September 8 : Shropshire – Craven Arms – the way home

Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.

Our holiday was over. We were going home. Rather than face the traffic jams on the M6, we chose to travel south across country, past Craven Arms and Ludlow, joining the motorway at Worcester, and stopping for caches on the way (obviously!).

Our first two targets were in, or close to, lay-bys on the A49. The first was ‘Treasy Peasy’, and was found … behind a tree. The second was ‘Bush’, and was found … erm … near a bush.

In a tree?

In a tree?

We continued south, reaching Craven Arms, a town named after a pub! Four of the caches here are placed along the main roads which radiate from the centre and are called ‘Craven Arms – Gateway to the Marches’ north / south / east / west – a very neat idea for a cache series. We opted to find ‘north’ and ‘south’ as we passed through.

Close to the southern edge of Craven Arms is the chocolate-box pretty Stokesay Castle We parked in the English Heritage car park and walked a short way along the path into the churchyard of Stokesay Church, which leads to the castle. After a few minutes of gazing at both castle and church, and taking many, many pictures – it is soooo photogenic, we realised that we should desist and should instead look for the Church Micro cache which was close by. After a little more wandering about, we found the cache inside the churchyard, in a yew tree. That was a first for us, as all the other sixty of so Church Micro caches we’ve found elsewhere are outside the boundary of the church.
Stokesay Castle

Stokesay Castle

And that was the end of the caching, and the end of the holiday. We got back into the car and started the long drive home…

And here are two more of the caches we found:


September 7 : Schlumpfi on Tour

As we mentioned on our last blog, at the top of Long Mynd, hidden in the Pole Bank cache, was a trackable – “Schlumpfi on Tour”.

Schlumpfi is a German trackable, hence its name. The English for “Schlumpfi”, is “Smurf” which is of course what we recognised this charming character as. Our knowledge of Smurfs is not that great, so we are unable to identify which Smurf it is! (Regular readers may remember we have found another Smurf trackable, Smoulicek, which we blogged about in April 2015).

Schlumpfi started his journey near Dresden just under three years ago, and has criss-crossed Germany several times. Unusually for a Smurf he has not visited Holland or Belgium, but has visited Switzerland, Spain and a fleeting visit to America. He arrived in Britain in August 2017 starting his UK journey at Edinburgh Castle!

Enjoy the UK, Schlumpfi !

September 7 : Long Mynd – Pole Bank

Long Mynd, looking down Townbrook Valley

Long Mynd, looking down Townbrook Valley

Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.
Pole Bank, highest point of the Long Mynd

Pole Bank, highest point of the Long Mynd

It seemed as if we had hardly arrived, but we had reached the last day of our walking holiday with HF at Church Stretton. The final walk for the week took us up the side of the Long Mynd and along the broad ridge at the top.
The highest point of the Long Mynd, at an airy, windswept 516 m or 1693 feet, is Pole Bank. A few paces from the trig point, hidden in the heather, is a cache of the same name. As the rest of the party clustered round a nearby information board, I set off into the undergrowth and found the cache under a pile of stones.

But there was not one cache, but two. One was older, and damper, and the other was newer, drier, and hidden in a camo bag. I signed the log in the older cache, and left two trackables. In return, I removed the Smurf trackable that was already in the cache.
Carding Mill Valley

Carding Mill Valley

I turned around and my walking companions were already leaving. I raced back, grabbed my rucksack and caught them up. We walked back along the ridge and then down the beautiful Carding Mill valley to the teashop that marked the end of the walk.

September 4: A Victorian Farm and a couple of Welsh caches

As we mentioned on our previous blog, we were on a week’s holiday with HF Holidays in Shropshire. HF Holidays organise walks (generally a choice of 3), on 5 days, but the sixth day is a rest/free day. Today was our free day!

Whilst many of our walking companions spent the day in Ludlow or Ironbridge, we had two different targets. The first was to visit the Acton Scott Farm just outside of Church Stretton. Our second target was to cross the border into Wales and collect a couple of Welsh caches. We had never found a cache in Wales, and as we were so close to the border, it seemed opportune to undertake such an expedition.

Acton Scott Farm was featured in the BBC’s “The Victorian Farm” broadcast about 10 years ago. The three presenters simulated how Victorian Farmers worked, coped and how advances in technology during the Victorian era changed their lives. Although much of the filming was done in nearby fields, some filming was undertaken in the ‘Visitor’/’Museum’ part of the farm.

Before we went round the farm we had a cache to collect just outside of the car park, and as we had arrived 20 minutes before the official farm museum opening time we were uninterrupted in the finding and logging process.

Acton Scott Farm Smithy

The farm museum is well worth a visit. As well as seeing how ploughs developed and blacksmiths operated, there were many species of farmyard animal to admire.
Geese and ducks ran about, pigs rootled in their sties. One-day-old chicks were handled by a visiting school party (and it must be said, Mrs Hg137 too!). A great morning’s visit!

Our next target of the day was some Welsh caches. We could have driven for about 5 miles to cross the border, but as the roads and the borders overlap a great deal, we wanted to collect a cache that stated was in Wales.

We opted for the tiny village of Caerhywel (a definite Welsh name!), just outside the town of Montgomery. We parked in a small layby and went searching ‘behind metal box’. An obvious box was in the layby, but the cache was not behind it! Instead, some 3 yards further on was another ‘box’… and the cache was soon found. We had made the schoolboy error of trusting our eyes not the GPS!

Our first Welsh cache!

The second cache was part of the Side Tracked series near railway-stations. In this case, Montgomery’s now disused station. So the cache was part of the REALLY Sidetracked series, which celebrates the old, forgotten stations.

Our second Welsh site

…and our second Welsh cache

A longish walk from the layby, but soon we were at the old Station House, and a quick find. Well it should have been. but for the high level of muggles which appeared from nowhere just as we approached GZ! How often does this happen ?!

Two simple finds, but more importantly two Welsh caches.

September 2 : All Stretton

Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.

Shropshire Hills

Shropshire Hills – from Caer Caradoc to the Wrekin

Just as September started, we were away for a week’s walking in the glorious countryside around Church Stretton. I had opted for an easier walk – ‘only’ 1,200 feet of ascent around the slopes of Caer Caradoc and back along the lower slopes of the Long Mynd, while Mr Hg137 had gone off to do a harder walk with many more miles and feet of climbing. And a very fine walk it was, too, on a sunny warm day that was still very much like summer.

Towards the end of the walk, my party of about fifteen were walking through All Stretton, making our way back to Church Stretton a mile or two to the south. I knew that there was a cache in the village – from the ‘Fine Pair’ series placed where there are a post box and a red telephone box placed within sight of each other – and I hoped that our walk would go close to the cache so that I could stop to get it. I was lucky; we turned out onto the main street in the village and I could see the phone box a little way away, in the direction we were heading. I speeded up, and rushed past many of my companions to arrive at the box, dive behind it and retrieve the cache before everyone else had reached the spot.

Fine Pair - All Stretton

Fine Pair – All Stretton

Two things happened then, one expected, and one not so : some of the other members in my group looked at me strangely (understandable, and expected) so I explained what I was doing : then the walk leader arrived and asked me to sign the log for her too – hello to MoJoBrad, another cacher met in the field (unexpected)!

Footnote: Almost simultaneously with me finding this cache, about a mile to the East, Mr HG137 was also attempting to find a cache too. High on the side of the hill Caer Caradoc, is a cave, allegedly where British Chieftain, Caratacus, hid whilst plotting his attack on the invading Roman army. A picture of the summit and the cave is shown here. Sadly Mr HG137 only had a couple of minutes to search for his cache, and he was unsuccessful. One up to me!

June 1 Day 152 Caches Found 4 Cumulative Total 180 (+1 bonus)

The last week of May saw us on holiday on a guided walking holiday with HF Holidays.

The week was based in Church Stretton, Shropshire and we took the opportunity to find a few caches while we were there.

Caer Caradoc from Rectory Wood, Church Stretton - near two of the caches

Caer Caradoc from Rectory Wood, Church Stretton – near two of the caches

We’ve been on HF holidays before, so we knew it would be difficult to cache whilst walking in a group of 15-20 people. Instead we loaded up a few local caches with a view to locating them during the week as time permitted.

The first two we found before we arrived. The first was literally ‘in a hole in a wall’, and the other, a magnetic nano, secreted in a sign by a very busy road junction – muggle hell!

Shortly after arrival there was a short evening walk, this frustratingly passed 2 other caches but we were never close enough to go searching. We eventually returned to these 2 caches at the end of the holiday at 9:30 in the morning when the woods were silent except for a dog walker and a jogger.

Our route back was along the A49. We had noted that there several caches on the road, predominantly in laybys, and we assumed all in the same direction ! They weren’t – they were in the reverse direction for us, so we turned the car round and parked up. What should have been two ‘cache and dashes’ were fruitless. Two caches, both magnetic, seemingly invisible, near a phone box and near a ‘no tipping’ sign ! Its not often we fail to find 2 in a row but here we did. We decided to retreat to the car and drive home.

So only 4 caches found all week, but a great week away in a part of the country we didn’t know.