Day #249 – A Virtual Tour Of The North East

Trad: 6 Virtual: 7
Walked: 8.7 miles

Before driving up to the North East for this trip, I had done some research and realised there were quite a few old Virtual caches in the area. So today I persuaded Alistair to come with me on a road trip to visit as many as we could manage, plus finding a few trads in counties or cities which were missing from my map.

The first Virtual on the list was a short trip across the Tyne in Jarrow, to Spirit of Jarrow (Tyne & Wear), commemorating the Jarrow March.

Spirit Of Jarrow
Spirit Of Jarrow

Next up was a pair in Middlesborough – first the Transporter Bridge, (which I had visited before I knew about caching), so it was nice to return and have another look.

Transporter Bridge
Transporter Bridge

Then we walked into the centre of town to visit Alistair’s own Virtual cache, Spectra txt, But Is It Art? He’s not looking very happy about it!

Spectra Text
Spectra Text

The lovely little village of Yarm was our next stop, to pick up Under Water? (Cleveland).

Under Water?
Under Water?

Alistair had already found quite a few of the virtuals we wanted to visit, but not Steam Bricks (Co. Durham) – so next, we headed for the impressive sculpture of the train made from bricks on the outskirts of Darlington.

Steam Bricks!
Steam Bricks!

We then moved the car and had a walk into the centre of Darlington to visit Town Tie Up. More gurning for the camera….

Town Tie Up
Town Tie Up

Our last location was the surprisingly difficult virtual at Hurworth-on-Tees, Clocks That Never Need Winding Up. We eventually spotted the required three sundials as the light was beginning to fade!

Non-Winding Clocks
Non-Winding Clocks

So all in all a very enjoyable virtual geo-tour around the area. There are still some more which I can target for my next visit, but for the moment, that takes my total above 50, which qualifies me for another Challenge cache. Yay!

Day #248 – Heaton Hobble

Trad: 9
Walked: 6.7 miles

We thought we would take it easy today, after yesterday’s exertions. So we started off with a walk to Iris Brickfield to pick up a couple of caches which Alistair had already found. But then it turned into a further walk around Heaton to grab a few more…

Iris Brickfield Park
Iris Brickfield Park

The Church Micro at St. Gabriel’s was an easy find and an imposing building to view while we were signing the log.

St. Gabriel's, Heaton
St. Gabriel’s, Heaton

Once we had returned home and had some lunch, the weather looked better than predicted, so we headed out again, this time to Paddy Freeman’s Park to attempt a Whereigo, Secret Of The Ocean (UK). Sadly, the technology let us down a bit and we could not complete the cartridge to get the co-ordinates. Rather frustrating!

Fooling In Paddy Freeman's Park
Fooling In Paddy Freeman’s Park

But there were a few more trads to find in the park, so we grabbed another trio before heading off to meet friends at Maker Space for the evening.

Ouseburn From Above
Ouseburn From Above

Day #247 – Crawcrook Creepies

Trad: 25
Walked: 10.2 miles

We had lovely outing with Durham-based caching friend M.Kingfisher. Mick got into caching a couple of years ago thanks to me and Alistair and has not looked back since. Sadly I don’t see him often enough, but today we arranged a meet up to tackle the insect-themed circuit, Crawcrook Creepies. It turned out to be a great little walk.

All of the pots had insect or arachnoid guardians – this was my favourite (mainly because the pot was purple!)

Purple Pot!
Purple Pot!

Alistair and Mick pose with a grasshopper along the way:

Alistair & Mick Make A Friend
Alistair & Mick Make A Friend

We also found an Alien landing pod!! Hope he’s comfortable…

Aliens Are Among Us!
Aliens Are Among Us!

One cache had added horsey – of course, Alistair decided to make friends:

Cache With Added Horsey
Cache With Added Horsey

We finished up the last of the circuit with a big fly at No. 10. And then retired to the pub for a hearty lunch in Crawcrook!

Big Creepy Crawley!
Big Creepy Crawley!

Once we had munched, we decided there were more caches to be found, so an impromptu visit to the Blaydon area was hastily arranged and we found a few more along the Tyne, up Blaydon Burn and back via some Stella Explorer hides.

Blaydon Races?
Blaydon Races?

There were a few hairy moments requiring some scrambling to get a couple of caches along the Burn, but we made it out alive and nothing broken. Can you see we are relieved?

SMIIIIILE!
SMIIIIILE!

So a grand day out and lovely to catch up with Mick again while caching.

Day #246 – Newcastle & Nudo’s

Trad: 5 Multi: 2
Walked: 8.7 miles

We had arranged to meet some muggle friends in Newcastle today, for a catch-up and lunch at Nudo’s in Chinatown. We found a couple of caches before the meeting time and then took a walk to find a few more once we had said goodbye to them.

The Tyne Bridge cache is in an excellent place for a good look across the river to the Shiny Slug!

View From The Tyne Bridge
View From The Tyne Bridge

The last couple of finds were ones Alistair had already got, but we were passing so we stopped off for me to collect them too.

Alistair Takes A Swig
Alistair Takes A Swig

I liked this cool brick mural of William Shakespeare on the end of a row of houses very close to the final find of the day.

Biily Shakespeare
Biily Shakespeare

Day #245 – One Foot In Scotland

Trad: 18 Puzzle: 1
Walked: 4.7 miles

I’ve had the May 2001 cache Percy’s Cross on my to do list ever since I discovered the Jasmer Challenge. Being in Northumberland, I have limited opportunities to pick it up, so planned a drive out there today with Alistair. We cached our way up the A696 and A68 and decided to carry on to Scotland, briefly, as it wasn’t much further up the road!

Our first stop was Callerton Parkway for a couple of quick caches, then two more in Ponteland, one of which was a puzzle which I had solved prior to setting out.

Ponteland Tower
Ponteland Tower

The rain chased us most of the way up the road – we arrived at Percy’s Cross in the dry, but by the time we had found the box and signed the log, it was pelting with rain.

Partying With Percy
Partying With Percy

We decamped to the pub for a lovely lunch while the rain came down. Then set off again north-westwards towards the border, stopping a few times at various caches close to the road. There was a fun group of three close to St. Francis’ Church near Byrness.

St. Francis' Church
St. Francis’ Church

Most of the water around here was in the form of puddles rather than rain, but it was threatening again.

Splash!
Splash!

Eventually we worked our way to the border – finding caches in both England and 100 yards into Scotland – in the blowing wind and squally rain, of course!

Fàilte gu Alba
Fàilte gu Alba
Wet & Windy In Scotland!
Wet & Windy In Scotland!

Once we had found the Scottish tupperware, we turned the car around and headed back to Newcastle, via a couple of other boxes which Alistair had already found previously.

So, another fun day out, despite the rain, and Alistair reached his 2000th find during the trip, too.

Day #244 – Wallsend Wander

Trad: 3
Walked: 2.3 miles

After yesterday’s mad dash up the country, I decided to have a more leisurely day today. So Alistair and I pottered about Wallsend and found a handful of easy caches in various locations.

Hadrian Woz 'Ere
Hadrian Woz ‘Ere

One was inside the roller shutters of a local pet shop, so not available at all times, but luckily it was accessible when we were there.

Well-Dressed Geo-Dog Tags
Well-Dressed Geo-Dog Tags

The best find of the day was in the park, where I spotted a bit of green string, which looked suspicious. Releasing it from its hook point meant we could lower down the cache which was hanging in the top of the tree!

Inventive Hide
Inventive Hide

We searched for another three caches by the same owner, but they eluded us. Our concentration was wandering a bit, mainly because we were hungry – but the rain was threatening too, so we retired back to the house and called it a day.

Day #243 – Counting Counties

Trad: 12 Multi: 1
Walked: 4.9 miles

I’ve had a mad day trying to bag as many counties as I could on my drive north. The minimum I wanted was 5, I hoped for 10 and the final total was either 12 or 13, depending which definition of “county” you believe!

1. Essex 
First stop was to grab one of the Essex Way Reborn series. No. 29 was very convenient as it was right next to the road I was going to be driving on anyway, and there was a big layby to park up in while I searched. The cache was soon in hand, and I set my satnav for the next destination.

2. Hertfordshire
Leafy CamoNext up was a short diversion via Bishop’s Stortford to collect Hertfordshire. This is where it all went pear-shaped. There were too many muggles at my first target, I couldn’t find the next TWO and had to resort to a hastily-downloaded back up cache from my phone to finally find something! Phew.

3. Cambridgeshire
I hit slow traffic as soon as I got onto the M11 but eventually arrived at Duxford to pick up a quick trad opposite the aerodrome. Then it was another slow, boring crawl further up the M11 and A14 before getting to the next target.

4. Northamptonshire
Northamptonshire SkiesA small detour from the A1 brought me into Northants, where I spotted the cache quickly, under a tree at the side of the road. There were big, wide open skies and it was still sunny and warm.

5. Rutland
Tinwell SignThe pretty village of Tinwell was my stop in Rutland. Originally, I was going to go for the Church Micro in the village, but I had problems finding the right footpath. So instead I went for a quick find at the Village Sign.

6. Lincolnshire
Next up was a detour from the main route, in Lincolnshire. I almost had a DNF at what should have been a quick drive by here, but persisted and eventually stretched high enough to spot the cache.

7. Leicestershire
Muston is a small village just inside Leicestershire, where I picked up a nice camo’d cache by a mile post. Another county ticked off!

8. Nottinghamshire
Number 8 was Nottinghamshire, a simple Multi Church Micro in the village of Sutton-on-Trent. Still blue sky and sunny for the trip. I was wondering how long it could last…

9. South Yorkshire
St. Helen's MarrA bit further up the A1(M) was my next target, another Church Micro, this time in Marr. It was an inventive hide up the spout of a water pump. And onto the next…

10.  West Yorkshire
Yet another church-based cache for West Yorkshire, this time in Darrington. I found the pot easily enough, but it had a very narrow bottle neck and I couldn’t get the log out – so I just put another piece of paper in it. That’s the 10 county target met! But I had not finished….

11. North Yorkshire
Bridgemania In North YorksI had plans to scout out a high D/T cache near Knottingly as a grid filler, but sadly it wasn’t to be today. I just couldn’t spot it. However, I did find another bridge-based cache close by, to make sure I had picked up one for North Yorkshire (which actually protrudes quite far south at this point).

12. Co. Durham
Take A TippleThis cache was rather well themed – it was set near the site of an old brewery, and the log sheet was set into the side of a little barrel! Pity it wasn’t full, after the day I had had, I could have done with a bit of a tipple. Never mind, the light was beginning to fade a little which meant I couldn’t hang around. I had one more county to collect…

13. Tyne & Wear
Bolted In Tyne & WearThe final pick up of the day was in Tyne & Wear. It was a magnetic bolt on the base of a gate post. I was very glad to have finally finished my mission, just a mile or two from my final destination at Alistair’s house in Newcastle. What a day! I think it has qualified me for three different Challenge Caches, so it was definitely worth the effort.

Day #241 – Railway Cutting

Trad: 1
Walked: 4.7 miles

Just time for another quick cache and dash during a diversion on the way home this evening. My target for today was one of the Lost River Fleet series, #15 Railway Cutting near King’s Cross. I found it quickly and then poked my camera over the bridge parapet to see the tube trains trundling past below.

Trundling Tube Trains
Trundling Tube Trains