Tuesday, 21 February 2012

A bit of a catch up

January was a busy caching month with just over 220 caches found. Sophie had a geat day with a new record of 33 finds in one day, we had an excellent walk down near Bradford Upon Avon...

A new series a few miles from us was published recently, we decided to do just half the walk one afternoon. Naturally we picked the hard hilly section, getting the buggy up one hill was so hard we had to take it in turns! Theo found his usual quota of sticks, plus a few extra for good measure!

I solved a fun puzzle cache which was located in a beautiful set of newly growing woodland. All the trees have been grown in very straight, regimented lines...which makes it fun for running through! Theo set off thinking he could hide from me...alas, the coverage was bare!

Caching in Scotland

Over half term, we visited the in-laws up in Northern Scotland. There wasn't much chance to cache but we still picked up a few including 2 Earthcaches and a virtual.
The Earthcaches were set around beaches so both kids were very happy. One was 'Bow Fiddler Rock' which is a natural archway created over time that now resembles a Fiddler's Bow. Our second Earthcache was a Cherty Rock set on beautiful beach.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

A joint milestone day

It took a bit of planning, but we managed it...Both Big QC and I hit new milestones at the same cache. I started the day on 3992 and she started with 1485. We did a few drive bys that I knew she hadn't logged but I had, then we hit a new small trail which took us both to xx99 caches. One further cache (a puzzle cache) took us to 1500 and 4000 caches.
Big QC was delighted with her new number.
We spent the afternoon at an event cache where we won an ammo can in the raffle!

Saturday, 14 January 2012

A surprise FTF

Today we had a surprise First to Find. Little QC had had a class so we picked up a few other caches in the area, then I remember that last night a new cache had come out but I didn't have it on my GPS. I'd briefly glanced at the map after publication so had a rough idea where it was. Big QC was put on 'Post Box' watch...lo and behold, I had remembered the route correctly and there was the cache with a blank log book!

This was Big QC's log:

First to Find!
I like FTFs
Sometimes Mummy surprises me by remembering things! She remembered where this cache was and I helped her find it. I told Mummy to write my name first as I spotted the cache location before she did. I didn't get out the car though as I went back to reading my book.

Friday, 6 January 2012

200th puzzle cache and 20th EarthCache

So far, this year has seen a few milestones. Earlier in the week, we found our 20th EarthCache. To complete this we had to answer some questions set around West Wittering spit.
This was a fantastic area to visit and one, that no doubt we'll return to several times.

Today, I picked up my 200th puzzle cache. I found a hard cache to solve...and one that proved hard to find! It was certainly a memorable cache for a milestone.

I also added a new county to the map by caching in Sussex, this is a new area for us, and wow, we'll be back as Sussex is chockablock with caches!

2011 caching round up

Here area few bit and pieces for the year 2011.

Over the past 12 months, I managed to find a total of 2575 caches which I am delighted with, this is an average of just over 210 per month. I ended the year with 3896 caches of which 89% were traditional caches, the rest were made up of puzzles, events, multis, virtuals and earthcaches.

My D/T grid filled up quite a bit, I now have 64 out of the 81 squares filled, my 365 calendar is now filled except for 29th February...watch this space! I cached in a total of 30 counties, 5 countries, plus 4 areas in France.

My fastest 100 caches took one day, my fastest 1000 took 119 days. I walked 20 miles in one day for the 110 caches- this was a good solo effort.

So what next for 2012?
I would like to maintain less than 90% of traditionals cache types found. I would also like to fill a few more squares in on the D/T grid, but that takes a lot of planning and is very hard to do with a buggy. I don't think I will top this year's overall finds mainly because I can't expect Little QC to keep caching, he is beginning to have his own interests, though he does love to "me find cache". If I can hit 5000 total finds by the end of the year, I will be very pleased, anything else will be a bonus. Naturally, because I love going on holiday, I would liek to add another country or three to my map!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Caching in North Devon

As well as Way Down West, we did a few caches altogether.
We had a good walk round the lower half of a series called 'Below the Belt', the whole series was 7.5 miles which was too far for the kids to walk. The kids had a great walk and found a lot of the caches themselves.

We also took a walk up to Baggy Point near Croyde. This was a 2.5 mile cliff walk; it was so busy up there with hikers and families but again, the kids found most of the caches. Little QC did very well by walking most of the way. We had beautiful weather for this series, it was such a still, clear day that we could see for miles.

Whilst in Devon, we did 2 EarthCaches set around our favourite beach- Saunton Sands.  One of the Earth Caches required us to walk out half a mile along the cliff rocks, I got scared 400ft from the 'Erratic' so tunred back and sent Mr QC instead! I wasn't keen on the incoming tide or the cave! We also picked up a trig point half way round Baggy Point.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Way Down We(s)t

Way Down West; 105 caches over 20 hilly miles...it had to be done!

A few months ago I booked a holiday cottage in Devon, I sold it as a week of surfing (for Mr QC), playing on the beach (kids) and a spot of caching (me). As luck would have it, the cottage was situated just 10 minutes from the Way Down West (WDW) series!
I had planned on walking the series in 2 sections; other cachers have recommended walking the southern loop first as it is the most hilly. 

I picked the wettest day of the month to do the southern loop. I parked up and set off, climbing and descending hills, taking in amazing views and finding cache after cache. It was very wet though but my gear held up and I was relatively dry. 10.4 miles later and 4:05 hours later I arrived back at the car. What a brilliant walk.
(Stile, Devon style)

Today, it was even wetter than Monday! I parked up at cache #1 and set off round the northern loop. This was a very different walk to the southern loop; the terrain was more varied and the views very different. By cache #20 I was drenched. My Gortex jacket failed to keep me dry, my rain repellent trousers couldn't cope and the waterproof boots just filled up. I have had drier showers!
By cache #103, the finish came into view and I just grinned like a Cheshire cat, I was so elated at having completed the walk in such adverse weather conditions. The northern loop was much easier, it was slightly shorter than the south one though both had a similar amount of caches (105) on them. This loop was 3h20mins and about 8.5miles.

I would highly recommend this series. The time, effort and expense that the cache owner has put into creating the series is excellent. Many thanks for this series.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Caching in France

We were in France on holiday recently, so a spot of caching happened!
We discovered some lovely new beaches, some caves, a fossil beach, new parks, lakes and forests.We also managed to pick up 2 new cache areas in France which was pleasing.

A lovely walk over the River Yon

Big QC has a go at reaching for the cache..she couldn't so we DNF'd

Mr QC heads off over the boulders for a cache up (very up) the river bank/cliff!

A lovely new beach complete with caves

A 'Pigonniere', I guess a dovecote. Inside the building there was space for 2000 pigeons. It hasn't been used in years. One had to climb up the inside a few feet to find the cache.

Cache number 3000

To coincide with the 365 challenge, I decided to make that cache my 3000th. It was a great cache to reach that milestone with...it was also our first 5/5 cache!
Here's to the next 3000!

The 365 day challenge

The 365 day challenge is over! It has taken just 17 months to fill in every single day of the year with at least one cache. The final day occured in France. We celebrated with a tricky (D/T 3.5/4) cache which involved a bit of climb up a old mill.

 Last week, we headed down to near Winchester and signed the log of the '365 challenge'. It has been an excellent challenge, but I wouldn't recommend trying to complete it in under 18 months!

Saturday, 20 August 2011

The 365 Challenge and D/T grid

The 365 Day Challenge is nearly over. I now only have a 10 day block left and then I am finished. I am aiming to collect the 365 cache on the day I hit 3000 caches; it will be a nice milestone for such a great challenge cache.

The D/T (cache difficulty, terrain difficulty) grid is filling up; we added a few new ones over the past few weeks.

A fun DNF!

Recently, both kids had a brilliant hour at a local cressbed. We had intended to find a multi (Cache and Splash) there but the first stage was missing. Instead, the kids spent an hour getting soaked in the shallow waters. We're looking forward to going back and perhaps finding the cache!

Some FTFs at night!

It's been a while since I chased some 'First to Finds' as I have been saving local caches for days when I needed to cache. The 365 Challenge is nearly completed so when a new series of 16 caches (Butterfly Series) was published a few miles from our house, I sort of had to go! I picked up our caching friends on route and off we set. We only managed 10 FTFs as it was getting too dark to finish the series, the batteries in my GPS died and my phone was running very low on juice so we called it a night. We finished off the series the following evening.
It is a great series with some excellent, well thought out and constructed hides.

Friday, 12 August 2011

An update...

It's been quite busy these last few weeks as it has been the summer holidays for Big QC. We started the holiday with a maintenance trip round one of my series, Big QC clocked up 24 finds so she was happy!
We then all went to Swansea in Wales for the UK Mega Geocaching event. We took in a series, a few events and the odd cache or two.
The event that Big QC enjoyed the most was the Mega Camping, unfortunately we weren't staying at the official campsite, so we drove over for the evening and barbecued with friends. We also attended a launch party for the GeOlympix event next summer, a beach event and a convention. We didn't stay long at the convention so went caching along the sea front!
Over the past few weeks, we've filled in a few gaps on our calendar, added a new D/T to the grid and picked up a handful of caches.
Today we walked round the Yattendon Yomp which is a series of 4.6 miles and up to 24 caches on it. It is a lovely series and one that we all enjoyed.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

My 6 year old

Here is a nice little article on my 6 year old (Big QC)- click here!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The Ridgeway

I love walking along the Ridgeway. The Ridgeway is a trail that runs for 87 miles much of it following the ancient chalk ridge route used by prehistoric man. I have walked many sections and thoroughly enjoyed the silence of the area as well as the views.
Last week a new series was published that took in a circular walk round the Marlborough Downs. The trail was 12km (7 miles) in length with a possibility of 40 caches; I'd already found on previous walks. Little QC and I had a great walk despite a bit of rain, we found all but 2 of the caches giving us a total of 30 for the day.
A highly recommended series.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The Trophy

Little QC and I headed off to pick up a few puzzle caches, one of which was called 'Trophy'. I had eventually managed to solve the puzzle with a little help from Mr QC. This was the cache (a skull):

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Pewsey Vale and update

This morning, I headed off with my bike to Pewsey.
The original circuit was 12 caches over 10 miles, in recent years the cache organiser added another 17 caches and a bonus. I managed to find all 30 caches, plus a few extra I detoured to.
It was a lovely morning of caching; the buzz I got from finding the bonus was immense. It was a hard series with a few big hills and some of the caches were getting old, but it was a great route.

This week I managed to add two new D/T ratings to my grid. I found a very hard puzzle cache, plus the bonus today was a new hard rating. I also added in a surprising FTF (first to find). I had no idea there was a new cache in the area and just happened to arrive before anyone else did.

Unfortunately, I managed 3 puctures, 2 on the bike and one on the buggy. The first bike puncture came 4 miles from the car. I had Little QC in the bike seat so couldn't ride on it. It was a long walk back. Today, I took a spare inner tube which was rather handy when I puncture at 5 miles!