Fables, Myths and Legends
It all began so well, Mark was on the computer on Friday night planning Saturday’s geocaching trip for the family. He ran the pocket query “not found by anyone by distance” and up popped a cache 1.1 miles from home (Fables, Myths & Legends… The Lost Mermaid). He quickly printed it out along with another one 24 miles from home as they were part of the same series of caches. Then, as he was watching, the cache was archived! Mark emailed the owners (team Mady) who promptly un-archived the cache for us thank you!
We left home early on Saturday, and within minutes pulled up at the side of the road close to the nearby cache. Mark found the cache, and quickly opened it, got to the log page and with a sinking feeling saw it had already been logged early that morning by erewego making us Second to Find!
With heavy hearts and two more caches planned we were already so hot we bailed out and went home! After all if we couldn’t be FTF on a cache 1.1 miles from home that we saw go live and got to at 10:30am what chance did we have! Our geo depression had begun!
When we got home we planned another trip for Monday and printed off the (by now live) other caches in the series and as we did we noticed that one of the other caches (Fables, Myths & Legends… Shropshires Robin Hood) had also been found by the same person (erewego) that beat us to the other (our nearest) cache!
Team Mady the cache owners emailed us after we logged our second to find with commiserations and mentioned that the other two caches had not yet been found but as there was all day Sunday and most of Monday still to go before we could get to them we did not hold out much hope of getting to these caches first either!
So after going to a kid’s football party on Sunday we set off for Betwys Coed on Monday morning to get new walking boots for Aaron and to check out some new boots out for Lynn. It was raining when we left Shropshire but it started to clear as we got to Betwys Coed Aaron got a £20 trade in for his old boots and Lynn picked up some ladies Miendl Borneo boots which were the same make and model as Marks.
So £120 lighter in the pocket we set off for home and as we had a meeting to go to that night and the babysitters (parents) had been booked we decided to do our caching close to home, finishing off the Fables caches seemed to be the ideal solution and there was a faint chance of being FTF so clutching our cache sheets and map quest maps off we went! Unfortunately this meant driving past the last cache knowing we would have to retrace our steps later.
Lynn carefully planned our route and decided that Fables, Myths & Legends.. Ogo’s hole would have to be first. With strict instructions to the kids that time was of the essence we got to the car park (we always love caches with proper car parks!) and started following the arrow.
The scenery here was superb with towering cliffs and birds of prey circling above, the GPS did its usual clever trick of showing feet to go at the bottom of the cliff when the cache is obviously going to be at the top! The walk up was very hot and as the rain had now stopped Mark and Lynn ended up carrying the cache bags and the geokids coats (oh the joys of family caching – Ed!)
We reached the top and looked carefully into the VERY large hole in this new area of cliffs. The panorama that unfolded around us was very dramatic with spoil heaps and cliffs and drops into large holes all around us. Lynn carefully followed the arrow on the GPS remembering to look where she was going and standing on top of a small pile of stones said the GPS shows 1 foot to go here. Now as most experienced cachers will know this puts you within a circle of about 30 ft from the cache however in a quarry with the signal bouncing off the walls this circle could be greater. We knew it wasn’t behind us as this was a great big hole and was about 20ft away so it must be somewhere in front of us, a quick search yielded no results so we read the clue which of course told us amongst other things it was under a rock (we were in a quarry so no surprises there) and there were rocks everywhere! Mark then started moving the coats and as he picked up our cache bag looked straight at the cache – It was only visible from the unusual angle of bending down to pick something up while watching out for Aaron on the rocks!
Mark carefully removed the rocks from the cache box and pulled the box out of the hole. We then moved several feet away from the cache hiding hole as per normal in case we got muggled and opened the box, would we be FTF? Mark could not bear to open another log book and find he had been beaten so it was passed to Lynn!
Lynn opened the book WOW! we were first
and so we could just possibly be first for the final cache, provided no one else had decided to do the series today. The quality of swaps were superb so in went our high value swaps and out came some goodies for the kids and theEvangeline TB, fortunately we had remembered to bring our TB’s this time so dropped the Humphrey Hedgehog TB off in the cache.
We resealed the cache and placed it carefully back where it had been hidden ensuring it was well hidden from all angles this time (evil grin). The walk back was great with everyone feeling much happier now we had that elusive FTF and our slight geo depression was lifted! As we usually do on our way back to the car we took photos and took a little longer to look at the scenery around us.
Back in the car it was time for a quick sandwich on the move and off to Fables, Myths & Legends… Shropshires Robin Hood, this cache is at a castle we have driven past many times but had never stopped at before so we were looking forward to finally getting to see it up close and personal.
We were still looking good on time and had two parts to the puzzle and one FTF. If no one else had found the other cache it was looking good for us to get to the Holy Grail and the final cache first as well.
We parked up and as time may have been an issue were glad when the GPS showed a short distance to go.
We walked towards the cache and the GPS decided it was “let’s make the arrow jump around for a bit time” so we ended up walking past the castle and getting some good photos, when the GPS finally settled down it pointed straight into a gap in the trees.
We entered and as the GPS seemed to indicate the other side of the barbed wire Mark quite unnecessarily climbed through. We tried the clue and it was no help, and then after crawling through a bush with no luck Mark again caught sight of the cache from just the right position. In this smaller cache were again great quality swaps but would the log book show us that anyone else was trying to finish the quest today, NO! we were second to find (after erewego) so unless we had driven past erewego on our way to this cache we would be FTF at the final destination, we had a small TB (HH poekie) which we dropped off and were pleasantly surprised when we saw amongst the cache goodies an exotic shell wrapped in kitchen towel we had left at another cache some time ago! Again the swaps were of good quality so we left some nice small but high value swaps.
After enjoying a well deserved drink (it was 27’C in the car) we read the maps and wrote down what we thought was our final clue, then, just as we were about to drive off Mark remembered that there was an additional task to be completed that was hidden inside the cache (close call this one) he ran back read the task and jumped in the car to get this final set of numbers.
It was then off to Fables, Myths & Legends…King Arthur’s view and back the way we had come from Betwys Coed. Lynn once again directed us superbly towards the parking coordinates and when the arrow pointed off to the left down a road we had always wondered where it led to and had often said “lets go down there” the atmosphere was very distinctly optimistic! The GPS told us that the parking place was 100ft in front of us and we nearly parked in the lay-by at the bottom of the slope, however Lynn pointed out that the description mentioned a picnic table and toilets, facilities the lay-by had a distinct lack of!
We continued up the road and turned up the switchback onto the correct car park. As the day was so hot a quick drink and snack was called for. Lynn had already worked out the final co-ordinates (clever girl) and a quick GOTO on the GPS confirmed they were not hundreds of miles away and that the co ordinates were with in walking distance of where we were parked. We now knew we had plenty of time to do the last cache and get back home so were able to relax instead of having to hurry along to the final cache.
When we set off the GPS jumped around again (grrrr) until settling down, we were glad the cache page gave a little general information about where the cache was hidden as the signpost at the top of the car park had the same name written on it. It looked like rain but we were so hot our coats remained in the car; we restocked our cache bags with more goodies and set off.
Had I mentioned it was hot yet? The sweat was pouring as we walked onto the hill at the back of the car park.
Lynn took the lead saying “this way” but after about 200 yards Kelly took the lead and disappeared into the bracken Aaron went second with Mark behind him to stop any falls, Krystal was behind mark and Lynn followed at the back with the GPS?, this must make sense to someone, the only person who knew where we were going was at the back!
Mark soon lost sight of Kelly in the 6 foot high bracken but continued following the path to a clearing where Kelly had stopped.
The path split so we gathered together waiting for Lynn who walked straight through and said “this way” taking point along one of the paths, Kelly followed then Krystal and Aaron with Mark taking the rear.
Visibility was poor in the bracken with the odd gorse and prickly bush rearing up out of the bracken forest in front of us, the path was however quite clear in the midst of this jungle of ferns and we ploughed resolutely onwards.
A few times we looked forward and saw a typical cache tree but they were always too close.
When we finally cleared the pervasive bracken the cache spot looked very good with lots of potential hiding places. As we were on a steep slope Mark went one way while Lynn went the other way around. A likely looking hiding spot and ……wait for it………..Lynn found the cache!
Lynn moved the container to the path (oops nearly said which way we moved it then – that would be too much information) and opened up the box.
Lynn again took the book and opened it, there was writing oh no, then YES! it was just team Mady’s notes! We were FTF for the second time in a day! All signs of our geo depression were now well and truly gone! We carefully read the instructions and took the Holy Grail TB (our second TB of the day) and a beautifully sealed certificate which we thought was a wonderful touch and made finding the cache so much more special (still not sure if we should open it though?)
The geokiddies fell on the contents which were again very high value and we hope we swapped everything fairly.
We were really glad it was not raining as we took some photos and then Lynn carefully re-hid the cache container and took some more photos of the fantastic views before we went back into the bracken jungle.
The walk back was as usual and we took our time and admired the views (is it the same for everyone else – do you dash to the cache and then start to look around on your way back?)
It was fun seeing everyone disappear into the bracken and reappear at every clearing and the car park was soon back in site. Another drink and the last of the cobs were consumed before we set off back home, tired but relieved that we had made it to all of these superb caches and managed two FTF’s on the way!
Thanks to team Mady for setting the challenge and a superb series of hides and caches, a warning to all others who attempt this series some of these caches are very hard to find and that bracken is MUCH higher than the photo makes it look!