Tag Archives: coast

Road Trip South Shields–Geocaches 150-151

Due to the need to acquire various pictures on my geocaching profile, I headed out to South Shields today to grab two caches that would fulfil all of the requirements of the Road Trip and bag me no fewer than 5 souvenirs! Not a bad haul for two caches!

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Rowan berries my phone camera didn’t cope well with.

I solved the puzzle cache The 55th Parallel (GCNZDG) the internet way yesterday afternoon, and headed out to grab it this afternoon. I took the bus towards South Shields. Along the way a wasp got on the bus (without a ticket) and caused plenty of chaos. Happily I avoided most of it and got off near the final location sting-free, past a lovely rowan tree.

Once I followed my GPS, the cache was quickly discovered, signed and put away. As I wasn’t sure if my coordinates were correct, I was very pleased to be able to locate the cache so quickly. This cache earned me the three souvenirs below.

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A Souvenir by: Geocaching HQ. Additional Information:Favorite Points are a geocacher’s way of figuring out which geocaches are the best of the best. You earned this souvenir during the Geocaching Road Trip ‘15 by finding a geocache with 10 or more Favorite Points.”

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A Souvenir by: Geocaching HQ. Additional Information:Sometimes you just have to get your adrenaline flowing or your mind racing—and what better way to do that than with a geocache? You earned this souvenir during the Geocaching Road Trip ‘15 by finding a Terrain 5 or Difficulty 5 geocache.”

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A Souvenir by: Geocaching HQ. Additional Information: It takes determination and brain power to conquer most Mystery Caches. Way to power through and make the find! You earned this souvenir during the Geocaching Road Trip ‘15 by finding a Mystery Cache.”

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South Shields beach at the end of Ocean Road.

I walked along Ocean Road past the fair and up along the leas towards the earthcache Frenchman’s Bay (GC1XQHD). The view from the leas is often spectacular, and Frenchman’s bay is no exception with its perfect sandy beach, now inaccessible to people.

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Frenchman’s Bay.

This cache brought me the last two souvenirs below.

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A Souvenir by: Geocaching HQ. Additional Information:The geocaching game board, a.k.a. the Earth, is pretty awesome. Good job learning about it or for cleaning it up! You earned this souvenir during the Geocaching Road Trip ‘15 by finding an EarthCache or attending a CITO event.”

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A Souvenir by: Geocaching HQ. Additional Information:You did it! Way to go! Thanks for being a part of this amazing geocaching journey. You earned this souvenir during the Geocaching Road Trip ‘15 by earning all five of the other souvenirs.”

Without really meaning to, I have taken a very minimalistic approach to this challenge, and completed it in only 3 caches. I’m not sure if it would be possible to do it in any fewer.

On the way back I also came across this beetle which I’ve tried to identify. It was running along the sandy gravel path on top of the cliffs and dove into the grass. I managed to take a picture of it before it buried itself completely, and it seems to be a Violet Ground Beetle / Rain Beetle (Carabus violaceus). That article has a much better picture of one, but here’s mine.

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It could run very fast, and the sides of it were very iridescent – the picture I captured appears to show them as light blue. It was 4-5cm long with the antennae.

I was very lucky to get home just before the clouds started leaking.

A Trip to Seaham – Geocaches 147 and 148

Today I went to Seaham for lunch with mam and Lin. After we were fuelled, we set off to find some nearby geocaches. The first was THE PIRATES GRAVE! (GC4NDGV), near St Mary’s Church. Lin got her hands on the cache very quickly, and I logged the find.

We had a bit more trouble with the other one, Church Micro 6853…Old Seaham (GC5HCJX). The clues were quickly found, and the final coordinates were calculated. After a thorough search in the wrong place, I rechecked the coordinates and found the cache in no time – slightly futher away from where we had been looking. Oops.

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Mam and Lin fancied a walk on the beach, and seeing it was a pebble beach I wondered whether it would be any good for seaglass. It turned out to be a brilliant spot! We found lots of lovely pieces as we walked along, and the walk quickly turned into a stand as we combed the beach.

There were plenty of people walking along the beach, bag in hand. One man walking his dog said hello and gave us a bagful of glass he’d collected. Apparently he collects it every day while walking his dog, and always hands it to someone else. Today I was his lucky “customer”.

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When I got home I looked up Seaham for seaglass, and discovered that it had been the site of a glass works run by John Candlish. You can read lots more serious information about him on his Wikipedia page, and in this article about the factory. There’s a rather more romanticised article on the Guardian website about finding seaglass in Seaham too.

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Seaham certainly has a much greater variation of glass than any other beach I’ve collected on, and there are plenty of very nicely-rounded pieces too. Because of the way that waste glass was dumped into the sea in big lumps, I have found plenty of multicoloured glass here, which is really beautiful. I’m looking forward to spending lots more time on this beach.

Ice Cream and Chips

We started the day by heading to Roskilly’s, a working dairy farm and cafe! Before we got as far as the ice cream we had a look around the farm. The first piece of entertainment occurred almost as soon as we got out of the car, as a goat we were looking at casually jumped the fence keeping it in. It stood happily grazing just outside its enclosure as if to say “because I can”. We went into the cafe to let someone know, and upon reporting the goat’s antics were told that it was a regular occurrence and someone would come around and stick it back behind its fence soon. We were also asked if we would like a goat.

We moved on to the chickens and other fowl, and clearly inspired similar thoughts of escape. These fancy chickens lined up along the fence to pose for us.

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We went back down to the cafe and had some delicious ice cream outside in the sunshine. There weren’t many people around, but it was nice that the place was open given it’s November. After we’d finished, it was back in the car.

I snapped a quick picture of Goonhilly as we went by. The huge satellite dishes just appear over the brow of a hill – very impressive.

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The next stop was Perranporth. Perranporth is named for the patron saint of Cornwall, St Piran, who apparently arrived here from Ireland. It’s a popular seaside holiday destination because of it’s beautiful beach. Something about the place rung a bell for me…

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There was another reason for visiting Perranporth, as if you needed one. Pieces of Lego have been washing up on Cornish beaches for a long time, and I had read about this recently in a BBC news article. It would be interesting to find some Lego washed up here.

We walked along the beach for a while and had a quick hunt around the more stony areas but to no avail. But what a gorgeous beach! It was when I saw these pools that I was certain – I came on holiday here when I was about eight.

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By this stage I’m really starting to think that Jon’s stories of Cornish bad weather are purely a fabrication.

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We left the beach to go on a hunt for fish and chips – an ultimately fruitless search! Lots of cafes and chippies about, but none of them open when we were hungry. Happily, we managed to get our hands on some when we got to Truro, and they disappeared very quickly when we got back to Jon’s.

Postcards from Cornwall and Geocache 113

I was lucky enough to receive some invitations from some friends to go and spend some time in the far and distant (and opposite from the North East in every way) South West of England. First stop – Cornwall!

I almost missed the train because of a silly fault with the Metro, but happily I’d set off far too early and made it! The train took around nine hours (no changes until Plymouth when the train withdrew itself from service…)

After a warm welcome from Jon and his family and a good sleep, the next day we headed off out. First stop, St Ives.

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Now as someone who has always had the sea firmly under control “in the East”, the geography of St Ives struck me as all wrong. You’ll see what I mean in the next picture. See those two beaches? I don’t even know what direction anything is in any more.

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However if you do look at just one of the beaches it is very pretty. Jon had promised rain! Would you think this is November? So pretty. Just be careful not to share this with too many people – Cornwall has completely escaped tourists so far and I don’t want to be accused of starting anything.

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We stopped off briefly by the Tate, which I had not expected to find in St Ives. I assume it was also on holiday. By the time we got back to the car, it did rain a bit!

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Along the road we paused at this old engine house which was part of the old Giew mine works. Jon told me about one-legged stools. I had a suspicion that this would be a good place for a geocache, so after we looked around the building I checked my phone and I was right! A jar of fruit (GC41YFZ) was hidden nearby. It was a quick find, and my first in the south. I dropped off a travel bug too as it was a huge container.

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Back on the road, we drove through Newlyn via Penzance. As we drove in we saw the weird Penzance rail station, where all the main lines literally stop. You’d think they’d run out of country. In Newlyn we had some fish and chips and made a friend.

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In the far background of the picture above you can see St Michael’s Mount, which is very similar to Mont Saint Michel off the Normandy coast. You can get to the island via a causeway at low tide.

The next stop was Mousehole, a very picturesque village with a tiny harbour, with an even tinier gap for you to bring your boat through.

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The lights along the coast are maintained entirely by volunteers, and donations are collected for the upkeep of the lights and for charity.

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Could this be the West coast of Scotland?

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Mousehole also has a plaque to the last recorded native speaker of Cornish, Dolly Pentreath, who lived there.

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We drove back up to Penzance and had a quick drink at the Admiral Benbow, which wins the prize for the most idiosyncratically decorated pub I’ve ever been in. It’s spectacular inside! You can see some pictures inside here. We were shown around upstairs too. It’s definitely worthwhile dropping in.

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Marsden Rock Earthcache and One in a Blue Moon – Geocache 93

Yesterday my mam assisted me with a cache and dash Earthcache close to home. I’ve often walked past Marsden Rock Earthcache (GCQ1R9), so didn’t feel too bad just leaping out of the car for the snap – plus it was absolutely necessary that I found a cache on that date. Why?

Aside from this being a find in its own right, I took my first step towards completing the Blue Moon Challenge Cache (GC4ZJ1Z).

The challenge is to find 13 caches on days when there is a full moon. A blue moon, according to the cache description, is the second full moon in a calendar month – something that doesn’t happen very often. Interestingly, I was lucky enough to discover this challenge cache at a time when there are 12 full moons before the next blue moon… so I’m able to claim 12 consecutive full moon finds, and find the blue moon challenge cache as the final 13th moon, which is also a blue moon day! Very pleasing…

Naturally, Terri is also in on this action, but she is on holiday just now. So committed is she, that she bravely nabbed a cache yesterday as well – despite not being on top form health wise. So we are both still on track to complete the Blue Moon Challenge… More on that next month!

Holy Island – Geocaches 80 – 89

To celebrate my last day of freedom before starting my new job, and because we’d been meaning to go on a proper day trip for ages, Terri and I spent a day caching on holy island! We checked the tide tables and reckoned we’d have time to get all of the island’s caches in one day – the challenge was on.

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On we go!

Our first stop was the endpoint of the mystery cache Lindisfarne Puzzler (GC51Z7Y), for which we had already solved the puzzle. Our coordinates were correct, and the find itself was very straightforward.

One puzzle down...
One puzzle down…

One down in short order! There’s a lovely multi cache on Lindisfarne, Lindisfarne Gospels (Holy Island) (GC49XKX), which takes you around the whole island. We decided to use it as our guide and pick up the traditional caches on the way around the island, recording the multi clues as we went.

The beautiful priory
The beautiful priory

We got the first clue at the prory and moved on swiftly to a traditional cache – Lindisfarne. View of St Cuthbert’s Isle. (GC51Z42). We found the cache quite quickly, and Terri braved the nettles to get it out. When we took the camo bag off, we found a caterpillar inside! Luckily it wasn’t inside the tupperware!

Caterpillar in the cache bag!
No code on this Travel Bug.

This one also had some really lovely treasure inside for the youngsters.

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Marbles, shells, a pine cone – what lovely treasure.

The cache location also offered us a few nice views.

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A view of St Cuthbert’s Island
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The priory over the cache.

Next, we went off to the castle for more of the multi, playing tourist as we went. There were SO many people though…

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Boat sheds and the castle.

A busy little spot! We couldn’t find the multi clue, so we had to hope we could guess it…

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A piper and the castle.

After picking up a few more multi clues, time for the trads. This one was accessible only through Terri’s premium app, but she graciously allowed me to join in looking for Time for thought (GC3QV2D), which was tucked away behind a wall.

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Ah, back out to the quiet side of the island.

We continued around the perimeter of the island to pick up a few more multi clues, including one at a bird hide overlooking a lake.

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View from the hide.

It was here where we learned about the Pirri-Pirri burr… we would become much more acquainted with it later!

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These would turn out to be a theme of the day! They’re very tenacious.

We passed some lovely bays and walked through lots of dune paths on the way to Cuthbert’s Ghost (GC1HAJ2), which was sited in an old quarry, with a ghostly tale…

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Just around this bay…
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Pathways through the dunes.
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Nando’s Seeds.

We didn’t see any of Cuthbert’s Ghost’s beads, but we did find a solitary soldier climbing the rocks. Terri noticed that the log directly before ours was always by the same cachers, and we realised we must be following them around the island!

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One man war.

We went on to the next cache around the next bay and over some more dunes looking for Greenshiel Stamps (GC1TF34).

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And just around THIS bay…
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We spent plenty of time in the dunes.
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An ancient settlement.

We found it tucked away amongst the ruins of an old settlement… now for us to get back to civilisation!

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Another gorgeous beach.
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Guess the prevailing wind direction.
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The mainland.

We rounded the last corner and got onto the home straight to Cache and Tache (GC49X05) which made no sense for a cache name until we discovered it was full of stick on moustaches! We of course graced the log with a picture of our moustachioed selves!

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Blue – Yellow – Green
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We logged this cache. HA!

There’s always room for a pun… we were getting really quite tired by now, but we had also got all of the clues for the multicache! With a couple of hours left to get off the island we only had one more traditional cache and the multi’s final stage to find and log to finish off all the caches!

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Back to square one.

We started the second lap for Lindisfarne to get our last traditional cache of the day, View across the Pilgrim’s Way (GC51Z12). We came across lots of interesting things in the beach, and could here lots of animals hooting – probably seals!

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A natural arrangement..?
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Team Dunefrog make their mark.
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A view over the beach.

And that was the last traditional cache of the day! On the way back to civilisation we passed by a strange collection of glass.

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Nearly helpful litter collection.

Back in the village we plugged in our answers to the multi cache, got coordinates and went off in search of the final multi stage… we wondered if we were going to run into the cachers who we’d been following all day! We also passed by a farm which had a yard full of birds – chickens, roosters, ducks, geese, swans…

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These geese had a nice campervan.

We dived into the bushes off the road and got the multi cache final! We picked up a travel bug and then Terri said that she hadn’t seen the name of the cachers we had been following! We realised they couldn’t be far behind us, so quickly hid the container and sure enough, we spotted a couple walking towards us, GPS in hand! We stopped them and said hello, and it was the two cachers who had been following us all day! They were very nice and had enjoyed their day just as much as we had enjoyed ours.

We went back to the car park and took the weight off our feet – we had been walking for a long time! FInally, we crossed the causeway again, measuring its length for an earthcache, Lindisfarne Causeway (GC2993D).

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From the mainland – picture for an Earthcache.

We completed the other Earthcache tasks, and finally, we finished off the tenth cache back on the mainland – A View of Holy Island (GC1BJ3Q). It was another quick find, and we just about made it back to the car without falling to the ground through tiredness!

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The last cache of the day was hidden by a large concrete cube. Hm.

We had a lovely day on the island! A little weatherbeaten – and with aching legs – we dived into the nearest pub for a good feed and a refreshing drink. Aaaah… what a brilliant way to spend a day.