Our holiday in Somerset was based on Exmoor with HF Holidays Ltd who organise and lead various rambles every day. Sadly for us, being part of a large party means it is quite difficult to geocache on these walks. (Everyone asks “What are you doing ?” and in the 2-5 minutes it normally takes to find a cache, open it, find the vacant line in the log book, fold the log book back to its original size, close the cache and re-hide it….the group has moved on quite some way.)
So we decided to use the non-walking day as an excuse for geocaching. We based our day’s caching on the West Somerset Heritage Railway.
This Railway line, a original spur of the Great Western Railway originally ran between Taunton and Minehead. It was closed as part of the Beeching cuts of the 1960s, and has never been fully reopened, but covers 20 miles (about two-thirds of that original journey) from Minehead to a small village at Bishops Lydeard.
We boarded at Minehead armed with our Rover tickets, which meant we could jump on and off the trains all day. We were slightly limited in options as there were just 5 trains in each direction that day.. but still a fun day out.
The first caches we found were at Bishops Lydeard. Here we had 3 caches to attempt. One was part of a small series entitled “Will Something Run” with a cache based at most of the Heritage stations (there are 9). This was a quick easy find overlooking the station. (A vintage diesel was about to leave).
We then walked the full distance of the village to find a Church Micro – hidden in a drainage pipe. The church looked splendid, but with less than an hour we couldn’t loiter too long. We did try for another cache, but this was hidden in larger culvert – apparently with easy access – but we couldn’t find out how, so we skipped the cache before catching the train back to Minehead.
We decided to break our journey at Watchet. A pleasant seaside town, and former thriving fishing port. Here there were three caches and with 2 hours until the next train plenty of time to find them all…
The first attempt was called “Sit and Watchet” . However this was under a seat, which was occupied. We moved on. We admired the harbour (now marina), various statues, and followed alleyways and byways until we reached a packhorse bridge. The site of another cache. We looked at the obvious locations, avoiding where possible muggle eyes, but failed to find. We saw another couple undertaking a town trail who were busy counting dragons on a nearby door (yes, really!). Eventually after much re-searching we found the cache well hidden in a flower border.
The third cache in Watchet was called “Choo Choo and View”. We (wrongly) assumed it would have a good view of the railway line. So we followed well made footpaths, rather than believing the GPS which pointed us up a pavement-less road to a small housing estate…with a minute distant view of the railway line. When we did arrive at the very unremarkable hiding place, we had just put the cache back, when a resident asked us whether we were looking for that “geo-catch thing”. Clearly this cache has had muggle awareness stamped all over it!
So two caches found, all we needed was the “Sit and Watchet” seat to be empty … which it was! We both groped underneath, in the way only cachers can and found the magnetic nano fairly quickly.
So after three mini-adventures at each cache site, we were grateful for the 2 hours we had in Watchet.
Our final cache of the day “Will Something Run – Minehead” was a quick find at the end of great day on the heritage railway!