Tag Archives: jasmer challenge

Day #373 – Welsh Wanderings

Trad: 15 Challenge: 1 Virtual: 1
Walked: 8.6 miles

Today I moved on from my hotel overlooking the Bristol Channel to Oswestry. I took anything but the shortest route! I had planned a day of drive bys to pick up three specific caches and seven new counties. Here’s what my Counties Map looked like first thing this morning:

Counties Map This Morning
Counties Map This Morning

Severn View was right by the hotel, and together with another nearby, it ticked off Gloucestershire first thing.

Little Quacker At Severn View
Little Quacker At Severn View

The next find was another Gloucestershire hide, this time a Challenge. Then I moved on to City of Bristol for two caches – Blaise Hamlet Virtual was the first, followed by one close to some wind turbines which filled in a distance band for another Challenge cache I’ve been working on.

Blaise Hamlet Virtual
Blaise Hamlet Virtual

Next on the agenda, I crossed into South Wales to pick up several new counties there, including Monmouthshire, Newport, Caerphilly, Torfaen and Blaenau Gwent. The box at Aberbeeg Pack Horse Bridge was looking rather sorry for itself, but the others were found reasonably quickly – although I did target at least two in each county in case of DNFs.

Soggy Aberbeeg Pack Horse Bridge
Soggy Aberbeeg Pack Horse Bridge

Once they were ticked off, the main reason for being in that part of the country was to visit the venerable old Ammo can, The First In Wales, near Abergavenny, which has been out in the wild since February 2001!

The walk to the summit was pleasant enough and not too strenuous – it was about a mile from the car park.

The Walk To The Summit
The Walk To The Summit

The view from the top was a little cloudy, but there was a Trig Point to admire as well.

Summit View & Trig Point
Summit View & Trig Point

The cache itself was a bit further on, effectively buried in a boulder field. I spent almost an hour clambering about, trying not to break my ankle while turning countless stones over to see if the box was there.

The best advise from the cache listing was to look at the spoiler photos – which I thought I had already downloaded to my phone. But no. Attempting to pull them up offline just showed me a blank box with the caption “null”  – argh!

Eventually, I found one rock which had 3G phone reception if I stood stock still – so I hastily downloaded some photos and found one which showed several prominent rocks lined up in a certain order. Sure enough, once I got myself into that position, I spied the corner of the ammo box hiding under a pile of rubble! Phew. Never been so glad to find a cache in my life! Can you tell by my stupid grin?

First In Wales - Eventually!
First In Wales – Eventually!

Little Quacker was pleased to have his photo taken with the box too.

Little Quacker At First In Wales
Little Quacker At First In Wales

I made my way back to the car, very pleased with job done, even though it had taken much longer than it should have. I arrived back at the car park just as it started to rain heavily!

The drive to Oswestry was long and rather tedious, but I stopped off to photograph the lovely sunset along the way:

Amazing Sunset!
Amazing Sunset!

Here you are – a few more counties ticked off the map! (I think I did this screenshot from a day or so later, so Powys, Shropshire, Wrexham and Denbighshire are also filled in:

7 New Counties Today!
7 New Counties Today!

Day #245 – One Foot In Scotland

Trad: 18 Puzzle: 1
Walked: 4.7 miles

I’ve had the May 2001 cache Percy’s Cross on my to do list ever since I discovered the Jasmer Challenge. Being in Northumberland, I have limited opportunities to pick it up, so planned a drive out there today with Alistair. We cached our way up the A696 and A68 and decided to carry on to Scotland, briefly, as it wasn’t much further up the road!

Our first stop was Callerton Parkway for a couple of quick caches, then two more in Ponteland, one of which was a puzzle which I had solved prior to setting out.

Ponteland Tower
Ponteland Tower

The rain chased us most of the way up the road – we arrived at Percy’s Cross in the dry, but by the time we had found the box and signed the log, it was pelting with rain.

Partying With Percy
Partying With Percy

We decamped to the pub for a lovely lunch while the rain came down. Then set off again north-westwards towards the border, stopping a few times at various caches close to the road. There was a fun group of three close to St. Francis’ Church near Byrness.

St. Francis' Church
St. Francis’ Church

Most of the water around here was in the form of puddles rather than rain, but it was threatening again.

Splash!
Splash!

Eventually we worked our way to the border – finding caches in both England and 100 yards into Scotland – in the blowing wind and squally rain, of course!

Fàilte gu Alba
Fàilte gu Alba
Wet & Windy In Scotland!
Wet & Windy In Scotland!

Once we had found the Scottish tupperware, we turned the car around and headed back to Newcastle, via a couple of other boxes which Alistair had already found previously.

So, another fun day out, despite the rain, and Alistair reached his 2000th find during the trip, too.

Day #177 – The Long Way Home

Trad: 7 Multi: 1 Challenge: 7
Walked: 6.6 miles

Why go the most direct route home when you can detour to pick up some interesting caches? This was my reasoning for a 40-mile round trip in the wrong direction to start my day from Oxford. Uffington has a lovely Church Micro which I needed for a Challenge cache:

Uffington St Mary
Uffington St Mary

As well as a pretty church, it also has a grand old cache nearby, Uffington White Horse which filled my  empty June 2002 Jasmer month.

Uffington White Horse Cache
Uffington White Horse Cache

The weather was perishing cold (plenty of ice in the puddles!) but beautifully sunny. And I was wrapped up warm, so I decided to take a little walk along The Ridgeway while I was in the vicinity, and pick up the first five caches of the Uffington White Horse Trail series.

Walking The Ridgeway
Walking The Ridgeway

Business was done in Oxfordshire, but I had plans to pick up a few Challenge Caches which I’ve qualified for, around Little Brickhill, just south east of Milton Keynes. The first was Return 2 Sender which required fording a small stream but earned me the first of three new DT squares today, 1/4.5.

First DT Square Of The Day
First DT Square Of The Day

Six other caches were picked up in the area, giving me another new DT of 1/4 with What’s My Name Challenge. The one below (Reviewing The Reviewer Challenge) was a particularly difficult find in the woods, with 15m error in the co-ords, but a previous finder had thankfully provided some better ones which meant I eventually did see the wood for the trees!

What's This Pile Of Sticks?
What’s This Pile Of Sticks?

Back in September when Alistair & I had picked up the excellent Perplexity Puzzles west of St Albans on Day #64, I had failed to notice that nearby was another cache which would fill an empty DT square for me, Bedmond Ratrun 2. Well, today I wasn’t really “passing”, but it wasn’t that much of a detour either, so it was the last one on my to do list. And thankfully although the bank climb was quite steep, I made it up and down again with my dignity intact, and bagged another DT square, 1.5/4.5.

I’ve realised that since the beginning of January, I think I’ve now completed 11 DT squares with “only” 15 left to go. Quick progress, although I know the ones I have left are mainly T4.5 or T5, so it isn’t going to be easy as I don’t climb trees and don’t own a canoe!

Day #175 – Finchampstead Undulations

Trad: 25 Puzzle: 1 Challenge: 3 Virtual: 1
Walked: 9.6 miles

I went on a road trip to stay in Oxford today, but why go directly there when you can detour via some interesting caches around Finchampstead? Why there? Well I was really after The Queen’s Oak, which fills the June 2001 Jasmer Square. Nearby was a lovely old virtual too, and the Finchampstead Undulations circuit.

The Queen's Oak Grand Old Cache
The Queen’s Oak Grand Old Cache

However, my first port of call was to pick up a couple of Challenges in the area, and they were both easy finds. The 366 Challenge also earned me a new D5/T2.5 square for the grid, which is going well!

What's Behind The Stick?
What’s Behind The Stick?
The Old Pump
The Old Pump

 

The Finchampstead circuit was extremely muddy in places, and I had to DNF one or two hides, but overall it was a great walk with some grand views.

Day #119 – Jasmer Fillers

Trad: 4 Puzzle: 1
Walked: 4.3 miles

22nd November 2015
22nd November 2015

I needed to visit Nazeinng today and thought I would take the long way round to find a couple of outstanding older caches I need for my Jasmer grid.

The first was Wildlife Cache # 2 – Tree Pipit in Epping Forest, placed in January 2005. It was a bit muddy underfoot, but I found the cache in the end.

Natural Cammo
Natural Cammo

Next up was Coal Post #19 near Nazeing which has been in the wild since July 2003. It was a quick find, thankfully.

Coal Post #19 - Another Golden Oldie
Coal Post #19 – Another Golden Oldie
Well-stocked Cache
Well-stocked Cache

Then I relocated to a couple of locations in Nazeing, firstly to find a Church Micro puzzle cache which I’d solved the day before (still on my non-trad streak). Then onto the Church Micro in Nazeing itself, plus another located nearby.

After my logs today my Jasmer Grid is now looking nicely full for 2003 onwards. I should be able to fill Sept 2002 and May 2001 on my next visit to Newcastle, probably next year.

Jasmer Grid, 22nd November 2015
Jasmer Grid, 22nd November 2015

The only other UK caches I can find to fill in more squares are June 2001 (near Wokingham), Feb 2001 (the first in Wales) and Dec 2000 (north of Glasgow, Scotland’s first). If I want any more, it will have to be road trips to Denmark, Chicago and Oregon. Not for a while…

Day #105 – Kent Geotour

Trad: 7 Puzzle: 1 Virtual: 1
Walked: 5.3 miles

8th November 2015
8th November 2015

Today I drove to stay with my semi-muggle friend Julian who lives in Deal for a few days. I decided to have a little geo-tour on the way, to collect various old caches to fill some gaps in my Jasmer Grid, a few in Medway to complete another county and one which was placed on 24th December, the last I needed to complete my “finds by date placed” grid.

Completed Finds By Date Placed Grid
Completed Finds By Date Placed Grid

Ulcombe All Ye Faithful was one of the oldies, placed in November 2003. It was rather visible when I found it, but I re-hid with some more cover.

Needs Hiding Better
Needs Hiding Better

Why Wye? was placed along a ridge on the Downs in September 2001. It was rather windy and misty up there today. A few sheep were nearby but took no notice of me as I walked past.

Up On The Downs
Up On The Downs
Sign The Log
Sign The Log

Monksgold has survived in the wild since June 2005. It didn’t live up to its name – all I could find inside was some “silver” coins!

Monksgold Is Really Silver!
Monksgold Is Really Silver!

All in all it was an enjoyable little road trip. I have now filled in another three squares in the Jasmer grid.

Jasmer Grid Progress After Today's Trip
Jasmer Grid Progress After Today’s Trip

Day #100 – Ton Up!

Trad: 15
Walked: 7.1 miles

3rd November 2015
3rd November 2015

Yay! I’ve made it to day 100 of my geostreak. I wanted to celebrate with a reasonable walk and cache series, so decided to head to Langdon Hills where there are numerous hides. I’ve heard good things about the location, and the hides by the musical girls.

The first find was actually in the Willow Park Nature Reserve, called X Specially For You (which has been on my radar for the Jasmer Challenge for a while).

First One Of Day 100
First One Of Day 100

I had parked up near a local Church Micro, to find it guarded by a fierce-looking little guy!

Guarding The Cache
Guarding The Cache

One of the other caches along the way was Martin’s Hole, located at an old well which used to draw Vange Water in the early 1900’s. It’s a bit of a ruin now, but quite intriguing.

Martin's Hole Ruin
Martin’s Hole Ruin

I very nearly gave up on this one as the GPS was bouncing all over the place, but finally managed to find the tricky little blighter.

Found It!
Found It!

Another nice hide nearby was Holy Mosses – well camo’d with a large chunk of wood!

Another Well-Hidden Box
Another Well-Hidden Box

I had varying success with others in the woods – it wasn’t so bad while still daylight, but as the light was fading I wasn’t having much luck. So I think I need to return again another day and complete the search.

It was an enjoyable outing for my 100th Day. I’m glad to have completed the streak so far, so I can qualify for certain Challenge caches which require finds of 100 consecutive days. Will I carry on tomorrow? Probably! We’ll see how much longer I can keep it up. 366 days would be nice, but I’m not promising anything!

Day #70 – Relic Hunting

Trad: 11
Walked: 9.6 miles

4th October 2015
4th October 2015

I’m not sure I will ever get to find a Jasmer Challenge Cache, but it’s still fun to try and fill up my finds-by-month-placed grid. Before today, it looked like this:

Jasmer Grid Before
Jasmer Grid Before

I’ve been doing some research and found quite a few caches which would help fill in the gaps clustered around the Buckinghamshire/Hertfordshire border around Berkhampstead. So I planned a little road trip to pick them up.

Hellfire’s Globe (Bucks)

The first stop was Hellfire’s Globe (Bucks), situated high above West Wycombe just below the impressive mausoleum at St. Lawrence’s Church. A quick find to kick off, filling in June 2002.

At GC6912
At GC6912
Cyril & Stan With The Cache
Cyril & Stan With The Cache

InterMissendens

Next up was a cache placed in November 2001 in the woods on a hillside above Great Missenden called InterMissendens. The woods were lovely but the cache was quickly located.

Me at GC2AA4
Me at GC2AA4
Slightly mouldy logbook!
Slightly mouldy logbook!

England’s Oldest Geocache!

The real prize on my list for today was England’s oldest cache, View From Coombe Hill just south west of Wendover. It was placed in January 2001 and is still a grand old ammo can.

At GC171 - England's Oldest!
At GC171 – England’s Oldest!
Cyril & Stan Raiding The Goodies!
Cyril & Stan Raiding The Goodies!

It was such a beautiful spot that I sat on the hill nearby and had my picnic lunch overlooking the spectacular view. But I had more to find – so I didn’t stay very long…

Sewer Lock

This cache might not have a very attractive name, but Sewer Lock is a pleasant location on the Grand Union Canal, placed in December 2004.

A Boat Arrives In The Lock
A Boat Arrives In The Lock

It took ages to find because I had to wait for the good ship Muggle to pass through the lock before I could have a proper search. Once they had chugged off, the find was swift.

GCM8QP Log
GCM8QP Log

Entology (Herts)

Next up were two caches in the Ashridge Estate, the first being Entology (Herts), placed in August 2001. The forest was looking great in the sunshine.

On The Way To The Cache
On The Way To The Cache

The hide was up in a tree but a convenient sturdy branch to climb on was most welcome.

GC164F Is Up There Somewhere
GC164F Is Up There Somewhere

Tim & Jon’s 1st Re-Stashed

Still in the woods was my next target, Tim & Jon’s 1st Re-Stashed, hidden in January 2001 (England’s 2nd oldest cache).

More Lovely Trees
More Lovely Trees

After some GPS confusion, and waiting for noisy muggles to pass, I got to GZ eventually.

Gotcha! GC177, England's 2nd Oldest Cache
Gotcha! GC177, England’s 2nd Oldest Cache

Instructions were in the cache to find a second bonus (without co-ords, it required careful pacing). Unfortunately I didn’t have time to look for that one today, perhaps another time… Moving on to…

Devil’s Bridge (Herts)

The next stop was in the little village of Nettleden to find Devil’s Bridge (Herts), which has been in situ since January 2004. The bridge is a spooky proposition, even in daylight:

Spooky Bridge
Spooky Bridge

The cache was a quick find – the poor old log is rather stuffed into the pot, but I just about got it back in after signing!

GCHGMP Crumpled Log
GCHGMP Crumpled Log

Spooky trees lined the tops of the walls either side of the steep track – it rather reminded me of something from Harry Potter.

Gnarly Old Trees
Gnarly Old Trees

Garmer Spring

The penultimate find of the trip was Garmer Spring, north west of Hemel Hempstead, which completes the March 2004 square.

Berries On The Walk
Berries On The Walk

I parked in a nearby pub and walked up the rolling hill past two regular (and relatively recent caches, which were also found quickly) before arriving at the Spring itself. I didn’t find any water, but I did find some tupperware!

Me With GCHY0E
Me With GCHY0E

Cyril & Stan dropped off a Lego buddy to travel from this cache.

Cyril & Stan Drop Off A Traveller
Cyril & Stan Drop Off A Traveller

View The Puddingstone

There’s always time for One More Cache, right? So my final location was View The Puddingstone on the outskirts of Redbourne, to fill in the November 2006 gap. It was getting dark by the time I picked up the cache, but it was a quick find. Now my grid looks like this, still a few gaps but I will work on them soon.

Jasmer Grid After My Trip
Jasmer Grid After My Trip

Unfortunately, that’s where my grand day out went south – I got in the car to drive home and discovered that it had broken down and would not start. I had a very boring 4-hour wait for the recovery truck – they got me started again and I eventually arrived home just before midnight. What a day!

Day #47 – Rayleigh Ramble

Trad: 3
Walked: 2.9 miles

11th September 2015
11th September 2015

Today’s trip was another quick one, with no real photographic opportunities, but a successful hunt, three trads in west Rayleigh. The reason for heading that way? I had recently made a check of local caches which might fit any holes in my Jasmer finds-by-placed-date grid – I realised I’d only got two to go and Strod & Trods Escargot fitted the bill for one of them. I soon had the little mollusc in hand and also picked up another couple of nearby hides while I was in the area.

I still have quite a few months to go to fill my finds-by-placed-month grid. But I’m working on that!