Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.
After three days in and around Chester, we ventured further afield for a day at the seaside at Llandudno, and the geocar was soon parked on the seafront. We perambulated pleasantly along the promenade to our first geocache of the day, based on information to be found around the war memorial. Coordinates gathered, we moved off to the cache location, retrieved the cache, and were just signing the log, when we were interrupted … by a bird (a juvenile jackdaw?) who clearly thought that our rucksacks might contain food. They most certainly did, but it wasn’t on offer!
But our main objective for the day wasn’t at sea level, but higher up, on the Great Orme. By the way, the name comes from the Vikings, and means ‘sea serpent’. Mr Hg137 knows that I’m easily swayed by quaint modes of transport, and there’s a tramway up the Great Orme if you don’t fancy the walk http://www.greatormetramway.co.uk We queued up with throngs of other people, then set off in a striking Edwardian tram carriage up an incredibly steep track.
Actually, it’s not one tram, but two, with a halfway station where you change trams. Maybe it’s not possible to string a single cable all the way to the top round some sharp twists and turns. We got at the changeover point and took a short walk to Great Orme copper mine http://www.greatormemines.info How many Bronze Age mines can you visit? Not many – but we didn’t have time and contented ourselves with finding the earthcache based on the rocks around the entrance to the mine.
Back at the tram station, we re-boarded and took the shorter ride to the summit on a much less crowded tram. We emerged from the station almost at the top, almost 700 feet above sea level. It was cooler here, and much windier. Up here there are expansive views, an old observatory, now a café, a playground, the terminus for the cable car, and much more. Just outside the tram station is a statue of a Kashmiri goat; they roam on the Great Orme, keeping scrub in check, and I was hoping to see the real thing, but it wasn’t to be, and I had to content myself with some distant views of sheep. Never mind.
We had thought it might be difficult to search for caches up here, as there were many, many people around, but there was anonymity to be had among so many people, and we didn’t get even one curious glance. Of the two caches at the summit, one is a traditional cache, close to the summit cairn, which was a little dilapidated when we visited (it’s been repaired since) and another earthcache, which needed us two find two kinds of geological information and have a look at the medieval ridge and furrow part way down the hill.
There was another cache not far from the summit, giving us a chance to step away from the crowds. Almost immediately we were on our own, walking across springy turf dotted with sheep, with a wide-ranging view out to the north and a large wind farm. We got close-ish to the cache site. Where was it? Mmm: we were stood at the top of a small cliff, and the cache was doubtless at the bottom of said cliff. Oh dear: I really didn’t fancy some hardcore rock climbing. We looked around and found a steep path, fortunately on dry grass, that made its way round to the base of the cliff. Once there, we still couldn’t find the cache. Where was it? Mmm: where would the sheep shelter from showers? Aha! That was where the cache was concealed.
It was well into the afternoon by now, and we had spent three or four hours up on the Great Orme, enjoying ourselves as the time flashed by. We returned to the tram and took the trip back down into the town. The school day was now over and there were lots more children about, cycling on the promenade, down on the beach, having a fine time. We looked at the beach, and the sea, and decided it was time for a short paddle before returning to the geocar. The shoes came off, trousers were rolled up, and in we went – and – it wasn’t cold!
We prepared to return to Chester, an hour’s drive away. But first: one more cache, on the other side of town, sort of on our way back. It was a puzzle cache, solved by completing an online jigsaw showing the view from the cache; as the jigsaw is completed, the coordinates are revealed. I like jigsaws and this one was a few minutes fun to solve. The cache is at Llandudno West Beach, overlooking Conwy Sands. It’s a much quieter, less brash side of the town, with a beautiful sheltered beach and gently breaking waves, plus a glorious view along the Welsh coast … just as the jigsaw promised.
This was a perfect cache to end the day: it had a good puzzle, a great location and a good cache container at the end of the hunt. We returned to our hotel tired but well pleased.