On Thursday we went into Peterborough city centre for a few caches and a go at our first real waymarking. To start off the day, however we headed just north of the city for a trail of 22 caches called Helpston Hike. We’d got quite used to poshrule’s hides in this area, however this series was laid by fluffy-chick. There were no hints for the caches so we just had to use our noses. We started off by parking in Helpston near a lovely church. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem like the “church micro craze” that we’re quite used to down our way has caught on up here so we quite often drive past lovely churches which would be ideal spots for a church micro, but don’t have caches there yet.
After passing through a horse pasture we reached the first cache, which definitely put a smile on our faces. At this point we thought that the series may be a little bit more special than we had realised!
We continued along the trail. The first lot of caches were quite easy despite the lack of hints and there were some quite interesting and varied hiding places and container sizes. It wasn’t a case of finding micros at the base of posts, it was better thought out than that. Each container had a letter and a number in it for the bonus cache and we merrily jotted these down until we realised that we had different numbers for the same letter a couple of times. On reading the bonus description (something we always seem to neglect to do!) we realised that we would get a song title and we would also get instructions on how to arrange our letters to give us the coords. We thought this was a nice, and interesting way of doing it!
At HH08 we swapped a trackable for a fluffy Western Tanager bird TB called Harvey. We usually leave the larger TB’s, however I liked this one as it tweeted when you pressed the button on its bum! We took it home and showed Teddy. He thought it was great and particularly liked the tweeting noise, which of course meant it was a toy for him! It took me a while to get him to realise that it wasn’t his! We need to move on this TB quickly before he claims it! 😉
We bumped into an interesting bridge at HH12 which had a little plaque on it with the OS grid reference number for the bridge on it. I’d not seen something like this before so thought it was a nice addition to the bridge.
We’d done well on most of the caches on the trail and found them all within about 2 minutes, however as we got near to the end it seemed that they were a little tricky. With hints they would have been quicker finds, however I think we must have spent the longest at HH18 but after 15 minutes we eventually found it, just as the rain clouds decided to come over 😦 The cache was placed near an interesting bridge/tunnel under the road. I had to resist the temptation to crawl through it because you never know if the cache is hidden in the middle of the tunnel! 😉
Although we were missing 1 piece of information as we had to DNF a cache which the CO later replaced, we were able to construct our song (Which we’d guessed half way along and had been singing!) and the coordinates formed nicely. GZ however was one of those “There’s definitely a cache here somewhere” locations, however although it was a regular the finding of it did take about 5 minutes.
We really enjoyed this trail and the majority were easy hides, although there were a few where a hint would have been greatly appreciated. I dished out some favourites on the walk for HH01, HH04 and the bonus, HH22.
Caching and Waymarking in Peterborough centre
There aren’t a huge number of caches in Peterborough centre, however there were quite a few waymarks, so we decided that after a spot of shopping we’d combine two multi’s with the waymarks that were nearby. We made quite a shock discovery doing this as although we’d visited Peterborough quite a few times pre-caching and twice post-caching we’d never realised there was a huge cathedral right in the centre. We also hadn’t absorbed the fantastic architecture of ‘Cathedral Square’ a place that we’d sat and eaten lunch many times before. How could we have been so blind? It was absolutely fabulous around here. On a previous trip we’d already grabbed a few clues for the Posh Cache in the City multi on a which had 15 stages so we were able to focus around the stages that were dirctly in the centre. We started off at Guildhall for a waymark for the clock. I’ll be honest and say I’d never noticed it before, I’m not sure now as I thought it was fabulous! We took a photo of this to log as a waymark and couldn’t help noticing the Pizza Express building next door which had some fabulous statues at the top which we hadn’t noticed before.
We then headed through an archway to the grand cathedral. All I can say is “Wow!” and how the heck did we not notice that before???
There were waymarks for three sundials on the cathedral, although we only noticed 2 on our walk around. I transferred waymarks to our GPSr as GPX files and there was no information for any of their waypoints so all we had was a rather unhelpful waymark number on the GPSr to guide us so we had to guess what we were looking for at each location. The first and second sun dials however were great to see and we were able to merge this walk around the cathedral with another multi-cache Taking your time at Peterborough Cathedral.
This Cathedral multi was quite a quick one and only took about 15 minutes to gather all of the numbers that we needed before heading to what we thought was GZ. I’m always quite doubtful with my calculations for multis, but we followed the GPSr. It pointed to a likely location however there were gardeners working in the area and one directly opposite GZ. I spotted a hiding hole that I suspected contained a cache and I would usually be very cautious before plunging my hand into the deep dark unknown, but there was no time for that and with the gardener far enough out of the way for me to make a quick grab, in went my hand… rattle, rattle. CACHE! 😀 I was delighted, not just that I’d got the cache, but that I hadn’t had my fingers nibbled off by something living in the hole! 😉
We finally had all of our numbers for the 15 stage multi, however time was really getting on and the cache was nearly half a mile away from where we were so we decided to save it for another day. I’m a bit gutted that we couldn’t scoop up our final prize after all our hard work, but mostly gutted that I can’t claim the find to add a favourite point to it. It’s only got 2 favourite points despite nearly 60 finds, but we thought it was absolutely brilliant and one of our most favourite multis! The CO was kind enough to confirm our coordinates, so we know we will get the right spot for next time we visit. I hope that is very soon. I really enjoyed the waymarking in the centre as well. I can’t really say waymarks are something I collect in the same way as I do cache finds as nothing will beat that treasure hunt feeling of geocaching, but they certainly took us to some interesting historical sites which otherwise we probably wouldn’t have noticed.
What? More Poshrule trails?
That’s right, on Saturday we headed off to complete 2 more Poshrule trails. These were Barnwell Backpack, 6 miles for 27 caches and Polebrook Plunder. 4.4 miles for 22 caches. Teddy was adamant that he wanted to join us today. It would be a 10 mile hike, but those little legs were up for it.
After grabbing a few caches on the way there, we started the day with Barnwell Backpack. We’d driven past the turning for ‘Wood Green Animal Shelter’ on the way here, and I’d told Teddy that if there was any rolling in fox poo today then he would be dropped off there on the way home! 😉 He started the day in the way he hoped to go on when Oscar a muggle’s black labrador ran over to the car to see him as we were getting ready for the walk, promptly relieved himself up our car tyre, Teddy had to do the same and got his head and back covered in mud!!!
Being poshrule trail veterans we had no excuse for any DNF’s today, as we should have been used to his style of hiding and used to finding some of the nano-sized tubes although I’ll admit we did struggle on a few of them that were quite sneakily hidden. We also struggled a little on one of the small sized caches which was hidden at the very back of a hole in a tree. It required all of my arm to reach it and at one point I thought the tree was going to swallow me up!
As we approached GZ for cache #8 we noticed someone standing next to the gate that we suspected the cache to be hidden at. As we got closer we realised it wasn’t actually a person, but a rather neat looking scarecrow! I think he was a bit lost, shouldn’t he be standing in a field?
Cache 14 was hidden on a piece of rusty old farm equipment. It was probably the longest search of the series because I think it’s moved slightly. I didn’t find it until I climbed aboard the old equipment and then it was spotted very quickly.
After Barnwell Backback we headed literally just up the road to Polebrook Plunder. Teddy was looking a little worn out, but still had some life left in him, especially after having some treats.
On this series we got to our full glimpse of fully flowered lillies in a little pond near a sheep field.
The caches here were also easy, but varied hides and we found all of them apart from #18 which was disabled at the time. We hadn’t realised as I always knock disabled caches off of my PQ’s, otherwise we would have offered to do the replacement to save the CO the trouble. To us cache #18 was invisible. We went to a spot that we thought would be right for a poshrule hide, however came away empty handed. After checking the cache listing when we got home the hint matched the spot we had been searching so if it had been there we would have found it. Good to see our cacher senses are still working! 😉
Despite the grey skies there were some interesting views of the water tower around the end section of the trail.
The cache series was going very well until we started walking towards the penultimate cache hide. We got to a footpath gate and noticed 5 young bulls in the field ahead. They were standing right on the footpath we needed. As we had Teddy with us we decided to try and find an alternative route. We went all the way back, squeezed through a hedge and hopped a couple of low fences that thankfully weren’t barb wire and we made it to safety with just a few blood-dripping scratches. Phew! Little Teddy was a very good boy during our escape and didn’t mind being passed over and under a few times.
We finished the day by doing some drive-by caches and clearing up 4 caches that we’d previously DNF’ed. I’m unsure what had happened with one of the caches however as there turned out to be 2 caches under a stone in one place. I know the cache had been replaced after all of the DNF’s, but I wonder if a muggle took the cache home to see what all of this Geocaching was all about, and then brought the container back. It wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened to us!
Langdon Plotlands Event and Series
Although we’d had a lovely couple of days exploring some great spots in Peterborough, and enjoyed some nice long walks in the countryside, the highlight of our week came on Sunday when we attended the Langdon Plotlands event near Basildon. This was organised by HelennBrian for the Essex Wildlife Trust and also included the release of 14 new caches in the country park.
We’d worn Teddy out with the two trails the day before so he was suitably energy drained and therefore we decided he would be ok to come with us and meet the large group of cachers that would attend (He can be even more fiesty when he has lots of energy!). We hadn’t planned for it to be so hot though! We met at the Wildlife Trust Centre for a quick briefing about the area. Not being from around here, we hadn’t realised there was such interesting history surrounding it. The plotlands were a small rural area of land which were inhabited between 1930 and 1980. The buildings here were very basic with no gas, electricity or running water and although many inhabitants moved here due to the outbreak of WWII to try and escape the blitz, many still lived there after the war without even the basic facilities that most other homes had. We were given a nice little booklet including the cache pages with coordinates and history about the area, and information about the wildlife that live there.
The caches were announced and we all dashed off to try and find them all before the lunctime picnic at 1pm. I love hunting for caches in a group so events like this are great opportunities for us all to get together for the search. I did feel like a bit of a spare part at times as I had to keep an eye on Teddy and ensure he had enough water to keep him going for the day so couldn’t as much dodging in and out of bushes as I normally like to! 😉 There were enough pairs of eyes though to help with the search and we mainly hunted with our friends hollyncharlie, mel-ray, ianbp, and stones2005. There were certain caches placed to educate us about what the area used to be like, including one placed near ‘The Haven’ which is the last remaining bungalow on the reserve. It’s now a museum that you can visit to see what life was like back then.
Another of the caches was placed near the remains of one of the buildings, complete with old sink!
As well as gathering caches that educated us about the plotlands, we were able the head off into the woodland to find caches that educated us about the wildlife that live there now. Unfortunately with the tree cover in these spots, it meant that some of the caches were tricky to find and even 8 pairs of eyes struggled with a couple of the caches here for a good 10 minutes each! Personally, I blame the hot weather!!! It was really intense and draining. Either that, or the CO had made camo bags from Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak!!! 😉
There was a nice variety of containers and hiding places, and it was a very enjoyable, tight trail made even more enjoyable by the great cacher company. Because we had take a bit longer than anticipated on some of the hides, we were running late for our picnic lunch! Ah! But after scooping up a few more we all arrived at the beautiful lake ready for some well deserved grub. Teddy was particularly pleased as it meant he could rest in the shade and have a bowl of chicken.
After a lovely time catching up with caching friends, as well as meeting some new ones we headed off with mel-ray to do some caches the other side of the country park. These had been down for a while and included the short Langdon Hills series. These caches were quite spaced out which isn’t normally a problem, however some parts were quite hilly and the sun was still beating down on us which made the walks between caches seem twice as long. There were quite a few shaded woodlands, however which we were very greatful for. Uncle Ray tried again on this trip caching to turn Teddy into a cache sniffer dog, however waving the cache under Teddy’s nose didn’t amount to anything other than him walking off! In some places however he did walk along the path with his “trainer” and very nearly went straight to GZ a couple of times. I think our little geodog would be more interested in the little plastic containers if they were brown, fluffy, and smelt like rabbit!!!
At some parts of this series we could see right out to the boats on the Thames. It was amazing how far we could see across the countryside.
A very enjoyable day of caching, but I think all of us, and our four-legged friends were relieved when we called it a day and escaped the sunshine.