The rain stopped at last

Although the weather has been extremely wet, my sister and I did manage to get out during the rest of January a few times to do some geocaching.

We decided on an outing to Ashwick, we had a DNF there in the summer (It’s Not Money) and as the vegetation has died back we thought it would be easier to find, we parked the car and walked to GZ, it only took a minute to find the cache, in the summer the area was heavily guarded by nettles so it is no wonder we couldn’t find it at the time.   The Church Micro at Ashwick was half a mile away so off we went along the lane, a lovely morning, Tara geohound was pleased to be out in the sunshine. I am often surprised as the size of some of the churches in villages, Ashwick is a tiny hamlet with quite a big church as you can see.

Ashwick Church

Ashwick Church

The cache was across a field from the church and down a steep field then across a stile.  As Tara cannot climb over stiles my sister climbed over and soon found the cache. We walked back to the church which was not so easy going up the steep slope!

In the area is a series of 20 caches called Zider Zeries, we found three of them on our walk around the village today.

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2nd Cache of the Year

My second cache of the year was found in Wells, while my son did some shopping I took Tara for a short walk in Wells.  I found  Constitution Trail #8 The Bishops Moat,  without any problem.  But there was a problem – after signing the log my hands were very cold and wet (it was raining), this was a tiny nano so after rolling the log as small as I could it took ages to get the log back into the container.  Luckily as it was raining there were very few muggles passing by, this is a very popular dog walking area, eventually I did get the log back without dropping the nano – I was relieved.

Moat

Tara Geohound at GZ refusing to look at the camera!

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Goodbye 2015 – Hello 2016

Did you get your souvenirs for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day?

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New Year’s eve I decided to take Tara for a walk on the hills near to where I live but it was so wet we couldn’t park as the verges were so soft and muddy.  I did stop and collect the last in the Ham Lane series which was missing when my son and I did the series in April. I walked Tara in the local park instead where there was no mud.

Later in the day I went out for a meal with my sister and brother-in-law and on the way home we found To Frome or Wells? An easy cache to find but the weather conditions were horrendous, there was a gale blowing and a heavy rainstorm, we couldn’t wait for the rain to stop as the lay-by we were parked in was filling with water.  I got soaked to to skin replacing the cache!  Extreme weather caching which I do not care to repeat.

On New Year’s Day my sister and I went to an event held in Yate, north of Bristol. It was held in a park which due to the weather was very muddy, Tara got covered in mud and she hates mud!  The event was enjoyable and I enjoyed chatting with like minded people and meeting with cachers I had met before. There were treats for the Geohounds as well as lots of trackables to discover and swap.

We found a few caches in Yate two being on the Road to Nowhere, this is a dual carriageway which was never finished due to lack of money and the county boundaries changing.

Road to Nowhere

Tara Geohound on the Road to Nowhere.

It was a good dry place to walk dogs but unfortunately the people of Yate do not seem to clear up after their dogs so it was extremely messy on the edges of the road where the caches were.  I now feel lucky I live in an area where the majority of people do pick up after their dogs.

 

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Caching on a journey

At Christmas time I drove approximately 100 miles to visit my daughter and as I have a back problem and need to rest now and again it was ideal  to break up the journey with a few caches on the way.  I made two stops on the way and two on the return journey.

The first cache was in a lay-by a lot of stealth was required with the traffic racing by, luckily there were a few breaks in the traffic so that I could collect the cache and put it back.  Next I stopped and found  Side-Tracked no more – Wilton South.  I was able to park and walk to the cache as it was down a side road, good to stretch my legs.

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No cache on Christmas day due to rain and where we went for lunch there were no caches within the area.  We had intended taking Tara for a walk in the afternoon but the rain continued all day.

I am hoping to get a cache on the 25th of each month so that I can claim Christmas is on the 25th Challenge Cache so it will be next year (hopefully) for the Christmas day cache. So far I have April, June, September and November so I will try and fill in the gaps in the coming year.

On the way home I found two caches Motorway Mayhem J2 M27 Paultons Park which was placed down a quiet road so no traffic going by and further along the road Ruby Murray 4: Lassie come Home another cache where I had to wait for breaks in the traffic.

Motorway mayhem

A good size box for Motorway Mayhem

Ruby Murray

Ruby Murray 4: Lassie come home. So good to find a large pot and not a nano!

I will be planning my breaks for the next journey!

 

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Finally no rain

It had been raining for over a week and finally on the Tuesday it stopped so my sister and I decided to get out and do some caching.

We didn’t go until the afternoon so time was limited due to the lack of light at this time of the year, we went to make a start on the Stiff series on the East Somerset railway track which is now a cycle path between Dulcote and Wells. I had already found the first cache previously so after my sister had found the first one we started off along the path.  It’s an area I am familiar with as it is one of my dog walking areas, it is a nice place to walk but the road is just at the top of the bank so there is a constant noise from the road.

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We found three caches:

Stiff #2 – Wreckless Eric – I had to crawl into the bushes to find this one and was attacked by the lone bramble there!

Stiff #3 – Rachel Sweet – an easy find – one thing about this time of the year is the brambles and nettles are beginning to die down.

Stiff #4 – Tenpole Tudor – I have walked along this path many times and have never noticed the small structure that this cache was sitting in, it is amazing what you do not see,  geocaching opens the eyes!!

We crossed a bridge over the road towards the next cache but when we reached the field it was full of cows so we decided not to go any further.

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Tara enjoyed her afternoon walk.

An interesting sculpture under the bridge

An interesting sculpture under the bridge

We will return to search for the others in the series when we can.

 

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Church Micro – Shepton Mallet Garston Baptist

Shepton Mallet Garston Baptist

This church is actually a house as the Baptists bought the house to use as a church in 1858, it was sold in 1895 when it was no longer being used as a chapel.  This is a multi cache and as I was visiting the house to collect the information the owner came out and we chatted, she knew my family and we had an interesting conversation.  This happened last year – when I had worked out the co-ordinates I went to the location and couldn’t find the cache.

I decided to take Tara for a walk in the area on a dull winter day and this time I had no problems finding the cache, I have done quite a lot of caching since my first attempt so I knew the sort of place the cache would be hidden, experience does help!

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Shepton Montague

Well this was the day I was going to reach my 200th cache!  I planned a route around the village of Shepton Montague collecting a couple of caches on the way.

The first was in Bruton All Tied Up which was near the sports field for Sexey’s School, it was in full view of houses across the road so one that I thought could be easily muggled.

Just at the turning for Shepton Montague was a cache near the road sign, called show me the sign on a very busy road, I took photos as a distraction so that people passing by would not wonder why people were hanging around a signpost, unless they were geocachers who would know exactly what we were doing!  My sister looked in the bushes and around the sign, I made a suggestion that maybe  the title could be helpful and we found it. Number 199 bagged.

 

My distracting photo

 

We then drove to the village and out onto the road where The Towers were.  This is the cache I chose for my 200th as I like architecture and I enjoyed reading the book The Two Towers (part of Lord of the Rings).  The Towers have no connection to the book that is just in my head.

 

We arrived at GZ and there was a large van parked right in front of the cache there was no-one in the van so my sister clambered behind to get the cache and we signed the log.

 

The Towers were built in 1755 by Lord Ilchester as an entrance to his estate Redlynch park.  There is some information here if you want to read about them.

 

We then had drinks and Tara Geohound had a chew.  It would have been nice to go for a walk around the area but my sister wasn’t interested.  I will return another day when the sun is shining and go for a walk.

 

My 200th cache

 

 The view through the Towers

 

I then drove back to Shepton Montague and we looked for the Church Micro, the hint said near bush as there was only one bush so it was easily found.
 Shepton Montague church

My sister did not want me to drive down the road to the next couple of caches as it was a one track road so I drove down it anyway!  The first cache we came to was Dr Beechings Folly, which was just over an old railway bridge, sadly nothing was left of the railway track – not even a footpath as sometimes there is, it was in a lovely area with a pretty winding road.
Opposite the cache site I looked across the to the hill and there stood The Towers.  I took a few photos and then drove to the next cache called Knowle Rock and River Pitt.  Straight away I spotted where the cache was as the hint was very helpful, my sister did not believe me and wandered up and down the road while I found the cache exactly where I said it would be!

 

Knowle Rock
 Beautiful views from all the caches on this route.

I drove along the lane which then led to the B3081 and our last cache of the day – The Third Herd, the cache was easily found.  Interesting military history about the Third Herd – Redlynch Park house was used during WW2 to house the United States Army 3rd Armored Division – known as the The Third Herd.

 

A really enjoyable afternoon caching.

Caches today:  7
Total caches: 204
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Church Micro Day

The 7th November was Church Micro Day, my sister and I planned to go out but the morning brought heavy rain luckily it was forecast to stop and dry up in the afternoon, We took our lunch with us so we could start off early.  The day did not start well as I found I had left my camera at home so only had my phone.

Our first stop was at the village of Westcombe where there is a cache by the well, we couldn’t find it, the fact that it was still raining did not help so we decided to look another day.

Next on the trip was Batcombe, we stopped within sight of the church, it was still pouring with rain so we waited a while and it did stop.

Batcombe

We walked up the hill to the cache site and soon had the cache in our hands, an easy find.

Next was the village of Upton Noble, I had not been to the village before, it was very pretty with views to the hills. the church was delightful and the sun came out!  We found the cache without any problems and walked back to the car and ate our lunch.

Upton Noble church

Upton Noble church

Our next village was Wanstrow, the cache was a magnetic nano – not my favourite type of cache, we found the obvious place and looked and looked, there had been several previous DNFs but we didn’t want to add to the list so we continued to look and eventually found it, it was up high, had I been on my own I would have not been able to reach it, one of the things that annoys me when caching – it helps to be 6 ft tall!

Wanstrow Church

Wanstrow Church

Just along the road was the village of Cloford, a very small village, the road the church was on did not lead anywhere so we had to turn around after visiting the church which was surprisingly big compared with the size of the village.

Cloford Church

Cloford Church

The cache was across the road from the church and it took a while to find, my sister was ready to give up but I persisted and found it in the end.

Our route took us to the main road and we started heading for home, on the way my sister found two church micros that I had collected before.  Next was East Canmore, a cache I had looked for before without any success, this time the cache was not well hidden so it was  an easy  find.

A short drive away was Downhead, a what I call a long village, most of the houses are on the side of the road without a real village centre, in fact the last time I drove through the village I didn’t even see the church!  The cache was placed within sight of the church in a large amount of undergrowth.

Downhead Church

Downhead Church

Our next stop was a pub for a welcome cup of tea, my sister then found 2 more caches that I had found previously.

A really good afternoon, Tara Geohound enjoyed the walks and we enjoyed seeing the different churches and villages.

Total caches today: 6

Total caches found: 188

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Another Off Yer Trolley

We were in Wells as Richard was playing the Last Post 3 times, once at the church, then at Harry Patch’s memorial and again at the cemetery for the Victoria Cross honours.

We didn’t have time for a coffee but just time to go and get a geocache on the way back to my car.  We found Off Yer Trolley – Wells 2 at Tesco.  The log was full so I took a photo of the log and cache.

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Walk in Wells

On Wednesday I went to D’s house to set up her computer on the internet.  I took Tara and afterwards we went for a walk along the path to Haybridge.  Last time I walked along the path it was just a rough grass path following the where the railway track was.  What a surprise I had – it is now a paved path, it looked very pretty in the sunshine.

WellsI found the geocache called Fancy a Swim! near the Leisure Centre which was a quick find, D was amazed that I reached into a tree and found a little box!  It’s always good to introduce people to geocaching.

 

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The Tunnels

I have wanted to visit the old railway Tunnels on Windsor Hill for ages, there are lots of geocaches around the area so it was a good place to go.

We decided to do some of the Ham Stroll series and a couple of tunnel ones.   On the map it all looked so easy.  The actual terrain is a different matter, fields, quarries and woodland on the side of hills with a valley in the middle.

IMG_8817We found Ham Stroll #1 with no problem at all except the field was full of corn and we had to walk around the edge and not across the field where the footpath goes, onto #2 which looked like a short stroll ahead.

We then came to a gate and the cache was off to the right but we found we were at the top of a quarry and the cache was on the quarry floor.  As the footpath is part of the East Mendip Way there were steps (sort of)  and in places rails to hold onto down to the quarry floor, it was very steep and I slipped down on some wet leaves leaving me with a bruised hip and sore hand.IMG_8810

After reaching the bottom we walked across the quarry floor which was very pretty with the autumn colours and soon found Ham Stroll #2.

Quarry

The next nearest cache was Ham Wood Viaduct but the footpath was too steep to go down and we looked across and it was very steep on the other side and as it was slippery underfoot from rain yesterday we decided to go back.  That meant going back up the steep steps and round the cornfield.

We got back to the road and back to the car which was parked near the footpath and stopped for refreshments.  Onward to the tunnels and Tunnel Vision. We walked back along the lane and found the footpath, the GPS was pointing to the left but that was because there was a steep bank in the way, we had to follow the footpath to the bottom and double back.  We found the trackbed and followed it until we came to the tunnel – at last!  We went into the tunnel and looked for the hint (57.1) painted on the wall.  We went right through the tunnel and counted the yards back to where the cache should be. We looked and looked but couldn’t find it.   The GPS didn’t work in the tunnel but outside it was all over the place due to tree cover.  I used my mobile phone and we came to a point where it said the cache was, we then by reading previous logs realised that there were two tunnels, so we walked back and took the smaller footpath which widened to another trackbed and another tunnel.  This tunnel was much longer with a bend at the end.  We walked through carefully checking the west wall where the cache was.  Eventually we came to the 57.1 on the wall and above was a hole in the brickwork and inside a clip-lock box. We were so pleased to have found it. We signed the log and carried on through the tunnel, when we looked back we could not see the other end of the tunnel due to the bend.

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We then found an gateway to Windsor Hill Woods which we went through as I could see some houses.  Just along the path we came to a lane with a house and it led back to the lane where the car was parked.  If we had known about this route we would have gone into the correct tunnel the first time, but by reading logs it seems most people do go the way we did and make the same mistake. On the way back to the car we collected Turbine View – close by.

There are more caches in the area so we will be going back, probably avoiding the steps into the quarry!

Four caches found but an exhausting walk.

Total caches: 178

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Back to Bruton

As it was Sunday we thought we would go back to Bruton especially as we couldn’t look for Walkies No. 1: Brue View due to muggles working close by.  So our first stop was the car park where the cache is, it was a tough find, the hint was ‘post is good’ and we must have checked every post in the area where the GPS was indicating.  We looked for quite a long time and eventually we found it.

We then walked to Bruton Station so that my sister could get the cache there, I had previously found it 3 years ago.  We found the cache just lying in the open so we hid it well.

The next closest cache was the last in the Walkies series – No. 14 : Darkey Lane  so as we were not going to do the whole series at once we walked down the lane to look for it. After I had climbed up some steep steps in the bank my sister spotted a likely place opposite and there it was.

We went back for the car as we were going to the other side of Bruton.  We found Walkies No.3 – Central Park which we could not find on our previous visit, I do not know how I missed it last time as was there right where the GPS led us.

We walked past the Methodist Church which is a multi so I took photographs of the clues to work out the co-ordinates at home.  Somehow we both missed No. 5 on the  GPS and headed for  Walkies No. 6: Harvey we walked up a steep hill then turned off on the footpath, unfortunately we missed the turning and walked further than we needed to.  We backtracked and turned up another very steep hill and onwards to GZ.

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We came to a large open area in the woods and started searching for the cache.   After a long, long time my sister eventually found the cache in  a place where she had looked before, she had even touched it and dismissed it.  I will remember in future to check the areas where she has already looked as I would have probably have spotted it.  Harvey turned out to be a hedgehog:

IMG_1137A very clever cache container.

After that I was exhausted and did not want to go back the way we had come, the next cache was further into the woods and quite far.  I saw some houses and headed towards them and we found ourselves in a lane which led back to the road we come into Bruton on.  We looked at our GPS and noticed Dovecot View – Tolbury Hill was close so we walked up another hill.  Again the cache was out in the open, so we covered it up well.

When I logged the caches I looked to see who had found the previous caches that were left out in the open, I was surprised to see it was a cacher who had found over 2000 caches, I really thought someone who has done that much caching would be more careful. It is possible that it was not him, maybe muggles had curious about the containers.

Caches found today:  5

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