I’ve already blogged about the first half of our week in the Peaks where we conquered the high peaks, but for the rest of the week we stayed on flatter ground…
Day 5 – Forest fires!!!
Still determined to pick up another d/t combo we needed we headed about 25 miles NW of the Peaks to Greater Manchester to pick up Emerald Waterfall. This was a 1.5D/5T rated cache. We knew that we’d have to climb up a stream to get to it, but also knew it’d probably be nowhere near as bad what we’d already climbed up. We were right. It was wet, muddy and slippery, but not steep so it was relatively easy to get to, however I think if we’d gone after heavy rain we’d really have been asking for trouble!
After the success here, we headed a few more miles north to do some of the LEGENDS series around Turton and Entwistle Reservoir. The letterboxes here were the WWWWT series.
We started here a little late to do the 10 mile-ish trip around the entire reservoir, so we did a little loop around the top. Intertwined with the letterboxes were quite a few traditional caches, and an earth cache too. It started off looking quite bleak around the reservoir, but it was good walking weather. This unfortunately meant that the views across weren’t so picturesque as they could have been.
When we reached the WWWWT – Green Arms which was about the 8th cache we’d found at the reservoir we noticed some fire engines in the distance near one of the forests. We wondered if there had been a forest fire as a lot were reported on the news whilst we were away. As we got closer to the reservoir we saw a pipe and another fire engine parked there pumping water, presumably to those engines up the hill.
We continued on to the reservoir’s pumping station. It looked like a little castle with a big, thick door.
The letterbox caches were very enjoyable caches to find. All were regulars, which was quite surprising as there were so many hidden around the area, I guess maybe that proves there’s little excuse for micros? 😉
The loop took us a bit further away from the reservoir where we had a better view of what was going on in the distance and as we looked closer we could see smoke coming from the trees in the distance. It obviously was a forest fire 😦
We then headed back round onto the reservoir for the last stretch which included a BRIGHT pink ammo can, Jess and Melly’s Birthday Cache! It was well hidden though so wasn’t too obvious until you actually uncovered it. There was an amusing note from a muggle placed randomly half way through the book that said “If ur reading this ur gay” I had to giggle! Obviously the bright pink box had been discovered at some point then!!!
On our way to the final caches we experienced the absolute highlight of our day. A mummy duck and her 5 ducklings saw us walk past the wall and they all came waddling out of the water. We then proceeded to feed them our lunch (Well, they were too cute not to feed!) Lots of ducks later joined them to try and get the food, but daddy duck stood and guarded them so that they could eat! Unfortunately the ducklings didn’t really respond to my requests to climb up the wall and into my bag so I could take them home. I think they knew we had duck and pancakes from the chinese takeaway the night before!!!
We finished off the day by finding an earth cache, Fairy Battery. We were intrigued by the name, as the area was marked as this on the OS map. This is a rocky outcrop of gritstone, the same stone that formed the strange rock formations that we visited at the top of the peaks.
Day 6 – On the rocks
We had a spare day to go and find a nice set of caches that we just fancied doing, and our choice were some caches around a lovely little village called Castleton. Here there were several traditionals, and 3 earth caches. First, however we grabbed the 2nd to last d/t cache that we needed on the trip, it was ,a href=”http://coord.info/GC2RCQ9″>Picker Pot. The cache description mentioned a climb, however we looked all over up high for the cache and couldn’t see anything. Suddenly I turned around and it was staring right at me!!! I guess it had slipped down a bit, but we weren’t totally sure where it was meant to live so thought best to not interfere and popped it back where we found it. An easy find for a 5d/3.5t.
We then headed to Castleton and started with the earth cache, Winnats Pass – The Coral Reef This was a narrow limestone valley also known as “Windygates” as on blustery days the wind swirls around the area. There are many fosils in the rocks in the area and it was once a coral reef. We were lucky enough to spot a few fossils in some rocks that had been left at the side of the wall. There was a sign up saying rock specimens shouldn’t be taken away from the site.
Next we headed up towards a famous site, The Shivering Mountain which had an earthcache at it. However, first we popped to Odin mine for Dark Peak 5 which was laid by the National Trust. We thought this cache was brilliant, and were shocked to she it didn’t have any favorite points on it. It was a nice big container, hidden in a good hidey hole, and inside there was a information card about the mine. Further up from the cache was the “crushing circle”. The info card told us that they used to mine lead from the rocks, crush them at the circle and then take it to the furnace to get the lead. Very interesting stuff and a well thought out cache.
Opposite this area was the actual Odin mine. I was told that we didn’t have time to try and go inside.. Spoil sport! 😉
It was then up to “The Shivering mountain”, or Mam Tor as it’s known. Here we saw a peak that is composed of millstone grit which continues to move and slide away giving the peak its name.
We then walked into Castleton. It was a fair trek, but we really enjoyed the walk. The main attraction for us in Castleton was the Cave Dale – The ancient lagoon earthcache. This is a stunning limestone valley with evidence of basaltic lava in the rocks. I think this one was our favorite earth cache of the trip away.
Day 7 – The last day 😦
And finally it was our last day 😦 It had rained most of the night and was damp and drizzly in the morning, so I guess it wasn’t so bad that we were going home! We only had one d/t combo left to get on our way home, however first we went for a little trail around the reservoir on our route home. This was in the lower peaks and was around Dam Flask Reservoir. This gave us 12 caches + 2 bonuses and despite the miserable old day, it was a very enjoyalbe walk around. The cache hides weren’t challenging and the hints were very good so it was just a nice little easy stroll to finish the holiday.
There were lots of friendly ducks around the area who were obviously very used to seeing people. We walked past a group of 5 and they all waddled out of the water and up the bank to say hello!
After this little trail we went further south for our final d/t rating…The Family Bu – Goes Sky High. This was a 3d/5t. From the spoiler photos we knew we’d have to climb a mammoth tree. The hardest bit being getting the first step up into it. We were however very prepared for our journey up…
After much decision of who should go, I eventually was the one who went up to get it. Now… I wouldn’t call it cheating, more like being inventive! 😉
Next door to this cache was another that required a bit of a climb, but this time up a tree that wasn’t quite so vertical. Again I stepped up (and down!) to the challenge! Although it may not look like it, the bank up was very slippery after the morning rain and there were a lot of brambles to avoid so it was a bit tricky getting up and down, however the cache was an easy find once in the right spot and was in a lovely bluebell wood.
And so that was the end of our week in the peaks. We found some absolutely brilliant caches and saw some breath taking views. It’s such a lovely place. I liked the fact that we had our difficulty/terrain matrix to chase after as it took us to places we wouldn’t usually have visited. It was certainly a lot more exciting than previous caching holidays where we have just done long circular walks, despite the few slip ups we made accessing some of the caches along the way! For some of the caches we hiked between 1 and 2 miles just for the odd one that we needed, however that didn’t seem too demanding at all as the caches were really high quality and in great locations. I also think in the whole trip we must have found only about 10 micros/nanos as the majority of them were decent sized boxes.
It was very interesting to see how subjective difficulty and terrain ratings can be on caches. It was nearly a 50/50 split between the caches that we thought deserved the d/t rating and those that were seriously exaggerated. I’d say Crowden Panorama at 1D/4T was the only one we thought was underrated, as we thought dangling off the edge of a peak was a wee bit risky!
Happy high terrain caching!!! 😉