green with lakes, a stream, the valley and Buzzards circling above.

Will above Valley Brook
Trevose Head

3rd August 2008 Cornwall

This was the weekend of the first UK Mega Event, but to be honest it did not inspire us at all so we decided to try for Land’s End instead. We took the scenic route along the north coast, mainly because the M5 was so bad. This is a slow route which meant we didn’t make Cornwall until mid afternoon. We did Hele Valley Trail as a break from the journey, which was lovely, and then checked into a campsite near St. Merryn. As it rained all evening we sat under cover near a bar and had a couple of drinks to aid the sleeping process before getting an early night. We don't often stop at this sort of a campsite with pool, bar etc, but it was very nice. The next morning we had the pop-up tent packed away in minutes and then headed towards Trevose Head for a few coastal caches. The first was supposed to be a multi, but when we got there we found it was a puzzle cache which required you to have been to eight other caches. I hate it when caches don't get categorised correctly. We searched for ages for the next cache, which turned out to be missing. This was not going well at all. I just keep telling myself not to search for too long as it's all about enjoying the location.


We enjoyed the walk past Padstow RNLI and along to Big Guns Cove. We even tried to find the multi from earlier on using the hint. I think we were very, very close, but couldn't quite find it. We rushed off to Tesco’s for a baguette and some cheese as we hadn’t eaten for 24 hrs. It then rained solidly for the rest of the day, so all we managed was a couple of short caches. We had a nice cliff top walk at Devil’s Mouth, but were unable to find the micro which was near a cliff edge and as the grass was so wet and slippery we decided to be sensible and give it up. When we got home we found the cache had been archived. At least all of our many failures were accounted for. We had just been very unlucky. We had almost made it to Land's End by the time we decided that it was futile staying.

Padstow RNLI
Trevose Head Lighthouse

We checked the weather forecast for the next few days, as this was our first trip with 3G access, and found the forecast had deteriorated further, so headed despondently home. 3G is great, but the Cornish coast isn't the best place in the world to pick up a signal. Geocaching users can use the WAP site at

At least we had booked out trip to Florida the previous week, so we should get some sunshine at some stage this year!
Finally we had to find a roadside cache to dump the geocoins and TB’s we had brought with us so as not to take them back home again.

450 miles and 7 caches. Another camping flop in a summer I can't wait to forget.


27th July 2008 Ross-on-Wye and Barry

After another day spent planning / placing caches we drove up to Ross on Wye for an evening stroll in some rare sunshine. 2008 must have been the wettest summer on record - and 2007 took some beating. We took a stroll down the disused railway, which has been converted to a cycle track. After finding the cache were headed up to the trig at Chase Hill flushing out a badger along the way that nearly knocked me over. The steep climb proved too much for Sid, so we returned to the easy path. Here we met a lady walking her cat. It was obviously very used to people and dogs as it brushed up against us and Sid and Bob while we made a fuss of it.

On Sunday we drove to Tiger Bay only to find there was some road race taking place closing off many roads and the tunnel. This was really frustrating, as last time we came here a year ago it was a Saturday and we couldn’t believe how quiet it was. We just drove any direction we could to get out of the traffic and after an hour we eventually made it.

Evening sun on a hay field near Ross on Wye
About to crash

The problem with this was that we hadn’t researched any of the caches, though it also highlights how useful paperless caching is. Most of the caches were a little disappointing. The worst being a multi that we later found hadn’t been logged for a year and no maintenance had been done despite three DNF’s being logged. After spending an hour on the cache we found that it had obviously been missing all this time.

The most entertaining part of the day was watching two sailing dingys collide whilst racing. The language from one of the crews was a little lively, to say the least. I found a couple of micros while Will used his time more productively building sand castles and digging holes in the pebble littered beach. He always loves being at the seaside. I love it too, though I prefer the rugged, secluded cliff top walks to the beaches. Ice creams are always a necessary part of the plan anyway. Bob loves to play in the sea too, so everyone was more than happy.

It's a long drive home and by the time we got back geocaching was far from our minds, but with only a week to go before a weeks holiday it would soon resurface.


19th July 2008 Kennet and Avon Canal

It was a bit of a trek to the Kennet and Avon canal between Trowbridge and Melksham, but we were keen to do a new series belonging to Ailec Nor as they have made the trip from Trowbridge to walk in our area and visit many of our caches. We found all but one of the 13 caches in the series, which turned out to have gone missing. We also bumped into Scott&Sam from Gloucester along the way. In fact Sam works for the same company as myself. The final part of the series involved using the information in the other 12 caches to work out a Sudoku puzzle to identify the location of the final cache. This was very difficult with a part missing, especially as I don't ever do Sudoku grids.

After the series we headed off to find another cache along the canal only to find we were on the wrong side of the canal. There was a swing bridge by the cache, which was of course open and on the wrong side of the canal. We headed back to the last lock to cross, but I was unhappy for Bob to follow, as a fall from the gate could be fatal. Bob followed on the opposite side of the canal until we were forced from his view, then he ran back to the lock only to appear dripping wet. I really hope he decided to swim it, though I guess we’ll never know.

Bob jumping in the Kennet and Avon canal
Will closing a swing bridge

We finished with four micros near locks a couple of miles down the canal. Not the most inspiring of caches, but it was a beautiful sunny evening. As the caches were mainly placed by locks and the canal was very busy we had to hang around for a while to get a chance to look for the micros. The puzzle cache which had a reputation for being hard turned out to be the easiest of the bunch. If you've seen this type of hide before it's easy anyway.

We made the most of the sunshine by coming home for a drink by the River Wye at the Saracens Head near Symonds Yat Rapids. There's a great hand pulled ferry here, which is in operation yards from our table by the river. It also gave me an opportunity to get some information for a cache I’m planning. Many hours have been spent over this month planning and placing caches for our forthcoming geocaching event on 9/8/2008. I tend not to cover these trips here, but they are quite time consuming.



5th July 2008 Forest of Dean

The Severnsiders released three new caches in the forest. I stopped to pick off a simple multi on the way home from work one day as I knew where the final coords would take me, but left the other two so someone else could get the FTFs. The cache was along the old railway track near Soudley, which I've walked a couple of times. As always someone came from out of town to get the FTFs, then left the other nearby new cache! I won't bother doing that again. On the weekend Will and I did the other two caches by linking them in a circular 13 mile walk. Despite the Ruardean Hill being a Marilyn you can drive to the top. The views are great from there and Pan Tod Beacon stands at the summit, but the fact that there are roads and houses detracts from the location severely in my view. We headed down the hill towards Ruspidge to get the other cache, but much of our planned route didn't exist in reality even though it did in the world of Ordnance Survey. We're definitely going to carry on walking to as many caches as we can from home or linking them in a 10+ mile walks as it's great fun and we're definitely way past the stage of getting any enjoyment of driving to within 30 yards of a cache, parking up and then signing the log.

The view from Ruardean Hill stretches the mountains on a clear day and the Miner's Memorial there has almost been completed. It just needs the topograph to be added.

Ruardean Hill Miners Memorial
Lake at Ruardean Walk

After picking up provisions in Cinderford we enjoyed lunch on a bench on Littledean Hill Road way above Littledean and the Severn. Although it was very blustery it's a great place to take a break. We passed St. Whites Farm trigpoint and headed down to the cache. A fresh mole lay within feet of the cache. It would have looked almost alive if it hadn't been missing it's head. On the way back near Cinderford Linear Park, we passed a group of wild cats. The ring leader just stood it's ground as Bob walked within a few feet of it. Pretty soon they were arriving from everywhere. Next up we came across a deer that just stood in the path behind us for ages. We always try to walk a circular route if at all possible, so we had more challenges getting back up Ruardean Hill. Once again paths just dissapeared or didn't exist at all. It's not the easiest way to finish a walk - up hill, through thick undergrowth, doubling back to find a path. Will coped admirably. He can cope with walks of this length without a problem now. It's just a case of keeping him entertained and hydrated.