Interrogating another GeoBlogging team

This month I have dragged my spotlight out of the cupboard and aimed it into the eyes of another Geoblogging team to try and find out a little bit about why they love to cache and also what possessed them to start blogging about their adventures. Continue reading

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Black Ops, princes, balls and a stroll along the river Chess

On Saturday, we spent quite a lot of time sitting in front of the TV watching the royal wedding of Harry and Meghan, the FA cup final between Chelsea and Manchester United, and a recording of The Bourne Supremacy. Therefore it was decided that, on Sunday, we needed to get out of the house and remind ourselves what people who are not royalty, footballers or movie stars do with their free time.

They go geocaching.
Well, most of them probably do.
At least, some of them might.
Anyway, whatever. We did!

We didn’t go far and it was one of those classic geocaching scenarios where you end up finding something unexpected right on your doorstep. Just the other side of Croxley Green is Rickmansworth and what we found there was a tiny little riverside paradise.

A short stroll from the convenient parking area, through a meadow, took us along a footpath that ran alongside a section of the river Chess. Gently sloping grassy banks fell away into the shallow waters and a handful of families had plotted up along its length to enjoy the warm weather and easily accessible river. As we made our way to our first of two caches, Cache for the birders (GC3GMJV), children happily laughed and squealed as they paddled and splashed about in the cool water. If only we had known about this place when Sam had been younger; it would have been a perfect place to while away a couple of hours every now and then.

After a brief pause to read an information board about the area in the warm sunshine, we made our way to our first GZ which was located on a tree covered section of path just beyond a small wooden bridge that crossed the river.

Shar and Sam read from an information board about the river Chess.

Did you know?

Ten minutes later we were still there and despite much searching in amongst many ivy covered stumps we still did not have cache in hand. I did have rather a lot of disturbed dust and dried plant matter up my nose causing some serious sneezes, but no geocache. We separated and started searching further afield but soon wandered back to the original spot and it was clear that we were all independently thinking it was about time to admit defeat.

And then a miracle! Well miracle might be overstating it just a tad. But Sharlene did find the cache which was a relief and did serve to lift our spirits once more.

We turned tail, and after a short stop to play a round of Pooh Sticks on the bridge, which I claim I won but Sam and Shar say I most certainly lost, we made our way back along the same path in search of our second cache of the day, Ahoy there landlubbers (GC24EE8).

Following the arrow and the guidance of the hint and some previous logs, we searched all the multi trunk trees in the indicated area extensively with no luck. With some skilful direction from Shar, I made my way a bit deeper into the trees and continued to seek out the cache, but still with no luck. We then started checking all the places that each other had already checked, a practice that generally happens in groups only after a certain amount of time has passed so as not to insult the searching abilities of the original searcher, and the cache was duly found by Shar in a place that both Sam and I had previously thoroughly examined. Sam’s excuse was that he had spotted the battered ice cream container on his initial search and had dismissed it merely as a piece of rubbish. My excuse was… well I don’t really need an excuse, I’m blind and I am happy to come out of the trees with only a couple of bruises and minimal scarring from my search. Actually being the one to find the geocache falls very much in the category of “Bertie Bonus” for me.

Even though the container was battered and had a small split in the bottom, the contents were in remarkably good condition. We signed the logged and re-hid the rubbish for the next geocacher to find and mentally chalked up another find to our cache counts.

With that done and dusted we ambled back across the meadow to the car. All told we were only out for somewhere in the region of 90 minutes but it was enough to allow us to connect again as a family and enjoy the great British summertime away from the distractions of Princes, balls and black ops agents with amnesia. Happy days!
Paul and Sam stand hugging on the footpath in the summer sunshine.
This geocaching adventure took place on Sunday the 20th of May and lifted our total cache count up to 1869.

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Honorary crumbling amblers of London Colney

For our GeoDate this week, Shar and I went to London Colney. I know what you are thinking… oh the glamour! Well glamourous it may not be but it suited us down to the ground. I had spotted a couple of caches set by a local scout group as part of the requirement for their geocaching badge. Having been through this process with Sam a while back (see Scouts geocaching badge), I thought it would be nice to go and find some placed by some other scouts.

After parking on a verge down a quietish lane we entered the woods and took a pleasant walk around the edge of some fields to get to the first cache, LC Scout Cache 4. Side of the woods (GC7EX04). Admittedly there was a bit of a constant hum of the nearby M25 and a couple of other roads but it wasn’t that bad and the weather was just about perfect for caching, the sun popping out every now and then but not for long enough to melt skin.
A view across fields in spring time towards trees in the distance.
After about 1km we reached GZ and then ducked into the trees in search of the cache. Well, I ducked into the trees and Shar held back, wary of the rather high stingers and such that guarded the treeline. Logistically this meant that as I ventured in, Sharlene attempted to shout general directions to me where she thought the cache might be. Not the easiest of tasks but pretty standard stuff for us and so we got on with it. After about 5 mins Shar braved the stingers and despite the two of us searching around we still found nothing.

Then we realised that we might have ducked into the trees a little too soon and so fought our way back out and followed the arrow staying outside the trees for as long as we could. Sure enough we got down to about 3 metres and there was a likely looking tree right there in front of us. Job done.

After replacing the cache we went back to the path just in time to meet a large group of rambling old people, although as Sharlene pointed out they didn’t really look like proper ramblers so more like just amblers. As the group filed past we paused for some water and when the tail-enders got to us, they stopped and enquired as to whether we were with them, as they were meant to wait for stragglers and not let the group get split up. We explained that we were indeed not part of their group, a fact which you would think perhaps they should know, and off they trotted.

Thinking about this as we walked to the next cache I wondered if we somehow looked as if we fitted into their group and Sharlene said that no, the entire group was much older looking than us. Hmmm, not sure whether or not to be insulted by this, surely we don’t look like we belong to a group of ambling oldies do we? Maybe it was the white cane that lumped us into their demographic, perhaps being disabled qualified us to be a part of the group.

Shar stands on a path with a treeline to her right and fields to her left and in the background.

Honorary ambling crumbly

Next one, LC Scout Cache 5. Corner of a field (GC7EX0H), was a frustrating DNF with us not even being able to find GZ let alone the cache. Various logs had stated that the coordinates were way off and despite about 30 minutes of searching we couldn’t find anything that matched the description of the massive tree that was supposed to mark the hide. Sometimes you just gotta know when to give up and move on, not always an easy thing.

Thankfully the last cache we attempted, Tribute to Bonnie Boo Boos (GC1E31C), was there and in good condition. It was a regular container but could probably pass for a large and it was nestled safely in the crack of a tree at the side of the path. I only endured a half a dozen or so nettle stings to retrieve it, so that wasn’t so bad. Pro tip: When you retrieve a cache in a nettle infested area, don’t put the sticks that were covering it down on the ground in the nettles while you extract the log, cos then you have to pick the bloody things up again and get another couple nettle stings into the bargain.

Paul Is standing at the side of a field near some trees. He bends down and points at the nettles making a pained face.

No pain, no gain

Ironic really, finding such a large cache, as I have been trying to find one for months to drop off a cumbersome TB and then last week I finally dropped it off in one of our own hides just to be rid of it, and pretty much the next cache we find is a super large one and would have been perfect.

Two out of three found and back home in time for a curry lunch. Happy days.

This geocaching adventure took place on Thursday May 10th, 2018 and took our total geocache count up to 1867.

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May day multis and a malevolent moggy

May Day Bank holiday weekend and the weather was set to be stonking hot! The desire to geocache was there but this was coupled with not wanting to expire in the heat. So we decided to stay local and tackle a couple of multis in nearby Bushey, getting out relatively early and thus avoiding the hotter parts of the day.

I was looking forward to getting out for some cache time with Sam and Shar and I therefore felt it was unnecessary of the cat to vomit in one of my slippers just prior to leaving. Continue reading

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Spring Maintenance

After receiving some needs maintenance logs on a couple of our caches recently and seeing that the weather was starting to improve, we decided it was time to head over to Aldenham and do a maintenance run.

It has been almost 4 years since we put the Wall Hall caches out and we have had very little cause to revisit them other than for general cleaning, drying and log replacements. Having said that though, we never see having to return to the series as a chore as we always enjoy the chance to walk the route through the pretty surroundings, and this is just about one of the nicest times of year to do it, with spring most definitely springing. Continue reading

Posted in Geocaching, Hiding Geocaches | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

We won a prize!

Well, we only went and won something didn’t we!
Stone the crows… although not literally. I do not advocate the stoning of, or any other form of cruelty towards, animals. That being said, metaphorically parade out those crows and stone them.
The competition in question was the previously mentioned Mountain Warehouse geocaching TravelBug affair and one of our pictures taken with our Jimmy Talon TB whilst out caching won a runners up prize comprising of our choice of stuff from the awesome Mountain Warehouse website. You can see our winning photo, me with a sheep, along with all the other winning entries on the Mountain Warehouse Facebook page.
It was tricky to choose what we wanted; there is just so much cool stuff to choose from. In the end I selected a new winter jacket and we got some much needed lined trousers for Sam who will soon be off doing outdoor fun stuff with the scouts on a gruelling “Green Beret” weekend.

Paul and Sam stand inside at home wearing their prizes. Paul has a winter coat button up all the way with his hood up and is also wearing slippers. Sam wears his scout uniform and a pair of cool outdoor lined trousers. The are both somewhat comical figures ready for the outdoors standing inside.

The trousers look great and the coat is awesome, just not sure about teh slippers!

I want to thank the guys at MW for the swag and can especially praise their customer support which was very helpful and efficient even though there was a cock up on the part of the delivery company initially in getting our stuff to us.

I now, strangely find myself willing the weather to turn so I can really put our new clobber through its paces. Happy Days.

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NGA winner!

Time to dig out my trumpet, dust it off and give it a little blow.

I am delighted, and a little bemused, to report that I was fortunate enough to be among the winners of a National Geocaching Award (NGA) this year as announced at the recent UK MEGA in Devon.

Over 1000 people voted in the months running up to the MEGA and on average apparently some 400 people voted in each category of which there were over 20 highlighting all sorts of different achievements within the hobby of geocaching.

I won the award in the category called “Special caching Achievement” which was explained as being for “Someone who did something remarkable and inspiring in pursuit of tupperware, as either a Lifetime Achievement award, or for someone who’s Overcome Adversity to cache”.

I wasn’t able to attend the awards ceremony but would just like to say a massive thank you to whoever it was that nominated me in the first place and to everyone who subsequently voted for me, and of course I need to thank Shar and Sam for helping me to indulge in the hobby that has given us so many good times over the last 4 years.

Okay, that’s that done, I can put my trumpet away now and get back to caching.

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