After our trip to Yorkshire for the week we spent a couple of days around Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire. Our caching friends had always raved about the Alphabet Soup series and the favourite points all over the caches speak for themselves! So on the way back from Yorkshire we stopped off to do the series.
On the way down the M1 we couldn’t help but notice a massive old house and wondered what it was. A quick look on the GPS revealed Sutton Scarsdale Hall, a ruined 18th century manor which was free to visit (Thanks to finding ‘The ruin of me’ (GC28657) cache on the GPS so we reprogrammed the Satnav and headed there first.
From information boards around the site we discovered that the hall was built by the architect Francis Smith, starting in 1724. After having a few rich occupants the hall was put up for sale in 1919, but didn’t sell so the fittings and contents were shipped elsewhere. Osbert Sitwell saved the hall from demolition in 1946 and it then came into state care in 1970. The English Heritage now look after it, but there’s not a lot to see apart from ruins.
After grabbing a couple of caches at the ruins we headed off to Alphabet Soup, however I got distracted again (As I often do!) when I spotted a church with a crooked spire in Chesterfield. Well there was a cache at it too (GCZ1BM) so we had to stop for a closer look!
How bizarre!!! So how did this church get a crooked spire? According to legend, a powerful magician persuaded a blacksmith to shoe the Devil. The blacksmith drove a nail into the devil’s foot and howling with rage he took flight to Chesterfield, skimmed over the church, lashed out in agony, caught the spire and twisted it! OK, so that might not be the real explanation. It’s a bit of a mystery and there are a few suggestions that make a bit more sense like too much green timber being used during construction, the skilled craftsmen who were building it fell to the plague and therefore the spire wasn’t correctly constructed, damage from the elements or even bell ringing! My GPS wouldn’t get a fix on GZ and stayed at 200ft off so we actually found the cache by using the hint and finding a likely spot. Perhaps the Devil was toying with us??? 😉
Eventually after my little unexpected diversions we did get to Alphabet Soup. As we’d been walking the Yorkshire Dales the past few days and had sleepy feet we opted against walking the full 9.5 miles in one go and broke up the series into a bit of driving and a bit of walking. The caches certainly didn’t disappoint and there were some very good, original ideas that we hadn’t seen before and some that we had. The caches that weren’t creative led us to interesting locations and there were a couple of lovely little woods that we passed through too. As there are plenty of pictures of this container on the cache (GC2NB3V) page, I don’t think I’m giving too much away with the photo I snapped of one of the containers. Hehe!
At cache K (GC2NQ6Q) there was a beautiful waterfall and at cache L (GC2NQ6X) was a cave!!! Do you think I went inside? Well, of course I did! 😀 I didn’t stay long though as the first thing I did was hit my shin on a low rock which turned into a massive bruise and after getting a bit deeper for a look I spotted a giant cave spider. AH! Yes, that’s right I’ll head underground into the unknown, but as soon as I see a harmless little spider I run a mile. Hehe! I tried to find out a bit more information about said cave but there doesn’t appear to be any available.
The alphabet soup series was brilliant and it’s no surprise that 3 of these caches are currently in the Top 20 for favourite points in the UK. After that we headed to the hotel to watch the Eurovision song contest (Stop laughing, it’s brilliant!!!) 😉
The following morning we decided that there was a bit of unfinished business in Nottinghamshire that we needed to sort out. The cache in question was Zulu (GC2F1DN). Several years ago when we were heading for a holiday in the area I spotted the puzzle had been published and was awaiting an FTF. I spent hours trying to solve it and hours whilst we were in the area, but returned home empty handed 😦 It was just one of those caches that really bothered me and I wanted to crack it. A few weeks after returning home and I finally solved the puzzle. It’s been a long time coming, but we were eventually able to take a walk to GZ and put this one to rest. Absolutely delighted that it was still in place after all of this time and that we were able to discover the Moun10Bike Lackey geocoin that lives inside.
The next stop was a poodle around Sherwood forest, somewhere we have never visited. It is a lovely wood full of interestingly shaped oaks and many mazes of pathways.
The star of the show was Major Oak (GC2024). A giant cache at a giant tree. Wow! We wondered why such a huge cache hasn’t been muggled until we realised that it’s attached to a tree with a big chain. Good plan! 🙂
To finish our trip we headed closer to Nottingham for another piece of unfinished business: Our difficulty/terrain matrix. We completed the bloody thing on 02-10-2011, but since then the cache owner of the cache holding our D4.5/T4 place changed the rating and left us with a hole in the middle of our grid!!! We had worked really hard to complete it, but hadn’t gone searching for one to fill in the gap until we spotted Thanks Mack! (GC3HA7F) in the area and decided to go for it!
It was a good choice of cache as it took us through the most beautiful bluebell woods. There was a lot of tree cover around GZ and it took us a while to find the cache, but eventually we got there and I can say again that we’ve completed our difficulty/terrain matrix!!!!! (Until someone changes something again of course!) 😉
Our last cache of the day was the Hemlock Stone earthcache (GC20EW1). It’s believed that this giant stone was deposited in this location over 200 million years ago, although there are many other theories surrounding how the stone got there as it seems very out of place. It was fascinating to see, and very pretty and one of those things we wouldn’t have known about if it hadn’t been for Geocaching.
And that’s the end of my latest Geocaching trip away in Yorkshire, Derbyshire, and Nottinghamshire. It took over a week to sort out the images, write all of the logs and do the blog entry! I hope you’ve enjoyed the pictures and stories.