Terri and I got onto the metro, but only got as far as Sunderland when the service was suspended… That put paid to our idea of riding around and grabbing metro caches! Unfortunately, the day had started how it meant to go on, with a whole lot of bad luck. It wasn’t all bad though – we had lots of fun and a 6-mile walk into the bargain.
We started off at Park Lane, where we discovered that the cache which had been archived. After a bit of lunch we headed off to SideTracked – Sunderland (GC5NX1F). Despite a good squint around at the correct spot, it wasn’t to be found.
Not to be put off, we headed back across town to Mobray Park, looking for the well-named cache Mowbray Park – (GC4WDEX), which we had failed to find in the past. The DNF struck again and we didn’t manage this one either.
Next on our list was a multi on the edge of the park – W.M.#23 We will remember them ~ Mowbray Park (GC5EY9V). We did all the calculations at the location, but unfortunately couldn’t find the final! We were feeling pretty disheartened by now!
We decided to take a little break in the Winter Gardens for a change and regroup, and walked around the garden for a while.
We headed out of town towards the bridge, but stopped off to search for Church Micro 7959…Sunderland – St Mary (GC5X4E0). Needless to say we came up empty handed there too. We hoped crossing the river might change out luck.
W.M.#40 We Will Remember Them ~ Stadium of Light (GC5JVG8) was next on the list. This is part of the series based on War Memorials, and the statue here was quite unique with its SAFC connection. We did the required calculations and went to the indicated spot… and there was the cache! We were so happy to find it!
We searched for a reprieve across the river by the Stadium of Light, looking for the Stadium of Light Multi (GC4X2C1). We got to the final location just fine, but couldn’t find the final! At least we got a walk around the stadium and found some very fitting plants.
Finally, we decided to call it a day. I hope we can find them again some other time. Fingers crossed.
My phone went off and signalled a geocache had just been published near by. Then another one came in straight after! I called Terri and off we went, after frantic discussion about which one would be the best chance to get a first to find. We opted to go for Tree’s a crowd (GC5V7MH).
Tree was a nearly a crowd when mistyduneTerri and I arrived to find another cacher already searching! Having scrambled our respective helicopters we were quite surprised to have been beaten to GZ, but we all spent a good few minutes more looking! Eventually I went the opposite way to the other two, driven by a hint, and the cache was ours! Joint FTF with our searching companion! As soon as the log was signed…”Right… See you at the next one!”
And so the challenge continued to St Benet’s (GC5V7Q7), as we raced to our vehicles…
…the drama continued as we wondered who would be the first to arrive. It wasn’t us! Our caching nemesis had unearthed it only moments before, but we shared in the FTF. It was great to meet another cacher and share the hunt!
To round off the evening, we went back to a cache we had missed on a previous hunt. Part of a series on war memorials, W.M.#62 We Shall remember them ~ Whitburn (8GC5NEB). It had not been there, but was replaced when we had our second try. We had solved the puzzle earlier. A telltale pen lying on the ground hinted that we were in the right spot! The tall one grabbed it in no time this time around!
After a gloriously lazy morning finishing off my book, it was time to geocache!
The weather was absolutely horrible! So why cache today? 15 years ago to the day, Geocaching was born! As such, there was a new souvenir to collect on Geocaching.com, and who can resist a new .jpg for their profile?
Terri and I headed out to pick up some local caches that have sprung up over the winter. We started off with Attention Defici… oooooh shiny (GC5PJNQ), which is nearby the National Glass Centre. When we got to the parking place we were surprised to see this:
HMS Ocean is staying in Sunderland this weekend. It’s a really huge boat. We walked up onto the glass roof of the centre to get a better look. This is the weird view you get up on the roof – the gift shop many floors below.
Terri hoped that these designs weren’t covering up the cracks!
Back to the geocaching though. We found the cache near the Red House, a sculpture nearby the National Glass Centre.
Quite a view from the living room.
After a short drive up in the hideous weather, we ended up on top of the cliffs at Roker. The picture below doesn’t do justice to the wind and rain we were enduring by this point! Traditional Bank Holiday weather.
Next up, Top Bombing (GC5NM3R). Continuing the military theme we headed for a multicache set near an old Sea Mine.
We solved the clues from the nearby information board, and ran along the clifftops to the final location to keep warm. The elements didn’t want us outside today. Once we got to the final location, we quickly hunted out the cache and signed the log.
On the way back to the car, I picked up Church Micro 6343…Roker (GC5CCZ7) – which Terri had already found. Still freezing, we ran back to the car.
From one church micro to another, the next one on the list today was Church Micro 7369…Whitburn (GC5NA9Y). In our own traditional style we headed straight for the church in Whitburn. Except it was the wrong church. Whoops. Still a nice church though.
Nearby Whitburn Parish Church is this other red house The Red Cottage, which has cricket-themed decorations.
Anyway, we were in exactly the wrong place for the church micro. We walked back through the village towards W.M.#62 We Shall remember them ~ Whitburn (GC5NEB8). The War Memorials series is a relatively new one, and you complete them by reading information on the monuments which reveals the final location of the caches. The church micro series has really taken off, with at least 7000 in the UK. I wonder if the W.M. Series will do the same.
Before going to the final location for this cache, we went to the Methodist Church in Whitburn (the correct location this time) but were unable to unearth the cache. We had similar luck with the final location of the war memorial cache. We should have quit while we were ahead!
At the end of the adventure, we were left with a couple of new DNFs in the area as well as our finds – it’s been a while since we’ve had some local DNFs to grab! The souvenir unlocked itself and presented us with a new mission of finding various types of cache on various days throughout the summer. I wonder if we’ll manage it!
Terri and I met up for a quick post-work cache as part of the Blue Moon Challenge (GC4ZJ1Z).
Found the last of the BTB Cleadon series (GC2X5PA) with Terri after missing it last time – I was on the right track during our last attempt but when I hunkered down to have a proper look I sandwiched a nettle and stung my legs and so with a cry of “nope nope nope” the search was abandoned. Now the nettles are dead and we were triumphant!
This was my 100th find, too, and containted the final clue for us to have a go at the final mystery cache (GC32XAH) hidden somewhere in the villiage.
We still had some time before Terri’s prior engagement, so we decided to go for another previous DNF – Academy Path (GC4ZA3R) which the cache owner had given us a hint on. As with other previous DNFs we were totally certain that we’d checked this spot and found a box-shaped hole, but no!
We found it straight away looking just as it was described. Completely flummoxed as to how we missed it on previous occasions! We dropped off a travel bug and picked up a new one to move on.
The Blue Moon Challenge list is now…
10/08/2014 – GCQ1R9 – Marsden Rock Earthcache
09/09/2014 – GC4ZA3R – Academy Path
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!
Terri noticed a cluster of caches on her map, so we made a date for a day of caching and set off for Barnes Park in Sunderland.
We started off at the beginning of the Barnes Park Walk series. This series has a mystery cache (GC3X7QB) at the end of it, and in order to find it you have to take down some details from each log. We started by heading for the first one Barnes Park Walk #1 – Is Jack Watching You? (GC3NTJ8) which was a quick find for us. We photographed the clue and got straight onto the next one.
Walking along the top path, we began to realise that the park is actually on quite a steep slope and at some stage we were going to hike back up to the car! Though the slope did give us plenty of nice views.
We carried on to Barnes Park Walk #2 – Trees R Us (GC3X7KW). This one took a while longer, but we spotted it as we were low to the ground, sneakily hiding under a bush. This is perhaps a temporary container, but the log was still intact and once again we signed the log and photographed the clue to the mystery cache.
Next up: Barnes Park Walk #3 – Penny for your Thoughts (GC3X7MK) which was also unearthed quickly! We were on something of a speed run by this point! So speedy were we that we forgot to note down the puzzle clue… not that we realised that until much later.
As we were near a gate and there were three other caches fairly nearby, we decided to extend the walk and struck out for some other nearby caches, starting with Electricity (GC4W20V) which has a funny hint which made us giggle. There was something cute about the container too!
We walked on towards the next cache, The Railey (GC4YRHN), past some wall-based philosophy…
Where could it be?
We eventually found it tucked away amongst some foliage in a very nice convenient spot. Onto the next one, The Blue Signpost (GC4WA6G), which was a slightly longer walk away. We realised that we had found 5 caches in under and hour, and really fancied squeezing in a 6th! Happily we got there with a few minutes to spare and found it quickly. Terri executed a manoeuvre and we signed it and replaced it.
We had a quick sit-down lunch at the carvery and rehydrated. Well rested and restored, it was back to the park to finish off the walk. We got to Barnes Park Walk #4 – The Ivy (GC3X7NB) was fairly quickly found, though we did find a different bit of string in a different bit of ivy before getting our hands on this one. Always be suspicious of string in foliage…
This corner of the park was absolutely lovely, with a fairly new “sensory garden” with tickly grasses and fragrant plants. You can see a special stone on the right hand side of the picture below, which will resonate when you hum into it on the right note. We had lots of fun searching for it!
There was also a stone glockenspiel! How often do you get to have a go with a giant one of these?
A walk through the park past the lake took us towards the next cache, Barnes Park Walk #5 – Ribbit Ribbit (GC3X7NX), located in some bushes.
We found this brilliantly-shaped cache amongst the undergrowth after a search. We hadn’t DNFd a single cache all day and were feeling pretty good…until… Barnes Park Walk #6 – Tree Shephard (GC3QED2) which eluded us entirely for 45 minutes! We didn’t get anywhere at all with it, and fared no better with Barnes Park Walk #7 – Buzz Bee (GC3X7PF), placed near the exit to the park. It was at this point that we decided to sit down and work out the coordinates for the bonus mystery cache. Trouble was, we had forgotten to note down the letters and numbers that we needed on the logs. Oh well, back around we went!
After we’d finished feeling silly, we plugged in the numbers and went off to the coordinates of the bonus cache. We got it!
We were very pleased with ourselves. We’re so used to urban caching and finding nanos and micros (which are lovely in their own way, of course) it was really cool to find a cache that was so huge! After wrestling the can open and signing the log we went back to the car for a swift relocation to the next cache, JMC Remembered #3 (GC2VDDD). A cache placed as a memorial.
After a break in the house which included minty magnums and fridge poetry, we got back on the road again and headed for the River Wear, which has a few caches along its southern bank. The first cache here, Pottery Lane End (GC4826F) which was down this pretty path.
After I did a little bit of nettle-battling and spotted the “has to be the right place” spot, Terri was nominated as the tall person to reach up to this one.
The path along the river made for a very pleasant walk.
We went to the end of the path, encountering a few fishermen and boat enthusiasts. Terri soon had her hands on Claxheugh Rock Boat House (GC4804P).
We debated about going further along the river for the next one, Rock House Farm (GC3R7HG), but decided to drive there and park a bit closer, as it looked like it was going to be on top of the cliff. As you can see from the picture below, we were right!
As you can tell, the sun was hinting at setting by the time we got here.
Back to the car, and we headed for some more urban caches. Terri had found this one, Exchange (GC417V1) before, but it was a simple pick up for me too. A cool handmade container.
That was a quick one, and as we realised we were smashing our PBs for the number of caches found in a day, we powered on to Halford’s of all places, to pick up another bison tube, Retail Returns (GC3X4M8) which needed Terri’s longer fingers to grab!
We were beginning to tire by this stage, but our final cache of the day, Spooky School (GC57KZQ) wasn’t far away. This disguised cache blended in well with the surroundings, an would have taken us longer if we hadn’t seen a similar one recently. The old school was indeed very spooky – abandoned buildings always have that feeling about them. At one point a fire engine screamed by and we both jumped!
After 16 caches + 2 DNFs, we were well and truly worn out. What a brilliant day out! Next adventure: Holy Island…