Sunday, 11 January 2015

We're the Geocachers!

This post will always remain at the top. 
Please scroll down to see the most recent posts from us.

Hello; we're the geocachers!
The Geocachers themselves
RealFireFlies is a 27 year old Geocacher. She's been geocaching since April 2013 and loves well-hidden urban Geocaches. She has 20 caches of her own, and has adopted 16 along with Pip_Squeek (it was 17, but one has been archived!) She owns the Geocar and the biggest Geodog - She also has one of the Anti-Cachers. She is the main author of the blog.
Pip_Squeek is 20 and has been geocaching since August 2013. She has one cache of her own and has adopted 16 (was 17!) along with Realfireflies. She has the smaller Geodog and one of the Anti-Cachers!
El-Woodio is 26 and has been geocaching since August 2013. Work and other commitments stop him caching as much as he would like but he still likes to join the girls when he can!
EveryonesMum is older than everyone else, and is in fact, Realfireflies mum! She loves getting out and about and Geocaching gives her the chance to do this. The Biggest Geodog lives with her.

The Anti-Cachers
The Anti-Cachers are a variety of others that The Geocachers drag around with them! They insist they hate caching, but we know they secretly love it! (Who wouldn't?!) They mainly consist of RealFireFlies' and Pip_Squeek's significant others, but also cover Pip_Squeek and El-Woodio's parents.

The Geodogs
The Biggest Geodog is RealFireFlies' hound, and is a 6 year old collie-cross-lurcher who particularly likes caching in new places that she hasn't explored before.
The Smaller Geodog is Pip_Squeek's hound, and is a 2 year old cairn terrier who loves anything that means he gets to go somewhere or do something!

The Geokids
Both Geokids belong with (but not to - they are her brother's children!) RealFireFlies. They are 7 and 6 respectively, and the youngest, 4, is beginning to show an interest. They have their own Geocache too!

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Clearing up Mepal

Over the last few weeks I have had my eye on clearing up around Mepal. Shaugn13 had text me earlier in the month to ask if I wanted to Geocache at some point, and so I called on him today to come and join me, and we agreed on Mepal's local area!

We started off with a single cache before moving along around Hill Hiker's Manea Mini walk. The caches along here are all unique and great little caches, and all the boxes are well stocked with great kit. I'll definitely be recommending this series, but judging by the extensive logs on such new caches, I'll be lucky to find anyone who hasn't had the pleasure of doing them! ;)

From there, we moved on the CM - I thought this was a really old micro, given the number is still three digits, but GC says it was placed in 2013. I'm not sure what is happening there!! Nevertheless, it was a find for Shaugn13 and we loitered around while a family were blackberry'ing (very early in the season!) before signing the log and checking out the wonderfully tiny church here.

From here, we moved the car and started the second loop, Mepal Gault Hole. The Gault Hole is a tiny, tucked away little nature reserve that was beautiful! I'm so glad we stumbled upon it - this is exactly what Geocaching should be about!!

This presented another lovely series of Geocaches, including #2 which surprised us and made us smile, and a great range of sizes. Again, all the caches that could be were really well stocked, and I had a great time making a tremendous noise at #4 - Anyone who has experienced this cache will know what I mean!

A lovely family of swans, who weren't phased by our presence

The horses between #3 and #4 also didn't care whether we were there or not!

Shaugn13 tried to make a new friend, though (the new friend left. Quickly. :P)

Both series, plus the two extras, took no more than 2 and a half hours and in the glorious summer sunshine, it was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon. :) We finished off with Kinzey's drive-by Mepal series and headed home. And for once, I have a 100% success rate! (I'll have to go caching with Shaugn13 more often, he is clearly a lucky charm!)
-Finds Today: 20
-Finds Total: 615 (SIX HUNDRED?! ALREADY?!?!)

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Tywford Woods (Photo Heavy)

EveryonesMum and I are up in North Lincolnshire for a few days on a mainly-Geocaching holiday. We're so excited!

We headed up North today and stopped off at a cache I've been waiting to do... GCVMXJ Grantham Scouts - The Explorer. This stretch of wood has fascinated me since before I became a Geocacher, and today I finally had a chance to visit, and with a beautiful multi which promises a good walk, and a recently obtained Travelbug who wants to visit army locations, we were all set.

The woods are truly beautiful, and without the background knowledge and guidance of the Geocache, you might miss some of the most important details. We were fascinated by the random brick wall at GZ1, and even more interested once we learned it was a loading dock.
The old loading dock... Now, where is the cache?!
The runways were strange and eerie; others have stated in their logs that they don't see it as a huge leap to be able to imagine the planes coming and going here and I can totally understand what they mean. The whole place seemed so unreal and it's definitely somewhere that I will come back and visit again.
Looking down one of the runways.

It's eerie to see how there are some areas that haven't grown.
The roadways are almost as strange as the runways. 
Everything has an almost post-apocalyptic feel to it.
Disappointingly, the walk didn't seem to take us near the derelict control tower that I had read about, but I'm sure that I will manage to find it on a return visit. We did manage to spot a watch tower, and I had to control my urge to climb it, given the firm warnings attached to the side!
With a small goggle at the final GZ to reveal the meaning of the hint item, I had the cache in hand but a very sore feet - in a silly move (and yet one I have chosen to make in the past - experience should have taught me!) I hadn't changed out of my flip-flops and so my feet were scratched, poked and stung all the way to and from GZ - and silly me hadn't taken anything with me to sign it! Overall, not my finest hour there.
1337 ELITE and I finally got our cache!
It was a gorgeous little multi, a seriously fantastic location and a trip I plan on repeating!

Saturday, 26 July 2014

A Day Out with the Geokid

School has broken up for summer, which means we all have a lot more time for caching! With me being a teacher and Pip_squeek still a student, the countdown to summer has been on for us and we're so glad it's finally here.

It also gives me a lot more chances to 'cache with the Geokids. The Big, who is 7, enjoys the idea of Geocaching but bores easily, The Little at (only just) 4 loves the idea but can't walk too far, which leaves The Middle, 6, who is really finding his Geocaching feet - he loves the thrill of finding the boxes, and is beginning to appreciate the areas that we visit to Geocache.

Today, we banded together to form a team between the three of us and set off. We started our day in Thorney, picking up the CM that Pip_Squeek and I had (somehow!) DNF'd on a previous visit. We attempted the Thorney Treasure, but even though we feel like we were in the right place, we failed to secure a find (despite Middle's keen eye!)

Nope... Can't see it!
We moved on to the main attraction for the Middle Geokid, which was the tower in Thorney, which is actually part of Bedford Hall. A quick Goggle suggests the tower itself was used for water storage, which for such an elaborate structure seems very odd! Middle enjoyed walking around it and a volunteer kindly let us explore the usually-closed-on-weekends Heritage Museum while she did some work. 

After our exploration, we picked up our picnic lunch and headed to the lovely We Love Caching event, which was timed beautifully with the church's beerfest. We sat in the ground and ate our picnic while cachers came and went - without any planning, we managed to situate ourselves right near the church micro here, so we got to watch a pair of cachers (I'm really sorry, we didn't catch your names!) on the hunt, which enticed Middle to take part in the least stealthiest cache hunt in the world, as neither Pip_Squeek or I could be bothered to move, so shouted instructions to him and eventually, he triumphantly held up a box and screamed back "Is this it?!" ... Sorry for the lack of stealth, folks!

Yum yum yum! Also, check out my Geowheels!
Fully fuelled, and after checking in with Lucie and signing her wonderfully ingenious log, we set off. We had previously clear a lot of Sutton, and so that only left us five to find today - Oh no! We thought this was the case, but I've just checked the map to find a rouge cache and a small drive-by series! How silly of us not to notice these! :(. We headed off with the intention of picking up the Really Sidetracked, but got a little lost along the way so collected The Paddocks first, then moved on and eventually found our way. If this did indeed used to be a station - and why would I doubt the validity of this claim? - it's very much abandoned now, with just a few pieces of brickwork left which could be described as anything. Middle liked the swaps in the box and we changed a few bits, before heading back out into the scorching sun to find A Seat for Sarah - a unique little cache that is worth a visit just for the container type alone!
Heading back onto the road, we passed one of Middle's favourite things... A tractor!

With Middle happy that we were on solid ground again, we swept around for High Quality and Le lampadaire - the latter being a highly recommended cache (of which I have a very similar hide waiting for an ideal location at home) and found them both easily. In the heat, and with a BBQ at home, it was time to head home - but not before swinging by the ever-beautiful Ely and showing Middle a drive-by of the frankly glorious cathedral.

-Finds Today: 6 each + the event cache
-Finds Total: RFF: 520; PS: 336

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Such a long time since caching!

It's been such a long time since any of us did any significant amounts of caching. We've all done bits and bobs, and I've set a new trail between West Deeping and Market Deeping, but other than that we've been fairly dry so today's trip was long overdue.

Pip_Squeek was only 5 caches away from the 300 milestone, and I was only 18 from mine, so we started the day manipulating numbers. We had GC4PQH0 Red Rum in mind for our Milestone cache, so we headed out to Werrington. Together, we left Pip_Squeek in the car (with the window cracked, we promise! Heheh!) and El-Woodio and i headed out to pick up a quick 12 caches that we will return to later, while meandering over to Serpentine Green for some food. Now we're even, it's time to get down to the serious caching!

We loitered around Hampton for a while and picked up some the caches that we didn't already have. There's a new church being built here, with a CM already in place, so that couldn't easily be resisted! It's a very modern building, and I'm not sure how I feel about that. I'm a bit of a traditionalist, I guess! We began to move back towards Whittlesey, having great fun collecting Red Rum (we had read the cache page and come prepared!). Definitely a unique cache and one worth noting in the area. Pip_Squeek takes the opportunity to pick up some of the ones she was veto'd out of while we make our way around again, she doesn't want to miss those numbers!

There are a lot of On The Level caches around here, but aiming to be in and out of the car we don't attempt many of them - they appear to be mainly along footpaths! However, we did find this little gem of a Level Crossing - I've seen many manual crossings, but all rely on the sensibility of he human species or a manned crossing, this one at GC38X29 On the Level - Long and Low is a little different!
In an attempt (a very poor attempt, I may add) to find some caches around Fletton, we also turned into children who could not resist the climbing equipment at Fletton Lakes!

One of the most exciting aspects of the day, however, was taking part in our first Wherigo! Pip_Squeek had a flash of inspiration that we could have a go at our first while out today, and quickly she had GC463VE Foxy Forays ready to go. I have to admit, I had never been to this area of town before and it was truly beautiful. The pub is clearly very popular, and I'm going to have to remember to return!

After a little false start understanding the Wherigo program, we were off and I'm sure we gave the locals a giggle running back and forth (which El-Woodio watched from the bridge.. also laughing!). It was great fun through, and once we had the co-ordinates we set off, collecting a few other local caches along the way.

We decide to break for dinner and at this point, we admit that El-Woodio is a broken man! Pip_Squeek and I decide to take him home after dinner, but not before one final thing.. Both of us are very close to finishing different routes across our Bingo/Blockbuster Challenge grids, and she needs 4 different cache types in one day (so that's why she was keen do a Wherigo!) while means we still need an unknown cache. She has a small list of solved puzzles, and one crosses our path home, so we agree to give it a go.

Unfortunately, by the time we reach it we are loosing some serious light and the rain has started. We weren't kitted for the night and in the end, we had to quit. I'm sure we were in the right place, but we just couldn't get our hands on it. :( We need a new plan.

One that results in this;
It's 10:30 at night, and equipped with a lantern, head torch, GPS and mobile phones, we find ourselves in the midst of the Fenlands just outside Peterborough, trying to hunt down GC33M8M HH:MM. Thankfully, we did find it, but attempting a few others all resulted in DNF's! 
I don't think I'm really equipped for night caching!!!

-Finds Today: RFF; 29, PS; 30, EW; 28
-Finds Total: RFF; 512, PS; 314, EW; 143

Monday, 5 May 2014

The Scouting Trail

I was very excited to learn recently that the Scouts have designed a Geocaching badge, and have offered my help/support to a local Scouting group, should they need it. With the May Bank holiday upon us, Everyonesmum and I decided that a day out was needed, and we planned to head to Spalding to visit the outlet shops and then go onto some Geocaching. I had originally screwed my nose up, thinking there weren't many Geocaches around Spalding, but after a quick search we discovered the newly placed Scouting Trail!

The plan was set, and after a morning's shopping we decided to grab a bite to eat and then head out. The shopping centre was heaving with May Day shoppers, and we had ended up parking on the road. We were fairly certainly we knew where it went and so begun to follow the road out, but quickly we realised it was not where we thought it would be! I was quick on the ball here though, sure I had seen a cache on the map a little further down and a quick check of the GPS kicked out GC2AVBT - Cormorant Corridor.

We pulled up at GZ and climbed the bank. Already, Everyonesmum and her false knee had decided there was no way that she would be scrambling down any bank, and I didn't like the look of the waist-high nettles that now occupy every inch of the slope. We decided to try from the other side... where we had slightly more luck! The GPS settled nicely on a tree, and after hopping carefully over the barbed wire, barely supported by a broken fence post, I had a good search. Unfortunately, after all of that, it was still a DNF. :(

Regardless, we doubled back on ourselves and headed back to the Scouting Trail. I know this area exceptionally well, my best friend having grown up living in the houses near the bridge, so we parked up here and started with #3. (Well, I'm hardly known to do any series chronologically!)

All caches were well maintained and relatively easy to find; there were a few exceptions here and there. The scouts have made these caches themselves and it shows, but sometimes it's nice to see the more home-made caches and it is really clear they had a lot of thought put into them - we loved the cache with sticks attached to to it by rubber band! Equally, the slightly "scruffy" look to a lot of the caches helped take the unnatural edge off the fact that they are plastic pots and blended them more kindly into their surroundings.

We also collected GC1H2BV - Coronation Wander and GC1Z2D3 - Almost Pecking Order as recommended around our walk. Almost Pecking Order gave us a chance for Everyonesmum to have another swing at a multi, which she found easier this time, and it was a beautiful little nature reserve. After a false start on the co-ordinates, we collected this one up too.

Beautiful Bluebells at the nature reserve!

Certainly, once thing that can be said for this walk is that it's beautiful for bird watching. Unfortunately, my phone camera did not capture the animals at their best, but highlights among the walk included a mother duck fussing over her duckings;
A kestrel which shot out of the sky and caught a mouse (or another small rodent) not 100 metres in front of us; a cormorant who spent some time diving underneath a pair of swans and openly confusing them no end, and a pair of grebes either fighting or courting, I'm afraid I'm not experienced enough to tell!

It was a really enjoyable walk and with a full string of finds to smile at me, the out-of-the-way Cormorant Corridor excluded. Very highly recommended from us!

-Finds today; RFF - 13, EM - 14 (She logged one of my owned caches as a find while I did some maintenance!)
- Finds total; RFF - 447, EM; 109 (Woohoo! Crossed 100!)

Monday, 21 April 2014

Copthill and Back

I had wanted to Geocache today but wasn't sure where, and I had gone back and forth on several locations and in the end, given up. A lunchtime call from Everyonesmum with some good news that she had found a flash stick I had lost meant that I headed out that way to pick it up, and once I arrived she decided that we should go 'caching! We had looked at Copthill and Back several times recently, and decided that it would be today's hit!

We arrived at the suggested parking and squeezed the Geocar into a space. The first hit was, in fact, GC2GWN6 - Uffington Bridge, which we almost abandoned after an extensive fingertip search by us both, but I stuck my head over the armco and did a visual search, and straight away I had it!

Across the road, a herd of cows patiently watched our search. This made me anxious; firstly, we had the Biggest Geodog with us, and she is terrified of cattle and secondly, cattle make me naturally anxious as I'm not a fan of being trampled to death...! Never mind, the series started on the other side of the river, so we would deal with the problem of the cattle when we came to it.

Both myself and Everyonesmum had been heavily involved in the Stamford and Deepings Canal project, and my first series was commissioned by them to map the length of the canal through caches; if I had been quick enough, it would be caches along this stretch, but I was tardy with my placements and Izaac rightfully got there first! Nevertheless, this series still starts by tracing the extensive path of the old canal, which is what you follow on your right hand side. The size of the canal is noteworthy here; closer to the Deepings, a lot of the fieldwork has caved some of the canal in and it looks considerably smaller, but here it has kept it's original size. Copthill and Back 1-9 all follow the path of the canal here, and it's a beautiful little footpath.
Stood in the old canal bed.

I have a thing for quaint staircases...

Moving between #9 and #10 was where we first encountered any trouble. To begin with, we had to navigate some loose cattle in a field; Everyonesmum kept the Geodog with her while I ventured into the field to see what the cattle would do. After decided that they weren't interested in us, we passed the field quickly and into a field of sheep (which make me decidedly less nervous). The Geodog shows no sign of her collie breeding and ignores them completely, and for now they ignore us! We crossed the second field and into the cricket ground, walking along the edge following the old canal again... only to find we should have stayed in the sheep field! Heading back, we discover that the cache is not only in the sheep field, but in the middle! We don't want to push our luck, so Everyonesmum stays at the edge of the field with the dog and I make my way across. In doing so, I unknowingly walk between a sheep and her lamp, separating them. This agitated te sheep and she followed me, watching intently while I search for the cache and gradually getting more and more angry. In the end, with no cache, I decide not to aggravate her further and I abandon the search. 

A quick find buoys our confidence again at #11, and we divert from here up to Morrisons in Stamford to pick up some drinks and GC110JG - Off Yer Trolley (Stamford), a cache that has been on my hit list for a while but I keep forgetting to collect. 

Back to the trail and Everyonesmum and I discuss the pros and cons of abseiling off a bridge to get a cache after I explain to her that GC2GAFD - Sneaking Around Stamford - Hang on a Minute was not viable for today's expedition - I did get under the bridge to see if I could see it...

Instantly, I realised that I had a conversation with a friend about this very article last summer during a picnic under the bridge, before I was really into Geocaching, and we had no idea what it was or what its purpose was. At least now I know!

We made another mistake here and walked down the field, not realising that there was a footpath the other side of the fence, but once we were in the right place we had another run of easy finds, although there was one dislodged cache which I hope I've relocated properly, and one DNF despite an extensive search. At this point, the Geodog is fed up, being the laziest collie known to man, and decides that this is not what she signed up for when she got excited about getting in the car.
Go on without me...!

A nice surprise mid-series was #17, which is one of the largest caches I've come across in a while and stocked with fab items! I dropped a TB here to continue moving and added a few swaps of my own, but took nothing. 

By the time we had worked our way back to #20 (and discussed the mysterious pumps that lurk here... We wonder if the cows know how to work them?!) the cows had moved themselves to the top corner of the field and ignored us and the Geodog as we passed. She was more than happy to leap back into the car and be chauffuered home, and given that it was nearly 7:30 by the time we finished, so were we!

The whole circuit, including going up to Morrisons, took us around 3 and a half hours, which is longer than we anticipated, but it was throughly enjoyable. Much like West Deeping and Back, the predictability of the caches is pleasant, particularly for Geokids, and it keeps the pace moving well. It's a shame that we struck upon two DNF's, particularly as they are not really caches we pass often, but I'm sure they will smile at us eventually!

-Finds Today; 21 each
-Total Finds; RFF - 429; EM - 77