WARNING! THIS ENTRY CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE WELLOW WOODS NATURE TRAIL.
A puzzling start to the day
We decided to stick to trails that were nearby today. Our first call was at the ‘Monkey Puzzle’ series. The names of the caches related to the names of islands from the Monkey Island computer games. These were my absolute favorites and I have fond memories of playing them on our very first PC. 1.2GB hard drive, 128mb RAM and a Pentium 133 processor, but it ran monkey island 1 and 2 and that’s all we needed! No need for all the fancy graphics we have nowadays 😉 We thought this would be a circular walk but it turned out to be a bit over the show and we had to move the car 3 times. We only ended up grabbing a couple as we wanted a nice big walk…
Our first letterbox
After this we headed over to do our first Letterbox cache, ‘Eleanor’s Sweetie Jar’. In a previous blog entry I’d done about ‘Special Caches‘ I mentioned not being too sure what a letterbox cache was. The owner of this cache, Slightly Tall Paul stepped in and left a comment on my entry explaining better and mentioned this cache. Well, how could we go up here and not grab his cache after he was so kind as to comment and fill us in on letterboxes? So after the Monkey Puzzle cache attempt we headed over here. It took a little while to find as although it was quite a big sweetie jar it looked like it’d been coated in about 2 rolls of camo tape! 😉 When we opened it up it was jam packed with swag. More than you could ever imagine. Inside were not 1, not 2, not 3, BUT FOUR travel bugs!!! We swapped 3 with what we had, but left one as it was quite a different TB. It was a “Cache 2 cache TB” and actually a little tupperware container with a logbook and some little swag items in it. An interesting idea, but not something we wanted to carry around with us.
We don’t have a stamp for logbooks, but I did a little doodle of Teddy, our Geodog instead. It was a bit crappy. I’ll have to practice for future letterboxes 🙂 It was a brilliant example to get us started with letterboxing. […]
Just up from this cache was a custom cache. It was a stretchy spider handing from a tree with a container in him. Pretty funny! We then did a few cache and dashes including this tricky nano on a wheel:
We thought that the spider cache would be the best cache of the day, but afterwards we headed for the big circular Wellow Wood Walk trail and that just blew our minds…
Let the fun begin…
GooseS (the owner of the Wellow Wood trail) has kindly said that I may talk about about the trail in this blog and post some pictures. I’m very glad he has as not only was it the best set of caches we visited in this trip away, but I think it was the most enjoyable, creative and fun trail we have ever experienced (And as you will know from the blog we do A LOT of trails!!!) This trail is not just your usual film cannister at the base of a tree or box at the bottom of a fencepost, it’s a prime example of thinking outside the tupperware box (did you like that pun;)) and demonstrates true creative talent that I think we can all learn something from for our cache hides…
The Wellow Wood trail was only a few miles down the road from where we were staying. We had eyed it up last time we came to Sherwood forest (I think that was in April before we got addicted to caching) however didn’t get around to finding it. To find the first cache in the trail you had to gather numbers from some supermarket item barcodes to find the missing coord numbers. Neat idea! We hadn’t got round to doing this in April and so didn’t do the trail, however we were very prepared this time around and had both visited supermarkets to get the numbers. After parking up nearby we headed onto the trail. Before the Wellow Wood trail were two caches that were placed by the same cacher, ‘Funny Money‘ and then ‘Sound and Vision‘.
We weren’t expecting much at this point and we were just looking for your usual tupperware. We got to GZ for Funny Money and I spotted a great tree. “What a cool tree! That’s where I’d hide a cache” I thought. We dug at the ground and uncovered the cache. Oh no we didn’t! It was a red herring!!! OK, well we knew we were in the right place, and then we looked up. At the top we could see something resting on a really high branch. “Ah, I wouldn’t have hidden it *quite* that high!!!”
It’s usually me that dives in at the deep end for the trickier finds, however tree climbing isn’t really my speciality due to my short legs so I stayed on the ground. We had done a treeclimbing series before, but the containers were all bisons and the trees weren’t as spectacular as this beauty. So I stayed on the ground and took photos. 🙂 It turns out it’s pretty hard to sign a log book whilst holding onto a tree with your head in the clouds so the cache got chucked down to me (I’m a good catch! ;)) and I did the signing. The cache was full of coins and various currency. I should have planned ahead and brought something exciting to pop into it. After I did the signing I clambered half way up the tree for it to get passed back. What a brilliant cache! We still had no idea what else was in store for us…
It was then onto ‘Sound and Vision‘. I had read the cache description previously for this. It was a media swap cache. You bring a book, cd, dvd, etc. and swap. Typically I’d forgotten to actually bring anything, but I did mean to. It was a shame as it was such an awesome stash to find and a real pleasure to find such a nice big container.
It was at this point that I checked the Wellow Wood trail and realised that GooseS was the owner of Wellow Wood as well as Funny Money and Sound and Vision. “I think we’re in for a treat!” I said. We were!
We plodded onto #1 of the trail. This was the one that we had researched supermarket barcode numbers for. We looked around at GZ at your usual locations and found nothing, but then suddenly some orange rope caught my eye. “Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God!” I screamed (Yes, that is what I did actually say whilst I skipped and danced with excitement!) It was a bird box high up in a tree. To retrieve it you had to lower it down using the rope. It was so well thought up and so well executed that it was just the most amazing cache I think we have ever found. The cache owner had thought of all the problems that could have occured with retrieving it and made sure the rope was tightly tied to the box, there was a little handle, the rope was fastened by being wrapped around a notch on the tree a few times, etc. Some clever caches we have found in the past have been a bit of an anti-climax as they’ve been broken, but this cache was very secure. I lowered it down and pulled out the container. A huge family of earwigs followed. Eek! Definitely worth the trawl around the supermarkets for the coords.
The rest of the trail followed through a lovely little woodland. We love woodland trails anyway, but this one was special. There were some great mushrooms in this woodland too. You all know how much I loved mushrooms, so time for some snaps of what I found here:
I won’t spoil it anymore other than to say that all of the rest of the containers were extremely creative too. Every cache was exciting and reading the hints got you thinking “Ooh, I wonder what this next one will be”.
The real treat however came when we got to the bonus. It was listed as a ‘large’ container. We had found one for our 1000th hide which was a Roses tin and on another adventure we found a large that was a pretty big bucket with a lid on it so we knew it would be something substantial. The coords I’d worked out took us to a farmers gate. There was a tree next to the gate and I gave that a good hunt but there was nothing there and it wasn’t really big enough for a ‘large’. We strolled up the lane slightly and a black bag caught our eye. It was a very, very, very big container. I paused for a second. Was it *REALLY* the cache or something else? Regular geocass blog visitors will remember what I found last time I stumbled upon a container this size that wasn’t actually a geocache. I was very caucious and moved the bag so that I could see through some holes that animals had chewed into it. PHEW! I could see a Geocache stash note through the container. This was it. We pulled it out to the side of the road and opened it up. Swagtastic!!! Absolutely the biggest container we’ve ever found. I pulled out the log book and wrote our message and then we found a TB. Just as we were getting ready to swap with our TB “MUGGLE ALERT!!!” Oh no!!! How do we hide something this big? I pulled the black bag over the top and tried to look unsuspicious. “You’re not lost are you?” he asked. “No” we replied. He was a farmer and carried on to that gate that we had been searching near. Thank God we’d moved up the road before he came. We swapped our TB and packed it away. Just as we were squeezing the cache back into the bag the same farmer came past. We decided the best strategy was to ignore him and carry on with what we were doing. We watched as he disappeared up the lane. He didn’t look back at us and seemed totally uninterested at what we were doing. We waited for him to disappear up the lane and then quickly packed it away. Phew, that was a close one!!!
We cheerily skipped back to the car discussing what a great trail it was and scratching our heads trying to think of an adventure that we had enjoyed more. We really did enjoy the 5/5 tin mine adventure up in Exmoor Park, but I think this now shares the top spot!
Drilling for caches
Well, we were buzzing after such a great trail and it was only 5pm so we decided to go and grab a few more caches. I always have a fascination with Earth caches as they often take you to great places that you wouldn’t have known existed. This earthcache was no exception, it was The UK’s first oil field. We passed through Eakring village where there was an amazing maypole on the green.
I think May Day celebrations are quite big here. After grabbing a few cache and dashes on route we parked up at a little woodland called Dukes Wood. Prior to visiting this site we didn’t even know that they had drilled for oil onshore in the UK. The Dukes Wood Oil field was secretly set up in 1939 after WWII began. Before this time we depended on Iran and America to supply oil, however the Germans were targetting the vessels carrying oil across to us which caused massive problems with supplies. Two oil companies in America kindly supplied the equipment and men to assist in the drilling at the site. The entire operation was completely secret and when sometimes asked by locals what they were doing the workers replied that they were making a movie! A huge amount of oil was produced and sent to oil refineries. To commemorate the hard work of the American men who helped with the oil production the ‘Oil Patch Warrior’ statue was unvealed in the wood.
There are also several donkeys that were used for the oil drilling in the wood. There was actually a traditional cache hidden under one so we grabbed it whilst we were there.
And then it was back to the lodge for some well deserved food and rest after we discussed the great day we had caching.