Yesterday we decided to look for a couple of caching which were on our route home from our regular cemetery visit. The first was a puzzle cache and I'd managed to solve it on Saturday evening to get the right co-ordinates. The find was pretty easy, in a tree in the corner of a field, but there was a football game really close and we had to be careful they didn't see what we were up to. Cue the blackberries and the geo kids for cover. I really must remember to take a paper bag out with me, there's nearly always blackberries to pick :-) Graham snatched the cache which contained only a log book, so we signed it and were on our way.

The next cache was near a pond in a park. We drove past this place every week but with the high hedgerow all around we had no idea what it was like. We were pleasantly surprised, the place is beautiful. The duck pond was lovely and the kids were playing with the ducks, we will definitely have to come back here with some bread. There were quite a few muggles around so we had a game of hide and seek which gave me and Graham the chance to go into the trees and search for the cache. Graham soon found it and we signed the log book before taking the kids to play in the playground. The parkland was also home to a lovely pavilion, they even have kiddie activities so I will most definitely be making a return visit. The beauty of it is that it is only 1.5 miles from home! Sometimes it's more than the caches to be found.

Today we decided we'd go back to one of our previous 'not founds' at a local park. It was well hidden in a wooded area of the park and Graham had searched for it before with no luck. This time the GPS seemed to know what it was doing and took us to a spot were we began searching but yet again our search was fruitless. The GPS seemed to be changing it's mind every two minute, first it was to the right, then behind us, then in front. We knew it was close but I think the amount of trees was affecting the signal. So Graham used his noggin' (not something he's always renowned for ;-) and thought about where he would hide the cache, and lo and behold he found it!! This one was full of goodies so we did a couple of swaps before re hiding and taking the kids to the playground.

It was a nice sunny day so we couldn't resist the chance to go for a nice walk, not a day for cache and dashes! Our chosen venue, the local Country Park.

So co-ords set off we went. When we got there the place was covered by the police with a helicopter overhead...ohhh drama! Someone on the run. I dont' know if they got away but we still set off in a different direction and didn't see anyone suspicious in the woods.

I think we are definately getting the hang of walking with our GPS now, I didn't even have to check the compass on it, we were taken straight to the flag and the cache.

It was a lovely spot and we sat on the twigs around the find while we shifted through the booty. I decided to leave behind Sue's Ferrari and take a lovely Russian coin from Moscow. I'm thinking of dropping it off in Weston-Super-Mare next week.

On the walk back, which was a bit quieter as the helicopter and police had gone, we stopped to look at the horses.

We also bought a new dog tag trackable and I made a couple of pirates from 'shrinkies' to put on it. Not sure where we will put it yet but we've logged it and called it Pirate Bob.

This is what it says on the log:

Current GOAL:

I've lost me vessal and need to get off this ere land.

Can ye give me a helpin' hand.

Just keep me movin' any way ya can

An I will be a happy man!

About this item:

Say hello to Pirate Bob and his mate.....please keep us moving!

Yesterday we hid our second cache. The cache itself has been ready for a while and we knew whereabouts we wanted to hide it. We decided that from now on we'd try and stick to a pirate theme seeing as we are the city pirates so the name we chose was Be Ye Land Lovers.
So here is a piccie of our cache before we took it out:

log book
pirate pencil
pirate eraser
pirate keyring
pirate badge
crystal quartz
first to find certificate

So off we went to our chosen area, a local park. The idea was to hide the cache in the park itself but it was very well maintained and we worried that wherever we hid it there was a chance of it being discovered or moved by the park's gardeners. Then we walked to the far side and Graham was telling me that it used to be a canal but it is now dried up. This area wasn't maintained and was much more overgrown and better for hiding things. Also it seemed to fit in well with the name we'd chosen, i.e a dried up canal for the land lovers.

Walked back through the park to the beginning of the canal pathway and then walked the length trying to find somewhere suitable. There were a couple of places near the beginning that seemed good but way to easy, more like a cache and dash - a cache you can find without effort. So we ventured further along and found a great hiding place. Then we hit another snag, the GPS just couldn't pick up a signal as there were too many trees. We walked along a little further and discovered a way out if we climbed up a bank. So up we went and out onto a path were there was less tree coverage. We got our signal and then ventured back in, deciding to stay near the path so we could get the correct co-ordinates.

Our final hiding place was a tree on an embankment. It involved a little climbing but not too difficult that I couldn't do it with Leila (aged 2yrs) in tow. There are several routes you can take to get to the cache, the one along the path that we took, along the path the opposite way (which ironically leads to our first hide) from the park either crossing a bridge or by climbing down into the dried canal, or even from the road (Shhh don't tell anyone but this route could actually be a cache and dash, park up jump out and find) It's quite well hidden though.

Now we just have to wait for the cache to go live on see how long it takes for someone to find it.

Here is a couple more pics from the area.

This week I've been experiences a drawback to my new hobby. On our last expedition I got myself bitten by horseflies on both elbows and one ankle. I had an allergic reaction and suffered greatly most of the week. My elbows were swollen and painful and because of my ankle I couldn't wear my shoes. I'm not going to let it put me off though. I'll just be more careful and maybe see if I can't find some suitable insect repellant.

We've been working on our new cache. It's already filled with booty and we know whereabouts we want to hide it. We just need to get out there now, and I can't wait. I do photo's and stuff when we hide it but it probably won't be for a few days as we are going to be busy with parties and carnivals.

Today I did my usual trip to the cemetary to take some flowers to the family grave and as it was such a nice day we decided to go for a cache that was just at the back of the cemetary. It was a puzzle cache but I'd already worked out the puzzle and the co-ordinates so off we went. It was nice walk and the cache was found pretty quickly but the log book was soaked through. After the find we had the urge to do more so we decided to go for another not too far away. I know I'm sad, but I look up interesting caches and save all the details on the GPS just in case I feel like finding one when I'm out.
After a short drive we parked up and immediately set out on the wrong path. The GPS kept failing us saying it couldn't give us a route and I knew something was wrong because the description had said it was a mown path and this was a concrete one. So we headed back and there, not fifty feet away was another path, this time a mown one. The GPS was still giving us hassle so I worked from following the co-ordinates like a compass. This was the first time I did this and although it was a little more difficult we did find the cache (well, Graham did) and it was jam packed full of goodies. We finally go to drop off our Pirate travel bug and picked up in it's place a Ferrari TB. Reading on the website the Ferrari wants to travel to Norfolk, and there was me thinking I could drop it off in Dorset in a few weeks time. I will have to try and swap it for another now.

Also, a couple of days ago we went back to look for a cache we'd tried to find a few weeks ago at a nearby church. The first time we'd tried was when I realised that I had to convert co-ordinates to work on my GPS, I still haven't figured out how to do this and rely on the website to do it for me. So, all clues solved and co-ordinates converted we were all set for it this time. Graham found the cache and we swapped a couple of little things. It's so much nicer to find caches with goodies in.

So that takes us up to 10 finds now. I think we should get around to hiding some more of our own soon.

There are different types of caches to find out there. I don't just mean different sizes (which of course there are, ranging from nano to large) but with different ways of finding them. Apart from a regular cache there are also multi-caches and mystery caches (there are others but more about them step at a time).
The multi caches involve visiting more than one location (or one set of co-ordinates) to find the cache and mystery caches can only be found when you've solved a puzzle or two to get the co-ordinates.
The cache we found the other day at Bournville involved answering a couple of questions before getting the co-ords but it was pretty easy. Today we tackled a harder one, difficulty rating 3/5. For some reason Graham had focused on this one, which was called 'Pull up (if I pull up)' right at the beginning but I insisted we gained a little more confidence before trying something as difficult. All the clues where in the listing but it took a while for it to sink in. The main clue is the title, which is a palindrome. The co-odinates where also palindrome. Anyway, last night I worked it out and we punched in the co-ordinates to google and then the GPS. We knew whereabouts to head in the car (thanks to google) then we had a walk along the canal before a scramble up the bank. Graham found the cache quite quickly and it was a nice big one. WE signed the log book, took a spinning top and left a cd. Then we discovered a way back to the car which did not involve scrambling back down to the canal (Great).

So now we've chalked up 7 finds and I think we may be getting the hang of it now.

Yesterday we decided to go and look for a cache in nearby Bournville, where they make Cadbury's chocolate...yum! We had to solve a puzzle to get the co-ordinates but it was quite easy (and it involved a bar of chocolate so no complaining there.) I had a pretty good idea where to start and believed it would be a nice easy one (it should have been) so we could go looking for answers to clues to a harder cache after we'd found it.
WE are still having a few problems with our GPS, it doesn't like directing offroad,so when we were around the right area we starting looking for the clue instead, which was a number. Then I spotted that the trees had numbers so off we went chasing trees. We ended up on a wild goose chase, seeing some lovely views on the way, but getting further and further away from the cache. In the end we had to give up and come home to pick up the geokid from school.
I realised where we were going wrong and we went back today for another try. We started looking in the same place we started yesterday before we go distracted and found the hiding place within 5 minutes. The cache was hidden at the bottom of a large tree under some sticks. As I moved the sticks I saw something move, I was afraid it might be a spider but soon realised it was a frog, and it was sitting right on top of the cache. So the kids played with the frog for a bit while I signed the log book and swapped a craft peg for a keyring.
Graham had lost interest in the cache and the frog because the find was right next to a cricked ground and there was a match in play.
A little later we went to look for another cache nearby in a place called Austin Village. It's an interesting place because the homes there are cedarwood bungalows which were imported from the USA. Unfortunately we couldn't even look for the hiding place as there were too many muggles around and they wouldn't budge. They were about 4 feet away from where we wanted to look so no chance of not being seen. So that's one for another day.