Geocaching and Trigpointing

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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
435 - 600  19/08/2007 - 23/12/2007
601 - 707  31/12/2007 - 07/04/2008
708 - 808  11/04/2008 - 28/06/2008
809 - 903  05/07/2008 - 13/09/2008

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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


2nd November Usk

Only six more to reach 1000, so we also spent most of Sunday caching. This time it would be far more pleasurable. Usk is a pretty village north of Newport. It's never had many caches and is in a very under cache-populated area. The first cache we did was Beyond the Black. A good, simple multi taking you over the Usk on an old railway bridge and then through a wide and shortish tunnel. We'd been here for The Kiwi and the Fox in our early caching days, but that cache had since been archived. This route had recently been impassable due to flooding, but it was fine now. The hardest part was getting up the slippery embankment to retrieve the cache. Plaque Attack is as close to urban caching as we get, but it was a pleasure to do on a Sunday morning with few people around and a pretty and historic village to wander round. There's a real mix of old and new here and loads of traditional pubs. Pretty much every virtual location had a bench next to it (I don't know if it was planned or not) which was great to sit and work out where to go next. It turned out that if we'd kept our eyes peeled earlier we could have picked it up during the previous cache.

Usk railway tunnel
Usk bridge

We returned to the ex-market place for a rare Sunday lunch time pint. I used to do this a lot, but my walking tends to be a bit more serious these days, so the beer gets a miss.

The final cache in Usk took us to another location we knew through Geocaching, so although we went nowhere new at all today, we still enjoyed it thoroughly. We topped our total to 999 by heading down to two Blorenges caches near Newport.

I've spent a bit of time recently sorting out my technology for our forthcoming trip. I have over 5,000 cache listings on my PDA and the corresponding POI on my Garmin GPSMAP60 CSx. I have a 1:250K map of Florida on Memory Map, Topo US 2008 on my Garmin, TomTom US and various POI on my PDA. I also have 500 benchmarks along with their datasheets on my PDA. One of my small objectives of the trip is to find a US Benchmark. Having read up on it, it seems quite an interesting challenge. Memory Map is also fully loaded with Geocaches and Benchmarks. The PDA is also loaded with gigabytes full mp3's and mp4's, so I won't be stuck with the in-flight movies. Technology is great! See you after 1000.


1st November 2008 Gloucester

Now Gloucester isn't my favourite place in the world, but because we tend to ignore it a few caches had built up in the area. Firstly we finished off the Ermin Street series. We did stage 4, worked out the Sudoku puzzle and then found the final cache. The puzzle incorporated information found at the previous four caches and as we had found three of them in April 2007 we were pleased we had retained the information correctly.

Most of the other caches that day were very lame indeed. A nano in a business park. A take-away container by the M5. A group of Scouts had placed some very poor caches. Although I did offer them advice their leader still emailed me to moan about my logs. He seems to think that littering hedges without permission is a good thing to teach young people, which I find quite worrying.

The day was very gray and summed up how the caches / area made me feel.

Prinknash monastery cemetry
Views over Prinknash monastery

Prinknash Perambulation lifted our blues. This was a cracking first cache. I felt like saying to today's other setters "Go and do this cache and see how it should be done", but this had taken some real effort. Three fabulous hides in the grounds of the monastery along with some great information and a lovely walk. Now that's what caching is about, not stopping at the side of the road to pick a leaking box out of a hedge at a completely uninteresting location.

We upped our days total to 15 with another few micros in Gloucester itself on the way back. One was so lame that we couldn't even be bothered looking for it. The idea of just putting a cache by a college because your child is going there is again missing the point entirely. It was good while it lasted, but I do think the standard of caching in the last year has deteriorated beyond belief. We're lucky in that our area and South Wales are a couple of years behind this sort of place, but Geocahing is "monkey see, monkey do". Today has made that evident. Chinese take-away containers everywhere instead of proper waterproof containers, lame hides with no effort made and very poor locations requiring next to no effort to reach. I did four very dull caches in the week in Cheltenham too.


25th October 2008 Newbury and Membury

Our tally now stands at 941. I'd been trying to decide what to do for our 1000th. I'd have love to have done the cache on the peak of Snowdon, but it was the wrong time of year. Will thought it would be a good idea to do it at our first US cache in Orlando and as we were off in two weeks we thought we'd better get our caching skates on. Today was only about numbers. Having said that the caches were all fine. We started at a series near Newbury. Caches like this offer little than a walk in a wood. There's nothing particularly interesting, historical, scenic etc. Normally I wouldn't dream of a 185 mile road trip to walk in an average wood, but today we needed numbers. We were only just in time with this series as the forestry team had marked up the trees for felling and the series was disabled for 6 months the next day. We found 15 caches on a boggy walk with one DNF and a couple of multis which we started, but left, due to the time they would have taken.

The best cache of the day was Highclere Binary Cache, which we'd picked out for it's interesting puzzle.


After a couple more caches along the way we did two more series. The first was at Inkpen. A straightforward circular round some common land. The stretch through the trees was very pretty due to the time of year and one cache was unusual in that it was perched in the bow of a tree - not even hidden.

The last series was at Membury. Pig Hill certainly lived up to it's name, as we were a little tired by now. Fortunately I had grabbed a head torch before we set out, as it got dark half way round. Some of the paths were in the middle of ploughed fields, which is never fun. We ended up finding the last 3 or four by torch light. All the hints throughout the day had been about Holly for some reason, so there we were searching for stumps and holly by torch light.

We ended up with a tally of 34. Easily our most in one day, but we had hoped for 40.


18th October 2008 Ystradfellte

Spending the day with my son is one of my favourite things about Geocaching, but I do like to get a day of hard walking in the mountains now and then and there haven't been many of them this year. Will had twisted his knee, so Bob and I headed to the Brecon Beacons. We parked at the Storey Arms, which is where the masses park to ascend Pen y Fan, but we headed the opposite direction to every other person. This large area didn't have a simple cache a year ago until Von Horst placed three caches here. Shortly afterwards some else placed a few more in the same area, so today we had 7 caches and three trigpoints to find. I was a little daunted whilst planning my route by the fact that there were almost no paths marked on the OS map, but the initial trail was fine. We climbed up the side of the mountain past little streams cascading down to earth and ascended towards the clouds at V-H1 Amping up the Theatre. As we approached the trigpoint I could see sheep sheltering from the cold wind behind the pillar. I don't ever recall seeing this before, and it wasn't even that cold.


We headed for an anti-clockwise circuit of the reservoir along a reasonable track. Erosion meant that we had to constantly climb/drop two or three feet and there were some boggy bits where my boots went straight under the mud leaving me with wet feet for the rest of the day, but this was to be the easy bit. We approached the next two caches and I spotted a shepherd's stone cot, which I had seen the previous night on Geograph. I sat and ate my lunch enjoying the brief sunshine, looking down the bowl to the reservoir nestled between the mountains. The next section took me down from the peak to the reservoir dam. The steep descent with no path was quite punishing. Going down hill sounds easy, but it isn't when it's this steep. The odd bog thrown in here and there didn't help either. The dilemma at the bottom was how to reach the cache location as is was very near fencing and a steep gully from the dam. Fortunately this didn't prove to be too bad. We headed of down a track for a mile or so aware that we really needed to head 20° west, but that was up a good hill with no track. Once I reached a gate telling me to keep out I had no choice but to head up the hill. I followed the edge of the fence through an ankle twisting gully. Once past the fence there were endless bogs. Then a farm.


Dogs were barking madly and a farmer was beeping his quad bike horn incessantly, no doubt trying to attract my attention so as he could shout at me. I ignored him and continued up the hill. There was no way he was going to follow.

We eventually made the trigpoint and cache and after searching through 100 rocks we set off for the final trigpoint feeling quite dejected. The climb was energy sapping. We were in heavy cloud with still no path or track, just tussocks, heather and bogs and the never ending incline. We stopped several times just wishing it was over, but when we reached the top we knew the last stretch would be easy. Sure enough there was a path from the trig to the car park, though the descent was very severe again. A couple of the caches up here were in a bad way despite not being very old, so it would mean a trip up by their owners. I've been fortunate that none of my mountain caches have required any maintenance yet, but there's a lot to be said for a good box.

18 mile may not be that incredible, but it was a very tough 18 miles. The good thing is that coming from this direction allows me to phone ahead to the Misbah in Monmouth for what is officially the best curry in Wales.

Wotton Hill

12th October 2008 North Nibley

Our main walk of the day was about 9 miles. It started at the excellent Dursley Sculpture Trail and took a clockwise route to the south. Unlike our Sculpture Trail cache where the sculptures are all commissioned from professional artists, these had all been done by amateurs. The trail was much more compact too, which suited us as we had plenty of walking to do anyway. The weather was fabulous and I wished I'd brought my sun hat. Wellington's Walk took us to a fantastic viewpoint at Wotton Hill where a group of trees had been planted (and later replaced) to mark the victory at Waterloo. Ponies grazed nearby and several seats provided the perfect location to stop and have lunch. Unfortunately the heat haze didn't give the perfect view, but it was excellent none-the-less. We walked over to the monument at Nibley Knoll. Last time we were here Will was too young to go up on his own, but today he was up there in a flash. While he was up there I looked up the cache via WAP. It didn't appear, which was strange. As I read an email that had just arrived it was an archive notification for the cache. What a strange coincidence.


Our walk had started on a hill, so we'd dropped 300-400' only to come back up a 400' hill. Now we were off back down again only to go back up the original hill. Hot work on such a warm day and being a Sunday the shop in Nibley was shut too, so no cold drinks!

As our original walk included 1/3 of the Cheeky series we decided to complete the series. Cheeky2! took us to a cracking little valley at Ozleworth Bottom. It was the sort of place you could imagine artists painting. A lone swan glided over the lake while the leaves on the surrounding trees turned a fabulous orange colour. I can't believe that we actually found two excellent caches in one day. A rare thing indeed these days. We went off to get the final cache in the series, which was a bit disappointing to be honest. A mile walk into a valley with no real views and then back again along the same path. This meant that we had to cancel our intended walk round Cam Long Down as we'd already reached Will's quota and what with the heat we needed to stop off for a well needed drink.

Ozleworth Bottom
Bob playing with the Jack Russell

4th October 2008 Magor 2 Castles Series

The weather had reverted back to the usual for 2008... which was miserable. My new coat had arrived an hour or so after we left home, so if I put the garden furniture away for the winter too we can be sure it will be hot and sunny from now on. We tend to save these nearer groups of caches for bad weather days. The reason is that we don't want to drive miles to have to come home early. Magor is right on the M48. It's a shame, as it would be a nice area if it wasn't for the incessant road noise. The two castles along the walk are Pencoed and Penhow. The start was pretty miserable with farmers growing corn over the public footpaths and lots of cows and even bulls. We'd just got out of the M48 earshot when a Jack Russell appeared in the woods from nowhere. The nearest farm was 1/2 mile away and he enjoyed playing with Bob in the brief sunshine. The dog then followed us for the next mile ignoring any attempts to get him to stay where he was. We asked about the dog in Penhow, but nobody knew him and as the busy A48 was approaching we had little option but to put him on a lead and take him with us.


The rain poured for the second half of the walk. It's a shame, as you never enjoy the countryside or the caching as much then. I try to see through the weather when writing a cache log as it's certainly not the cache setters fault. An Oak with a View was the furthest point from where we'd left the car and would normally have given the best view of the walk, though it was just a grey, murkey, rain hazed outlook today. When we'd returned back to the car we set off to try and find the dogs owner. After calling at a couple of farms we found the elderly lady owner, who was very happy to see her serial offender. The dog had come very close to messing up our day, but it all turned out well. It was fun to have a new companion and I'm sure he had a great time too. We did try and explain to the owner that he should have a dog tag for everyone's benefit, but I'm not convinced it was understood as she then went off to get me her phone number!

We ended up by going to a walking shop to get Will to try on some boots and coats so he will be well waterproofed for another year as he's doing a lot of walking now. Today's tally was 9 caches and 12 miles.

Will is a true animal lover
Cannop Ponds

28th September 2008 Forest of Dean

We set out to walk to Tree Swing from our house. It's a 12 mile walk. We had the normal problems with cows, bulls, floods. I realised I'd left my inhailer at home so at Coleford we looped back home. Will's boots were soaking after a disappeared path at Millend and the replacements rubbed his feet after a few more miles, so we parked at Speech House the next day and walked another 12 miles from there. This is an odd cache, as it's a multi and the listed coordinates are for the final cache! We had a great walk in the sunshine and Will was suitably tired when we completed the 20 miles it took to eventually complete our weekend's walking. The forest can be surprisingly hilly too, so it was a good work out. In the week I bought a new Berghaus Axis shell and started looking for some new boots for Will as we plan to do this much more seriously over the next few months. At 10 years old he is already in adults boots. Kids suposedly don't pay VAT on clothes - unless they wear adult sizes. It's nearly as big a rip-off as finding out we had to pay for adult DisneyWorld tickets for Will as Disney class a child as being under 10!!!


21st September 2008 North Stoke

It's been way too long since we last visited any of Chaotica_UK's CC caches, so it was a nice surprise to see a new cluster of his caches in his normal area between Bristol and Bath. There's a small corridor of nice countryside in that area before you hit the very contrasting urban spaces. The village of North Stoke itself is very pretty. The impressive houses are built of Cotswold stone and there are a lot of expensive 4x4's about. The walk picks up a number of caches which in the old days would have been a single multi cache, but with the current trend for series it is now six independent caches. We toddled off to the setters first ever cache, CC1 Roundtop, which had the classic ingredients : hilltop, trigpoint, view. Along the way we kept coming across a boisterous Rotwieller which was off the lead. A lot of these dogs are fine, but very intimidating. The owner may know that they're OK, but they don't seem to consider that you don't. The weather was great and the sun tried hard to burn off the mist.

CC1 Roundtop
Beckford's Tower

It turned out that a few other cachers had taken advantage of a lovely Sunday and a new series, though the only one we met was Darrapotter. This was because he had chosen to do the walk in the opposite direction to us. Another cacher had passed us while we were detouring to get other caches in the area too. Having completed the series and four other caches we had a picnic lunch and then went to find a Ailec Nor's Becksford's Tower caches before heading into Bath. Even on a Sunday the traffic was a nightmare, so before we'd wasted too much time we headed back out again. The monument near Hanging Hill was familiar to us as we'd visited a cache there a year ago. A new one had now popped up, but despite the history and the potentially good location, it was poorly executed. A herd of cows pushed against the wall to welcome us. Will is fascinated by trying to stroke animals, so when a cow licked his hand he was quite happy.

The last cache was at Wick by a quarry which is home to Peregrine Falcons. We liked the location, especially as the sun was setting, so it was warm yet deserted. Maybe it was the Peregrine connection, but we ended up heading back to Symonds Yat for a drink at the Saracen's Head again. It's a fabulous place to sit by the river on a warm evening - and it maybe the last of a very limited few that we'll have this year. The Old Severn Bridge was shut again, so we took the long way home via Gloucester as it's not that much further when we have to take the new bridge.