June 8 : Sandhurst (Gloucs) to Sandhurst : Fairford to Lechlade

Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.

Fairford Church - St Mary's

Fairford Church – St Mary’s


After a gap of four weeks, we returned to our epic walk from Sandhurst (Gloucestershire) home to Sandhurst (Berkshire). This section was quite a short one, between Fairford and Lechlade, mostly through the Cotswold Water Park.

Parking one geocar in a layby near Lechlade, we stopped just long enough to find a cache there, then drove to Fairford in the other geocar. There’s a superb free car park close to the church, so we parked there and started our journey by crossing the road to visit St Mary’s Church. It’s a big church, funded by the wool trade, with superb medieval stained glass windows, the only complete set in the country https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairford_stained_glass Our plan was to collect information needed to solve the Church Micro cache associated with the church, have a quick look at the glass, find the cache, and be on our way. It didn’t quite work out like that …

Entering the church, a steward handed us an audio guide which detailed all sorts of things about the windows and the church. It would take well over an hour to see everything – there are 28 windows, and other things. But we needed to get on, and get walking. We compromised and looked at a few selected windows, found the information and left. (Editor’s note: we didn’t have time to do justice to this church interior but it is very well worth visiting and spending a while just looking at the windows; each one contains a wealth of detail and symbolism well covered in the audio guide.)

Leaving the church, we went to look for the cache, which was located very close to where the car was parked. Or should have been. Some nettle stings later, we abandoned our search, and finally set off. Oh dear, it was rather later in the day than we had intended. We walked through the town, skirted some building work, and set out along the track of an abandoned railway, now a path http://www.fairfordbranch.co.uk/Fairford.htm There’s a cache along here too, one from the ‘Sidetracked’ series. (Editor’s note: geocaches really do help with finding a route, we would have struggled to find this path without that location to guide us.)

After a bit, we reached the water park and followed a selection of paths leading round the lakes. Once again, it didn’t go to plan … the lakes are still being dug out, so the map doesn’t match what is on the ground … and we couldn’t find several of the caches we were looking for. They were part of a series planted by a local Scout troop to get their geocaching badge, but we suspect that the interest wanes a bit once the badge is achieved, and the caches aren’t maintained as well as they could have been.

Some day soon, this will be houses ...

Some day soon, this will be houses …


After some bumbling about we arrived at the edge of a housing development in progress, https://www.thelakesbyyoo.com There was a footpath somewhere, but we couldn’t spot it, and there were forbidding signs warning of dire consequences for any trangression. We approached a Gurkha security officer, asked the way, and were efficiently, promptly, and politely given a map (maybe we weren’t the first to ask). Emboldened, we set off, talked our way past some burly security guards, using the map as a talisman, clambered through a live building area, close to a digger, waving the map as a pass, and found our way onto a road leading through the already-built bit of the estate. There were some very large and very expensive houses here, but it didn’t do it for me: some of the lakes were a rather strange colour, and the buildings were a bit “Thames Valley Park” meets “Center Parcs”. I was glad when we emerged onto the Thames and Severn Way, leading us towards Lechlade.
Strange water colour?

Strange water colour?


Almost immediately we were finding caches from another series, the SSS / Seven Stile Stroll, which led us nicely into Lechlade, with only one failure among the five we attempted. Part way along the path we stopped for a welcome coffee break – we couldn’t stop in the building site/housing estate – and watched a small number of escaped sheep frolicking at the other side of the field. They spotted us, became embarrassed, and sheepishly slunk back to their field …
Lechlade

Lechlade


The path ended at the edge of Lechlade and we were soon in the town centre, it’s not a huge place. There are some quirky things to be seen – an all-year round Christmas shop, and a five foot high blue fibreglass hare being just two of them. A large blue hare? Why? Dunno. We went to the church, had a quick look inside – very pleasant, but not on the scale of Fairford – then worked out the answer for the Lechlade Church Micro which was, of course, a place that we had passed as we walked into the town. Then it was just a short walk along a tree-lined path out of town and we were back at the geocar; we’d been here before in March 2015 when we were walking the Thames Path.
It's Christmas all year in Lechlade....

It’s Christmas all year in Lechlade….


... and giant blue hares live in Lechalade too...

… and giant blue hares live in Lechalade too…


We drove back to Fairford to collect the other geocar. We were, once again, very close to the first cache of the day, which we didn’t find earlier. Once again, we braved the nettles. And this time we found a cache! (Editor’s note: when logging the cache, we found that it had been replaced, during the day, with the cache owner’s permission, so we hadn’t missed it on our first visit.)

And here, as ever, are some of the caches we found:

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May 26 : Farewell to Chester

Before we left Chester for our drive home, we had some unfinished business in Chester.

“An Elephant Never Forgets..and you have some unfound caches near the zoo”

Within yards of the hotel was a cache we had not attempted all week. We had walked past it several times, but had never loaded it in our GPS. Our gut instinct was that the cache was one side of the road, perhaps magnetically attached to a sign. On the same side of the road were some small bushes and trees, again, ideal hiding material.

Imagine our surprise when the GPS locked onto the bus stop furniture on the other side of the road. No-one waiting, so we quickly furtled in and around the bus stop (Ed : are we the only people that use the word ‘furtle’, meaning to ‘poke around’ – its not in any online dictionary!!!) . After a couple of minutes Mrs Hg137 found the small magnetic nano. Then we read the title and description ‘OTB3 Olive Rudge’. The cache owner had set a mini series of 7 caches based on character from the 1960s/1970s ITV Comedy ‘On The Buses’! The bus stop made perfect sense.

Farewell hotel, hello cache!

Our last three caches in Chester were near the Zoo. We parked in the zoo car park, ahead of many of the Saturday morning visitors. Our first target was a 6-stage multi we had investigated 5 days previously. We had the first 4 clues correct, but the other two, in a small nature reserve nearby were baffling. One of the stages needed a sign, which had recently been removed (we could see the groundholes), and the other asked us a question for which the answer was not obvious. So with two unknowns we weren’t fancying our chances. However a bit of reasoned logic, discounting obvious arithmetic anomalies (anything above eleven minus two will not yield a one digit number!) we gave ourselves 4 coordinates to try.

The first was in the warthog house.. unlikely ! The second was promising as it was in the zoo car park by some trees. Nothing there. The third location took us to somewhere where the hint made sense…we just had to be the correct side of a fence! And there it was… a large cache hidden in an apt container! Even with two unknown answers we had found the cache! Yippee!

“The Zoo is Open” and so is the cache!

We crossed the car park to a footpath – actually a cycleway called the Pink Route – as it is one of 11 cycleways emanating from Chester each named after a colour.

The Pink Route.. is very Green

Our success at the previous cache had gone to our heads as the very descriptive hint ‘Half way down the slope on a large tree trunk with some regrowth covered in ivy , at head height’ made no initial sense. We clambered around until we found the tree in question. Even with two pairs of eyes our search of the tree was fruitless. Then, as many caches are, we looked at a very specific angle and saw the cache wedged in its hidey-hole.

We signed the log, took photos, and headed back towards the zoo.

We went underneath the zoo’s train lines and drew level with the rhinoceros enclosure. We could just see, through two types of fence a small baby rhino… the one that was born just a week before! Just as we were about to search for our last cache of our holiday Mrs Hg137 realised she was no longer wearing her sun hat. (One she had owned for over 30 years). She was wearing it earlier, but where was it now ? We quickly found the cache, signed the log and retreated our steps carefully.

Found the cache, but can we find a missing hat?

We were about halfway back along the Pink Route when a man said he had seen our hat a bit further on.. Phew! We walked on, a little faster, and saw the hat… and another man approaching it. Fortunately he also realised it was Mrs Hg137’s hat and gave it to us. We chatted and as it turned out he was also a geocacher so had an inkling as to what we had found !

We could have driven home at that point, but we wanted one more look at the zoo. The entrance to Chester Zoo is staggered, after buying a ticket there is a wide concourse – where presumably large parties gather – before reaching the actual turnstile. We could wander into this concourse, and look into the first exhibit…the ELEPHANTS !

Spot the one week old elephant!

We had a great view – without paying remember – of all the elephants including the week-old elephant which no doubt will appear in the next series of Channel 4’s ‘The Secret Life of the Zoo’ . We were also entertained by zoo keepers parading dressed up as a giraffe! A fun end to a great week!

May 25 : Liverpool (part 2)

Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.

Liverpool - Cathedral View

Liverpool – Cathedral View


We’d spent the previous day in Liverpool – travelled on the Mersey ferry – walked along the dock frontage – visited Chinatown and the Anglican cathedral – but we had hardly started on the sights and the geocaches that Liverpool had to offer. So we went back …

Arriving – by train this time, not ferry – we set off once again for the Anglican cathedral. We’d failed to find the cache based on the cathedral the day before, which had occupied most of the afternoon. And we DID NOT want to be beaten, not after all that time and effort. Reader: we were successful, and the cache log says it all:

Our second day in Liverpool, and our second attempt here. Yesterday we had the correct co-ordinates but somehow the checker said ‘no’. We had wandered close to GZ yesterday, but gave up as we thought GZ too impenetrable and as we had not had reassurance from the checker – gave up.

However, after verification from the checker, we set off again. But how to reach GZ ? Yesterday we had eliminated one way, and another. Today it took us another 2 attempts before we were on the correct path. We of course walked past GZ, but eventually the GPS settled and we were staring at something to search. We initially searched the side indicated by the hint…. and of course it was on the other!

So after three circuits of the Cathedral yesterday (two inside, one outside) and a reasonable number of half-circumnavigations yesterday and today, we were there!

(Editor’s notes: geocaching terms: GZ=ground zero= the location of the cache : checker/geochecker=a check supplied with some puzzle caches that lets you know if your calculations are correct.)

Found it!  At last!

Found it! At last!


Brimming over with (false) confidence, we – of course – failed to find the next cache on our list, but its name, ‘Cathedral View’, was correct, and we had a grand view. Slightly miffed, we continued into the Georgian quarter of the city, to find another cache, ‘Almost Famous Falkner Street’. The explanation for this name is that one house in this street was the subject of a recent BBC2 series, ‘A House through Time’, which told ‘the story of Britain spanning a period of seismic social change from the 1840s to the present day, told through the prism of a single terraced house in Liverpool’. (Editor’s note: I borrowed that quote, I didn’t write it myself!) Anyway, we found the cache, we gawped at the house, and it began to rain…

Having seen one cathedral, it behoved us to look at the other. The Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King Liverpool is also nicknamed ‘The UFO’ and there is a cache of that name close by, which we found. We were curious about the cathedral and went inside for a short visit, as a service was about to start; it’s much more modern than the other cathedral, but much dimmer inside, though it was quite a gloomy day by now.

The drizzle was thickening now, as we found ‘Harry Potter series no 19 Ministry of Magic’, a big long name for a tiny cache hidden close to the church of St Andrew. The magical connection (I think) comes from the unusual pyramidal tomb visible through the railings in the spooky graveyard http://www.urban75.org/blog/the-curious-pyramidal-tomb-of-william-mackenzie-in-liverpool

St Andrew's church

St Andrew’s church


Out in the rain, we set off to find ‘Train Driver’, which involved answering a question based on railway stations, then going to find a final location with a related theme. Oh, how we wished we had done our research they day before, as we had a wet walk through the city that took us very close to several of the locations we had visited the day before. Doh!
We've been here just yesterday...

We’ve been here just yesterday…


That lack of research had left us soggy and sullen, so we decided we would do just one more cache, then head hotel-wards. The cache, ‘Gizza Job’, was in Williamson Square. And in between us and the square lay Mathew Street, one of THE places to visit in Liverpool. The name meant nothing to me. But I’d heard of the Cavern Club, and that’s in Mathew Street. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mathew_Street



The whole street is a shrine to the Liverpool music scene: there’s a statue of John Lennon, and another of Cilla Black, herds of tourists, even on a wet Friday, and a Wall of Fame where each brick carries the name of a band associated with Liverpool. (Editor’s note: there’s a cache associated with this, but it’s a large wall, and there are a LOT of bricks and we didn’t think we had the time/patience/skill to spend over an hour here.)

We arrived in Williamson Square, and several things struck my senses: there was:
– what looked very much like a Banksy, against one edge

– an oh-so busy shop in the square, a Liverpool FC football merchandise shop, doing a great trade https://store.liverpoolfc.com/stores/finder/show/id/5
– and an inflatable installation of a blue whale https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/whats-on/whats-on-news/50ft-whale-williamson-square-mann-14706804

We wandered damply about the square – the GPS just wouldn’t give us a location – we were about to give up when we (again) visited one of the most likely locations, touched something, and it moved … we’d found it!

Triumphant, we went back to the train and set off back to Chester. But there was a sting in the tail: two stops short of our destination, at Hooton station, which is not especially close to the place of Hooton, the train came to a halt, and was going no further. ‘A problem with the points…’ We were turfed out onto the platform in the rain, along with all the other passengers, while the train returned to Liverpool. Some creative phoning, and we were sharing a taxi with a wet postman back to Chester. Not what we’d planned, but an ‘interesting’ end to a caching trip!

May 24 : Liverpool (part 1)

“So ferry ‘cross the Mersey’
Cause this land’s the place I love
And here I’ll stay
And here I’ll stay
Here I’ll stay”

If its good enough for Gerry and the Pacemakers.. its good enough for us.

Liver Building

Neither of us had really ‘done’ Liverpool – Mr Hg137 had worked there for about 2 days, 15 years ago, but that was it. Chester, our base for the week, was a 40 minute rail trip to the Centre of Liverpool. We had been advised not to take the whole journey by rail, but break it before reaching the Mersey and catch the iconic ferry.

“Ferry Across the Mersey”

We arrived well before the first ‘tourist’ sailing of the day. (With hindsight we should have walked the 1/4 mile to the nearest cache and returned with time to spare). Instead we saw a lady arrive with 4 children in tow, who informed the ticket seller…there would another 84 (EIGHTY-FOUR !) schoolchildren arriving shortly. We shuddered. 84 children talking excitedly in the ticket hall, then queuing to board was to say the least, an experience. The noise from the children meant some of the ferry’s announcements about Liverpool’s history (famous dockyards, the Liver building etc) were almost inaudible – but somehow we survived and escaped onto dry land as the children continued back to the far shore.

Liverpool’s frontage on the Mersey is spectacular. Famous buildings, the Albert Dock (and other docks too) were festooned with bunting, as there was to be a ‘Tall Ships’ Festival in 2 days time. The hustle and bustle was going to make caching very difficult.

Titanic Memorial

Fortunately for us – our first cache was a virtual. All we had to do was find 2 plaques, read some information off them (about the ill-fated Liverpool-registered Titanic) and email the cache owner. Our first true find of the day was called ‘Pink Floyd’. It seemed odd having a cache in Liverpool named after a London band… but the cache was hidden in an object mentioned in probably their most well-known single. How we retrieved it, without being noticed we still don’t know!

Which one is the cache ?

No such luck at our next cache. All along the riverside, were padlocks, placed there by “Anyone who had a heart”. Many of the padlocks had messages… one contained a cache log! But with hundreds of padlocks to search, and lots of people on seats watching us… The Searchers searching… we gave up.

We walked away from the docks and headed towards Chinatown (via a small garden near the main Albert Dock building where Mr Hg137 has worked all those years ago). The small garden had been designed for ‘blind and disabled persons’. Raised beds were at chest height and full of herbs, and highly perfumed flowers and bushes. We rummaged in the borders for some time looking for a cache, and after five minutes all we could smell on our hands and arms was lavender, thyme and rosemary ! And no cache!

Another less crowded park was a short distance from Chinatown. No tourists here, just builders and we were seen (we think) by a JCB driver. There is much redevelopment going on in Liverpool, and the former dockland dwellings are being demolished and being turned into swanky bungalows and apartments. After the previous two failures, we did have success here!

Extrance to ChinaTown

Liverpool’s Chinatown is much diminished. Predominantly a single 100 yard street with Chinese Restaurants. We paused to admire the ‘Entry to Chinatown’ gateway and to collect answers to a multi. How many roofs ? How many lions ? How many dragons ? And more questions besides. We were counting for far too long, and we were assailed by a cab driver who told us, in years gone by, there was much, much more to Chinatown. The Chinese restaurants have spread around the city and diluted this area. Eventually we got away… calculated the final co-ordinates and discovered we had to walk back down the 100 yard road to the final. And what a cache container it was! The cache owner had made a real effort… the log for the Chinatown cache was hidden in a Chinese Fortune Cookie wrapper !

Liverpool’s Chinatown Cache


From Chinatown it is only a short walk to the (Anglican) Cathedral. A huge imposing building that took well over 70 years to complete, funded predominantly by public donations. Designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott it takes an hour to walk round! We had to find the answer to ten questions. We had to count numerous items from stained windows, to letters on the foundation stone. We counted lions on the war memorial, and snails (yes, really) on a door in the Ladies Chapel. The designer of the Cathedral, Sir Giles Gilbert Scott also designed the iconic red telephone box.. and yes there was one on those in the Cathedral too!

Hotline to God ?

We needed to find the number of hedgehogs on the main exit door… but to our dismay we couldn’t reach the door to count. A large moon was suspended from the ceiling! A Festival of the Moon was going on all week, to coincide with the Tall Ships gathering – and it meant our hedgehogs were out of bounds. We needed “Help!“. And “With a little help from our friends” – well a friendly churchwarden we got the required answer.

Moon Festival

We retreated outside and performed a large calculation. It was hot, we were tired, we did it three times and agreed an answer. Then we couldn’t get the geo-checker to work. It said ‘no’ – our answer was wrong. We went around the Cathedral again …and confirmed all our answers. Yes they were correct. We re-did the arithmetic. Same answer. Oh well lets try and get there!

We walked first one side of the Cathedral and then the other finding ourselves in a sunken, former graveyard. Somehow we were still 40 feet away, and no obvious signs of the cache. We retreated, with a view to checking our numbers overnight.

Is the cache down here ? Really ?

So a somewhat long day in Liverpool with just three finds. We’d seen some of the iconic sights … and much, muxch more to come!

PS We only found 3 caches, one of those a virtual, so sorry… we didn’t want to put in pictures of two caches!

May 22 : Chester (part 2)

Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.

Chester city centre

Chester city centre


Tuesday already, and we returned to Chester to complete our caching mission from two days earlier. Taking the bus from outside the hotel, we arrived on the north side of the city at the smart new bus station https://www.chesterchronicle.co.uk/news/chester-cheshire-news/watch-take-ride-round-chesters-13073745
Fearless Traveler

Fearless Traveler


Before going right into the city, we attempted a cache hidden close to a nearby underpass … we must have tried every exit from that *!?* underpass, and looked at a lot of brick walls and signs, but we eventually got ourselves into the right place, finding the cache and a trackable of a little horse, ‘Fearless Traveler’.
Captain Morgan's cannon

Captain Morgan’s cannon


Then it was through Northgate in the city walls, and another cache, near a sculpture of a broken Civil War cannon. We would spend much of the day diving on and off the walls, eventually completing the 2-mile circuit, my ‘must do’ item for the day. It’s a walk well worth doing (and free!), with great views of the city streets, the cathedral, the racecourse, the river … https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chester_city_walls

It was a short walk to the city centre, with more statues (there are loads and loads of sculptures in Chester), including this one of a baby elephant http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/merseyside/8569557.stm – there is a similar statue at Chester Zoo …
Janya

Janya


Apart from statues, there is unofficial ‘art’ advertising local businesses (and another elephant) …

It was a short walk to Eastgate, close to the city centre, where the clock on the bridge over the gate is, so they say, the second most photographed clock in the world. There’s a cache here, too, though muggles swarm around the bridge, and you must pick your moment to find it.
Chester, Eastgate clock

Chester, Eastgate clock


Further on round the walls we climbed down to pass the Roman amphitheatre, where a group of schoolchildren were being trained to be Roman soldiers and having lots of fun doing it, being ordered about with shields as large as they were.
Attention!

Attention!


Having diverted from the park, we went further on and back into Grosvenor Park, where we’d had a cache DNF (did not find) two days before. We had a slightly amended set of cache coordinates, and we were hopeful. We approached, only to find a muggle asleep on the grass nearby. We retreated to eat our sandwiches and to watch a muggle carrying a large, opened bag of monkey nuts through the park. And we found some of those nuts wedged into the trees when we started our search (so THAT’s why the squirrels are so tame and brazen!) We looked around for a bit – we thought we’d searched here before the coordinates were changed – then a chance look down revealed the cache lying on its own in the open, in a small dent in the dirt. We signed the log and tried to replace it as the hint said it should be. Good to find one of our earlier failures.
Chester city walls

Chester city walls



We returned to the southern section of the walls, overlooking the River Dee, then around the corner to the western walls, overlooking Chester racecourse, the Roodee. http://www.d2architects.co.uk/a-brief-history-of-chester-racecourse-730.html It’s the oldest racecourse in England, and one of the smallest, tightest circuits, with one lap being just over a mile, but this means that you get a good view of the whole of each race from either the grandstands or the walls. The course was being prepared for a race meeting the next weekend, and it was quite busy even then: it must be heaving on race day itself! There are a couple of caches along this section, too, and it was again a struggle to find the caches and sign the logs without attracting the attention of the many passers-by.
Chester racecourse - the Roodee

Chester racecourse – the Roodee


We arrived back at Northgate with our wall walk completed. But we still had another mission to complete … we had started on two multicaches on our previous visit, but had failed to finish either. Each had multiple stages: one involved looking up at various items above head height around the old city, and the other required us to glean information from some of the many blue plaques dotted around. So far so good: we reviewed what we had done two days before, then went off to complete the rest. We checked our answers, but we STILL hadn’t finished them. Grrr! We’d got our looking up confused with our plaques and had missed things. We sighed, and set off on another couple of laps of the city, to check all the clues again, some for the third/fourth time. I was getting a bit fed up by now. Eventually we had some answers and set off for the allotted locations. We thought we’d walked along every single street in the city centre but we found two we hadn’t tried, one in a pleasant residential street, and one in a less salubrious service area behind shops.

Phew! We were finished for the day. We returned to the swanky new bus station and went off for a rest and a meal.

Some of the caches from our previous visit remain resolutely unfound (by us, anyway). But here are some of the caches we did find, some fresh for today, and some at the second try from two days earlier:

May 20 : Chester (part 1)

Chester & The River Dee

We had booked a week’s holiday in Chester, as it was an area neither of knew that well, and it would give us a small break from caching the Sandhurst Trail.

Our hotel was about 2 miles outside the City of Chester, and with a station on our doorstep, we took the train. (Saved car parking fees, but didn’t save shoe leather as we later discovered Chester Station was a little distance from our City Centre Caching Targets).

Chester is a former Roman Town, with a 2 mile Roman Wall surrounding the city centre. (The wall has been rebuilt several times since the Romans left!). The station was to the North of these walls, and our target caches was well to the South of the Walls, near the River Dee.

Before we left home we had solved a difficulty 5 puzzle cache called “The Clairvoyant” and we were determined to find it. As its location was some distance from the station, this gave us a chance to find caches on the way.

Can you look into the future and solve this puzzle, before you read whether we discovered the cache ?

We had forgotten that city locations play havoc with the GPS ! Many times we found a cache about 20 feet from its location. The first was attached to some ‘street furniture’ near to the Deva pub (‘Deva’ being the Roman name for Chester).

First Chester Cache

We weren’t so lucky looking for a cache in Grosvenor Park called ‘Park Life’ as we found neither the cache nor the ‘Stump’ alluded to in the clue. We were in a park were squirrels abounded, sadly they didn’t help us.

“Can I help ?”

We even took a ride on the model railway and looked again. Nothing!

Choo-choo !

We did find the other cache in the park, “A Walk in the Park”, and as we sat and completed the logging, a young couple sat on adjacent seat, and fed another squirrel… with a very large chip! To see a squirrel holding and nibbling a chip lengthways (as if a corn-cob) was really cute and funny!

We needed to cross the river, and the Queens Park Suspension Bridge (originally built in 1852, and rebuilt/restored a few times since) provided us with our next cache.

Partway along, we stopped 10 feet after GZ, and looked down. Nothing at our feet. But, as we looked back up… we saw a family of four, 10 feet away, signing a piece of paper! Yes they were cachers! Pleased to meet you Team ELSR, and well done on finding your first 4 geocaches!)

We had a half-mile walk along the River Dee’s Bank to “The Clairvoyant”. Like many puzzle caches, the answer is very obvious when you discover it. Here, a read of the previous finder’s logs, as well as fully understanding every word written about the cache, gave us the solution. (Hint: to solve it will require printing it out, and using at least one tool).

A small, indistinct trail led through knee-high nettles at Clairvoyant’s GZ. An even smaller track lead to a bush which provided excellent camouflage for an ammo can! It is certainly worthwhile to find a large cache when a large amount of brain-power has been used!

As it says on the tin.. “The Clairvoyant”


The flood-plains near the River Dee provided an excellent vantage position for watching a canoe race take place, as well locating one other cache in a very disguised paint tin!

We headed back towards the City, collecting another, much smaller cache, near the former City Mill.

The centre of Chester (ie inside the city walls), has a good mixture of caches. Some standard, easy to find caches; an earthcache based on the former Roman Baths (successfully answered); and two very lengthy multi-caches. It was these multicaches we started work on, as we headed back towards the Station. We realised we didn’t have enough time in one day to complete all the stages, so we stopped about half-way in each, to give us enough stages to make a worthwhile return visit to the City.

Chester’s former Roman Bathhouse

The day was hot, and after several hours wandering around we were tired, so we thought the Chester Cathedral Multicache would give us a chance to relax and cool off. We unfortunately arrived at the Cathedral 20 minutes before the Annual Mayor-Making service was due to start. Seats were named, various several members of the clergy were due to participate, hundreds of guests invited… and we had 20 minutes to find 4 objects and dates to yield the final co-ordinates for the cache. So much for a relaxing few minutes! Fortunately two of the answers were found in a small courtyard adjacent to the Cathedral so we were well away from the pomp and ceremony as it unfolded.

Chester Cathedral


Then we had to find the cache!

For some obscure reason (probably because all the photos on http://www.geocaching.com were of a water feature), we thought the cache was nearby. Indeed it was – 30 feet away. But, after far too long searching inside the courtyard we concluded (with the help of the gift shop staff – who knew where the cache was) the cache was outside the courtyard walls! Once at GZ… we found a container LOCKED to some gates. The numbers we had found formed the number to UNLOCK to cache! The cache was in a relatively high muggle area.. but will never be lost!

Solve the clues correctly..and you can open the cache


Our last cache of the day was close to one of the towers that are situated on the City Walls. An easy find, and in a lovely location with Roman Walls above, and the Shropshire Union Canal nearby.

We had walked about 6 miles, found 9 caches (including an Earthcache) on our first sortie into Chester. We still had lots more find … watch out Chester…we’ll be back!

May 11 : Sandhurst (Gloucs) to Sandhurst : Bibury to Fairford

Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.

River Coln, Gloucestershire

River Coln, Gloucestershire


Spring was two weeks further advanced, and we were set to do the next section of our epic walk from Sandhurst (Gloucestershire) home to Sandhurst (Berkshire). This section followed the Coln valley downstream from Bibury to Fairford. And, good for our navigation, the route also followed more of the largest cache series we have ever seen (the Great Cotswold Walk or GCW series) which comprises over 130 caches. Just follow the arrow on the GPS!

Start point of our walk


We set off from the riverside overlooking Arlington Row in Bibury, where we finished our last walk. It was early on a weekday morning, but the tourists were already out in numbers. Luckily, they were all clustered around that one small area, and we were soon away from people as we stepped onto the track leading away from the village. It was about 3 miles to the next village, Quenington, walking roughly parallel to the river, along paths and tracks, through fields and woods, all very attractive and spring-like. By then we had found just under 20 caches, almost all of them from the GCW series, and all straightforward finds with accurate hints to assist our searches.


One of the caches not in the GCW series was Old Ent, a cache set in a venerable hollow tree close to the footpath. We sort of expected the cache to be hidden in the hollow trunk of the tree, but no … a search ensued and we were eventually successful.
Old Ent

Old Ent


Our arrival in Quenington coincided with lunchtime, and we sat on one of the many seats on the village green, ate our sandwiches, and watched the world go by. The green was freshly mown and all was very tidy: it was the village fete the very next day. There were two multicaches in the village: one from the Fine Pair series (where a red telephone box is visible from a post box), and another from the Church Micro series, St. Swithin’s Church https://www.britainexpress.com/attractions.htm?attraction=1565. We found them both, criss-crossing the village and the village green several times on the way.
Quenington - village green

Quenington – village green


Quenington - a Fine Pair - red phone box and postbox

Quenington – a Fine Pair – red phone box and postbox


Quenington - St Swithin's Church

Quenington – St Swithin’s Church


Eventually we decided we had ‘done’ the caches of Quenington, striking out towards Fairford. We trundled onwards by the river, finding yet more caches as we went. While finding one cache in the woods, we were passed by a fisherman, who wanted to know what we were doing; a long explanation was provided by Mr Hg137. Later, having just found a cache, we were passed by a lone walker. We stopped to chat about inconsequential things, then both moved on. Strange that he also had a GPS … We looked back, to see the lone walker disappearing into the same hedge that we had just left. Aha! Another cacher: hello, Muriel the Pluriel.
Approaching Fairford

Approaching Fairford


We walked on, more and more caches were found, and we approached Fairford. It turned out that we had been following a permissive path along the river (FYI – it’s closed on Tuesdays!) (Editor’s note: but we had thought we would have at least two miles of road walking and this is MUCH better.) http://ernestcooktrust.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/the_pitham_brook_permissive_footpath_map.pdf As we reached the geocar in the (free) car park, we totted up the number we had found that day. Thirty five !!! A new daily record for us (albeit that our previous record had been set only two weeks before, on the very same cache series …)
Our route from Foss Cross to Fairford

Our route from Foss Cross to Fairford


Here are some of the very many caches we found: