Saturday, 25 February 2012

25/2/12 - Tedstone Delamere is not an American

Distance - 5.7 Miles
Geocaches - Herefordshire is not known for its caches
Walk Inspiration

Tedstone Delamere

Every year there is a walking day when you know that Spring is on its way.  Today, was that day.

Wasn't sure whether I would be walking today.  Last night was a drink with Fast Pint Arm Bob.  When I awoke and saw the light streaming through the windows, there was no choice.  What a fantastic day.

Today's walk is from and just over the border in herefordshire.  This walk alone has justified the subscription cost for another year.  It is a stunner.

Lovely drive through the best parts of Worcestershire, spying a place to take a nice photo of Malvern for the way back.  Park up in the village of Whitbourne.  The walk suggests parking at the pub and truth, there would have been no problem.  Another country pub bites the dust.  But don't worry, there is a local shop for local people selling pork pies and pop next door.

Over a stile and into the countryside.

Winter is no more

First part of the walk is through farmland, aiming to get to Poswick Lodge where we pick up the first hightlight of the walk.  The Sapey Valley is great walking country, secluded, little stream that we criss cross, couple of isolated cottages straight out of fairy tales and bordered by Limekiln Coppice.  It is stunning and with the weather, makes you feel all is well with world.  This stretch is that good that you won't mind following it on the return journey back.

Limkiln Coppice
Eventually the public footpath ends at the woods, after a final cross of the Sapey. 

Bridge or in the Water?
The forest track climbs steadily uphill.  Give way to a group of horse riders who had hit full gallop mode.  Turn up towards Tedstone Delamere, not an American chat show host but a hamlet, dominated by Tedstone Court.  See my first human, a man gardening to classical music, being observed by Alan Partridges favorite aves.

Terwit Terwhoo
Ted, to his mates.

Tedstone Delamere is domintated by the court.  A quite magnificant house with stunning views over Malvern.  As I walk past, there is a sign for the footpath down to St James Chapel in the grounds.  I have a walk down.  Photos are on Everytrail.

Malvern Calling
Back up to the road and a drop down on the left back into the woods.  Confirmation that Spring is here, as I see the first new sheep of the year.  A sight that always gladdens the heart.

Congratulations, its twins.
Steep drop down a muddy path to the valley floor.  Around half a mile repeating the outward bound journey but following the stream towards Whitbourne Hall. 

You can lead a cow to water
Climb back up towards Wishmore Farm and all too soon the walk is over. 

Face the camera, dog.
Check out the pub, attempt a geocache at Knightwick Bridge and a final picture from the top of Ankerdine Hill for the views over Malvern.

Just need the clocks to go forward now.

Worcestershire, in all its glory.  My head blocking Malvern

Sunday, 19 February 2012

19/02/12 - Cotswolds Caching with Company

Distance - 8 Miles
Geocaches - 26 on trail, 21 found
First Cache

I didn't need much of an excuse to go back to possibly my favourite walking country but a new trail of 24 caches sealed the deal.  That and promised good weather and a caching buddy (who distinctly lost interest once the sandwiches were consumed) had us out the door, getting the snow of the car and heading down to the Cotswolds under beautiful blue skies.

40 minutes later and the ubiquitous request for facilities.  Broadway provided.

On the road less than an hour
Soon at Snowshill.  I didn't know that they had free parking here, but took full advantage.  Quick drop down into the pretty village, grabbing the 1st cache of the day.

Church, opposite the pub.  Cache in the big red thing
We soon find the first cache in the trail and the reason that we are here.  Won't describe all caches as we will be here all day (and the pub is open) so lets describe the trail.  The boxes are well spaced out at locations where you need to navigate.  Mainly lock boxes with a few cheeky nanos and it may have been ennui following the sandwiches, but they seemed to get harder.  All our DNFs came after lunch in Stanway.  There are bonus co-ords to be collected and you won't be disappointed when you find the booty.

Importantly, the trail takes you through britain at its best.  so lets continue on the walk and add some advice for cache number 2.

Cache 1 leads us onto good paths through horse grazing fields.  Great views. 

Smattering of snow
My eyes were down on the GPS looking for cache 2 when we could hear some shouting behind us.  You need to go through a gate, rather than follow the natural course.  Lady horsekeeper was keen that we followed the correct track but she may have been better served by replacing the footpath signs that were obviously chipped off.  We continued down and I retrieved the cache, only to look behind and see that she was following us down the track - keeping an eye on our nefarious activities.  I had to march on with the cache under my arm, wait 10 mins, assume an alternative indentity by removing my hat and march back to replace.  I think this lady will have a keen eye on geocachers in the future - and you can't just sneak down without raising suspicion as two rotties guard the top gate.  All plain sailing on the caches after this.

Cache 5 took a bit of hunting, so rewarded with a Geocoin drop and Sonia rewarded herself with Malt loaf whilst I did the hard work.

Mappiman no longer disguised
We enjoyed the paths through Lidocombe woods, although we were not too sure about the sinister, repetitive booming noised that we go ever closer to.  Cache located right next to it.  Turns out its a pump for a fountain but in our opinion it was noise pollution.

Lidcombe Woods - Nice paths, strange noises.

Through the woods and it opens out to nice views of the Papermill Farm valley.

Up the ISO settings at the detriment of the background.
Little bit of roadwalking, as we work our way to Stanway.  No problem, as there is a footpath.  Stanway and Stanton make up two of the Cotswolds finest villages and it gave me a chance to revisit the Cotswold way, which I walked in 2007.   Architecture photos are on the everytrail link above, but believe me, its pretty.

Cross the grounds of Stanway House all the way into Stanton, the bigger of the two.

Shine a light
Sonia gets a wriggle - sandwich time
We work our way through the village and get our first DNF of the day in the phone box.  Stop for the sarnies at a conveniently placed bench overlooking the green.  One house is for sale and the other is for rent.  I imagine that Sonia will be looking and I could go for it, as the Mount Inn is just up the way.

We then have a stiff climb up to Shenberrow hill.  The beauty, of course, is that we are rewarded with stunning views over the vale of evesham.

Big Skies
Our caching quality drops.  We have a few DNFs caused by tricky caches and an increasing amount of muggles - including a full on picnic at a future GZ.  I don't mind, as the lunch break has allowed me to plot the bonus, and I have high hopes of success.

Back towards Snowshill.
We get to the final cache location and have to think of something to do before retrieval, as muggles are coming from all directions.

Quick, hide the cache and dont look suspicious
The joy of caching
Hide the bounty and head back into Snowshill.  Will it have a tea shop?  Are we too dirty for the pub?  Unfortunate answers are no and yes but this is a minor inconvenience. 

We get back to the car feeling good about the world.  Sonia wacks on the seat heaters and has a good look at the inside of her eyelids on the way home.

A great walk.  Thanks to Griff Grof for a wonderful series.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

18/2/12 - The longest geoslump ends

Distance - 4.05 Miles
Geocaches - 7 out of 10 attempts. 15 in trail. And a bonus.
First Cache

20 long days since the last cache find.  We can blame this on snow (two weekends ago) and international travel (got back yesterday).  Seems a long time since I have been out in the wind and the rain, looking for tupperware.

Wasn't really sure if I would be going today or not, but a marathon snorathon meant that I was up at a good time with no obvious signs of jetlag.  I knew that there was a local round available but my planning has not been great.  The Sat Nav battery was as dead as a doornail.  Gave it a hour whilst I PQ'd the caches, getting the power bar up 30%.  Still, rain is expected, so I went out in the knowledge of not having enough juice to complete the round today.

The dog was in a good mood on my return last night.  However, she adopted her usual stance of pretending to be asleep when she saw me strap on my geocaching utility belt. 

I've had three weeks off from Geocaching.
20 minutes down to Crowle (rhymes with Coal).  Don't know much about the village, but it does have some nice thatched cottages and importantly, a pub.  Park up at the church and head out by the moat. 

Apparently, Molly has a doppleganger in the village called Daisy.  My hunting was interrupted by three seperate dog walkers.  The first one thought had I had half inched Daisy but as he got closer realised that Molly isn't as fat.  He warned the second one that it wasn't the tubster doodle.  3rd fella said nowt.  With all the dog related chatter, I got off to a poor start and gave up on the cache.  Still, this is not an easy round.  The clues are more related to what the caches are, rather than where they are and it makes a change not to be told exactly where they are. 

Head north towards Crowle Green, passing exotic wildlife and get my first couple of the day.  Might have a FTF on a replaced cache and then a very tricky one at the duck pond.

3 Llamas, one headless

Head up the road passing a stream of road racing bike enthusiasts.  Regular blog fans will know that their place in the Mappiman pecking order of idiot hobbies for miserablists puts them slightly ahead of fisherman.  Gave an unacknowledged hello to the first three groups who were obviously too busy comparing shades of lycra to respond back.

Next up is a right hand turn into the old horse racing fields.  At least I learn things with my hobby.  Nice stiff walk uphill for some great views over Worcestershire.  A second DNF, which I know will limit my ability to get the bonus, but with omninous clouds and dwindling power, this won't be a problem.

Would have been trampled underfoot between 1841 and 1939
Into the woods, and I avoid the outlying cache at Sale Green to turn right for the next three caches down to the road.  Proud to say that I got all of these, dropping off a TB that I have had for some time, and picking up a nice GeoCoin for tomorrows adeventure.

Head South East towards the manor house.  One last find in a field corner, navigate the world's poshest gate (fully electric) and with just 5% left on the GPS, fail at a bridge over the Bow Brook.  The first time this has been recorded as a DNF.

With no more battery and the heavens opening, I leave the last four, heading back west through Crowle and to the car.

Home time
No doubt I will be back.  Thanks to the Hoosplorers for a tougher than average round.  Enjoyed being back in the beautiful british countryside.