Posts Tagged With: gps

Dodman Point, Cornwall

View along the path

View along the path

Dodman Point – GCY2ZB

On the hunt for interesting geocaches around Cornwall’s Roseland Peninsula we came across many regular nano’s and micro’s, however amongst those was this one, Dodman Point. The land is managed by The National Trust, which has been helpful with my research on the area and provided us with a suitable parking place in Penare.

Granite Cross

Granite Cross

Dodman Point is the highest headland on the south coast of Cornwall. (I measured the altitude as 353ft above sea level.) It has awesome views and a great deal of history attached to it. So much so that the headland is popular with archaeologists.

At the cross, 353ft above sea level

At the cross, 353ft above sea level

 

The National Trust page about Dodman Point states that the headland is home to a massive Iron Age earthwork, known as a promontory fort or cliff castle, however on our walk we didn’t see any evidence of this. More history is evident though. After a good half mile walk off in the distance we spotted a huge cross, made of granite and standing high above our heads. It is said that the cross was erected in 1896 by Rev. G Martin as a navigational aid for seafairers. But it failed to save two warships the following year and more recently, the pleasure boat “Darlwin” sank with all passengers on board in 1996.

In the firm hope of the second coming of our Lord JESUS CHRIST and for the encouragment of those who strive to serve HIM this cross is erected A.D 1896

In the firm hope of the second coming of our Lord JESUS CHRIST and for the encouragment of those who strive to serve HIM this cross is erected A.D 1896

All around the Bulwark there remains evidence of the Iron Age strip-field system, some areas have been made into larger fields, but those that remain are now being controlled to preserve them for longer, as the area is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Following the path in the direction of the geocache (I almost forgot I was out geocaching), we came across more history. This time it was an 18th century signal station (or watch house).

“In past centuries, prominent hills and headlands around Britain were equipped with fire beacons to warn of sea-borne raids and invasion. These beacons were the source of the series of fire and smoke that was seen by the Armada along the Cornish coast on 20 July 1588.” (The National Trust)

 

The Watch House

The Watch House

The Royal Navy set up a series of these stations around the coast in response to the war with France in 1795. The stations would communicate through a series of marks on a flagpole and outriggers, they were communciated to and from the ships at sea and between each other. The stations would have been manned 24 hours a day, and at night the signals would have been made by fire and blue light.

At Dodman Point, this watch house is a fine example. The watch tower is still in good condition and has a remaining anchoring shackle for the flagpole. The building itself is only one room and now houses a bench for walkers to rest upon in bad weather. The garden wall also appeared to remain in tact. The Dodman watch house was used by the coast guard during the 19th century, and the flagpole remained until 1957 when it was lost in a storm.

Lookout Tower

Lookout Tower

What a great thing to find while out geocaching. This is one of the many reasons I love the GPS based activity. Especially when people such as Loose Lips Sink Ships place geocaches at sites of historical interest. Oh and I forgot to mention that the geocache is not the only thing we found high up on this headland. We also found our first Waymarker. My next task is to find out more about waymarking and to find out how to log the one we found here.

Waymarker

Waymarker

 

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Wolfiesworks meets Geocaching

Wolfieswork on Facebook

Wolfieswork on Facebook

It has only been three weeks since Wolfie/Freya allowed me to take the plunge with creating a Facebook page to share her polymer clay creations with the world.

Geo-Soldier

Geo-Soldier

Well what can I say? Within those three weeks she has generated many more custom requests than we’ve had sales through Etsy. Having just browsed through the statistics (I love numbers) her page is reaching about 1000 views a week and this morning Wolfiesworks hit 50 likes.

Her hobby (and system of de-stressing) of moulding clay is rapidly becoming a viable business venture, and this morning she made the decision to invest in an invoice book and cash ledger to record all the comings and goings (a very grown up move).

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An awkward turtle

I took time looking back through the recent orders (& photographs) and have noticed that the majority of them have all come from geocachers.

It seems that our fellow gps geeks love the little figurines and MeChibi’s so much that several are becoming travel bug companions. For those that don’t know, a travel bug is a trackable dog tag with a unique code that you log online through Geocaching.com. They travel around from one geocache to another all over the world and geocachers pick them up to move on, discovering them along the way.

Geo-guinea pig

Geo-guinea pig

Two of the new MeChibi’s (one is still to be made, just waiting on a particular type of clay first) will be taking part in a “race”. They will be getting released on the same day and the trackable owners will be totaling up the companions mileage each month and the loser has to supply the winner with a McDonalds’ meal (I believe).

So what type of companion would you add to a travel bug? So far, Wolfie has supplied geocachers with an “awkward turtle”, a guinea pig, a hamster, a soldier, pirates, geocacher in a bush and a dog.

 

I’ve asked her if she will make a charm bracelet using the geocache container types icons. I’m looking forward to seeing how they will turn out.

Geo-hound

Geo-hound

Geocacher in a bush

Geocacher in a bush

Geo-Pirate

Geo-Pirate

Categories: Geo Stories, Travel Bugs, Wolfiesworks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Geocachers’ Kit List

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What’s in your backpack?

For quite some time I have wanted to share my geocaching backpack with you. Mostly because I find it quite heavy and don’t really know what I am carrying. My backpack has been part of my caching adventures for two years now, and I am forever filling it with extra items “that may come in handy”.

When I began geocaching all I would take was my smart phone (with only the free Groundspeak app installed), a pen and the local OS Explorer map with the geocaches already plotted. It was only after attending some of the county events and learning about the other things that geocachers’ take with them that I decided it was time to invest in a rucksack.

Today though I thought I should take a better look at what I carry about with me (other than a packed lunch and drinks).

  1. 10l backpack
  2. Piratemania V trackable tag (yes my backpack is trackable)
  3. 4 pens (one has a light for the all important night time finds)
  4. lock n lock box full of swappable swag
  5. St John Ambulance First Aid kit (old habits die hard)
  6. Micro fleece travel towel (you never know when you will get wet)
  7. Emergency Poncho
  8. Dog poop bags
  9. 3 hand torches
  10. 1 head torch (with red & white light)
  11. Rolson mutli tool
  12. Spare log sheets
  13. Spare nano geocache containers
  14. Spare bison containers
  15. Spare 35 mm container
  16. Telescopic magnet with torch
  17. Spare rechargeable batteries
  18. Garmin Oregon 450 GPS unit
  19. Personal field note book (for puzzles/multi’s and other notes)
  20. Personal stamp book (for letterbox hybrid geocaches)
  21. Spare notebook
  22. Emergency whistle
  23. Current trackable inventory

Okay, so that was a lot more than I thought, no wonder it is heavy… And not forgetting that smif247 also has his backpack too with much the same in. In addition to all the geocache tools (penknife, tweezers etc) and waterproof coats, we now have to carry an extra water bottle and food (for Misty).

Then there are days where we need to take even more:- climbing gear! That’s a whole other bag.

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Ropes!! What for?

Here we have three harness’s; two climbing ropes; two static lines; gri-gir’s; ascenders; prussiks; carabiners; chalk; slings galore. A whole heap of gear and for what? Well it would seem that not all geocachers are happy with “base of tree” or “ivy covered post”, so what do they do? They set geocaches at the top of tree’s (or suspended between two trees), some of which are not safe for free climbing, or on the underside of a bridge which you will need to abseil to and even half way down a chalk cliff face. I also saw a video on you tube once of a geocache on a dam. This brings me to the next bit of geocaching kit!

A Boat!

A Boat!

Are we going just a little too far now? Some bright spark thought it would be a great idea if there were geocaches out on small islands that were home to forts (Fort Micro #13 – Fort Darnett) and others even went as far as placing caches along rivers that are mostly accessible by boat alone (Float Your Boat).

I forgot to mention that a few times we have even had to take skateboards along for a ride (in long spider strewn tunnels). So what is next I wonder! I am rapidly running out of storage space for our extended geo-gear.

Skateboard as a mode of transportation

Skateboard as a mode of transportation

Categories: Geo Stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Geocaching A&E

A current topic of conversation in my local geocaching Facebook group, Geocaching in Kent, is all about geocaching injuries.

Scrape from a brick wall

Scrape from a brick wall

Mizmazmoz asked “After a very brambly cache hunt today myself and friend were chatting about injuries from doing outdoor sports…..so the question is what is your worst caching related injury and has anyone ended up in a&e from geocaching?”

On our Facebook group there is a file called “The Accident Book” which has a few entries and photographs of some of the scrapes we get into just to claim a lovely smilie on our maps. It would seem that some of us (myself included) don’t always remember the advice that “no cache is worth dying over!”

The question has sparked quite a bit of interest with answers like;

Nasty Graze

Nasty Graze

SS Fangbangers – “I did climb half way up an old fallen tree, following the GPS and the branch gave way underneath me. Twisted my ankle but thats it lol”  

Kalle’s Crew – “I’m currently nursing a bruised coccyx from sliding a bit quick down a very steep slope and meeting tree roots”

Borrowed Wine – “I fell of the wing wall of a bridge once, pulled all of the muscles in my arm and shoulder and had some wicked grazes, that hurt. My brother standing there laughing didn’t help much.”

And of course there is always the cuts, bruises and grazes that seem to appear out of nowhere after a days caching in some fairly overgrown wood somewhere in the county.

Last summer Winter-Smith shared a story with us about this very topic. He had been on a walking holiday with friends in The Lake District. It wasn’t specifically a geocaching holiday as some the friends were ramblers rather than geocachers, but that didn’t stop Winter-Smith from convincing the group to find a few plastic tubs along the way. During a day’s hiking one of the group slipped and subsequently fractured her leg. Miles from any road and half way up a mountain, Winter-Smith knew he would need to call mountain rescue as they couldn’t move her. He had this to say, “We didn’t admit to being cachers, claiming to be walkers instead, but I did use my GPS unit to pass grids to the mountain rescue team and helicopter.” Embarrassed to admit to being a geocacher??

Wave goodbye to Mountain Rescue

Wave goodbye to Mountain Rescue

So what’s your caching injury stories? Have you been shipped off to an emergency room? I haven’t yet, but I do have several pairs of jeans that now have large holes in the knees and on the back of the upper legs from jumping over brick walls or tripping on trailing ivy across footpaths.

Please share them with us.

In response to this post over on Google+ I have the following story to share, I laughed so hard my eyes watered. I did apologise for my insensitivity.

Dougbromac had this to say; “I would imagine that this topic will get a lot of traction.

My most recent was just day before yesterday. I had to scale a cliff and my reward a a foot-long cut down the front of my right leg. I had a hot date with the peroxide bottle that night. Good thing I clot fast.

My worst was up Aiea Loop when it started to rain as I was taking an unnecessarily hard approach to a cache down a steep hill. (I’m prone to that.)

The earth turned to slime in the downpour and there I went downhill, like in the movie “Romancing the Stone” going down the mud flume. The only thing that stopped my slide was hitting a strawberry guava tree. Caught me in the ribs and knocked the wind out of me and was surprised on inspection I didn’t have a broken rib. I just laid there as I waited for the incapacitating pain to subside, the rain pelting down, slowly rinsing the mud off my face as I stared up into the treetops.

I didn’t finish the hike. Once I could even move again, I limped and drug myself back to the car and stripped down in the parking lot and stuffed my completely muddy and saturated clothes in a plastic trash bag and drove home barefoot in my underwear. I would have needed a firehose to knock all the mud off.

Later on at home I had to take my clothes and boots to a car wash and power spray the mud out of them.

And to add insult to the injuries, I didn’t get a single cache! This happened before my first find for that hike!

Lesson learned. It’s not like in the movies. The rocks and trees and far harder than they appear and you fall much faster than you’d think.”

Categories: Geo Stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Knights Quest

Young Knights on their first quest

How many of you remember the adventure books from the 1980’s/1990’s? You know the ones… at the end of a chapter you had to make a choice, a or b, one choice would almost certainly lead you to your doom and the other may get you closer to the end of the adventure or just prolong the agony of failure!

If you do remember then you’re showing your age, just as I am, but that is not the point. A while back someone pointed me in the direction of a puzzle geocache in Deal, Kent that had the theme of those adventure books. Well, not just the theme, the whole geocache was written and presented in the same style as the adventure books.

The Knights Quest by seamanrob (rob & royst), rated a D3/T3.5, with the potential to cover between 6 & 8 miles depending on how you “play” the story looked incredibly interesting and very different.

The journey begins

The introduction reads “As the legend foretold, the hero would come with technology beyond our understanding – an ability to seek far and wide, to communicate with many and the ability to battle with heart and mind. It seems the legend may well have come to pass. Are you the brave soul who desires to take up our noble struggle?” The Phantom Knight hovered ahead, awaiting your response. It was a long time since he last set eyes on a traveller with the potential to solve the mystery that had vexed him for all of his life and still now, more than 1000 years after his death.’

We took a wrong turn and found this

With our interest piqued we knew we had to go and give this a good go, so as a family we went out during the summer break, laden with supplies and with a couple of extra “knights”, kallescrew & nick the trucker. We arrived at the start early on a Sunday morning and began the story, choosing our first weapons and the first route we headed out into the unknown, confident that we would complete the quest!

The new team of Knights listening to the introduction

I had to learn very quickly how to use the crib sheet and deocder as everyone seemed to be relying on me to give them accurate co-ordinates for each stage.

Although we all chose to stay together on the quest, we did all choose different weapons which made the day a little more interesting. Unfortunately at the 4th stage of the quest I died along with kallescrew and Jellybeans, but the lads and CadencetheGeokid were safe and able to carry on. However their route went down the hill then back up the hill and a few times we found we had crossed the same path several times.

A little further on Cadence also succumbed to death and the boys were on their own… their victory didn’t last long however, as they were unable to find one of the stages which was vital for their completion and the quest had to be abandoned after having walked the best of part of 6 miles in over 5 hours.

Intrepid searching

But my tale doesn’t end there. Smif247 had been in touch with seamanrob and it wasn’t long before he gave us the heads up that the quest was back on and all stages were back in play, with the story re-written in places. A quick post on Facebook inviting other Kent “Knights” to join us on the quest and a new plan of action evolved.

15 September we met up at 10 am at the parking co-ordinates with fellow “knights”, LisaSullivan, Sueatsea, Addict1, Manky Badger, Tia67uk, Martinwalks, Winter-smith, earle140465 and geodog Fudge. We decided to stick together as a team, however again we all chose different weapons at the the first stage, so we could help each other out where possible.

Giant fungi

 

As you will read in our logs on the cache listing we came up against a 40 minute issue quite early on in our quest, but that didn’t deter us in the least, we just reversed up to the previous stage and took the other alternative. The bonus was that smif247 and I had been out before, so when we knew we were walking past a stage, we stopped off and grabbed the relevant clues so that we wouldn’t have to do all the back & forth like last time. I mean, there’s almost a mile between most of the stages with the exception of one that is only 90 ft away but very cleverly hidden.

Along the way we did manage to loose a couple of “knights” however we do believe in not leaving a man behind, so we “carried their bodies with us” to the end.

Interesting tree

The end, well now there’s a story, we read the details in the last container only to find we were missing a vital piece of the puzzle. This meant we had to back track to the area we spent a long time looking at earlier in the day. Supplies were running low and so were our energy levels, but back track is what we did.

An extra hour of hunting, with 10 pairs of eyes, back and forth over the same piece of ground, emails back and forth to the cache owner because this last tub was eluding all of us completely. By this point several of us began rechecking clues and numbers to see if we had made a mistake, while smif247 decided to widen the search, 150 ft up the path he went (he doesn’t like to be beaten), and a further 10 minutes or more passed before we heard him yell “I’ve got it.”

Smif247 will NOT be beaten

At last the final little piece of information was in our hands and the final stage was now within in reach. Relief on all our faces as we punched in the final set of co-ordinates and began the last leg of the quest to the resting place of the log book.

Is it this way?

By the end of the day we had covered almost 9 miles in six and a half hours and all for one smilie on the map. But I have to say this is one of the best geocache’s I have ever completed. It was well written and well executed and it must have taken the cache owner months to plan and set. To support your journey, seamanrob has created crib sheets, help guides, decoders and even mp3 audio files for each stage, and finally there were bonus questions to answer so that you can claim a certificate. I also know that during the re-write he has added two bonus caches which will be available soon, needless to say I grabbed the relevant details for them so that when they become available we can run out and claim the finds for those.

So if you are beginning to get tired or bored of the same old 35 mm film canisters at the base of an ivy covered tree and you are looking for something a little different and more challenging then I can highly recommend this adventure. It’s not all about the numbers…

The quest is complete

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It’s all about the Numbers!

CBN-110 geocaches, 14 miles

Chelmer & Blackwater Canal

Most of the country are either sat at home in front of the television or at Olympic events. Smif247 and I on the other hand decided we wanted to avoid the Olympics for just a little longer and attempt to better our daily records, both distance walked and the number of finds.

Chelmer & Blackwater Canal

On Saturday 28th July 2012 we decided we would join a few good local friends, Winter-Smith, Nick the Trucker and Martinwalks, to do a 14 mile series of caches in Essex known as Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation (CBN). This is a series of 110 geocaches, all but one are traditionals. The walk starts at the Heybridge Basin where the canal meets the estuary to the North Sea and finishes in Chelmsford at CBN 110.

Beautiful views

My personal record was just 10 miles with 51 geocache finds from last July when I went and completed the Meopham March. There are rumours that the Meopham March is due to be archived sometime in September. So if you want to grab yourself 52 finds in a day, then go out and get it this summer.

On my way to a personal best

We knew that the day was going to be tough on us for a variety of reasons. Neither of us have ever walked that far and certainly not at approximately 2 miles an hour (including stopping time to find geocaches). I still suffer a lot with fatigue and pain so the route was definitely going to be a challenge for me and frankly I didn’t think I was going to make it to the end.

Smif247 having a well earned breather

What made the walk much easier was the great English weather. We have had highs of 30+ C all week long and I was concerned that Saturday was going to be too hot, but the weather was on our side and we enjoyed more comfortable temperatures of 20 C with a nice light breeze at times as we progressed along the picturesque canal.

Cows trying to keep cool

Another bonus was some of the beautiful scenery that we experienced throughout the day. We saw beautiful clear water, summery flora and fauna, exquisitely decorated canal boats and river homes, animals trying to keep themselves cool and lots of people enjoying the area with picnics, barbecues and cycling or walking.

Decorative canal boats

There were even times of playfulness. Smif247 decided to turn one of the bridges into a set of monkey bars, while the rest of us were searching for a letterbox cache that we hadn’t realised was actually archived and no longer at its ground zero.

Monkey Bars?

And at other times, Smif247 thought it would be a laugh to move some of the lock gates! Thankfully he didn’t have a lock key or he would have drained a lock too.

So glad he didn’t have a key!

Early on we decided on the tactic of leap frogging, as one person is signing a log, the rest of the group move on towards the next cache, this gave us a good chance of finding all the caches before dark. A good idea considering we didn’t leave CBN 001 until Noon.

Martinwalks looking for a cache

We noticed that we weren’t the only ones out attempting this power trail and we finally caught up with Flexburyites somewhere between CBN 40 to 50. After a lovely chat with him we sped on towards CBN 065 so that we could stop for “lunch”.

Winter-smith signs a log

We arrived at the Papermill Lock Tea Rooms just after 4pm where we took a well earned rest with teas, coffees, sandwiches, ploughmans and home made cake. Just as we were beginning to sort ourselves out to carry on, Flexburyites had caught up with us again, after a quick wave and chat off he ventred. We hung around a little longer enjoying the afternoon sun and the canal atmosphere, and of course a photo opportunity.

Papermill Lock

Leaving the tea rooms just after 5pm, feeling very pleased with ourselves for having got that far and knowing the only way was onwards towards the car at CBN 110, we set off at a reasonable pace. Not as fast as the earlier part of the day but still making good progress, roughly 8 minutes between each find.

Another log signed

I began feeling the strain and pain around the 80 mark but I kept pushing myself, determined to finish. The guys were great and gave me plenty of chances to grab short rests so that I didn’t hold anyone up.

Are we nearly there yet?

One of the breaks was when we grabbed a cache that wasn’t part of the CBN series but still along our route. Boys being boys went to sign the log and play around in the pill box very close to it while I stayed on the tow path and waited patiently, regaining energy, ready for the momentum to keep on.

“I can see the end!”

We didn’t just grab 110 finds from the CBN series, we finished the day with 116 finds thanks to the other caches along the route with virtually no detours. We arrived at CBN 110 at 2030, and what a relief this was for me! I don’t think I have ever felt so excited to find another micro, but believe me, it meant that I had done it. I had surpassed my personal bests. Beaten my body and beaten my fatigue; even if it were just for one day.

WE DID IT!

Kent Cachers on Tour end the day with a well earned drink at The Old Ship

 

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UK Cache Mag

UK Cache Mag

 

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Extreme Geocaching

I have got the bug for extreme caching at the moment, Lumi  is hoping it will pass soon after having to fill in for me on the latest supermarket sweep 11.

As it had her down an undergrouond tunnel in a river bed.

SS #11

So anyway on to todays adventure, by early this morning I had a call about a new cache that had been placed, but not through the usual channels and here were the coordinates.

Out the door I rolled at 0214 to meet up with two other cachers that share the madness and off into the night we drove. It took about three hours to get to GZ, we overtook two “cut it squirt it” trucks on the way, both on a blue light but hey ho!!

At the intersection

At GZ we jimmied open the outer shell so to speak and found our selves in a long tunnel heading west for a quater mile. We came to a cross section, looking to the left it was a small corridor that had a cave in at some point, turning right looped all the way back to the start, but came out five foot to the left, over the river.

Starting back to the cross section we went straight over. ‘By now it must be getting light’ I thought, as I could see the occasional air vent on our route. After about 400 yards the tunnel took an upright turn linking in with an underground rail track.

We could hear the occasional rumble of a tube train; but it seemed safe so we continued on our way. Ten minutes later we overheard voices in the

We'll go this way then

distance! ‘It must be someone else’ we thought, looking for our award. But no! Turns out it was the boys in blue securitiy checking the new olympic tunnel structure. After getting chased down one of the tubes we made it safely into a side room, about 4×8 feet and it had a small ladder leading up, so we followed it, up and out into what was fast becoming the worst caching experience ever. As we broke into the light it was only then we realised we had just been caught in an april fools blog.

Happy caching and keep out of strange holes in the ground!

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FORT MICRO #13 – FORT DARNETT

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Fort Micro #13 – Fort Darnett

The trip out here started several weeks ago when LA:RS said he had a mate with access to a boat. Of course smif247 and & I jumped at the chance to join him. Little did we know of the trials and tribulations that were to follow.

Fort Darnett

Today was the day, Sunday 11th March 2012. We started out at Brompton Barracks, at 09:30 to meet LA:RS and Mug L. Guy for a brew before heading out to Borstal Marina, arrival time 10:30.

Seriously?

We are not seriously going in that?

Upon arriving at the marina I began admiring the vessels wondering just which one we would be using. The thought of traveling out on a 30 foot yacht was quite overwhelming as we walked the jetty’s trying to find our mode of transport for the day. Mug L. Guy lead the way trying to tell us he knew where he was headed, when he decided to double back towards a small(ish) boat with a life raft tied to it. He proudly announced that here was our ride for the day! Needless to say my nerves started to jiggle a little.

Smif247 sunbathing while we wait for the engine to start

Now we had to play a waiting game on the jetty for the tide to start coming in, this was because the boat was still on the mud and was obviously not going anywhere. Half an hour later and Mug L. Guy with the help of LA:RS decided it was time to start firing up the outboard motor. And not with much success. The engine coughed, spluttered, fired up and then stopped. This happened many times, until…

Even the swan felt sorry for me

Captain LA:RS & Skipper Mug L. Guy

…It finally started!

After an hour or so of false starts all because Mug L. Guy forgot to flick the switch on the motor, we finally headed out off up the Medway at Midday, doing nothing more than 4 knots an hour on a two stroke/4hp engine boat. Better than a canoe but a speed boat would have been faster!

Our pride at finally gliding across the river was soon short lived! Soon after we had steered round the second jetty the engine decided to cut out once again. We coasted in towards the jetty, Smif247 and I hanging onto a cleat while LA:RS and Mug L. Guy had a few more attempts at firing up the motor. Which they did! With the throttle fully open and without warning to Smif247 and I we sped full pelt towards a moored 60 foot house boat (with residents still on board). Smif247 grabbed the nearest rope as I fell backwards on to the battery to power the bilge system.

Why does LA:RS look miserable?

Grinning like an idiot!

Trying to look innocent!

Heart attack over and the motor finally still running we managed to get ourselves out of the predicament fairly quickly and without the residents of said boat being alerted to our little bump (thank goodness).

We enjoyed a gentle slog around the curves of Rochester, Chatham, St Marys Island and Hoo Fort. Traveling against the incoming tide, bouncing across a few swells here and there, when Smif247 announced he needed to relieve himself. Oh dear me! There goes my half bottle of water!

Gun Wharf

Rochester Bridge

Rochester Castle

Not too long after, in the distance we spotted Fort Darnett. Excitement and adrenalin began pumping. The motor was still running. We really were going to make it there! It felt like the boat had started to speed up now or was that just our anticipation.

Fort Darnett just visible in the distance, only about 10 minutes journey time left

We moored up just behind a couple of rusty looking sunken barges, finding what was the metal remains of a jetty, I believe, (just a note, don’t use it to tie your boat too, because as the water reached high tide the metal bars lifted out of the water and LA:RS had to wade in to rescue the boat [:)])Arriving at approximately 13:40.

The sunken barges

Soon after a long and well deserved comfort break, we quickly found the entry point to the fort, a solid plank of wood (maybe a sleeper) perched from a curved tunnel onto solid ground. This did not look particularly safe to me, just as LA:RS informed me that I was going first. I am not sure if this was because I am a female or because I was the lightest! Needless to say after taking 2 or 3 shuffled steps I decided to crawl across as my legs were still shaking from the immense vibration of the boat journey.

The only way in

Once on solid ground the awe factor really began. new had finally made it to Fort Darnett in a boat that reminded me of my Mum’s old Austin Allegro )Sorry Mum)! What an amazingly well preserved Fort! You can see why the hippies camped out here during the Kingsnorth Power Station protests.

LA:RS makes the crossing

And Smif247's turn doing the smif shuffle

Now Mug L. Guy's turn

The four us soon had our varying gps units in hand (smart phones and Garmins) and started creeping around the inside of the fort looking for the geocache hiding place. Watching our step as we all kept going round in circles

 

“4ft this way”

 

“NO, 50ft this way”

 

“I’m sure it’s over here”

 

 

 

 

We eventually gave up trying to use gps signals as they were bouncing all over the place, when smif247 remembered one of the logs that Henly had written in the past about a “place holder” and went straight to that GZ and after a quick rummage around he had the cache in hand.

WE FOUND IT!

We dutifully photographed evidence of Ginger4x4’s visit from 2009 before

Ginger's phone is somewhere down there

writing our own names on the log sheet and again photographing it as evidence that the “place holder” really does exist. Oh and we did consider looking for Ginger’s phone that he lost in the flooded lower floors, but well, we just thought better of it as none of us had a spare set of dry clothes. So I imagine it is still down there. Don’t think it will be of much use now though!

After replacing the container to its resting place, the

Mug L. Guy on the roof

exploration of the site really began. With smif247 climbing

Smif investigating a hole but needed help to get out

down holes, Mug L Guy climbing on the roof for a better view and LA:RS still determined to find the original cache container, while I enjoyed walking around the site (safely, unlike the others) taking as many photo’s as possible before settling just inside the fort near a strange looking contraption for a bag of crisps and a flask of tea.

Then at 15:00 we all headed back to the shore line to our rescued boat to start the long journey back to Borstal Marina (the boys couldn’t have picked a further starting point really)! Gingerly creeping back out in to the wash round bits of wood that now couldn’t be seen as the tide was now high and trying desperately to steer clear of the ship wrecked barges, home was only a couple of hours away.

Feeling smug & Happy

Basking in our success at reviving this cache so that others know that it is still out there, we began to calm and feel the adrenalin leave us, I even dozed off on the way! Not sure how as that engine was mighty loud. We touched down on solid ground just after 17:00, very happy cachers in deed. We not only found the 4/4 micro container but had actually managed to arrive back at the marina in one piece, dry and with the boat engine still running.

Stop hanging about and look for the cache

Magazine lift

Today has definitely been my most amazing day as a

Casemate

geocacher and I would love to be able to thank Henly in person for dreaming up, setting up and maintaining the geocache on this site. Instead my thanks will have to go to Dave-Harris for adopting this geocache so it can remain alive and have many, many other total nut cases out to it in the future.

Truly from the bottom of my heart, TFTC [:D]

By Luminesence

The "real" log

 

Categories: Geo Stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Snow, My Spartan and an FTF.

This blog starts a few days back with a local trip out to some local cache’s. Armed with my trusty phone off I went solo into the snow to try for four of the Cooling Crawl series.

The snow was crisp and very white, so very peaceful and beautiful. It wasn’t long before I was headed into Narnia searching for the elusive micro; wondering how long it would take digging around trying desperately not to leave a cachers trail.

After 2 hours walking, running and caching I was more than ready for a hot coffee, so turned for home. It’s funny how much more friendly people are in the snow, loads of people wanted to stop and chat on my way back.

Highly recommended if you need to get a clear head, and peace and solitude is your way of doing it.

Then on to Grain Battery Tower! Up at 6 am meeting up with a few geocachers to attack Grain battery tower and the Fort Micro that had been placed there.

It’s an old disused fort (one of Palmerston’s Follies) in the middle of where the Thames and Medway river’s meet the North Sea.

LA:RS has fast become a good friend and fellow geocacher, he does however come up with some interesting schemes.

On this occasion we ended up in an old fort with nine geocachers & one muggle in a little room at the very top of the fort. We had to climb an old ladder to get in, but well worth it, as the views were great and exploring all the little rooms was very exciting.

On we went to do another series. That day there was still snow on the ground and it was below freezing point, so we went with the name team ice cube for our log signing, as there were so many of us out.

Now I do like a bit of a challenge and have a habit of taking on a little more than I should at times! Caching seems to bring out the madness in me. As I was fast approaching 300 finds I wanted something out of the ordinary to do as my “Spartan” 300th cache. Now, we have a few 5/5 in the area and what better way to man up to the warrior challenge than a hardcore cache.

Six Foot Under was chosen and so was a caching partner; DDRM is up for a laugh! So help enlisted we set off.

It’s a three part cache. Part one a puzzle: this was relatively easy in comparison to the rest. So with part one complete we arranged to meet at the parking coords and set our time and date.

We met at 3 pm and headed out to part two: to find a game piece and the second set of coords. Well after a longer walk than necessary we found ourselves face to face with an eight foot fenced building sight between us and the game piece; so all the way round the outside we went, finally dropping down a six foot wall to secure the game piece needed for the third and final part.

As we punched in the coords to our phones the final resting place was as suspected – a good six foot under! But not ground! Oh No! It was underwater, and not the nice heated pool type either, more your freezing sea type! Avoiding security patrols that guard the area and cctv cameras that also guard this lovely little spot, we were soon at the final GZ, and low and behold at 5 degrees on shore in I went using the game piece to release the cache from its resting place and bringing it up to the surface to sign. Now it was DDMR’s turn as we had already decided one to retrieve and one to replace so we could both log it.

Unfortunately due to not wanting to give away the GZ photo’s won’t be added.

In he went and re-attachment commenced. He was soaked! And as his head nearly disappeared I was glad I was at least not having to replace as well. The adrenaline was keeping me warm for now.

Task completed and cache safely back in place we had a nice little walk (about 1/2 a mile) to replace the game piece for the next cacher to go after six foot under. It was nearly dark as we got back to the cars. Hot shower, hot coffee and a happy dance for the spartan.

After a late night I thought I’d be safe for a lay in, but no my email alerted me to a new cache at 7 am the following morning! So with a gentle shake to let the good lady know I was off out into the freezing cold for my 301st cache, off I went again. This time it was one of the supermarket sweep series that I have been following closely, as I have 8 FTF’s out of the 9 published (I missed number 3 as it was hijacked by another cacher), so the original series by LA:RS I have a full score sheet so far of First to Find.

After a shuffle around and some repeated shoe lace tying I soon had the cache in my hand and FTF signed at 7:20 time for another happy dance as rosieb123 calls it.

Just a few of the views we saw on the day

by smif247

Categories: Geo Stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Gps 60 v iPhone 4

About three weeks ago I brought a second hand garmin gps 60 garmin gps 60
To do caching with and I have been trialing it against the iPhone 4 iPhone 4
The results were a bit of a shock the only area the gps outsmarted the smart phone was battery life. So a trip to maplins and twenty quid later a new case that charges the phone and problem solved.
Out last night to pick up a couple of d.n.f (did not finds) and the phone battery held out very much better.
I have played about a fair bit and on the official app I can download pocket queries of pretty much any size wirelessly, where as the gps, whilst much faster it is limited to 500 waypoints or caches.
The iPhone saves them to use offline and are easy access and quick to use and jumping from one cache to another is a matter of ease with the touch screen. The garmin is fiddling with buttons and having to know how too.
Entering waypoints and changing coordinates is easy with both devices, although even that the iPhone still just pips the garmin.

So all told I’m thinking I now have a dust gathering toy in my bag.

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by smif247

Categories: Geo Stories | Tags: , , , , | 10 Comments

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