The weather forecast had promised us a better day today, but as we woke to rain beating down on the tent we knew we had some more hard work ahead. Our walking shoes were still saturated, and our other pair were only suitable for dry weather caching. I had a light bulb moment and decided to try wearing 2 pairs of socks with a plastic bag tied around my feet and surprisingly it actually worked! I didn’t feel the wet at all! Eureka! I’m thinking we need to nab some of those “over shoes” that they have at our gym/swimming pool as they would be very handy!
We had 3 choices today: The Landkey Loop, Below the Belt, or the rest of Way Down West. With another day of miserable weather ahead we decided on Below the Belt (GC26X6G) The cache description promised us some nice views so we went for that one.
There were 30 caches and I’m pleased to say we nailed every single one. There were also some crazy hides that took quite a while to unearth! We started off at the church an parked there too in a huge car park. After finding the first few caches we burrowed through a sweetcorn field. The corns must have been 8-10ft high and towered above me. We had full waterproofs on though and it was quite a cool adventure passing through.
We continued through the mud and up what seemed like a mega steep hill. The slippery mud really didn’t help but we were glad we were going up rather than down. We continued onto a cache in the trail that the owner had named “After the lightening strike” and we definitely saw why! We had to clamber over and under huge branches blocking the path.
It was a real mission of ducking and diving. When we reached the end we saw the tree that the branches had come from. It was massive! Wow!
The trail continued with good steady finds and about half way around the sun came out! The ground started to dry out a bit and morale was boosted! We were shocked to see two runners pass us on the trail. They were going through the most muddy parts. We felt like real wimps as we tip-toed through the muddy parts that they dashed through!
The route to cache #17 – Windy corner did nearly finish us off. It is with no exaggeration when I say we climbed the highest hill I had ever climbed in my entire life!!! It was very slippery and we had to climb very slowly, however at the top the views were stunning!
The trail was great. Lovely views, interesting waypoints and challenging hills. I also loved the fact that the caches were numbered (so the order was easy to follow), names (so they were easy to remember for logging) and the hints were very useful.
The only negative thing I’d say is that the final cache was a bit of an anti-climax. It gave the feeling of “oh, is that it?” The trail did however take longer to complete than anticipated. We estimated 6-7miles which could be done in 4 hours, it ended up taking 6 hours, but did include a few breaks and a few good, hard searches.
After the trail there was enough time left for a trip up to Ilfracombe. On the way there we passed by Saunton Sands. There are 2 earth caches here. We were only going to do the first “Saunton Sands and Braunton” (GC28DZP) as the second was quite a walk, however we decided that after we had paid £4 (!) for the car park we might as well get our moneys worth. There were so many surfers riding the waves and by the time we had finished taking my mug shot to log the cache the sun was beating down and it had really warmed up. YES! Finally some good weather!
So we went on to “Saunton Pink Erratic” (GC1FGTA) It was half a mile along the Picton Shales. These are vertical ridges of stone pretty much along the entire half mile. It was quite difficult to walk along but was also emensely fun as we jumped from rock to rock carefully picking our way through.
I was amazed by the rock formations and the dinosaur skull someone had carved into the rock wall. Brilliant!
Eventually we reached the earth cache, a giant pink boulder. It really stood out from everything else. The cache description details how the pink boulder was carried in a glacier from a place far away to it’s spot during the last ice age. It was left there when the ice melted. Amazing!
One of the questions was “how wide is the boulder?” we didn’t have anything to measure with so I placed my iPhone along the top and counted how many iPhones fitted from one end to the other. I then thought it’d be more logical to use the piece of paper that I had printed the cache description out on. I think this gave a more accurate measurement. The walk to this cache was amazing, the boulder was amazing, and the history behind it is truly fascinating. This is definitely my most favourite earth cache. I’d recommend if anyone is holidaying in North Devon you pay it a visit!
After the earths we continued up to Ilfracombe. This is a little seaside town where my Uncle owned a hotel. We went on a few family holidays there when I was about 12 and I have fond memories of our time spent there. Whilst here we grabbed a few caches. Two of which took us to very high spots in Ilfracombe where I could see the sights I remembered seeing as a kid (GC24AQT & GC24HEX)
We continued back along the harbour and decided to grab some fish n chips. As we walked 50m from the chippie to a bench to eat them, a bloody seagull swooped down and stole my fish! It knocked it onto the floor and the rest of it’s mages all came and ate it!!! I was really upset 😦 luckily I had most of my chips left and we shared the other piece of fish. So now my lovely memories of Ilfracombe “the place where we had fun on holiday as a kid” are overwritten by “the place a stupid seagull nicked my fish” Grrr! After that incident we headed back to the tent to pack away the bits so we could leave in the morning. 😦 Just when it was brightening up…