Sunday, 26 December 2010

Christmas Caching

Seeing as we still aiming for '365 days of caching', we had to find a cache on Christmas Day. All 4 of us took a walk along the Kennet and Avon canal. The canal itself was frozen over and the ground was snow covered. Big QC skipped along, Little QC slept and we walked off our Christmas lunch. We found one cache and then decided that since there was another cache within half a mile, we'd get that too. We had a great walk.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Bizarre objects

Little QC and I took a walk round Inkpen recently. We found this in a back garden/field...yes, a giant 10 ft tall Timberland boot!

Monday, 13 December 2010

Les Vaches, Les Caches, part deux!

Argh, the cows!

Here are 9 of the 25 bullocks that I had to walk through! Je n'aime pas les vaches!

It might have been slightly better had they not insisted on walking towards me looking evil with their beady black eye patches! In the end, I backtracked to the edge of the field, dropped down out of sight and ran! Needless to say, cow pats, buggy wheels and my clothes do not mix well!

I found a fab old (2003) cache today. I sat and read through the log book and realised that 'old' logs used to be paragraphs long; nowadays a quick 'TFTC' is normally left.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

100 days of caching!

Today I hit the 100th day of continuous caching!

I started on the 1st September and since then, have found at least one cache per day. In the last 100 days I have clocked up 692 caches!!! I'm rather surprised at that number!
Also, in that time frame, I hit 7 different caches in one day, found my record of 40 caches in 12 hours, finally got over 50% of my D/T chart filled, found my record of 72 caches in a week and walked miles! Little QC has been with me for all but 3 of those days.

It has been fun! So now what? Do I continue or do I stop? I have my eye on a cache called 'The 365 days of caching'. This requires you to have cached on every single day of the year (over several years)...maybe, just maybe!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Little QC finds his first cache

Today, Little QC found his first cache! Ok, it was completely by accident, but he found it!
We parked up, left the buggy in the car and headed into the woods. A short walk of 200ft took us 20 minutes. Little QC had leaves to kick, leaves to roll in, sticks to pick up, sticks to eat...

Eventually we reached GZ, this had lots of low branches to duck under which made it hard work for the 14 month old. I started a search of the area when I heard a splat; he'd tripped and fallen over a log. I moved the log and there, inside was the cache container!

Today, it was mostly.....

Cold, icy and foggy!

Sunday, 5 December 2010


This week, it snowed! Not much snow, but it snowed.

How does one find caches hidden in the bases of trees when everything is covered in snow? I had a high number of DNFs this week because of the snow.

I did a nice series with my caching friends, A and M. We signed the cache logs as The Cold HAMs! We thought it was funny!

Today, I left the kids at home with Daddy and went and did a 5 mile loop in Netheravon. It was a great walk and I found all 21 caches on the route. I also managed a bit of data: it took me 1h24mins of walking, with 22 mins of stopping time! I must have walked quite quickly!

Eeek, eek, eek!

My worst fear - mice and rats.

I've read logs where other cachers have discovered a rat looking at them or stuck their hand in a hole and been bitten by something. Bah, I thought, it wont happen to me.

I took Little QC up onto the Ridgeway this week. We did a few caches, but the going was tough; snow and ice don't make it easy to push the buggy. We came across one cache, it had a nice hidey hole in the top of a fence post. I removed the cache and "eeeeeeek" lots of little mice looked up at me. I dropped the cache in surprise, swore a bit, quickly replaced the cache and ran away! I had to go back as I hadn't signed the log. I wasn't touching the cache again so took a photo of the hide, I used the zoom so I didn't have to get too close to the mice!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

2 Degrees West

Whilst out caching this weekend, I came across a cache with the westings w002 00.000  Well, why not? Off I set to grab that one! The furthest west we have cached though is w004 in Wales.

This weekend saw freezing temperatures and some light snow. Big QC wanted a 'Daddy Day' so I headed off on my own for a morning of caching. I set off for a series (or two) around Devizes. I parked up and walked round the 5 miles route in just over 2 hours. It was cold so I had to walk fast! With some spare time, I headed up to Calne and completed a short series of 8 caches before returning home. I was home, washed and recovered before Daddy QC returned with both kids.

Today, after a trip to the indoor playcenter, Little and Big QC went over to the Common where we found 3 caches, we then did a few drive-bys on the way home. One of the caches we found was huge. It was a 10L bucket (with lid) hidden in the cacher's front garden. It felt very odd getting the cache whilst the owners were home!

This week was an excellent week for caching. I found 72 new caches, which is my equal best week! My caching streak is now 89 days. How long this can keep going is now dependent on the weather.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010


My little Garmin Trex GPS has broken!

We parked up near the series we were about to walk round, I switched on the GPS to warm it up...and nothing! I changed the batteries to fresh new ones...and nothing! I banged it (a bit)...and nothing. The 'ON' button just would not click on. That was it, I knew the iphone would not last a 3 mile walk so we did a few drive bys and headed home.

Once at home, I opened up the unit and had a fiddle. I fear it will never be water tight again, but I got it working. I cached on Monday, then, on my final (and tenth) cache, it switched itself off and has failed to work since.

Today I had to cache using the iphone, which wasn't too bad. I found 2 of the 2 caches easily and hit the 1100 mark.

A new GPS system is winging it's way to me right now.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

The Stiles, oh the stiles!

Stiles; the bane of my life! Big QC loves climbing them, but have you tried getting a buggy over one?
We were faced with this huge stile last week. You also had to be careful of the barbed wire strung across the top.

How do we manage stiles when it is just Little QC and myself out caching?

1. Approach stile and sigh
2. Unstrap Little QC and climb over the stile with him
3. Place him on the ground and climb back over the stile
4. Get the buggy and hoist it over the stile. Our buggy weighs in at 18lbs
5. Climb over the stile
6. Retrieve Little QC from a puddle/nettles/tree...and remove leaves/sticks/berries from hand
7. Fight to strap him back in the buggy
8. Walk on!

This was Little QC at the Old Stile Cache in Axford.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

The Ridgeway

One of my favourite places to walk and cache is along The Ridgeway. Today I headed out to a cache called 'Lammy Down' set by a local cacher. The setter has some fantastic caches in the localish area. You can always expect a good walk and amazing scenery from him. I parked up alongside 10+ Landrovers and 4x4s and headed off. The walk took me along The Ridgeway and then up a bridle path to a place called Lammy Down. I found the cache easily, another ammo can, rescued the TBs that had been stuck in there for 6 months, signed the log and headed back down hill. 

I then decided that I had some more time before having to pick Big QC up from school, so headed over towards another cache. I was 0.22 miles from the cache when I rounded the bend and was confronted with the men from the Landrovers, all carrying large guns and surrounded by their hounds; it is pheasant shooting season. I was not about to walk through these men, hunt for a cache and then walk nonchalantly off! I double backed and headed back to the car.

The old caches

Earlier this week, I needed to find a quick local(ish) cache. I was pressed for time, but wanted to maintain the 'cache a day'. I headed out to one that looked a quick cache and dash, unfortunately the weather was hovering around freezing and all the leaves, sticks and foliage were stuck together making hunting for the cache too hard. I logged a DNF. So what now? I needed a cache. I fired up the iphone and saw a cache nearby, the down side to this cache was that it hadn't been found since April this year. I headed over, loaded Little QC into the sling and walked up a lovely bridlepath. Lo and behold, there was a huge ammo can dating back 7 years. I read through the log book spotting names I knew, signed the log myself, replaced and headed back to the car. This was so much better than the cache and dash I'd intended to do.

Monday, 15 November 2010

How are the TBs getting on?

Here is a quick run down on the Travel Bugs we have out:

Our car- Spotted 13 times, most recently on the M4 as we drove to Wales.
Marmalade- The Marmalade TB got taken to California. He is now there and being moved around quite quickly. He has clocked 5500 miles.
The Vendee Gem has finally been moved. This is the first time since July. It is somewhere in France.
Para (aiming for Sydney) was lost for a while. The person who had him gave up caching. He was tracked down and is now in has headed a little south!
Mountain Panda also got lost, but this time, he was lost in someones old car! After a quick email, he was placed in a cache, retrieved and then placed in the Lake District.
Little Dolphin is somewhere presumed missing.

We've now found 90 Travel Bugs and Geocoins.

Caching in Amsterdam

We spent the past weekend in Amsterdam visiting family. Seeing as we've maintained the 'cache a day' streak, we had to take in a few caches. We picked up a few caches near to Heathrow; we had some time to kill before picking up Daddy QC from work. These caches were easy drive bys.

We really needed a cache in Amsterdam that was big enough to take a TB (Travel Bug) I'd had for a while. It's goal was to go to Rotterdam, so I figured that Amsterdam was a good stepping stone for it. We found a TB sized cache but it had been muggled the day before. Thankfully, there was another cache close by. This though, involved lying on ones stomach and reaching under the bridge to retrieve the cache.
We picked up 2 caches on Sunday, including the one at Centraal station. This is a super busy cache with over 1,500 finds.

Today, I had to pick up some work for Daddy QC, so spent a few hours wandering round Basingstoke. I do not like urban caching as I always feel so conspicuous looking for some bit of plastic packaging hidden in some odd location. I got 11 finds and about 4 DNFs.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Moulsford Downs

What can I say except that this was a fantastic series. Little QC and I had arranged to walk round the series with some new friends. We parked up, headed over the first stile and then we were on our way. The series took us up hills, up more hills, up some more hills, down a little and then back up! Over the course of 5 miles we found all 14 caches. The views, the scenery, the mixed terrain, the variety of caches and the company made for an excellent walk. I really recommend a walk round. Naturally, we ended our caching day with a large cake. Who wants to cache and dash when you can cache and cake?!

I am now the proud owner of a new Geocoin! Thanks to A for finding it for me, it really sums up my quest to cache every day...which is still going strong! I will not be releasing this coin, this is one for my (small) collection!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

1000 caches!

This morning, Daddy QC offered to take both kids out for the morning leaving me with a spare few hours. Decisions, decisions...what could I do in a few hours? The answer was simple; a caching route that we wouldn't be able to do as a family and/or one that couldn't be done in sections. I looked at the map and decided that Temple Bottom was to be my series of the day. The route was about 8 miles with 36 caches up, down and around Temple Bottom. In true stupidity, I decided to bike it; naively I thought it would just be Ridgeway paths with some hills! I managed to bike a good two-thirds of the route, the rest I had to push the bike. My bike (and myself) were absolutely caked in mud by the end. It was a fantastic series with some amazing views and variety of caches. I found 35 out of the 36 caches en route, plus a few extra that had been placed around the paths by other cachers. I'm not one to end a day's caching on an odd number so I did 2 drive-bys on the way home to give me a nice round number of 40 caches in one day; our best day yet.
I was home before Daddy QC and the kids got back from their indoor playcentre trip.
I can now show off my shiny new 1000 finds geocoin!

Today's caching is a great milestone for us. We started caching just over 8 months ago. In that time we have discovered new places in our local area, explored new counties, got to know South Wales fairly well and discovered lots of nice places to eat (aiding recovery)!  We have met new people, made great new friends and perhaps, got slightly fitter. As a family we have something new that we can all do together. We have something new to talk about, we have seen places we would never have seen without caching and we've had fun.

Here's to the next 1000.

Monday, 1 November 2010

La Cache, Les Vaches!

Zut alors, les vaches sont a venir!

Yep, we got chased by cows...again!

On our way to a cache we had to cross a field. In the distance we could hear (but not see) a herd of cows all mooing very loudly. The din was awful. Big QC was chatting happily and Little QC was babbling on as we picked our way through the cow pats. All of a sudden the mooing stopped and there was silence. It was eerie after all the noise that the cows had previously made. Then we heard hooves and the mooing started again. We couldn't see anything though so continued on our way...until I yelled "RUN". Big QC ran at the nearby stile and climbed over quickly. I pushed Little QC, unstrapped him, put him over the fence, threw BOB over, then leapt over myself just as 20+ cows drew to a running halt. Little QC promptly fell in a puddle, Big QC was screaming at the closeness of the cows and I was relieved BOB was ok!

Thankfully we found the next cache!

Caching in Wales

Last week, I took Big and Little QC to Wales. We were meant to go to France but de to their striking issues we decided against it.
In our week away we:
Found 56 caches including 2 EarthCaches, 2 Puzzles and 1 Multi.
We failed to find 9 caches which is a 'record' for us in one week!

We found a lot of  bog standard caches, plus we also got got some very innovative caches. We came away with a lot of new ideas for caches!

Our hardest cache was rated a 5/2. Whilst we waited for the GPS to settle, Big QC walked right over to it and announced her find! She was, and still is, feeling rather smug about this!

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Oooo, spooky!

Today we set off round a section of the Aldbourne Circuit. This is loop of 12.5 miles. We did one section of just over 5 miles. We had a lovely walk on the hills. We spotted a longbarrow and tumulus en route. For once, this was a route where we didn't get lost as we basically walked in a straight line!
Just off the main circuit was a puzzle cache called Tom Riddle. I left Daddy QC with the kids and walked down the byway to get to this cache. I have never felt so spooked or uneasy in an area! I walked into the wooded area and within 25 meters, I had spotted a grave. It was about 2 meters wide, edged in large stones with smaller gravel covering the middle. A small memorial stone and flowers were placed within the gravel. My heart leapt as I wasn't expecting this in the middle of nowhere. I quickly found the cache, wrote down the riddle, left a riddle* and left quickly. Every snap of twig had me turning 360 degrees! As I left the woods I met a very strange, eclectic group of walkers who did not greet me. A very bizarre cache!

After we finished the circuit we headed up to the Cotswold shop. We picked up 2 more caches here to round our total up to 900!

*The riddle we left was one Big QC made up when she was 3.5yrs old:
Q- why do French people wear cabbages on their feet?
A- because cabbages are choux!

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Caching around Ashdown

This morning, Little QC and I headed out to the National Trust Property of Ashdown House. There are 4 caches around here, one of which being an EarthCache that we'd completed a few months ago.
Our first cache was a multi, this involved a climb up Weathercock Hill. Once upon a time, a huge weather cock was placed on top of the hill so that hunters could determine the wind direction. However, when Little QC and I finally reached the top, we discovered the weather vane had been sawn off! We found the cache and then descended the hill.
Our next cache involved a lovely walk around Ashdown House and woods. We enjoyed the walk down to this cache. Ashdown house is a 17th Century building that looks very 'dollshouse' like. It resembles a traditional Dutch building.

We had a small amount of time before we had to be home, so we took a walk up to the Ashdown Traditional Cache. This was a very well hidden cache, but worth the search after another great walk.

Even though it was absolutely freezing this morning, we had a really good, long walk. My legs are still tired from the climb!

Monday, 18 October 2010

Our new caches

GC Puzzle Cache Logo Pictures, Images and PhotosMulti Pictures, Images and Photos

Tonight, we had two new caches published. One of which is a Puzzle Cache that Big QC set, the other is a short 'cache and dash multi'.
Big QC is very proud of her puzzle cache- you can see it here. It isn't overly difficult seeing as she is only 5 years old but she thought of the idea herself, knew where she wanted to hide the cache and found her container. It was found 30 minutes after the cache was published!
The multi is a cache I set. The area has been crying out for a cache or two for ages, so I made a multi to show off the area. There are spectacular views at both ends, plus a bonus trig point for those who collect them.
This now takes our caches to 14 - a series of 9 traditional caches, a short dinosaur series of 3 trads, plus these two new caches.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Dreaming of caching

Not me, but Big QC!

She was calling out in her sleep and crying so I went in to see her. In her half dozed state she says "Percy isn't letting me get to the cache, he keeps blocking my way...I want to get to the ammo can but Percy is there".

Percy is our cat!

Week round up!

This week has been a very good week for caching with 53 finds! After hitting the 800 mark, I had a quiet day on Wednesday. Thursday, however was a great day. I had met, via Facebook a cacher who lives quite near by. I had seem her name in logs and found a few of her caches. We decided to meet up and go round the Hampstead Norreys series. This is a series of about 4 miles with 10 caches. We walked past most of the caches as we were too busy chatting! We finished the walk and decided to go and find a puzzle cache that we'd both recently solved. We found the 5 star difficulty rated cache and then went for lunch to celebrate! It was a fab day and we've already planned our next meet.

Friday was a local day so I picked up a few caches along the canal whilst Little QC slept off his music class! That evening we added a new cache in Swindon to our list. Joining us for that cache was a friend's daughter (also a cacher).

Saturday we met with an old friend of mine. We have known each other (via online and then in person) for about 6 years now. She and her husband have recently become a cachers so we headed over to a series near Winchester. This was 4 miles with 12 caches. The series was set by the top cacher I met last week. We had a great walk round and then we headed for one puzzle cache near Marwell Zoo.

Today, we were meant to spend the day at Paultons Park, but Big QC was not at all well. We left our hotel and did a few local caches around Southampton. Every small green space/park in Southampton appears to have a cache placed in it. We found a few and then headed home.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010


It hasn't taken long to go from 700 to 800 caches, perhaps 2 weeks. Yesterday we started the day on 787. I was determined to make it to 799. I headed over to a Wellie Walk series on the pretence of a Tescos trip. This was meant to be a circular walk; my circle however, resembled a spirograph drawing! I had written the co-ordinates down in the wrong order, taken a wrong path and just generally got lost. I ended up dog-legging 4 of the caches as I was that lost. This wasn't the fault of the CO (cache owner), more just a bad day for me! This route gave me 7 caches, so I knew I had to find another 5. I did a few drive bys for the numbers. I do not like drive bys, preferring to walk a route or circuit, but needs must etc etc!

I hit 799 easily...and then finally went to Tescos!

That evening I headed out to another Cachers Meet Up. This was my 800th smiley face. I celebrated with a beer!

My September challenge is still ongoing, I can't quite stop now! There are some days where time is an issue or the weather is bad or I just feel tired, but something says 'get out, you'll love it once out walking'. We are hitting upon a small problem now though. There is only one cache left in our 5 mile radius to find and 40 within 7.5miles. My caching streak will come to an end in a few weeks when we head to France. There is a real dearth of caches in our area (less than 40 in an entire county) so I can see us missing a few days here and there.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

10 caches for 10-10-10?

Nah, why find 10 caches on 10-10-10 day when you can add the numbers together and find 30...well, 32 in fact!
We left both kids with Granny today. This was our first attempt at leaving them both for a day. Daddy QC and I headed over for a 'Sloshed Walk'- named because there are 3 or 4 pubs on the route. We had a great walk and a nice lunch. We then headed back to pick the kids up grabbing a few extra caches on the way over. We'd given Big QC the task of finding a cache with Granny. We had previously DNF'd a local cache because it had been muggled. Big QC knew exactly where it was from our last attempt, but was still very proud of herself for finding it with techno-phobe Granny!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Coffee dreams

For years, both Daddy QC and myself, have had a dream of owning a camper van and touring round the UK and Europe in it. My more recent dream is to cache my way round various countries in a mobile home.

Today I met someone who is living that dream! Little QC and I headed over to Cirencester today to complete the Driffield Ring- a short series of 11 caches. As I approached cache #8 I saw a person in the distance. Not wanting to draw attention to the cache that might have been hidden in the bushes, I checked my email and pretended to look busy. The speed of which the person approached was very very quick, a cheerful "so, shall we look for this together" was said and then introductions were made. I haven't met many other cachers out caching so it is always nice to stop and chat. It turns out the person I met is one of the top 5 cache finders in the UK with a staggering 12,500 caches! My paltry 745 pales in comparison. We hunted for the cache but could not find it, it transpired later than it had been 'muggled'.

As we returned to our car we spotted the motorhome of the cacher and I wistfully day!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

September Caching

Big QC set me a challenge for September: to cache every single day in the month. If she can succeed at her challenges, then I can fulfill mine....and I did! I found at least one cache every day for the entire month.

September naturally has been our best caching month so far with 164 finds.

This weekend we walked round a series near Basingstoke. Of the 16 caches, 15 were micros which wasn't ideal for Big QC; she enjoys rifling through the goodies and swapping things. However, we really enjoyed the walk.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

700 caches

Today, Little QC and I hit the 700 cache milestone.
It was a good walk. We did a small section of an 8 mile loop. We enjoyed this part greatly so we'll be back to complete the rest of the series.
The next big milestone will be 1000 caches, can this be achieved before the end of the year? It works out about 3 caches per day...every day!

Monday, 27 September 2010

Hotel California

Ok, not a hotel, but a cache! Our Marmalade travel bug is now residing in a cache in California! He was placed there yesterday. This means Marmalade has traveled just over 5500 miles. Where will he go next?

How are the other TBs getting on?
Little Dolphin is stuck in a cache surrounded by human poo. The cache is currently inactive until the poo situation clears.
Para is missing but has been tracked down. The cachers who took him from a CITO event have given up caching, it didn't occur to them to place the TBs they had found into a cache before giving up. Thankfully, all is not lost and hopefully Para will be collected by another cacher.
The Vendee Gem has made it to France so is getting closer to it's final destination.
Panda is still in the dizzying heights of Lincolnshire. He hasn't been logged since the middle of August, so we are not sure if he is still in his cache.

The car has been spotted 3 times this month; twice at a cache meet and once as we were driving through Swindon.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

The not so BRRR BIR!

This week, after dropping Big QC at school, Little QC and I drove to Burbage to have a walk round the BIR series. There are two series in Burbage; the Outer (10 miles) and the Inner (3.5 miles). We parked up and set off round the route. It was a beautiful morning, the sun was shining, the birds were singing and Little QCs electronic buggy toy was playing madly! En route, we had to find some answers to questions, these answers would provide the numbers to the bonus cache.  We had a brilliant walk; we saw cows, pigs and ate blackberries. I learnt a lot about the village and the surrounding areas from the the excellent cache description pages. One day, I will have to tackle the 10 mile outer loop.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Birthday Caching

Friday was Little QC's 1st birthday. After his music class I took him for a walk along the canal. It was a beautiful day; we saw lots of boats, ducks and trains. He loved eating all the blackberries growing along the path.
Poor old BOB (the yellow buggy) has had two punctures recently hence Little QC is sitting in his old red Nipper. The difference between the two buggies is vast. BOB is now sorted with new inner tubes and is ready for this week's caching.

This weekend we took our inlaws out on a lovely caching series. Big QC loved finding conkers, feeding the horse, watching the gliders and collecting feathers. Little QC enjoyed eating blackberries...again!

September Challenge- 19 days in and so far, so good!

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Happy Birthday, Little QC

Little QC turns one tomorrow. We started caching when he was 6 months old- he's now on his 622nd cache!

The September Challenge

This month's challenge (set by Big QC) is to find at least one cache per day for the while of September. We are now half way through the month and a day has not been missed yet!

We found a great local cache today. I had intended to find it yesterday (and claim a FTF) but the car had a puncture so we were unable to drive anywhere. Today we were passing through so stopped and completed the Multi. Having lived in this area on and off for the past 8 years I never knew there was a 'stag' that watched over a local village! It is really just a very tall tree (or trees) that protrude from a hilly woodland area. The tree has 'antlers' and a very domineering appearance!

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

My first event

Last night, I braved a Cachers Meet Up. I'm not the most social of people so walking into a room of strangers was going to be hard.
First I debated what to wear. Do I wear my best Goretex and trail shoes or do I go in jeans? It wasn't a hard decision to make; I picked jeans very quickly!
Next, how would I recognise a bunch of cachers? Should I look for copious amounts of Goretex and lycra clad sporty people? Should I wear my GPS or carry a copy of The Times? I quickly rejected the idea of sporting a bright yellow Garmin!
My next worry was that I was too inexperienced as a cacher to attend. Compared to some cachers, my paltry 619 cache finds is small change for some.

I left home at 6.45pm with the plan of picking up 2 caches in the area that I hadn't found. I picked up the 2 new caches and then headed for the pub. I sat in the car, checked my mail, read some Facebook, sent a text to Daddy QC and then, with a deep breath, I got out of the car and headed for the pub.

I got home at 11pm having had a brilliant evening. I met loads of cachers who have been round our series, I put faces to names, discussed and swapped caching stories and life as a caching addict. I was made to feel very welcome by all. A number of the top 100 UK cachers were there with some very funny stories to listen to. My 600+ finds wasn't laughed at, especially considering we've been caching for 6 months and always with a buggy in tow. I'll be back next month to meet up with everyone again.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Our toughest series yet

Who'd have thought that a 3.5mile series could take so long?
Every cache has a difficulty rating (out of 5 stars, 1 being the easiest) and a terrain rating (same scoring). This series was given a 2.5 for difficulty and a 3 for terrain. Bah, we thought, it'll be fine! We are so used to climbing stiles and gates with the buggy as we encounter them all the time.

Cache #1- We had to find an alternative route to this as the buggy wouldn't fit throught the overgrown bushes
Cache #4- we had to negotiate a broken stile, a muddy bank and a tractor tyre being used as a bridge over a small stream...all on a steep incline
Cache #5- the steepest hill we've encountered with the buggy, we carried it in some places.
Cache #7- a footpath so overgrown with brambles and thorns that I gave the Big One a piggy back ride through. The Little One got scratched as his buggy was wider than the path.
Cache #11- one bull in the field and two sets of electic fences to cross, plus an unfinished bridge
Cache #12- bridge too narrow for the buggy so we had to carry it above our heads. Another very steep hill to climb.

This was by far our hardest set of caches, but we had a great walk. The views from the hills were spectacular and the weather was great. We well and truly earnt our smiley faces for this!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

How many cache types....

How many cache types can I find in one day? This was an idea we thought we'd try out.
The aim was to find a traditional (standard cache), a multi (staged cache), a puzzle (solve a puzzle and find the co-ords), a letterbox (the precursor to geocaching), an Earthcache, a virtual cache and a webcam cache. 7 different cache types...could it be done?

#1 Letterbox- a quick find of a decent sized cache.
#2 Earthcache at Lockeridge Dene. A beautiful area.
#3 Lockeridge Dene Multi. A lovley walk exploring the area and a quick find.
#4 Kennet Longbarrow Virtual cache- we had a lot of fun up here despite the little one being scared of the dark
#5 Avebury Stone Circle Webcam cache- after parting with a small fortune for parking, we enjoyed this cache.
#6 Swindon View Traditional cache- a quick cache and dash
#7 A Swindon Puzzle cache- a very fun puzzle to solve followed by a walk full of blackberries for the little one to eat.

I did it!

Yesterday we also got 3 new FTFs (first to find). An email notification came through at lunch time so we headed over and found 3 in the pouring rain!

Monday, 6 September 2010

The Planets

TinyDippy and I went and did a fantastic multi-cache today. We parked in a village we'd never visited before and set off to the given co-ordinates. We walked up to The Millennium sundial which consists of thirteen pairs of standing stones arranged in a semi-circle. As the sun shines between each stone, the time can be calculated.

There is model of the solar system set into the ground. In the center is the sun (the photo shows TinyDippy standing on the sun). The planets are placed around the sun, each engraved with facts. We found all the answers to the clues we needed, a bit of maths later and we were on our way to the final cache- a rather cunningly hidden ammo box.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

September challenges

BabyDippy (age 5) and I were talking about challenges today. She has some challenges and steps that she has to try and achieve so we were discussing those. She decided that if she had to do hard things then I should too. So I asked her to set me a challenge.

My challenge for September is to cache every day.

We're only 2 days in. Yesterday was easy as I made the most of both kids just needing to rest so we did some drive bys. Today though was much harder as it was the first day of school and I had people to catch up with. I wont let BabyDippy go caching on a school day/night so that only left the evening. I made the most of DaddyDippy being home from work early, packed the bike in the car and went and finished off a multi-cache (The Square) I've been meaning to complete for ages. It was a fab set of caches with some brilliant hides.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

To Marracache in Morroco...

There is a cache in Marrakech called the Marracache (it could only be called that); our dilemma before we headed to Morocco for a week of sun was 'do we take the GPS and the cache details or not?' In the end, we took the cache details and decided to play it by ear. Unfortunately, Marrakech was a 3 hours coach ride away and the thought of taking 11 month old TinyDippy on a 6 hour round trip in 105 degrees of heat was not appealing.
It was a fantastic holiday thought and just what we needed.

The withdrawal symptoms of not caching for 10 days kicked in today, so I made the most of 2 jet-lagged, dozy kids and headed off for a few cache and dashes. I'm not a fan of cache and dashes but this felt necessary today! BabyDippy decided that we needed to hit #555 today so we took in 11 caches to make our total up to 5-5-5!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Horny the Hornbill

Well, I think it is a parrot. BabyDippy has other ideas. Apparently this cache is in fact a hornbill and therefore, she will name him Horny.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Our 500th cache

Today we found our 500th cache, actually it was our 510th cache, but we broke a great milestone.
With it being the summer holidays we can be out caching most days. Once school goes back though we will be limited to just the weekends for caching adventures.

Our UK map is now filling up- we have cached in 8 different counties plus France. We'll hopefully add a few more countries over the rest of this year.

Our caching today was in Berkshire round a loop of 3.5miles. It was a lovely loop containing many many impressive oak trees. It wasn't overly buggy friendly as the path in some places was very very narrow and there were several stiles, but we had a lot of fun followed by a very expensive bistro pub lunch!

Our oldest cache, yet

Geocaching has been around now for just over 10 years. We've found a few caches that were placed in 2002- still in their original containers and with log books dating back over 8 years.
Today though, we found the 9th oldest cache in the UK! It was initially hidden back in June 2001 in Berkshire. The log books were filled with signatures and comments from years ago. We had a brief look through the books before signing our names and leaving a comment and a few travel bugs.
This cache also happened to be one of the largest we've found.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Caching aims

We are now fast approaching the 500 mark for caches found. It dawned on me recently that 95% of our caches are of the 'traditional' type. I've been trying to make more of an effort this month to find some other types of caches, e.g. puzzles, multis, earths etc.

DaddyDippy uploaded a new set of stats recently, this included a map of the UK counties. We've cached in only 5 counties (until I went to Devon and Cornwall), so we'd like to cover a bit more of the UK map.

Next month BabyDippy starts in Year 1 at school, our caching time will be limited to weekends only as she needs to be in bed early. Caching on a school night is out. However, TinyDippy and I might sneak a few caches in though once a week if we can!

A trip to Devon (and Cornwall)

BabyDippy has been asking for sometime to go to the Eden Project, with it being the school holidays we decided to combine a trip with a visit to our good friends.

Our drive down was long so we broke the journey up with some motorway service caches, naturally! Once we'd arrived in Devon we thought we'd convert a few more people to caching, so off with them and their dog we went. There was a nice forest walk a few miles from their house with a series of 5 caches. This was a hard series especially with the buggy. Whilst BabyDippy climbed up a hill on her hands and knees, TinyDippy got carries up in his pushchair! We found 4 out of the 5 caches...and converted a few more people.
After a trip round the Eden Project (fantastic place), we fired up the phone and discovered a nearby cache. After a short search we discovered the cache under a gorse bush.

Our final day saw one cache which we found on the very edge of Dartmoor. We then spent the afternoon at the beach. We drove home via a few more service stations and picked up 2 more caches. I'm not a fan of finding caches at motorway services; they are always so busy and dangerous. We pulled into one service station and decided that crossing the main road in was not for us so we left that cache for others to find.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

How are the Travel Bugs getting on?

A few weeks ago we released 5 travel bugs. A quick update:

Para's Trip to Heath (aim to get to Sydney) is now in Somerset, UK.
Vendee Gem (aim to get to the Vendee, France) is now somewhere in heading south!
BabyDolphin (aim to just travel) is in Hampshire, UK.
Marmalade's Travels (aim to travel) is a short distance away in Buckingham.
Mountain Panda (aim to go to high places) is in the dizzying heights of Lincolnshire!

Our car has been spotted 4 times in various locations.

Nothing better than an Ammo Can

After a lazy morning we decided to head out after lunch for a spot of caching. We headed to a series in the village of Wilton. This was a lovely series and very kid friendly. We found all the caches, plus grabbed a few on the way home. One of the caches we found was a lovely big ammo can filled with goodies to swap. This really pleases BabyDippy!

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Cache n'Curry

What a great day. We spent the morning in Devizes doing a route that was not the best for buggies- we had lots of stiles to cross, kissing gates to negotiate, a mainline railway line to cross; no gates or level crossings, just the tracks plus lots of hills and cows. We also got thoroughly soaked in a downpour. We found all the caches plus a few extra ones on another series. It was a good walk.

On the way home we passed a Farm Shop so we pulled in for cakes, juice, coffee and a mooch round the shop. We came home with locally brewed beer, more juice and some posh olives for the kids!

We had to pass Silbury Hill on our route home. This is Europe's largest man-made hill. It is impressively symmetrical for a man-made hill! We found a virtual cache there. We had to read some information and then email the cache owner with an answer to a question. It was good to know more about a hill we have passed many many times.

On the way home, we knew there was an Indian Restaurant with a cache in it's grounds. We pulled in and waited for my phone to load the co-ordinates. We waited and waited but (obviously) due to no signal, nothing happened. we decided to console ourselves with a curry. It has to have been one of the best curries we've had in a long while. We will definitely return there, plus we need to grab the cache!

Over dinner we talked about caching has changed our weekends. We used to spend most Sundays at Borders Bookshop until they went into receivership. We would just mooch around and achieve not a lot. Now, our weekends are filled with discovering new places, getting out and about and enjoying ourselves as a family.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Unusual finds

Within each cache there are often little 'treasures' to swap. BabyDippy loves this, she often has a stash of little toys to swap. Treasures range from McDonalds toys, marbles, pencils, keyring torches, hairbands, condoms...yes, condoms! After a quick lesson, the 5 year old decided that a condom was not going to be of much use to her yet, so it remained in the cache. Safe caching everyone!

Death by Caching

Yesterday, an email alert came through announcing a new cache in the area. This new cache made up a short series of 5. I had already been 'First to Find' on the other 4 caches so I most definitely wanted the set. Once the kids were in bed, I headed out. I half expected to bump into a fellow cacher seeing as he was 'second to find' on the last 4 caches, but I didn't see him.
I parked up, walked the short distance to the cache, signed the log, left some geocoins, re-hid the cache and headed back down the path. I was under the impression that the path was a restricted byway, so only farm vehicles could use it. It was a bit of a shock to hear an engine roaring down on me. I leapt to the car, just as a 4x4 (SUV) whizzed by at a ridiculous speed. The dust left by the car made it impossible to see, but I could hear another 4x4 coming and I knew he couldn't see anything. I unlocked the car and switched on the lights and hazard lights to warn him. The second driver swerved past my car, narrowly missing me. If I hadn't switched my lights on, there could have been a very nasty mess.
Anyway, I got the FTF. The other cacher who had been 'second to find' was 2nd again!

Sunday, 1 August 2010

4 cache types

Today we wanted to see if we could find more than 2 different cache types in one day. We also wanted to find our 400th cache!
We set off early to complete a series of 20 caches. We couldn't find 2 of the series, but we did find the multi-stage cache (see tree climbing post below). This was a hard series with the buggy, but we had fun over the 5 miles. On the way home we stopped off to do a cache in a Cold War bunker. DaddyDiplodocus had a good look round the bunker whilst we looked for the cache. We then headed up to an Earth Cache at a nearby estate. We found a huge Lone Saracen stone. BabyDippy felt it was lonely so added several small pebbles to it so it had some companionship!
We were passing through a series that I had started back in May, I only had the bonus mystery cache left to we picked that up too!
20 traditional caches, 1 multi-stage cache, 1 earth cache and 1 mystery cache...and a new total of 406!

Today, I climbed a tree!

Yep, today I climbed a tree to find a cache!

Getting up to the tree was hard, the bank was very steep with a lot of loose mud. Once in the tree, the cache was easy to spot and fairly straight forward to get to. Getting from the tree to the ground was another matter. I ran down, but felt like a skate boarder going up and down the ramps continuously. It was fun though and the sense of satisfaction at getting this one was immense.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

The best cache hide so far

Here was the GZ (ground zone- given co-ordintates). Spot the cache!
Here is BabyDippy holding the cache
On the end of the stick is a metal cannister, it has been screwed on via the lid. The cache was then placed in a hole in the lod to look like a branch. Took a while to find this one!

Wecko the Gecko

We found this gecko cache the other day! He was hiding very carefully, I spotted just his eyes glowing in the light...not a good moment for my heart! Once I'd retrieved him both DippyKids had fun playing with him.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Caching on my bike

Once upon a time this was my bike...

Nowadays, I ride my mountain bike a few times a year. My race bike is gathering dust in the garage and my mountain bike has a large child seat attached to the back!

A new short series of caches was published this morning so I thought I'd try and get a FTF (first to find). I then had this mad notion of taking my bike round the caches. Once BabyDippy and TinyDippy were in bed, I packed the car with my bike, bid farewell to DaddyDippy and set off.
I unloaded the bike and rode, it felt good and then I realised I was riding downhill with a tail wind! Once upon a time I had competed for Great Britain in the sport of Triathlon; heck, they even made me Team Captain at a few World Championships...and here I was, this evening, puffing and panting after half a mile (going down hill and with a tail wind)!

Anyway, I found the first and second caches easily. I then began the uphill struggle on an overgrown byway...a little walk was needed! Thankfully I hit some downhill and I whizzed off. There was one section where I had to walk the bike as the path turned into a 'footpath'. I was grateful for this.
The final two caches were easy finds, I needed easy finds as by now, I was exhausted!
It'll be several days before I'll tihnk about riding my bike again.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Caching in The New Forest

This weekend, we took a camping tip down into The New Forest.
On Saturday we took in a 'Hallowe'en Series'. Each cache was themed around Hallowe'en so we found cats, rats, spiders, coffins and pumpkins. This was a really fun series...apart from the rats!

We took in our first Earth Cache too. These are caches which teach you something about the local environment, there isn't a cache container to be found, but often you have to post a picture of yourself or GPS at the location.

Our second day involved a 'sidetracked' cache at Brockenhurst station, followed by a set of 5 caches within the New Forest. We had a great walk through Dinosaur Lands here and found some great sized caches. One of the caches we found was called 'Bouncy Tree' and here is why....!
We dropped off 5 Travel bugs and picked up 5 new ones to move on. We also spotted a Travel Bug car (similar to our own) and met another family out caching. All in all, a great weekend.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Cache Types

There are many different types of caches.
The most common cache is the 'traditional'- a basic cache ranging from a nano size to 'large'.  The co-ordinates given will take you straight to the cache. We've found 318 of these so far. They are, by far, the most popular types of cache.
Multi-caches are a series of off set caches. The given co-ordinates will give you a clue to further clues or the actual cache. We have just 4 of these found.
Mystery caches involve a puzzle (numbers, words, poems, rhymes etc) which needs to be solved to find the cache. We have solved 9 puzzles so far.
Today I found our first 'letterbox' cache. Letterboxing dates back to 1854, it was first started in Dartmoor. See more here.
We've also found a 'virtual cache' which doesn't have a cache container. Some virtual caches require you to email the cache owner with an answer specific to the co-ordinates given.
There are a few other types of caches, but we are yet to do those.

How do I get into Geocaching?

Go to and register a user name for free. Use the search engine to type in a location. Decide which cache you want to do. Fire up your phone or GPS unit and go hunt! Once you've found the cache, swap some swag if you want to, sign the log book and move on or head home. Once home, log your visit on the geocaching website.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

How we found our missing cat

Back in October 2009, our cat Marmalade went missing. We searched high and low for him, we then realised he was not coming home. 6 months later we discovered geocaching. There are many caches within 5 miles of our house so we were trying to complete a few local ones. One day we parked up, walked a mile up towards the cache, eventually found the cache, signed the log, left a dinosaur and then began the walk back down the hill. Suddenly we heard a 'meow meow meow' from the bushes...and out leapt Marmalade. We stared at him in disbelief; meanwhile he was getting his tummy rubbed by BabyDippy. It was our cat!

Now we had a problem. We were 5 miles from home and a mile from our car. DaddyDipodocus walked ahead with the buggy whilst BabyDippy and I walked with Marmalade. He chased sticks, got carried and chased us all the way back to the car. We put him in the car and drove him home. The next day we took him to the Vet (also his breeder) who checked him over, gave him a clean bill of health and a pat for being remarkable! Since then, Marmalade has come and gone for several days at a time. As much as he loves being home, he has developed a 'wild' side.
If it weren't for Geocaching, we'd never have found him.

Travel Bugs

Travel Bugs are little objects/toys that travel between caches. They are picked up by cachers when they are found and then placed in another cache. Many Travel Bugs have specific missions, others just want to visit caches. Each TB has a tag with a code on it. When you find the TB, you register the find and then move it on as soon as you can. We have now released 5 Travel Bugs with varying missions:

Panda wants to visit lots of high places. We'll run a 'who can post the highest altitude' list.
Baby Parasaurolophus is on his way to Sydney, Australia to visit a friend. Our friends have also released a Travel Bug that aims to get to one of our caches.
Marmalade just wants to visit cats. This TB is dedicated to our cat Marmalade. We found him 6 months after he went missing...all thanks to geocaching.
Vendee Gem wants to get to the Vendee region of France. We have a house there so it would be good to pick this one back up one day.
Baby Dolphin just wants to travel the world's caches.
Our car is also a TB. If anyone sees it, they can log the TB number on the geocaching website. It has been spotted twice so far!

Saturday, 17 July 2010

You know when you're addicted...part 2

...when you book your summer holiday to some far off destination. You get home, fire up and type the country into the search!

Yep, there are a few caches nearby! Caching will be an excellent way to explore the local area.

Shells, eggs and bouncy balls

Today we did a great little 'Harry Potter' themed series. Each cache was a tiny nano encased into another object. We found shells, rubber eggs and a bouncy ball...all containing a log book!

This week has been quite good for caching. So far I have found 21 caches, but also several DNFs. The DNFs came from not wanting to disturb a sleeping boy.  Whilst I had driven to within 10 meters of the cache, I was not going to unload the sleeping one from the car and into the buggy, hoik him over stiles and through bushes. The boy likes his sleep!

You know you're addicted when...

8.30pm- an email arrives informing you of a brand new cache within 10 miles of your home
8.35pm- you scribble down the co-ordinates, find the T-Rex, a pen and your mobile phone
8.40pm- you bid farewell to DaddyDiplodocus and head out the door....just like that!

Yep, it has happened!

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

I'm caching in the rain, yes caching in the rain!

It looks like autumn has arrived. The summer weather was well and truly over today. I headed out with TinyDippy this morning to a town near by. The pretence of  'a trip to Tescos' actually means 'a spot of caching, followed by a super quick trip round the supermarket I've parked near'. I parked up next to Tescos, unloaded the buggy, strapped in TinyDippy and set off. I'd found a nice series of 9 caches which looked buggy friendly. We had a great walk until the rain really started coming down. We hurried through the final 4 caches and then headed in Tescos to dry off! We missed one cache today in the series as it was located in a vey busy spot, there were far too many people about to retrieve the cache from the rafters of a building!

Monday, 12 July 2010

Forgive me Great Caching One, it has been a week since my last cache!

It has been over a week since we last went caching and the withdrawal symptoms are showing. We grabbed a quick cache today so I now feel a little happier! Tomorrow I have planned a morning of caching.
Geocaching gets very addictive. I seem to be forever looking up caches and series to find. I fire up an installed application on my mobile phone where ever we are so we can see what is close by, I browse caching forums and I preach the wonders of Geocaching to the great muggles! So far, I have managed to influence 5 friends to get out and about...there is also nothing like selling your own series as a good place to start!

Cache and Dash

Cache and Dash caches are those caches that you can drive up to, leap out the car, grab the cache, sign the log, replace the cache and drive off!
Today, we arrived early for BabyDippy's appointment so I fired up the phone and found a local cache. We drove to it, BabyDippy dived out the car, found the cache (magnetised to a seat), I signed the log, she replaced it, we drove off. I didn't even get out the car!

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Our best far!

This weekend we took in a spot of camping plus rather a lot of caching.
Our first day consisted of a series of 29 caches over 5.3miles. The caches were all fairly easy to find so we found all 29. BabyDippy had a lot of fun with this series as the caches were all located fairly close to one another. She got a good lesson in road safety after spotting a dead hare and badger!

We had dinner in a pub near the campsite and it was here that we decided that 29 was not a good round number! As luck would have it, that there was a cache 400 meters from where we were eating. I headed off to find it whilst DaddyDiplodocus took the kids back to the tent. 30 caches in one day!

After packing up the tent, we headed over to another series of about 4.5miles. As we parked up we spotted a car with a Geocaching sticker on it. We parked near it and hoped the cacher would spot the Travel Bug we have attached to our car. We set off on the series, this route involved many stiles and gates of which we had to get the pushchair over. We found all 24 caches on the route, plus an extra 3 and gained the added bonus of a puncture on the buggy. We also bumped into the cacher whose car we had parked near. It turns out he has over 2000 caches logged so is quite a pro...he logged our Travel Bug car as well!

So, overall, we found 57 caches in 2 days and hit a new milestone of 300! Here are Tiny and Baby Diplodocus with their 300th cache!