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

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

EveryonesMum's Geocaching Birthday!

Yesterday was EveryonesMum's birthday, and we celebrated in Geocaching style! I, my brother and my father bought her a Garmin Dakota 10 GPS, the Geokids filled her Geobag with all sorts of useful things and her best friend bought her Premium Membership.

With all that in mind, she and I set out today to test run her new unit and so that I was confident she could use it. We talked over how to set up Pocket Queries, and ran a few onto her unit. Heading into Peterborough, we decided that on a gorgeous day like today has been, we would strike onto a walk we had earmarked for a while, Crown Lakes Country Park.

Pulling up, I booted my unit, an eTrex 30, up as mum sorted her own out. At this point, I discovered that my own Pocket Query had not picked these caches up, although has all the ones surrounding it - very odd. I managed to retrieve all the co-ordinates from my phone, however, and input them into my GPSr manually. Off we went!

The park is beautiful! I had no idea it was here, and certainly no idea it was as gorgeous as this! Mum and I have decided to come back with the Geokids and the Geodog one day to wander around; the water is crystal clear and there were opportunities for the children to paddle as well as explore.

In addition to the beautiful lakes and huge open grass land, we suddenly found ourselves trailing through woodland in an almost magical, fairytale setting - tiny bridges and dabbled sunlight all added to a mystical feeling! 
The views from the end of the walk (for once, I walked a cache trail in the correct, chronological order!) were breath-taking too! Mum commented that it felt like we were on holiday, and it really did.
All the caches were in good condition and easy to find, except #9, which we spent ages back and forth on and eventually had to resign ourselves to a DNF, sadly. But, we consoled ourselves with our plans to return another day with the Geokids & Geodog in tow, so we will hit it again then.

On my way home after dropping EveryonesMum off, I swung by GC3298V - Brilliant Fenland, which has been on my hitlist for months but the layby has always been occupied by resting lorries; luck was in my favour today and I quickly had the cache in hand! But here, just like at Crown Lakes, my GPSr didn't have the cache on it, but did have surrounding caches. I need to investigate why this is happening! Looks like I'll be spending the evening resetting all my pocket queries...

-Finds Today; RFF - 10, EM - 9
-Finds Total; RFF; 408 (I found some duplicate logs that I had to delete! It bought me back under 400!), EM; 52

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Ferry Meadows Rumble - A Cachers' Day Out!!

Pip_Squeek and I have been on the look out for events recently, and we were very excited to attend our first, Ferry Meadows Rumble!

We arrived a little after 10:30 with EveryonesMum and the Anticachers in tow, and signed the log. We stayed around a while and chatted, explored the TB's on offered and I swapped some around before we decided to head out. Unfortunately, EveryonesMum couldn't join us today as she is not yet a Premium Member (Boo!) so she and my Anticacher left to have an impromptu driving lesson, and we dragged Pip_Squeek's Anticacher around with us!

He found a stick to harass us all with...!
We had the intention of hitting all of the FM Rumble series, but that quickly became apparent it wasn't going to happen - they're a lot bigger than they look! We started off chronologically, picking up a few that we were also missing as neither of us had cached the park at all yet but the first cache evaded us. We weren't sure what we were looking for and with a large amount of tree cover, our GPS's kept throwing us back and forth. With such a large selection of trees and possible locations, and with so many caches to find, we moved on after about 10 minutes. 

At #2, we caught up with the Chilly gang and their lovely Geokids. They already had this cache, and thanks to the Anticachers keen eye, we soon did too. Working together for #3, we then split so that we could do up and do GC2PXJC - 007 Octopussy Bridge. I had no idea we had a local interest in the 007 films, so it was an interesting historical aspect for me, but no cache here, unfortunately. :(
Do do do do do, de do do.... DO DO, do do dooooo!
Back on track at #4, and catching Chilly again and they left and now the finds start rolling in again. We joint find #5 and split again - we had already decided to do it in an order that felt logical for us, so we headed for #6, then #8, #7 and #9, resulting in us zig-zagging across the field. At #9 we headed for an interesting piece of local art, passing a family on the way down, only to realise we were heading the wrong way and turned ourselves around. In doing so, we caught the eye of the family we passed and they came and introduced themselves as Rivereagle, and we shared the find with them after their geokids had struggled - Lovely to meet you all!
Triumphant Gandalf-Cacher!
We were warned by Rivereagles that the next cache's co-ordinates were out, as they were working the opposite way around, and so we were cautious at the next, using the clue that they had given us. We were joined by not one but two other cachers, 2versus1 and Smiglet, and Pip_Squeek claimed the find by eye here. Onwards with 2versus1 and while we hunted by the bank, Mrs2v1 claimed the find at #11, after we all thought Mr2v1 had got it! We stayed with them for #12 and then split again, and feeling rather like we were stalking them stumbled upon the Chilly gang again, we shared our find at #14.
Back at the main centre of Ferry Meadows, we decided enough was enough for one day, and after having found Frenchtart and Canillo25 to help us with the last find, we packed up and went home.

The caches were a lovely circuit but I'm not sure they're worthy of being premium caches - It's such a shame that everyonesmum couldn't join us! Mind you, it is just my opinion that a cache should be exceptional in order to attract the premium only tag, perhaps I'm being snobbish with that.
After reading through comments on this post, and a bit of googling, it appears in a chinese-whisper sort of way I've misunderstood this! Although my understanding that Premium caches can be exceptional containers or locations is correct, it is also accepted that they are in high-footfall, high-risk areas where muggles are likely to destroy containers. It also turns out that Everyonesmum could have joined us and there are ways to allow her to log the finds, but from what I've read on the forums it's becoming increasingly controversial, with a quote from a Groundspeak moderator being; "We are currently looking into out Guidelines in regards to basic members logging Premium Member cachers and will clarify this issue in the future". I wait with baited breath.... (Thanks to HolyWarrior/MarcusMaximi for helping me clarify this!)

The event was lots of fun and I have lots of trackables to catch up with now, as well as some new ones to trael it. It was really lovely to see so many cachers around, meet with them and to share our experiences with them - Really looking forward to the CITO events now!!

OH! I just remembered - This took me over 400 too! Yippee!!

-Finds Today - 18 + 1 event each, just the event for EM.
-Finds Total - RFF; 402, PS, 284, EM; 44

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Mother's Day Geocaching!

My mum (who caches as everyonesmum) and I had planned to go Geocaching for Mothers Day, so this morning I headed over to South Linconshire to celebrate with her.

As part of my Mother's Day plans, I had intended on buying her Premium membership, but recent problems with her mobile phone have put me off (it appears her GPS has stopped working entirely... :( ) Regardless, we decided we would head out to Bourne and walk Bourne and Back.

It was a beautiful day, and after a few false starts trying to find somewhere to park, we started at #14, and the easy find set the tone for the day. Approached #1, we watched a few suspected muggles who we ascertained were where we wanted to be, prompting a discussion about whether they were fellow cachers or not. By the time we reached GZ they had moved on, and after another easy find with nothing signed today on the log, we figured they were muggles and continued to follow them up the road...

.. Until they had stopped at the next GZ! As we approached we introduced ourselves, discovering they were not local cachers and after a conversation about the previous cache (which they had failed to find, hence no log!) and GPS devices, they decided to turn back and try the previous again, and we headed onwards.

A beautiful walk through a local village and a conversation about our desires to own beautiful, large houses before turning across the field and working our way back towards the A14, and over it. So far, all the caches have been really lovely with a 100% success rate and a variety of hides - This is such a lovely trail! After a scary hide at #9 (it made me jump, until I realized what it was!), we paused and watched the cows in the field opposite. The sign warns of a bull in the field, and from the amount of calves skipping around, it's definitely been busy! (Unfortunately, my camera photos weren't the best here!)
These are three of six (that we counted) calves!
We bypassed off the trail slightly to visit the Church Micro in Dyke, a tiny church that we have driven past several times and totally missed each time!
The puzzle element was a nice addition here and we quickly found GZ, with a confusing sign about sheep...
Sheep... problems? Sheep... for sale??
The cache took a fair bit of finding here, and I think given a few more weeks, it'll be too overgrown to find. :(

Moving on, we picked up #10 (covered in ants!) and begun hunting for #11, but I fear this is already a muggled one. There's only a certain number of places it can be given the hint, and there's a spot that looked perfect and recently prepared, but no find here. :( We passed the same cachers we discovered earlier between #11 and #12 (they had doubled back to find their DNF, then started the circuit in reverse) and then finished off.

Disappointingly, now I'm home, I've discovered my Pocket Query managed to omit a few results, which means we walked straight past 2 caches along the footpath we were on. At least we can collect them once we are sure #11 is in place.

After stopping for a cup of tea and a slice of cake in Bourne, we decided we would attempt to clear up the town in terms of caches, so we set off to pick up an easy find near Bourne Woods - a little too easy, I suspect! GC1G2W3 - Puzzler 2 - By George You've Got It was out in the open, but I suspect that the normal location for it is inside the flood underneath the stile, so I tried to hide it as best I could. :(

From here we headed into the centre of town, but we didn't have any luck on any of the caches - although I don't think my phone managed to save the waypoints for GC1NQCX What a Load of Baldocks, because I couldn't find them!! :(

We finished up with one last traditional cache, and a small multi that helped us explore the Elsea Park (more houses I would love!) then headed home.

It was a really lovely day, and something we really must do more often!

-Finds today - 18 each
- Finds total: RFF - 383, Everyonesmum - 43

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Back to Manea!

The sun is shining, my Geocar is back on the road properly and I've got my GPS running again. Time to finish off the Manea Meander that I started last weekend.

Taking El-Woodio with me (although Pip_Squeek is away in Lincoln!) and my OH, we decided to do most of the remaining series by car.

The first stop was GC4AM6X - Church Micro 1718 Manea Methodist. I'm a fan of Church Micros, and although this church doesn't look impressive, it does have an interesting history. After a quick find for El-Woodio, we moved on, parking the car around the corner and picking up the Manea Meander at #10, which was a slightly trickier hide, but by combining the hint and Google we found the cache, and aiming to do Manea Lakes and Woods too, except this one appears completely missing! :(

"I'm a tree!"

Back in the car, we discover the fishing lakes in Manea but don't attempt the cache here as there were lots of fishing folk around, but we did pick up #10 down "Straight Road" (exactly as described!).

We finished up with the last of the caches - all hits - and then doubled back to pick up #17, my only DNF last week. With the help of Hill Hiker's hint in their log, we were able to grab the cache (although not literally, had to leave the container in place!) and explore the abandoned houses some more, before heading back for some lunch.

I meant to collect the cache and dash series that is nearby, leading down to Chatteris, but we were so busy discussing lunch that I forgot all about it! I'll watch the two DNF's in the village and do that mini series when I return for them. :)

-Finds today: RFF & EW - 6 each
-Finds total - RFF; 364, EW; Goodness only knows - he needs to catch up with his logging!

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Manea Meander

I've been out of the loop a little recently, the Geocar broke down and having retrieved every local cache, it left me totally stranded. This weekend, I have managed to obtain a new car (Woohoo!) and once we get past a few teething problems, I'm back on the road completely. So, we took it out today.

Pip_Squeek is ill and El-Woodio working, so I collected the Geodog and took my Anticaching OH off to seek out the Manea Meander. It's glorious weather, so it would be rude not to!

I had no idea that the RSPB was out here, and Welches' Dam is very pretty! The first find was easy and set a good tone for the trail, obtaining each cache quickly as we went around. Even though the wind was strong, the sunshine was glorious and the Geodog really enjoyed being somewhere different.

We collected #1, #2, #3 and #4 and then the reservoir  around the corner caught out attention. We set by the bank a while and ate a snack, and the Geodog spend a while trying to get to the water to drink (The clean water we provide is clearly sub-standard!)
At the next cache, we found a beautiful memorial garden, as promised by the cache description. It's such an odd place to find something like this, but it was still stunning. With the Geodog on a very tight lead, we spent some time here before moving on.

At #8, I discover a new trackable which I collect as I'm not travelling with any at the moment and I feel I can definitely help this one! We discuss our plan of action, and decide that fatigue will win us over and we cut the loop short as suggested by the CO, heading back towards Welshes' Dam. This is where I strike my first DNF of the day, which is always disappointing, but I wasn't able to update my PQ before I left, and it's about 3 weeks old, so it's possible this is MIA. (Having gone back and checked, this one has been archived. Glad I didn't spend too long here!)

Coming back up to Purl's Bridge, we pause outside the (unfortunately closed) Ship Inn and regather ourselves, before the other half spots something very unusual. Along the road back to the Dam, there are 6 abandoned houses in various stages of being built. One has just the foundation struts in place, but another further down has half the cladding around the outside, and had windows until they were smashed. We spent some time wandering through them, and wondering what their story was. At home, I can't find any information about them but I can only assume the recession hit them too hard. It's a shame, they had stunning views across the Fens - I wonder if someone will give me one and finish it off for me!!

On the way back to the car we hit another DNF but I was tired and didn't really put a lot of effort in. We spent some time exploring the RSPB visitors centre, then headed home. It was a really nice day. :)

-Finds Today: 11
-Total Finds: 358

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Keeping busy: The First izaacwilson loop! - Photo heavy!

I hadn't intended on doing a lot of Geocaching this week... shows you how wrong you can be!

I had dropped my Anticaching OH at my parents for a driving lesson with my mother, and they planned to be out all day. I had bought lots of work to do to get on with while they were out, but the moment I sat down the sun began to shine... Who am I to resist?!

I checked up on a cache of mine (GC4QHGH Stamford and Deepings' Canal - Not Another Tree) after it was reportedly stuck in the tree trunk. A lot of fiddling, and a fear of loosing my arm 127-hours style in the tree trunk and I had retrieved it, but it couldn't go back where it was! I've relocated it to a new tree.

Izaacwilson's West Deeping and Back series had been published a little while ago, which dismayed me slightly - it took a lot of the route I was going to use for the Stamford and Deepings' Canal, but I should have got there sooner! I've since spoken to Izaac, and he's happy for me to direct Stamford and Deepings' Canal walkers along his route.

With the sun shining and my Geodog eager to go (for once!), we set off and started with #14. Ironically, I had stood at GZ earlier today on my way back from my maintenance run and idly looked, knowing there was a cache somewhere here but not properly knowing what I was looking for or where it was. Now I knew, it was a quick find. We were joined by a red kite here soaring directly above us (and very low!) but I just wasn't quick enough with my camera to catch it.

I know this walk well and it's a pleasant one. We quickly pick up #13 and #12 along the route the dog regularly walks. From here, we join the path of the canal (which is why the field moves in a strange, curvy route) and there are more quick finds.

Coming towards Tallington, the farmer has set up a small wooded area; when we used to walk this walk regularly, there was often a gentleman with two small, pitbull-esque dogs who we eventually reported to the police for harassment; he used to follow my mother and myself around the field making horrible sexual comments or shouting abuse. It's the main reason we stopped walking it. I have no idea if he's still around, but I thankfully didn't encounter him today. I did, however, find the first caterpillar I've seen this year!
From here I cut across the field (naughty! But it's not being used at the moment) to the railway line. The new boards here say that they are eliminating the footpath across the line entirely (a path that has been temporarily disabled for 2 years) and making the permissive footpaths permanent. About time they did something!

At the next cache (#7) is one of my favourite local curiosities, a camouflaged ladder!
One of the local farms tells me it's a hide for shooting from. He's probably right. There's a lot of animal traps around here too. The Geodog likes the bridge, but not the water; she's not a great fan but wants a drink. In the end, her fear wins out and she gives up trying to reach over the bridge to the water.
This is the first point I really experience any trouble with the Geodog too. She won't get over the stile! In the end I lift her over, but she objects greatly to this and ensures that I'm aware of it.

This part of the walk is one of my favourites. I love the river here, but the field usually houses sheep. I wonder where they are over the winter? The dog gets down to the river here, but the ground it's as secure as she thinks and she ends up shoulder deep in water, which put her off the entire mission! She also ended up covered in mud, which she hates....
 ... But not as much as she hated being stuck in the mud at #3!
She waded around in the water while I signed the log, and then found she had sunk and couldn't get herself out! I was worried that I would have to wade in myself and pull her out, but thankfully she worked herself free before it came to it. The field in between #2 and #3 usually has cattle in, but again they're not here today. Again, I had to physically lift the dog over the stile here, but only because she was too lazy to jump over it; most dogs should manage it, both big and small.

This joins the route of the canal again, and while the rain has been so heavy the canal itself has re-flooded. and the footpath walks along the old towpath, with the river on one side and the canal on the other.

It was a lovely walk and I enjoyed it, and although the caches will pull people in to walk it (which is great!), they're not exceptional and become very predictable. It would be nice to see some variety in the containers Nevertheless, it's a nice series and I look forward to putting it to good use alongside my own caches! :)

-Finds Today: 14
-Total Finds: 340

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Playing Bingo, and a long trek south....

Following on from our recent disappointment on a day out caching, I have spurred myself into new ways of finding Geocaching to be "not all about the numbers" - the smilies are great and all, but it's not the be all and end all. Since the new year Pip_Squeek and I have been aiming to fill up out D/T grids, but that's not enough for me.

Heading down to celebrate a friend's birthday, I searched around Bluewater in Kent for any caches I may have a go at while I'm there, and stumbled up GC2XRTH - Blockbuster-Stylee Bingoish Challenge. This looks like just the thing I'm after! I'm in the area regularly visiting said friend, so I can claim the cache when it's complete. I sign up. :)

Yesterday, I headed down south to celebrate. This was the perfect opportunity to fill a box - 2 caches 100km apart in a day. Before I leave the Fenland, I head up and claim GC2J3M1 - Poppies on Parade - Friday Bridge. Pip_Squeek had this one a little while back, I had never got around to it, so this is the perfect opportunity. It gives me a starting point, and as long as I claim a cache in Greenhithe or the surrounding area, I can fill that square.

Heading down, I usually stop Birchanger Green for a rest, but a little bit of Geo-searching locates GC1VBN7 The Takeley Heathen Stone, an EarthCache nearby which I decide to pick up instead. I had worried about this, as Earthcaches have been known to take a while, but this is a quick one. It also gives me two different types of Geocaches... I could be onto another square here, 4 different types of geocaches in one day.

After battling the QE2 Bridge, with an accident halfway across causing chaos, I pick up my friend and persuade him that Geocaching is something he really, really wants to do on his birthday. Naturally he gives in and we head out for a multi; GC4Y2JA Church Micro 5171 - South Darenth St George. I'm the second to find, and the on-site puzzle is nice here. A good little cache. :)

The final cache needed to be different... There is a letterbox cache close to Bluewater, but my Anticacher isn't keen on geocaching, let alone geocaching and walking. Instead, I have a puzzle on standby that I had solved last time I had visited my sister, but had never got around to claiming, so we grab that one instead.

Overall, I feel it's been a really productive day. It's been so nice to chase purpose, not numbers, and this is something I can see myself really getting into.. :)

-Finds today: 4
- Finals total: 326

Monday, 17 February 2014

The curse of the Beach Hut

With half term upon us, we decided to spend a day out Geocaching and clearing up a bit more of Peterborough. We had 42 to beat our single day record, and Pip_Squeek needs 48 to reach 300.

Having grabbed breakfast at McDonalds, we decided to start at Eye and work our way inwards. We headed up to GC2E0J1 - Top of tree!, excited by the prospect of something different but it was not to be - we couldn't find the cache, and instead found lots of evidence of it missing completely. :( Little did we know it would set the tone for the day!

Finding we didn't have a pair of tweezers between us (El-Woodio had used his for something different and left them behind, mine were in my house and Pip_Squeek had lost hers around the Linwood Loop yesterday), we headed into Eye to buy some new ones. However, we had no luck and headed first to Sainsburys, then up to Tesco Extra at Serpentine Green.

Well, while we're here, we may as well try Beach Hut's new puzzle this way, GC4Y971 - Posh Piccie Promenade 2. It looks to be really interesting and logistically, it couldn't be that hard, surely?! We located all the points we needed quickly, but then spent over an hour going back and forth trying to find the right spot. I have a natural curse of BH's caches, I now have 4 of his caches that I have all the information for, and mostly co-ordinates (just this one missing!), and not a single cache signed! It's turning out to be a true problem of mine! Eventually we quit here, but Beach Hut has since informed me that we were tantalizingly close...

We move on and collect a few caches around Orton Malbourne, and across into Woodston. Woodston in particular was muggle-packed, between lorry drivers and office workers I think we only really had about a 60% success rate here.

By lunchtime, we were feeling pretty dejected. My mum lives in an outerlying village and, loosing our mojo, we decided to pack up for the day. Pip_Squeek and El-woodio grabbed my newest cache at my parents and we idly flick through a few puzzles. We looked at GC2P5X5 Happy Birthday Mr Beach Hut, as I had already solved it, and Pip_Squeek's mathematical brain quickly had it sussed. We packed up from my mum's and headed out again. El-Woodio doesn't have a premium membership, so Pip_Squeek and I are on our own hunting at GZ. We were originally in the wrong place, and after 10 minutes searching I'm ready to quit in a fit of rage. Heading back to the car, Pip_Squeek checks one last place and suddenly she has it! The curse is broken!! We pick up another cache in Langtoft and head out.

Feeling buoyant with our success, I suggest GC40PYV - The Old A15.... Renewed, another Beach Hut cache I have struggled with. At GZ the rain set in and Pip_Squeek was cold, we tried our best but another DNF here for us, even after resorting to a fingertip search.

Our luck turned, however, at GC2GYYQ - GSV1. We had solved this one in August last year but hadn't claimed it then, and the last time we had tried to claim it, it was missing and w passed Beach_Hut by just an hour as he replaced it after our visit! Today we had more luck and managed to get it signed! Hooray!

Now to battle our way back home through the heavy rush hour traffic... :(

-Finds today: RFF - 11; PS - 12; EW - 10
-Total Finds; RFF - 322; PS - 263; EW - 130.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Lab Caches

Lab Caches are a new, exciting trial that Geocaching are investigating. The basic premise is that you place a geocache that only one person can find, and that they can take away with them. Only they have the co-ordinates and it's up to them to find them.

The Peterborough Geocachers UK Facebook group decided to take the opportunity to use this for a "Secret Santa" type affair, where those who want to be involved could be assigned a cacher to set up a Lab Geocache for.

Naturally, I signed up! GobbyandWhinge got me drawn out of the hat, and today Hazel of G&W contacted me to let me know that my cache was ready, and could I please pick it up that night. It was 7:30 already, but I was prepared to go! The cache was in the middle of the very beautiful Gault Woods, and it was an area I knew well, but given the darkness and fearing for my own security I persuaded my Anticacher to come along!

The woods were "locked" (there appears to be pedestrian access through an unlocked side gate) so we left the car on the road and walked to the woods. It was exceptionally dark, and it was a pleasure to see the stars so beautifully. The local wildlife were very vocal, both in cries and calls as well as moving around. I can only assume it was owls leaping around the tree tops as they sounded huge!

Walking to GZ, I was telling my anticacher that, in one of the attempts to find GC1M5MC - Gault Wood Walk, I had scouted the whole area we were heading to (It was too far out, but I was desperate at the time!). We came up to GZ, and there was something beautiful in the tree stump...

They had left me a beautiful pot of fireflies, glowing in the darkness! We retrieved the pot and walked back to the car, admiring them as we went.
Back at home, we got a better look at the home made fireflies....
and had an anagram puzzle to solve, made of beautiful magnet mini-buttons.

I'm so grateful to have such a beautiful cache just for me! I intend to treasure it for a very long time. :)

-Finds Today: RFF - 1
-Total Finds: RFF - 312