Geocaching – Bank Holiday in the hills and more Records
After my bank holiday morning swim from Aberystwyth to Clarach I headed home and gathered up Anna and Morgan so that we could head off to the hills around Lake Bala for some geocaching.
The Hit List
Morgan had spotted a little series of 12 caches based on the positions of a clock. They formed a circular series that sounded like a nice easy walk, and had a 13th bonus cache too so these were our target for the day. We also had on our hit list a cache called ‘Reviewer’s 25 Challenge – GOLD’. This was a challenge cache and to be eligible to log the find you had to first have found caches published by 25 different reviewers. We had already checked this out and having found caches published by 33 different reviewers were indeed eligible. There was also a puzzle cache called ‘It’s Amazing’ that involved working out the coordinates by follwing a maze in the instructions. Anna had done the deciphering of the coordinates so we were good to go on that one too.
First cache of the Day
We had a slowish drive up behind a caravan, stopped in Bala for some water and then started to drive out along the B4391 to the ’25 Reviewers’ cache. We spotted that we were passing another on the way though so quickly stopped off to find it. However, upon reading hte description it was clear that this might not be a quick cache and dash along the roadside. Flip-Flops might not be the correct footwear either but oiff Morgan and I went, phone and pencil in hand ready to find the cache. We ended up climbing down a steep bank under a bridge to a raging torrent deep in a gorge below us. I climbed up, over and along some slippery rocks above the torrent to find the cache but to no avail. After checking a few likely places we started to head back, and then with a little bit more looking found it. We needn’t have climbed over the rocks after all and it could have been quite an easy cache and dash. We’d expected it to be harder given the description and the 3.5/4 difficulty/terrain rating, but shold have looked a little closer before rushing headlong into climbing and scrambling!
25 Reviewers Cache – Gold
With the first cache under our belt it was off to the second and the first on our hit list, the 25 Reviewer’s Cache – Gold. With the initial requirements of finding caches reviewed by 25 different reviewers completed, all we had to do was find it. The cache itself had a 4.5 difficulty and 4 terrain rating though so we weren’t expecting it to be easy. Our GPS was way off as well so we just followed the instructions in the cache as we climbed over the wall of the bridge and made our way down to the river. It was fairly low today so we took our shoes and sock off and started paddling downstream, under the first bridge and on to a second bridge that you wouldn’t have known was there from above. After a couple of minutes of scrambling along the slippery rocks we had our hands on the treasure. Once again it was actually easier than we had expected so we signed the log book, waded back upstream put our shoes on and climbed out of the gorge. Two fun caches done.
We stopped off in Rhos-y-gwaliau for a quick cache and dash cache before heading to a little car park further up the Hirnant valley for the ‘It’s Amazing’ cache. It was only a short stroll from the parking spot along a first track that was surprisingly busy. Quad-bikers, cyclists, cars, vans, everyone seemed to be going along here today – I wonder where it goes? We soon found the cache container and thius one was a little different. After solving the maze with pen and paper, we now had another physical maze to solve in order to extract the cache container. With a little bit of wiggling and manipulation we found it though and signed the logbook. 3 out of 3 so far and we were closing in on our target of 100 caches in a calendar month.
Next up was the Clock series of caches. This series is set around 1200ft above sea level, on a gentle walk around a near circular forest track with views along the valley.
It was a nice easy walk and the caches were all easy to find too, each with it’s own unique container. Some of the log books were a little too wet to sign so we took photos of the containers instead so, here’s a selection of them.
One of the caches contained a series of numbers that helped us find a 13th cache in the series too and provided the combination for a lock that protected the cache. We found this one as well, to take us up to 17 caches out of 17 for the day. A pretty good record.
Talking of records, we had already beaten our previous record of 76 caches in a calendar record whilst in Scotland, but were now aiming for 100 caches in a month. At the start of the day we were on 89 caches for August, but by the end of the day we were up to 106. Pretty good going for us, all helped by the fact that our biking and caching trip along the Kerry Ridgeway, had got us off to a good start by smashing our daily record with 40 caches in a day. I wonder when we’ll get to beat 106 in a month?
Satisfied with our afternoon of caching we stopped by the car for a quick paddle in the stream before driving home.
We headed home the scenic way, along the southern shores of Lake Bala and then up over the highest mountain pass in North Wales to Bwlch y Groes where we took in the view.
It was then down to Dinas Mawddwy and back up to the Cross Foxes where we stopped for a lovely dinner. And that was it, the school holidays were pretty much over. Back to work for me and Anna the next day, and school for Morgan on Wednesday. Roll on Christmas!