Tag Archives: ancient caches

Day #373 – Welsh Wanderings

Trad: 15 Challenge: 1 Virtual: 1
Walked: 8.6 miles

Today I moved on from my hotel overlooking the Bristol Channel to Oswestry. I took anything but the shortest route! I had planned a day of drive bys to pick up three specific caches and seven new counties. Here’s what my Counties Map looked like first thing this morning:

Counties Map This Morning
Counties Map This Morning

Severn View was right by the hotel, and together with another nearby, it ticked off Gloucestershire first thing.

Little Quacker At Severn View
Little Quacker At Severn View

The next find was another Gloucestershire hide, this time a Challenge. Then I moved on to City of Bristol for two caches – Blaise Hamlet Virtual was the first, followed by one close to some wind turbines which filled in a distance band for another Challenge cache I’ve been working on.

Blaise Hamlet Virtual
Blaise Hamlet Virtual

Next on the agenda, I crossed into South Wales to pick up several new counties there, including Monmouthshire, Newport, Caerphilly, Torfaen and Blaenau Gwent. The box at Aberbeeg Pack Horse Bridge was looking rather sorry for itself, but the others were found reasonably quickly – although I did target at least two in each county in case of DNFs.

Soggy Aberbeeg Pack Horse Bridge
Soggy Aberbeeg Pack Horse Bridge

Once they were ticked off, the main reason for being in that part of the country was to visit the venerable old Ammo can, The First In Wales, near Abergavenny, which has been out in the wild since February 2001!

The walk to the summit was pleasant enough and not too strenuous – it was about a mile from the car park.

The Walk To The Summit
The Walk To The Summit

The view from the top was a little cloudy, but there was a Trig Point to admire as well.

Summit View & Trig Point
Summit View & Trig Point

The cache itself was a bit further on, effectively buried in a boulder field. I spent almost an hour clambering about, trying not to break my ankle while turning countless stones over to see if the box was there.

The best advise from the cache listing was to look at the spoiler photos – which I thought I had already downloaded to my phone. But no. Attempting to pull them up offline just showed me a blank box with the caption “null”  – argh!

Eventually, I found one rock which had 3G phone reception if I stood stock still – so I hastily downloaded some photos and found one which showed several prominent rocks lined up in a certain order. Sure enough, once I got myself into that position, I spied the corner of the ammo box hiding under a pile of rubble! Phew. Never been so glad to find a cache in my life! Can you tell by my stupid grin?

First In Wales - Eventually!
First In Wales – Eventually!

Little Quacker was pleased to have his photo taken with the box too.

Little Quacker At First In Wales
Little Quacker At First In Wales

I made my way back to the car, very pleased with job done, even though it had taken much longer than it should have. I arrived back at the car park just as it started to rain heavily!

The drive to Oswestry was long and rather tedious, but I stopped off to photograph the lovely sunset along the way:

Amazing Sunset!
Amazing Sunset!

Here you are – a few more counties ticked off the map! (I think I did this screenshot from a day or so later, so Powys, Shropshire, Wrexham and Denbighshire are also filled in:

7 New Counties Today!
7 New Counties Today!

Day #326 – Northaw Noodle

Trad: 5 Multi: 1 Letterbox: 1
Walked: 5.1 miles

I chose a different stretch of the Hertfordshire Way to tackle this evening, around Northaw Place. But first, I went to seek a couple of oldies from 2002 which were nearby. One was a quick find, The Barrel Makers Ramble.

Barrel Makers' Ramble
Barrel Makers’ Ramble

Where Four Corners Meet (Herts) was the next oldie. I was met with loads of vegetation and the tree stump didn’t reveal its secrets for ages. I gave it a good frisking but was about to give up…

In There Somewhere
In There Somewhere

… Then I tried a much less likely location and there it was, nestling in its camo bag. The box has recently been replaced, but other seekers after that haven’t been able to find it until I came along. Yay!

Replacement Found
Replacement Found

Then on to more Herts Way hides; some were in camo, like Mr Ratty here:

Ratty Woz 'Ere
Ratty Woz ‘Ere

And on the animal theme, this was the last find of the day, in an attractive Dolphin tin. I put my paws on it as the light was fading and the thunder began rumbling again in the distance. I didn’t want a repeat of Day #322 so I legged it back to the car, just as the heaviest spots of rain were beginning to fall.

Diving Dolphins
Diving Dolphins

Day #324 – High Point (Herts)

Trad: 5
Walked: 4.8 miles

Today’s mission was for a few drive-bys around Elstree. I stopped off for a quick find in Shenley before work, and then another 4 around Radlett and Aldenham on the way home.

HightPoint (Herts) was the biggest box I’d found in a while, and a golden oldie from 2002. It was probably a nice spot when it was originally placed, but the location now suffers a bit from fly-tipping. Sad, but the box is still hidden pretty well, so the muggles haven’t noticed it.

High Point Big Box
High Point Big Box

I also picked up a 2005-vintage cache from someone’s front garden today. If you phoned a number they were supposed to come out and give you a prize token of some sort, but nobody was in when I rang! Oh well…

Day #270 – Aldenham Amble #3

Trad: 12
Walked: 7.2 miles

Going for a hat-trick of caching expeditions around Aldenham, this time conentrating on the west and south west portions of Moosey’s Trail and Wall Hall Walk.

The expedition started badly, as I managed to drop my GPS, which hit the tarmac just as I was leaving the village and I think is now terminally sick, as it won’t turn on. Drat.

So this evenings’s finds were achieved with the iPhone – thankfully I usually have the day’s search area caches downloaded to the phone as a backup before setting out.

Strange Fungus!
Strange Fungus!

The woodland walk was fine, with most caches being easy finds. But one called MI-5 Reservation (Herts), towards the end of my walk, (not part of either trail but a veteran from 2002), caused me no end of trouble. The iPhone didn’t want to update my location and needed a restart before it played ball. Then there were multiple hint items in the general vicinity of GZ which didn’t help me narrow it down very much!

Eventually, I found the box. But sadly it’s no longer watertight and the log inside was a sodden mess. A shame for such and old cache, which could be kept going for many years to come, given a little TLC.

Soggy Loggy
Soggy Loggy

Day #267 – Muddy Troll’s House

Trad: 1
Walked: 5 miles

Just time for a quick find after work this evening. The target was Rabley Ramble, a venerable old cache which I now realise was approaching it’s 10th Birthday – if I had waited until 22nd April for the find, we could have had a party!

It's Under There!
It’s Under There!

Never mind – I had fun anyway. The cache was placed deep under a bridge with very steep, very muddy sides to the little stream it crossed. The mud nearly claimed my wellies off my feet, but I managed to scramble out again with them still attached!

Day #175 – Finchampstead Undulations

Trad: 25 Puzzle: 1 Challenge: 3 Virtual: 1
Walked: 9.6 miles

I went on a road trip to stay in Oxford today, but why go directly there when you can detour via some interesting caches around Finchampstead? Why there? Well I was really after The Queen’s Oak, which fills the June 2001 Jasmer Square. Nearby was a lovely old virtual too, and the Finchampstead Undulations circuit.

The Queen's Oak Grand Old Cache
The Queen’s Oak Grand Old Cache

However, my first port of call was to pick up a couple of Challenges in the area, and they were both easy finds. The 366 Challenge also earned me a new D5/T2.5 square for the grid, which is going well!

What's Behind The Stick?
What’s Behind The Stick?
The Old Pump
The Old Pump

 

The Finchampstead circuit was extremely muddy in places, and I had to DNF one or two hides, but overall it was a great walk with some grand views.

Day #119 – Jasmer Fillers

Trad: 4 Puzzle: 1
Walked: 4.3 miles

22nd November 2015
22nd November 2015

I needed to visit Nazeinng today and thought I would take the long way round to find a couple of outstanding older caches I need for my Jasmer grid.

The first was Wildlife Cache # 2 – Tree Pipit in Epping Forest, placed in January 2005. It was a bit muddy underfoot, but I found the cache in the end.

Natural Cammo
Natural Cammo

Next up was Coal Post #19 near Nazeing which has been in the wild since July 2003. It was a quick find, thankfully.

Coal Post #19 - Another Golden Oldie
Coal Post #19 – Another Golden Oldie
Well-stocked Cache
Well-stocked Cache

Then I relocated to a couple of locations in Nazeing, firstly to find a Church Micro puzzle cache which I’d solved the day before (still on my non-trad streak). Then onto the Church Micro in Nazeing itself, plus another located nearby.

After my logs today my Jasmer Grid is now looking nicely full for 2003 onwards. I should be able to fill Sept 2002 and May 2001 on my next visit to Newcastle, probably next year.

Jasmer Grid, 22nd November 2015
Jasmer Grid, 22nd November 2015

The only other UK caches I can find to fill in more squares are June 2001 (near Wokingham), Feb 2001 (the first in Wales) and Dec 2000 (north of Glasgow, Scotland’s first). If I want any more, it will have to be road trips to Denmark, Chicago and Oregon. Not for a while…

Day #70 – Relic Hunting

Trad: 11
Walked: 9.6 miles

4th October 2015
4th October 2015

I’m not sure I will ever get to find a Jasmer Challenge Cache, but it’s still fun to try and fill up my finds-by-month-placed grid. Before today, it looked like this:

Jasmer Grid Before
Jasmer Grid Before

I’ve been doing some research and found quite a few caches which would help fill in the gaps clustered around the Buckinghamshire/Hertfordshire border around Berkhampstead. So I planned a little road trip to pick them up.

Hellfire’s Globe (Bucks)

The first stop was Hellfire’s Globe (Bucks), situated high above West Wycombe just below the impressive mausoleum at St. Lawrence’s Church. A quick find to kick off, filling in June 2002.

At GC6912
At GC6912
Cyril & Stan With The Cache
Cyril & Stan With The Cache

InterMissendens

Next up was a cache placed in November 2001 in the woods on a hillside above Great Missenden called InterMissendens. The woods were lovely but the cache was quickly located.

Me at GC2AA4
Me at GC2AA4
Slightly mouldy logbook!
Slightly mouldy logbook!

England’s Oldest Geocache!

The real prize on my list for today was England’s oldest cache, View From Coombe Hill just south west of Wendover. It was placed in January 2001 and is still a grand old ammo can.

At GC171 - England's Oldest!
At GC171 – England’s Oldest!
Cyril & Stan Raiding The Goodies!
Cyril & Stan Raiding The Goodies!

It was such a beautiful spot that I sat on the hill nearby and had my picnic lunch overlooking the spectacular view. But I had more to find – so I didn’t stay very long…

Sewer Lock

This cache might not have a very attractive name, but Sewer Lock is a pleasant location on the Grand Union Canal, placed in December 2004.

A Boat Arrives In The Lock
A Boat Arrives In The Lock

It took ages to find because I had to wait for the good ship Muggle to pass through the lock before I could have a proper search. Once they had chugged off, the find was swift.

GCM8QP Log
GCM8QP Log

Entology (Herts)

Next up were two caches in the Ashridge Estate, the first being Entology (Herts), placed in August 2001. The forest was looking great in the sunshine.

On The Way To The Cache
On The Way To The Cache

The hide was up in a tree but a convenient sturdy branch to climb on was most welcome.

GC164F Is Up There Somewhere
GC164F Is Up There Somewhere

Tim & Jon’s 1st Re-Stashed

Still in the woods was my next target, Tim & Jon’s 1st Re-Stashed, hidden in January 2001 (England’s 2nd oldest cache).

More Lovely Trees
More Lovely Trees

After some GPS confusion, and waiting for noisy muggles to pass, I got to GZ eventually.

Gotcha! GC177, England's 2nd Oldest Cache
Gotcha! GC177, England’s 2nd Oldest Cache

Instructions were in the cache to find a second bonus (without co-ords, it required careful pacing). Unfortunately I didn’t have time to look for that one today, perhaps another time… Moving on to…

Devil’s Bridge (Herts)

The next stop was in the little village of Nettleden to find Devil’s Bridge (Herts), which has been in situ since January 2004. The bridge is a spooky proposition, even in daylight:

Spooky Bridge
Spooky Bridge

The cache was a quick find – the poor old log is rather stuffed into the pot, but I just about got it back in after signing!

GCHGMP Crumpled Log
GCHGMP Crumpled Log

Spooky trees lined the tops of the walls either side of the steep track – it rather reminded me of something from Harry Potter.

Gnarly Old Trees
Gnarly Old Trees

Garmer Spring

The penultimate find of the trip was Garmer Spring, north west of Hemel Hempstead, which completes the March 2004 square.

Berries On The Walk
Berries On The Walk

I parked in a nearby pub and walked up the rolling hill past two regular (and relatively recent caches, which were also found quickly) before arriving at the Spring itself. I didn’t find any water, but I did find some tupperware!

Me With GCHY0E
Me With GCHY0E

Cyril & Stan dropped off a Lego buddy to travel from this cache.

Cyril & Stan Drop Off A Traveller
Cyril & Stan Drop Off A Traveller

View The Puddingstone

There’s always time for One More Cache, right? So my final location was View The Puddingstone on the outskirts of Redbourne, to fill in the November 2006 gap. It was getting dark by the time I picked up the cache, but it was a quick find. Now my grid looks like this, still a few gaps but I will work on them soon.

Jasmer Grid After My Trip
Jasmer Grid After My Trip

Unfortunately, that’s where my grand day out went south – I got in the car to drive home and discovered that it had broken down and would not start. I had a very boring 4-hour wait for the recovery truck – they got me started again and I eventually arrived home just before midnight. What a day!