Tuesday, 29 April 2014

29/04/14 - A little walk from the little packhorse

Distance - 2.5 Miles
Geocaches - 0
Walk From - Short Walks from Worcestershire Pubs

Ribbesford at EveryTrail

A 2.5 Mile walk is just what the light evenings are for.  But even this can be an adventure of sorts.

For a start, we get to take in a top 10 county pub as a refreshment stop on the end.  There is also a surprising amount of history for a walk so tiny and on paths so well known.

Start up at the parking and head downstream along the river.  Under the bypass bridge, through Blackstone Country park and over the road to Ribbesford Manor and Church.

Molly at the River
Molly on Blackstone Country Park Approach
This is our first bit of history - reasonably well known to locals.  General De Gaulle spent some time in exile and French Free Officers used it as a training centre in WW2.  A 12 year old Mappiman used to get his conkers from the tree lined avenue.

De Gaulle's Gaff
De Gaulle's Gaff
Ribbesford Church
Ribbesford Church
Pick up the Worcestershire way and head on through Snuff Mills for a bit of less well known history and we are back to the old favourites, the Tudors.  In the area opposite the pub, there was a Tudor Palace - Tickenhill.  Prince Arthur - elder brother of Henry VIII, first husband of Catherine of Aragon - held court here as Lord President of the Marshes.  Henry VIII sent his daughter, Mary, to live here in 1525.

Enough with the history, we are also here to knock off our closest Top 10 County Pub.  The little pack horse.  Famous for a pie that has horns coming out the pastry.

This Way for Joy
Pie Advert

Knocking on the Door
Knocking on the Door

Hobsons. Choice
Hobsons.  Choice.
Something new learned on a well trod route and a fine pint.

Friday, 25 April 2014

25/04/14 - Saving the best till last

Distance - 6.75 Miles
Geocaches - 7
Walk Inspiration

Last Night
Our final day on holiday.  Where to eat.  Well, something is missing from this holiday and that is Fish and Chips by the seaside.  We do our research - even the Chippers are on TripAdvisor these days - we return to the location of our 2nd Walk, St Agnes.

You know you are in good hands when there is a queue and when you get to the front, you are asked "what type of fish would you like?".  I didn't get asked what type of cow I wanted when I had a steak on Tuesday?  Looking like I know what I am doing, I peruse the whiteboard and recognise Pollock.  You wait for it to be cooked, but handily, the people that own the Chipper own the Driftwood Spa pub.  So pint, beer garden and then the shout of 35. 

Top pollocks.

Then drama - people start running to the beach, including the bar man who had given me my Skinners.  Everyone leaves their chips and makes their way to the RNLI lifeboat.  I am tempted to head back in the bar, as it is now unguarded, but there is much excitement.  The lifeboat looks like its going to get launched.  Cue 10 minutes of more men running downhill and some delicate reversing of a tow truck in and out of a garage and then its all over.  False alarm.

The Walk
Holywell at EveryTrail

At times during this week, I have claimed to have found the best part of the SW Coast Path.  I have been lying.  This is it.  An absolutely wonderful walk.

We start off at the National Trust car park.  I am offered the chance to join, and I will.   Just as soon as I retire.

In a first for this week, we walk away from the coast and through a caravan park, with a strange dune system to our right.  Nice stream and first micro cache of the day.

Next cache is a DNF, despite a good fingertip search.  Get back to the walk and drop down through a farm and up the side of a golf course.  Superb views.  I am 224 miles from home and the next cache we find in the National Trust car park in Porth Joke has been previously signed from cachers who live four miles away from us.  What are the chances.  I hope they found it quicker than we did, with it taking me a good 10 minutes.  I am not having 2 DNF on a row.

First Glimpse of the Sea
First Glimpse of the Sea
Take your pick - they are all superb beaches
We arrive at the coast path at Crantock.  What a sight.  High on the headland, with low tide, it is acres of golden sands, blue skies and seas.  Really is special. 

Sonia checks out house prices.

Crantock Beach
Location, Location, Great Big Mortgage

Crantock Beach
Smartphone is looking up removal company phone numbers

Another cache is the only disturbance from the clicking of both our cameras.

We walk around the headland, making our way to Porth Joke.  The views just keep on coming.

Porth Joke
The U Shape walk that is Porth Joke
There is not a short cut directly across, so it is all around the headland, dropping down the beach.

Walk the Plank
Walking the Plank

Porth Joke
Team Mappiman - Joy only tempered by the sadness of a last day on hols
Three more caches on the last stretch of headland.  Number 1 is a nice easy micro, recently chewed by sheep.  Cache 2 is a bit more extreme.

Extreme Caching
As this took a while, I give number 3 a miss
Then back to Holywell beach, working our way across the impressive dunes.

Back on Holywell beach
Admit it, it could be the Caribbean
That's it - 8 walks over a long Easter Week.  Best walk ever saved till the last day.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

24/04/14 - What a way to earn a living

Distance - 5 Miles
Geocaches - 8
Walk from - Lets walk in West Cornwall Route Card 43

Last Night
Sonia came over all Lusty Glaze.  This is a fine private beach with a restaurant.  In the summer, Bellowhead and the Feeling are playing on the beach.  This would be a fine event.  Last night we made do with a quiet restaurant, fine food, Japanese lager and waited until 8:30pm for a perfect sunset.  Back home for Crib.  We know how to holiday.

The Walk
Portreath at EveryTrail

This is the furthest south we are walking, so a half hour drive to Portreath, passing some mining museums along the way.  Park up and once again, we are met with a stunning start to the coast path.

Portreath Bridge
Another great start to a walk - Portreath Beach
Once again, a clamber up the headland.  We are getting used to these steep ups and downs.  Once again, we are rewarded with superb views.

More stunning coast views
Three caches are present on the cliffs.  The first one is the best, involving a detour from the main path and a return that shows off the stream waterfalling into the sea.  On the penultimate day, I find my first TB of the week in cache number 3.  It has been driving me mad finding caches marked with TBs but bereft on inspection.

Cache 1 GZ.  Note the Zig Zag Path up to the headland
The coast walking is over.  We head inland.  There is a policeman lurking around on the side of the road.  I think he has a hand held speed camera, but as we can hear music, Sonia thinks there is some sort of festival going on.  We cross the road and find the footpath.  Then it all becomes clear.

There is a tractor with a strange carousel contraption.  On the carousel are a number of cauliflowers.  There are three men, armed with machetes, lopping the leaves off the vegetables.  Whilst content in their work, the tractor radio is belting out Dolly Parton.  Working 9-5.

For some reason, this sets Sonia off into uncontrollable giggles.  I just wave at my farmer friends and pretend we are not together.

The footpath brings us into Tehidy Country Park, the largest area of woodland in West Cornwall.  It offers a different vista to what we have experienced so far this week.

Bluebell woods
Trees and Bluebells
There are a handful of caches.  The first one is ignored.  Remember where we are.  And the clue is "base of tree".  The next one has a better clue but we are the fifth people to DNF.  When we see a sign for a tea shop, we knock the caching on the head.

No Dogs Allowed
Our first dog unfriendly location.  We smuggled scone out to her
A permissive path gets us back to where we need to me.  A superb cache just off Cot Road (and another TB) and then we follow a Miner's path back to the village.

Which Way?
Taking the Miner's Trail
Miners Path
Offering more varied walking
A few micro caches on the route back down and then we are back at the car.  The sun is shining, so we celebrate in the only way we know how.

End of Walk View
Happy Holidays

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

23/04/14 - Wagwan Mawgan

Distance - 6.75 Miles
Geocaches - 14
Walk from - Country Walking Magazine - Jan 03

Last Two Nights
Forgive me father, for I have not blogged.  Monday night became an adventure as we heading into Newquay.  First off was operation find-a-belt - having come unprepared and wearing trousers like a 15 year old would be gangster rapper.  Managed to find a clothes shop that had belts for £50.  Well, they are Diesel, said the assistant.  More like rocket fuel at those prices.  Next shop had some for £25.  Then we found Newquay World of Leather.  They had belts for a tenner.  With trousers suitably hoiked, we then looked for a pub to watch the Albion.  This involved a walk around Newquay.  Yes, you have fine walks and headlands but its a grim town.  We won't be coming back.

Yesterday, we did not do a scheduled walk but took the dog out caching on the two headlands of Newquay. She loves us, that Labradoodle.  Last night was going to be Tapas, but the restaurant was mysteriously closed.  We phoned up to see if they would be opening but not last night.  Another meal in the Mermaid. This time outside.  Two seagulls spied on us from above.  The minute we went in for the Quiz, they swooped down.  One ate the mayonnaise.  And the tub it came in.  We lost out in the quiz.  To the chef.

Today, the tapas bar mysteriously has a sign outside saying "Yes, we are open".

The Walk

Magwan Porth at EveryTrail

It's another walk where I have more photos than I know what to do with.  The coastline around these parts must be the best in England.  We start at Mawgan Porth.  This is the location of the first Cornish Pint of 2014.  I must be nicely relaxed, as last Saturday seems like a long time ago.  We start from the pub and go across the beach to pick up the coast path.

A way to start a walk
What a way to start a walk
We clamber up the headland on the left of this photo, quickly gaining height, quickly getting out of breath. Once on top, it is reasonably flat walking with great views across Watergate Bay to Newquay.  There are a few of the Atlantic View caches to be got.  This are mainly right next to the cliff edges, so with Sonia looking nervously on and a labradoodle that likes to help, I pass on most of them.  There are plenty of chances for smileys on the inland section of the route.

Up on the Headline
Mrs Mappiman to lowering my cache totals.
One notable exception is the cache at Griffin Point.  This is what geocaching is all about to me.  Its slightly off the path and at a point where a stream tumbles down off the rocks into the sea.  Waves crash against the rocks below.  Without the cache, we would not have deviated from the path for this great location.

Super Cache GZ
Waterfall, dramatic waves, geocache
We are getting closer to Watergate Bay and Sonia knows that they have excellent hot chocolates at the hotel.  Unfortunately for her, our route cuts inland and we just miss out.  I am sure there will other refreshment stops later.

The walking inland takes us through a deserted camp site and along lanes through Trevarrian.  In fields, we pick up a cache trail that keeps us entertained all the way back to the car.  The caches are perfect for this sort of walk - all nicely spaced out and easy finds.

Civilisation is reached at St Mawgan.  First we pass the monastery and its an impressive building.  I pop into a gap at the fence but in my haste to get a picture, I managed to get the monk's trousers on the washing line into shot.  St Mawgan has an impressive Church, with the bells welcoming our arrival.

Sy Magwan Church
Smell the wild garlic
It also presents us with a dilemma.  There is a fine looking tea room next to the equally elegant pub.  In a move that will shock regular blog fans, the tea rooms wins out.  The menu was exceptional.  And everything is promised with "Roger's Relish".

Tea Room
Tea preferred to Pint Shocker
Ready for Roger's Relish
Waiting patiently for Roger's special sauce

A fine a lunch as you could hope for.

One mile left along a wonderful path that runs next to a stream and then through pine trees.  Sonia gets a march on.  I get the caches.  The dog is somewhat torn as to where her loyalties lay.

That should be with me, as I am the only one to share my ice cream with her after a splash on the beach.

Back at the beginning
Happy Holiday Doodle

Monday, 21 April 2014

21/04/14 - The Singing Fisherman

Walk Inspiration - Jarrold - Cornwall
Distance - 5.7 Miles
Geocaches - 9

We did well to beat the rain on yesterday's walk.  It was biblical in the afternoon, so we spent the afternoon listening to not 1, not 2 but 3 premiership games on the radio.  Then we went out for our Evening Meal.  The smuggler's den provided a fine main course but we felt it was time to move on from this great foodie pub and check out Holywell Bay.  We drove in and instantly found a 15th Century thatched Inn, the Treguth Inn.  On entering, we noticed a very bad leak, with water pouring through the ceiling.  I commented about the quality of the barkeep's thatch to be me with "its the 20th Century flat roof that is leaking".

Would it be rude to order our pudding from a 2nd establishment? I thought not, so spotted dick twice was ordered.  When delivered, Sonia felt that she needed to point out that we had eaten our main elsewhere.

The waiter could not have cared less.

Home for Fargo.

The Walk

St Agnes at EveryTrail

Could we have possibly found the South West Coast Path at its most dramatic?  I think so.  A 10 mile drive out to Trevauance Cove, at the foot of St Agnes.  Park more or less on the beach and head south for a stiff climb up onto the cliffs above.

SWC Coast Path at its most dramatic
Worth the puffing and panting
We are pleased to hit the flat of the cliff tops.  Down below, we can hear someone singing.  Its a fisherman, punting around in his little boat collecting the crab pots.  Belting out a tune as if he was  auditioning for a place with his more famous Port Isaac cousins.

The happiest bank holday worker ever
Happiest Bank Holiday Worker I have ever heard
The walking is superb.  As are the views.  There is a large rock out to sea and I decide to keep Sonia's spirits up.  On the OS map, it is unmarked and unnamed.  I offer her the chance to name it and rather unimaginatively, she comes up with Sonia.  I say that is no good and point out that one I noticed yesterday was called Black Humphrey.  She ponders and decides on "Red Sonia".  Presumably after the 1980's straight to video classic.

The cache nearby informs me that it already has a name and its called  "The Cow".

I am saying nothing.

Climbing Done
Enjoying the SWC Coast Path
The next cache provides much hilarity - positioned as it is directly underneath the men working in the coast guard look out tower.  The cache instructions point out that they are aware of it, so we don't feel too stupid making a find directly under their noses.

Caching under the eyes of the Watchers
Molly Sniff out the cache
Another couple of caches and the ascent to St Agnes Beacon.  Just as the rain starts coming down.

St Agnes Beacon
Wet at the Beacon
To keep spirits up, the talk turns to lunch.  Sonia has ideas about making something back at the cottage, but I tell her to hold fire on her plans until we see what is on offer in St Agnes.

Refreshment Ahoy
Looking Promisng.....
And after 44 years on this planet, I manage to find a way to improve on perfection.

Feb to end all Feb's
By adding a pint to a Full English

St Agnes Hotel - you served our needs well.

We move on, down and then back out the town on the other side.  There is the opportunity to turn off back to the coast path slightly earlier than the book planned.  The scenery is just as dramatic as we reach the coast again - at one point being able to count the chimneys of 6 former mine workings.

Back at Trevaunance Cove
Back where we began

The dog is rewarded with her favourite holiday activity.

Molly on her Jollys
Fetching Sticks out the Sea

Sunday, 20 April 2014

20/04/14 - The Mermaid

Walk From - Pub Walks along the South West Coast Path
Distance - 5 Miles
Geocaches - 4.  1 Bottled.

Last Night
We get settled into Cockle Cottage.  Molly has her own sign to warn off anyone that wants to impose on her territory.

Chez Mapp - Beware of the Dog
Scary Dog Lives Here
We need somewhere to eat.  Too tired to hit Newquay, so we head to our nearest establishment - The Mermaid.  This is also our first plotted walk for tomorrow.  Superb food and excellent Betty Stogs.  This is a Cornish Beer, for anyone who thinks I went out alone.

Get home, Sonia goes to bed early, leaving me with pub reviews to write and Hitler Movies to watch.

The Walk

Porth at EveryTrail

As we didn't fancy a drive out, we pick the closest walk to our cottage.  It starts from last nights pub.

The Mermaid
Home of the Perfect Betty Stogs
We head out through housing estates, wondering how much the houses are likely to cost, knowing full well that we cannot afford them.  After heading through some sports fields, we arrive at the hamlet of Columb St Minor.  The high towered church dominates the village.

St Columb Minor
There is a pub in the village - one to be marked out for a future visit.  As there is a sign for a live band in the Window - dated February (no year given), we are unsure if it is open.

Then we drop down to a stream and have a stiff climb back up the otherside.  It's all progress, as soon we reach the South West Coast Path and Sonia is happy again.  This lady misses the seaside.

Sonia happy by the coast
Happy when on the coast
Watergate Bay
Watergate Bay
As always on the Cornish Coast, there are never ending photo opportunities.  There are also a few caches.

Cache one of the day is soon found.  Cache two requires a drop down onto a cliff ledge, which is a bit scary.  Cache three, which we reach on the outskirts of Newquay, is even too scary for me to attempt.  I clamber down a gap in the cliff face but there is little between me and the sea below.  I knock it on the head.

And why are we in Newquay?  We thought it would provide more entertainment for our GCSE revising teenage son.  When we told him what we had booked, we were met with a "I'm too old for surfboarding and building sandcastles".

So we are on our own.  The town comes into view and its sprawling.  Sonia states that she would have preferred to book a little fishing village.

Newquay Ahead
Newquay.  Not New York
There are two more caches on the Trevelgue Head.  We spotted this yesterday and knew we would have to cross the bridge linking to Porth Island at one point on our travels.

Views to Sea
Looking back from where we came

Bridge to Porth Island
Our exciting Bridge Crossing
Superb views from this headland.  Two caches found.  Back to the pub (too early) and a check out of the menu of the Tapas Bar opposite.  One for a future night.

Get back, just as the rain starts.  Perfect first walk.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

19/04/14 - Game of Thrones

Distance - 4 Miles
Geocaches - 2
Walk From - 50 Walks in Mid and North Devon

Castle Drogo at EveryTrail

Here is the definition of a conundrum.  We don't want to get caught in M5 Holiday traffic, but we cannot get into our Cornish Cottage until 4.30pm.

There is only one thing to do.  Break up the journey with a walk.  So, I peruse my extensive walking book library for inspiration and choose one because it goes to Castle Drogo.

Sounds rather like it should be located in Westeros.  Maybe I have been watching too much Sky Atlantic.

It turns out to be an absolute belter of a walk.  For the first time this year, I am pleased that I have a fiat 500, as I negotiate the lanes of North Devon and arrive at the parking area.  Deserted at this time in the morning, but a scene of much hilarity when we return.

It's a lung buster to get up the side of the valley, but as always, we are rewarded with superb views.

All Uphill
Views, once through the trees
Great Path
Lovely path on the flat
Only one cache to find on the ridge path.  Its nice and big, so I drop off a TB.

Next highlight is the large rocky outcrop of Sharp Tor.  Our hearts are in our mouths as Molly gets a touch close to the edge.  Sonia asks "what would we tell Ellie if she fell off".  I reply that we would have to say that "she has run away".

Sharp Tor
Don't push me, cause I'm close to the edge
We walk on, getting ever closer to Castle Drogo.  It looks impressive on the map, but what will it hold in the flesh?

Drogo Under Wraps
We will never know, hidden under plastic sheeting
Soon, we are at the end of the ridgeway and drop down to the River Teign.  There is another cache that involves a bit of a scramble up another hill.  As I have only 1 for the day, I feel its worth the effort.  And for the views I received, I am glad I made the climb - even if I did have to scoot back down on my aris.

Cacher Views
A location worthy of a selfie
We do meet our first other walkers of the day.  I am checking which side of the River Teign on my GPS and they instantly ask if we are Geocachers.  I always knew my hobby would catch on.

In hindsight, we picked the wrong side of the river to come back home on.  Both sides have great paths but the opposite side to the one we picked had another cache.
Bridge on the Teign
Should have crossed on over
Weir on the Teign
The River Teign is stunning from either side
The walk back to the car is straightforward but immensely beautiful.  This geocaching lark is good for the soul.  Sonia comments that the increase in older ramblers must mean we are nearing Fingle Bridge.  I remind her of my Cotswold Rambling hero, Harry Hargreaves, who wrote his last book at 92.

The bridge comes into view and marks the end of our journey.

Fingle Bridge
Fine end to a walk

Another great end to a walk
Added Bonus - It has a pub.

It's 11:24am and Sonia asks if it would be OK to have a pint

Of Course - We are on our Bloody Holidays!

And the hilarity when we get back to the car park? Its packed solid with people asking "if we will be long?". In pay back for all those times I have waited for a space at Merry Hill, we reply that "we will be 10-15 minutes, after we have our sarnies". Oh the smugness of eating chicken and cranberry baps, whilst three cars wait for your space.