Thursday, 16 February 2012

My first Geocaching Experience!

My colleagues are involved in a sport that is very new to me- geocaching. I’m not sure if I’m speaking to experienced ‘geocachers’ or not, so for the benefit of novices like myself I will just give you a brief overview. To me, (emphasis on me there- this is not a definition of Oxford dictionary accuracy by any means) geocaching appears to be a high tech treasure hunt, with the use of GPS systems players locate ‘caches’ which are hidden off the beaten track. These caches contain small gifts and treats and a log book, all you need to do is replace the present you take with something else. These are only small trinkets such as keyrings, toys and pens, but it’s all quite fun and an alternative hobby to pick up. You can see if there are any ‘caches’ to be found in your area using an interactive map like that on the website- you might also find a better explanation on there too!

That morning my colleague from Walking North Wales had been assigned the task of hiding caches for the upcoming half term holiday- it does seem to be an activity that appeals to children and gets them enjoying the good old outdoors! After visiting Holywell the week before, I wanted to see more of North East Wales and asked to tag along…..
We had been assigned a few specific places to hide caches so I already had an itinerary for the day. If you are interested in taking part in that area, you might not want to read this, or on the alternatively  it might be a good idea to so that you can get a few clues! We picked up the caches at Loggerheads, an 80 acre country park filled with beautiful riverside and forest trail. We searched for a perfect spot to hide the box, just plonking it on the side of a path is not good enough, they have to be quite well concealed but not buried and we hid ours some logs in the wood. Done, my first cache had been recorded!

Walking throught the woods
Next the hill, Moel Famau was on our agenda. I had never been there before and must say I was quite impressed. I have found a new appreciation for the outdoors since starting this blog, I have always enjoyed gentle walks but, now I actually found the thought of walking up the hill quite exciting.  The hill and country park of Moel Famau is located within an area of outstanding natural beauty, and outstanding it is! Despite my growing interest in more challenging walks , I still chose an easy route  up the hill. There are several trails to choose from, all easily signed and well maintained with different difficulty ratings. The route we chose was the Numeracy Trail and we hid a cache along off the beaten track where the views are stunning. If you like the sound of Moel Famau then is a good, unofficial source for more information.

At Basignwerk Abbey

Next up was the Greenfield Valley Heritage Park and Basignwerk Abbey Park which, if you have read my Holywell blog entry, you will know I have visited before. This is a beautiful abbey with a strong connection to St Winifride’s well and I was happy to make another visit to hide a cache. Following this, we drove to Bodelwyddan Castle which is set among 260 acres of beautiful grounds so there was plenty of space to find a hiding place! The castle is open to the public for most of the year but we somehow managed to choose a day that it was closed so couldn’t go in for a look around, probably for the best as we had lots to do! The history of the castle originates back to before 1460 and is hopefully somewhere that I will blog about soon. However after that tempting snippet, if you now cannot wait until that is written then take a look at!

Hiding a cache

Bodelwyddan Castle

Outside the gaol

Our last cache was to be put on the grounds around Ruthin Gaol.  I love exploring old buildings and would love research buildings such as this gaol further. The gaol is open from April-October; however, from the little I know about it, I do know that I want to return- perhaps I could do a ‘gaol special’ blog next time! I found a great site to learn more about the gaol and according to this site there has been a prison on the Ruthin Gaol site since the seventeenth century and it is the only purpopse-built Pentonville style prison open to the public as a heritage attraction, impressive stuff.  Ruthin is only somewhere that I drove through quickly that day (not too quickly of course), but from what I saw it seems very pretty and the town and gaol seem to be worth another visit.

And that was is, job done!  I was glad that I had gone on the trip to plant the caches and see more of North East Wales, and I might even try a spot of geocaching in the area now...although I might be at a slight advantage!

1 comment:

  1. Ahhhh I was wondering who had hidden these caches! Thank you for taking the time, we really enjoyed them all. Hope the hobby has taken hold, it really is the best way I know to find places you never would have visited otherwise. Thanks again, Tom (geocaching name Zasta)