Digital Electronics – My most favourite puzzle cache, EVER!


Over the past few days I’ve had the pleasure of finding two mind blowing puzzle caches that I thought needed to be blogged about due to their awesomeness! :) They are: Digital Electronics : Theory and Digital Electronics : Practical.

I’m going to even say I think Digital Electronics : Practical is the best puzzle cache I’ve ever found! :o There have been some puzzle caches that I’ve enjoyed immensely; Sometimes for the puzzle, sometimes for the location, sometimes both: The Cave Troll’s Other Lair, Journey to the Centre of the earth, WEREWOLF, TIBI DABO CLAVES, 802.11b WiFi (Wiltshire), ‘Knock Knock’, Climate Chaos: The Solution, Look into the Light, CROSSWORD CACHE #5: Grand Master to name a few. However, on reviewing them all, Digital Electronics : Practical wins hands down. I’ll explain why…

The journey starts with the Theory cache requiring you to delve deep into the world of electronics to understand logic gates, flip-flops, and seven-segment displays. You’re presented with a circuit diagram to digest and figure out the digits that would appear on the seven-segment displays if the circuit was real. I’ll admit that this did seem to take me forever! I may be a computer geek, but I’ve always struggled with electronics. After many hours of trying I did eventually work out the final coords which was an amazing sense of achievement!

Half of the circuit diagram from the cache page

Half of the circuit diagram from the cache page

It was quite a long while after I’d solved the puzzle that I actually got around to going for the final (Mega business got in the way of caching ;-)). In the container for ‘Theory‘ are up to three electronics kits that can be borrowed (depending on how many have been borrowed at the time). Inside the kit are switches, capacitors, resistors, wires, battery holders, and a breadboard to hook it all up to. This is where the real fun bit begins…

Finally all wired up!

Finally all wired up!

You follow the instructions on the cache page and eventually end up with something that resembles the pictures on the page. For me, however, it was second time lucky. Nothing happened at all after I had plugged everything in to supposedly the right place. I decided to start again and take everything out and reassemble. This seemed to do the trick as the next time I connected the batteries the seven segment displays spelt out “HELLO…” and gave me some dummy coordinates :D

And it works!!! :)

And it works!!! :)

My next job was to decode the code on the cache page, “FC5A5F87” to somehow tell me the coordinates of the next stage. Hmm… I had to work out how to get the switches and components the do the work for me as this little gadget didn’t come with any operating instructions! ;) It didn’t take long and after noticing I was missing a wire, and realised that one of the switches performed better when held in place, I soon had the coords for the next stage! I couldn’t resist! The following morning, before work, I whizzed to the next stage with my coordinate decoder to try and find another code to crack. Thankfully, that was quickly located. It was a bit tricky seeing the seven segment displays in the daylight to read the final coords, but I hid under my coat in my car to ensure it was dark enough. Thankfully nobody walked past the window at this stage or they may have thought I was preparing something rather explosive!!!! ;)

Unfortunately I had no phone signal so I couldn’t Geocheck the final coordinates to get a hint so I just headed to GZ to try my luck. The grass and undergrowth was extremely wet from the rain the night before and I was desperately rummaging everywhere to try and find the final to no avail, I was just getting wetter and wetter! After 10 minutes of searching and in one last attempt to spot it before giving up, I squeezed through some bushes to the back of them and finally managed to spot the container from a different angle, but couldn’t reach it! I relocated to the front, tried to align myself with where I had spotted it, and dived in. Out I came totally drenched, but ecstatic that I had finally found it and was able to get my name on the logbook!

Finally found Digital Electronics : Practical

Finally found Digital Electronics : Practical

The amount of work that the CO must have put into creating and developing both of the puzzles and working out the technical details of how to create an electronic coordinate decoder is unbelievable! The interactive “field puzzle” that we then were able to put together from components to create our own device to decode the stages of the puzzle was so original and innovative that it’s now easily become the best puzzle I’ve ever solved and will be extremely hard to beat!

I’d highly recommend a trip to Cambridgeshire to do this cache. I managed to get the breadboard wired up in under an hour, so it’s definitely something you could take to a coffee shop or fast food place to sit and figure out to return shortly after and find the final. Although, do beware that they don’t think you’re planning to blow anything up! ;-)

Caching in Luxembourg


In May we headed to Germany for the Project Gutenburg Giga event. We were staying in Saarburg, Germany which is just on the outskirts of Luxembourg and ended up doing a fair bit of geocaching in Luxembourg instead of Germany because it was such a beautiful place. Definitely under rated! We found some fantastic caches and locations that I thought definitely needed to be shared…

Larochette

We headed to Larochette to pick up the Moai and Verluerekascht virtual caches, however, it was such a pretty town that we ended up making a day of our visit.

We kicked off at Chateau de Larochette where there was a cache of the same name. Here we found the remains of the castle that stood in place until the end of 16th century when it was destroyed by fire. It has been well restored though.

Entrance to the chateau

Entrance to the chateau

Chateau de Larochette

Chateau de Larochette

Views from Chateau de Larochette

Views from Chateau de Larochette

From the chateau we headed off to the Moai virtual, however, as we forgot to load paths on our GPS we ended up following some footpath signs and taking a rather unorthodox path to GZ only to bump into a group of really friendly Swedish cachers who told us they parked right next to GZ! Doh! They kindly took our photos for the cache requirements.

With the Moai

With the Moai

After finding the Moai we pottered around Larochette picking up the odd cache and admiring the views before heading up to find the second virtual, Verluerekascht. For this one we had to visit two waypoints. The first was the tower on the other side of the valley. A steep climb got us to that point.

The tower

The tower

View of the chateau from the tower

View of the chateau from the tower

Looking through the tower window

Looking through the tower window

The second was a rock on the other side of town which was again quite a steep climb. From the top we were able to see the chateau, tower and find a multicache!

View of the chateau from the rock

View of the chateau from the rock

At the chateau was a big information board about “Little Switzerland” in Luxembourg and the beautiful locations that you could visit. There were some very interesting spots so we bookmarked them in our minds for our second day in Luxembourg.

Beaufort/Berdorf area

Our research on “Little Switzerland” had us looking in the area of ‘Berdorf’ where I’d spotted a cache with lots of fave points on it called ‘Rock labyrinths’. I was intrigued! So we headed to that area and ended up targeting caches with high favourite points. It turned out to be a fantastic way to plan the day! :D

We started off with a few drive by caches on our way to the area. We stopped at Isfyd which turned out to be a 3.5T. After a short search we realised why as it was hidden in a drainage tunnel under the road! I was ready to dismiss it and head off, but Yorkie63 still wanted to do it. Now, I like being underground but I’m just not a drainage tunnel kinda gal! ;) Plus I wasn’t prepared. That didn’t stop Yorkie63 though and he stripped off and headed inside! Lol!

Light at the end of the tunnel!

Light at the end of the tunnel!

Yorkie63 coming out of the tunnel to Isfyd

Yorkie63 coming out of the tunnel to Isfyd

Once Yorkie63 had dried off we headed to the Houllay – Hohlfels eartcache, which with 106 favourite points looked pretty good! :D

The earthcache was placed because of the caves in the area. On parking up for the cache we noticed lots of trucks for film crews. We approached GZ and there was scaffolding and plastic sheets around the caves and inside of them were props and film sets! We explored the area, but unfortunately the filming prevented us from having a good look at the caves and we did struggle a bit to get the answers for the earth cache. It’s definitely somewhere I’d like to visit again to see the caves in all of their glory. Apparently they were filming a Peter Pan movie there which looks to be this one.

Hohllay marker

Hohllay marker

The main caves being used for a film set

The main caves being used for a film set

The Amphitheatre

The Amphitheatre

Our next stop was The secret place. It sounded intriguing! We didn’t really know what to expect, but it was a T4 terrain so we were guessing rocks and a cave! We were right, but finding the route to the cave was the tricky one. We all clambered down the hillside with Yorkie63 heading off in another direction to see what he could find. We turned up empty handed, but later on heard a shout from him that he had found a cave. We clambered back up the bank and looped around the top of the rocks to try and find a way down to him, but it was extremely steep and dangerous. We could see down into the cave and spoke to him while he was searching. It was a long search. We kept shouting down the hint and recent logs to him, but the cache wasn’t revealing itself. A good 15 minutes of searching continued before he exclaimed that he’d found it! We could see him with the cache from above!

Woohoo! Finally the secret place cache.

Woohoo! Finally the secret place cache.

The long search had been caused by a previous finder putting the cache back the wrong way round. A reflector was meant to be visible so that torch light could hit it and it would be obvious which explained a lot of logs saying it was an easy find once in the cave!!!

Our next stop was The bridge and the water which was again a T4. This one was a lot easier as we had Andy, the human stepladder, with us so Yorkie63 was able to climb him to get up to the ledge where the cache was! Lol!

Up he goes...

Up he goes…

Andy and Yorkie63 with the bridge cache!

Andy and Yorkie63 with the bridge cache!

The next cache for our adventure was Rock Labyrinths, which was the main cache that we had actually come for before getting distracted by all of the others! :) This was great fun! Lots of high rocks with narrow walkways. Eventually we meandered through them to GZ.

Heading up to the rock labyrinths

Heading up to the rock labyrinths

Tight squeeze!

Tight squeeze!

Through the labyrinth

Through the labyrinth

Andy with the Rock Labyrinth cache

Andy with the Rock Labyrinth cache

It was getting late, but we were having so much fun! :D We spotted some caches on the GPS that had nearly 300 favourite points so we would have been fools to leave them!

Our first stop was Räuberhöhle. We followed a very well walked path through a woods.

Woodland path to Räuberhöhle

Woodland path to Räuberhöhle

The GPS was a little bit muddled, but the cache description told us “Enter behind the “S” and search behind the large triangular stone.”. Yorkie63 and MummaD went off exploring near where the GPS was taking us, but me and Andy spotted an opening to a cave that looked promising, but we couldn’t find the “S”. We entered anyway and very shortly were at the back of the cave where I spotted a large triangular stone. I clambered up and we were rewarded with the cache! Woohoo! We shouted for Yorkie63 and MummaD to come and join us. Fantastic cache!

Entrance to Räuberhöhle

Entrance to Räuberhöhle

The Räuberhöhle cache

The Räuberhöhle cache

Heading out of the cave

Heading out of the cave

Räuberhöhle entrance

Räuberhöhle entrance

Our next stop was Reiberhiel. It was quite a hilly area and we clambered down a huge set of steps down to where the GPS was taking us. We were amazed when we reached the cave entrance. It was well marked and inside were metal ladders so that you could climb down. We were quite suprised that people were actually being encouraged to explore. In the UK this sort of cave would have been gated off and covered with health and safety signs! Lol!

Entrance to Reiberhiel

Entrance to Reiberhiel

We clambered down the first ladder and then down the second one. The cache itself was a very quick find as some reflective eyes marked the cache. After that it was a clamber up some rocks to get to the cache and we soon had it in hand!

Andy and Donna heading inside.

Andy and Donna heading inside.

Yorkie63 heading down into Reiberhiel...

Yorkie63 heading down into Reiberhiel…

The second set of steps

The second set of steps

Yorkie63 with Reiberhiel

Yorkie63 with Reiberhiel

Our final cave cache was Hölle which was very close to Reiberhiel. We followed a path through another rock labyrinth and eventually after taking a really dodgy route down we were at the cave entrance.

Entrance to Hölle

Entrance to Hölle

The cave was quite tight and then we had to climb over some rocks as we followed reflectors to GZ. Eventually we were there!

Clambering over rocks to the Hölle cache

Clambering over rocks to the Hölle cache

Yorkie63 with Hölle

Yorkie63 with Hölle

After our caving we headed to the top of the hill where the sun was just going down. There were some really beautiful views!

Beautiful sunset

Beautiful sunset

Our reward for our hard day’s caching was a big meal at the first restaurant we got to! We expected everything to be closed, but not only did we manage to get food, it was fantastic food!

An amazing pizza!

An amazing pizza!

Luxembourg really did surpass our expectations. It was an amazing place and there are still loads of chateaus and tourist spots for us to visit. I’m really hoping we can go back soon for some more adventures.

Kent Mega 2015


We had missed the 2014 Kent Mega event because we were at an underground event in Wales, but this year we had the opportunity to attend it particularly because we were manning a stall to promote our UK Mega Essex 2015 event (Don’t forget it everyone!!! Log your will attend here!!!). It was held on 2nd May at Hop Farm in Kent.

The logbook table

The logbook table

We spent most of our day behind the stall, but did get a break in the afternoon to explore the 10 lab caches that had been put out for it so thought I’d blog about those…

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Caching adventures in the Peak District


In April we headed to the Peak District in search of some quality geocaches. Our last proper visit to the peaks was four years ago in an attempt to fill in some holes in our difficulty and terrain matrix (You can read about that adventure here and here). Since then I’d accumulated quite a list of caches that looked great in that area and when we decided to head back again it was a good opportunity to visit them.

We were staying near Glossop in the high peaks so decided to head up early via Dove Dale, a renowned beauty spot along the river Dove, in the south of the Peak District. Our first stop, however, was Mountain Warehouse in Ashbourne to pick up our Meryl the Sheep Trackable! Mountain Warehouse are running a competition where you can grab a free trackable and send it on its adventures. I wasn’t particularly bothered about the holiday, but wanted a sheep so that it could come on an adventure with me! :D Either way, it’s nice to see another big company getting on board Geocaching.

My Meryl the sheep TB

My Meryl the sheep TB

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Caching in Amsterdam


On Thursday 16th August we headed across to The Netherlands with Yorkie63, Geotrowel, Doggywalker, HollynCharlie, MummaD, Riskt4ker and bonustown for a long weekend in Amsterdam. Although it was mainly meant to be a general, fun weekend away with our friends, as we were all Geocachers it would have been rude not to do some caching as well!

Our Dutch friends carsim97 kindly held an event for us in the hotel that we were staying the first night in in Rotterdam so that we could have a Mega Essex Roadshow event there. It was a fantastic success and we got to meet many local cachers.

The following day we headed into Amsterdam and nipped around the city grabbing caches. Our first stop off was at Sporen van vroeger #1 (Amsterdam) where we found that the best way to look unsuspicious was to crowd round in a big group so nobody could see what we were up to. ;)

Our first cache in Amsterdam

Our first cache in Amsterdam

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CBN Cycle Route Series


After a good few years of not cycling, we decided that this year it was time to hop back on to our bikes and find some cycling caches! So this Saturday we headed off to do the CBN (Chelmsford Blackwater Navigation) Cycle Route series. This was an extension to the original CBN series along the canal that we had walked in 2011 meaning that we still had caches CBN 113 to CBN 141 left to find.

The CBN Cycle Route Series

The CBN Cycle Route Series

National Cycle Route 1

National Cycle Route 1

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Caching around Wimpole Estate


We’ve had a rather quiet year of Geocaching so far. Mainly due to being so busy organising exciting Mega Essex things, but also because of the bad weather. With the weather brightening up and sunshine in the sky we had a few really enjoyable trips out grabbing some locally placed caches.

Wimpole Estate is a beautiful area owned by the national trust with Wimpole Hall inside. You have to pay to enter the hall, however, the rest of the estate is free to walk around and the National Trust have encouraged Geocaching there by hiding their own caches in the grounds. We’d enjoyed quite a few caches that the National Trust had hidden before, so thought the short series of 6 caches would be a good one to check out on Bank Holiday Monday.

Caches around Wimpole Estate

Caches around Wimpole Estate

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