Father’s Day Hike up Tryfan

Father’s Day Trek

We were hoping and expecting good weather today, that is, if the forecasts were to be believed. Ann had stayed the night, and so we were all present and correct for breakfast; scrambled eggs on toast cooked by the adorable Jules, which we ate on the balcony, and our first el fresco breakfast of the season.

We had a minor technical hiccup at the car park at the information centre, where the ticket machine wouldn’t take coins. I had brought a stack of coins for the purpose, but Ann came to the rescue with her plastic.

Ann had done some research for the walk, including getting some advice from her hill walking pals as to the best, (easiest), route. I had read some blogs on the internet, and all our information pointed to the same route, but Ann had some extra hints and tips which was rather nice. What wasn’t nice, was my legs aching, and we’d only walked a slight rise a hundred meters from the information centre. I hoped this wasn’t a bad omen. I told Ann later that this walking business was like time trialling, where you accelerate away from the start until your legs ache, and then you keep them aching until you finish. I’m not sure if they did eventually stop aching, or the brain got bored and ignored it.

67 Setting off for Tryfan
The view of the top (ha ha) from the bottom. The walkers in front were not with us.

As I was the weaker and less fit, Ann made me the pace setter, with orders not to overdo it. The views from the path were beautiful in every direction, and agreed, that in some directions the mountainside and cloud reduced what we could see, but it all looked fab to us.

72 Looking back into Nant Francon
The starting point was the information centre marked by those fir trees. The valley behind is Nant Francon, very pretty and a favourite spot of ours.

Tryfan summit is at 911 – 915 – 917 – 918 – metres high, depending which article you read. 917m (on Streetmap map) = 3026 feet, not the 3012 stated elsewhere, so I’m not taking any responsibility for the accuracy or not of any of the figures. To us it’s a mountain, because as sure as damn it, it looks like one, being all rocky and craggy, and none of those rounded slopes and soft tops. In Welsh it’s pronounce Tree-VAN, the first syllable cut short, and the stress on the second one. English speakers tend say TRIV-un, stressing the first syllable. Glyn, our very fit geocaching friend, and who knows the hills and mountains around here exceedingly well caught us up an hour into our walk. Ann was very pleased to confirm with Glyn that she pronounces the name in the proper Welsh style, and that her English friends have been giving her incorrect gen.

77 Llyn Bochlwyd
Looking down on Llyn Bochlwyd, the lake in Cwm Bochlwyd. A minute portion of proper path and a nice respite in the harsh terrain

Even with all our insider knowledge Ann and I had wandered off the route a bit. In some places the rocks and boulders scatter the path thinly across the slopes, and it’s easy to loose track for a while. With Glyn leading the way, we did less meanderings. By half eleven we were still 300 metres short of the summit, and I had been getting cramps in my left leg, which meant brief stops to pummel the muscles back into work mode. That last metre-age was particularly hard work, and we went to the top of the secondary summit first (910m) before dropping back down and up to the main Summit. Don’t ask me why, but I guess it seemed like a good idea at the time.

79 Looking back into Nant francon
We are quite high here, and we can see through Nant Francon, to Bangor and Ynys Mon (Anglesey) in the distance.

We arrived at the summit bang on midday, according to the guys and gals already there. Most of them had come up the North Ridge, which is much steeper and harder, but 35% shorter than our route, so make that 40% shorter with our extra yardage. I forgot to mention why we were here, which was to meet up with fellow Geocachers for what is known as ‘a Brew with a View’. A guy with the geocaching handle of ‘Jurassic Parkinsons’ has made it his mission to bring us geocachers together at sites and places that are difficult to get at, and so don’t get a lot of visits. He is a mountaineer as well as a geocacher, and so he’s a fit and hunky person, and has been organising these monthly events for quite a while. He also spreads them over a wide area of the UK, and so we all enjoy joining him on these get-togethers when they are in our area.

83 Brew with a View crew at the summit of Tryfan
Our fellow geocachers. Jurassic Parkinson is the the lovely guy with the shades and red mug

We had entered cloud four to five hundred metres short of the summit, and our hopes of the sun burning it off before we headed back down didn’t happen. A little gap did open up as we arrived which hinted at vistas beautiful had there been a clear view.

81 Looking into Nant Gwern y Gof
The only view we got as we arrived at the summit.

88 Glyn and Ann
Ann and Glyn begin the descent.

The hike back down the mountain was as tough as the climb up, but then it always is. The right leg took over cramp duties after a while, and the jarring on knees and bits meant I had to go gingerly and even rest up a bit, but the body eventually got the message and let me wander down in a free but slow and steady manner. Having said that, we still got down quicker than we went up.

89b Wild goat on Tryfan
A wild goat on the slopes of Tryfan. The advantages of four-leg drive are immense.

The views were fabulous going up and coming down. We didn’t do much in the way of photoshoots on the way up, hoping that the sun would be in a better position on the way down, but the cloud hadn’t cleared, and some areas that were clear on the way up, weren’t on the way down. Our Welsh landscapes are gorgeous, and no matter what the light or weather, our hearts always hum with joy of being surrounded by it. It had been a hard but enjoyable hike.

98 Nant Bochlwyd waterfalls
Nant Bochlwyd Waterfals. As the name suggests, this is from the outflow of Llyn Bochlwyd.

94b Ann and Glyn in Sight of the finish
Ann and Glyn waiting for me to catch up. The end is in sight and the mist has got ever lower.

Disclaimer: Such beauty is also obtainable from other venues and countries.

We got home about three thirty, so the whole endeavour had only taken six and half hours. Ann’s other half, Pete, joined us later, and later still we got a Chinese take-away from our local village. We ate it on the balcony, and the early evening sun was very bright and warm. The meal was delicious, and was a nice way to end a delightful day.

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A Re-union – The Getaway

I think we were almost the last to leave, which I blame on the abysmally sized kettle. We should bring our own when we stop at these ‘kettle challenged’ establishments. A two cup kettle needs a lot of refills when you are trying to fill a two litre flask and four double sized Mat mugs. Mat mugs, are insulated cups from the Nederland, that stay hot for Ages, and were given to us by Mat. Right, you guessed that then.

Although I had a list of geocaches scattered across the country from London to Gloucester, – well, you never know where you are going to end up sometimes, so it’s best to be prepared – there was one special geocache that I wanted, even if we didn’t get anything else, and that was the oldest still active geocache in England. This geocache was just so perfect for this weekend. It is on a hill at Wendover, a stones throw from RAF Halton, which is the place commemorated by our re-union. Wendover is a fifteen minute walk from RAF Halton, and home to our favourite watering places while we were training there.

Geocache discovered
A geocache of worthy proportions

With my trusty chauffeurtrix at the wheel we set off for Coombe Hill, Wendover, and meandered past some other handy caches on the way, which we dutifully bagged. Coombe Hill is nicely wooded, with lots of walks, and the walk that passes near to the geocache was only a mile circuit. The tree in which the cache is hidden is down a slope, and off the beaten tracks which most muggles use. Did I mention that muggles is our geocaching word for non-geocachers? Oh good, I wouldn’t have wanted to tell you twice, LoL. The actual geocache was an easy find, being the only yew tree there for fifty or sixty yards in any direction. Standing by the trunk, only my legs were in the open, so it’s a well camouflaged spot, while the log is signed, and the cache re-hidden.

Boer War Memorial
The Boer War Memorial on Coombe Hill

On leaving the geocache, I headed for the memorial obelisk that looks over the lowlands. It commemorates the fallen in the Boer wars. Prior to WWll it was struck by lightning and was rebuilt, (and to me, the top doesn’t line up with the base), and during WWll it had to be camouflaged to prevent enemy bombers using it as a way point. I took some pics and headed back to the car, stopping for a couple of soft ice cream cones at the gate.

Boer War Memorial
A Memorial with a view

While enjoying the ice creams, my chauffeurtrix asked if there were any more counties nearby that we hadn’t yet nabbed, and lo and behold, there were two, Herefordshire and Bedfordshire. A route through Tring to the M1 and up to Luton would get them both. To get to Tring we went through Wendover and through RAF Halton Camp, which was a fitting trip for a 99th Entry re-union of sooties. There was a geocache just past the camp, on a ridge overlooking the lowland, where we could see the camp airfield. How cool.

RAF Halton Airfield
RAF Halton airfield from the edge of the Chiltern Ridge

My chauffeurtrix suggested we get enough caches there to take us up to a round twenty for the weekend, and so we did. We swapped jobs, and my chief navigator (CN) mopped up the appropriate number of caches; some were easy, and some were tricky, and most were urban ones, which we don’t bother doing normally, as they can be boring, but today they were OK. CN suggested we overnight somewhere, but I turned that down for ‘rib’ reasons.

With the required number of caches bagged, we headed up the M1 for home, but we detoured for one more cache just above Northampton which was a ‘special’. I had to find nine specific geocaches to earn the right to nab this, so as we were passing within a mile of it, it seemed like a good idea.

The trip home went very nicely, and as we approached Wales along the M56, a very pretty sunset developed. I diverted off route, after coming off the motorway, hoping to get a good view of the sunset for a photo. It was all too buildingy, but we took a couple of pics anyway, swapped places again, and enjoyed the sunset as we headed home. A delightful way to end a delightful weekend.

Welsh sunset welcoming us home.
Our Welsh Sunset

A Re-union – The Party

Please note, some of the names have been changed to protect the innocent. I’ll apologise now for not naming every one personally, but I find it hard to mention every one and still sound interesting – some bloggers do it so easily, but not I. Every conversation was fab, and it was so fun. Another fascinating thing; although we had got greyer, older, wider, every ones mannerisms were there, as I remembered them; the way they laughed; they way they told jokes; the walks; the smiles; the shrugs and myriad other little things that project our personalities, and friendships too.

It’s just short of five, and we have just arrived at the hotel – remember! We partly unloaded the car, and because the disabled slots near the reception were full, we had to park in one miles away. Well, the other side of the bar anyway. I decided to retrieve the rest of the stuff after a sortie to the bar, guessing that perhaps the early arrivals may be there. They weren’t, but it wasn’t a waisted trip, as I grabbed the extra bits to take back to the room.

Re-union Venue - Oxford Witney Four Pillars Hotel
The Oxford Witney Four Pillars Hotel – now that’s a mouthful

I met one of the Daves and Christeanne on the way back, who gave me the evenings plan. Back in the room, I spotted Pete, getting something from his car. I opened the window (we were on the ground floor) and we had a super chat. Forty odd years fell away, just like that.

Six thirty arrived, and we went to the bar for the pre-meal meet up, and it was the beginning of a fun evening. We chatted for an hour, with gentle meanderings through our little group. One of the many delights of the evening was meeting Pauline for the the first time who is a partner to Pete. She is lovely. (Yes you are), and it is so nice that Julie thinks so too. We never travel anywhere without food and drinks for the day(s), because if we are having fun, touring, geocaching or whatever, it annoys us to waste the time having to stop and find somewhere to eat, and Pauline and Pete are the same. If we go some place with a tea bar, then we will of course make use of it, (I always rate places more highly if they have a tea bar).

To us, ok, me – a restaurant is just a posh tea bar, and a cafe is a good tea bar. We ambled in to the posh tea bar, and got seated. I was seated next to Christeanne, and an empty chair. Opposite was Julie between John and Pete. I have a theory, that sitting beside your wife means you only have one new person to chat to, and besides, we can listen to our partners any day. This didn’t work tonight, because Terry couldn’t bring his wife as she had just had a knee op, hence I got the empty seat to partner.

The meal was very nice, and the staff were brilliant. The chitchat and stories and reminiscing were of course top notch, but what else would you expect from an elite group of ‘Sooties’ – (Go and read the previous story if you don’t get the joke) – and most everyone took photos. We finished the evening with the girls sensibly going to bed, and the boys chatting into the early hours, but as a prequel to the chat, lovely Pauline took a group photograph of the boys before going to bed herself. We lined up our cameras on a table, and Pauline took a pic with each one, so giving several of us, a very nice souvenir of the re-union. People on Flickr said, ‘What a great photo of your re-union Andy’, and I didn’t even take it, LoL. When I went to bed about midnight, there were still four hardy souls reminiscing away.

The guys after dinner shot.
Back Row: Pete Dave Pete John – Front Row: Terry Andy Dave Alan

Sleeping was the only poor thing about the event, and it wasn’t the hotels fault. I was hoping to sleep laying down, but the ribs wouldn’t play ball and started complaining. I eventually hit on a suitable arrangement of pillows that allowed me to sleep sitting up.

We knew Pete and Pauline were going to be at breakfast as soon as it opened, so we wanted to be earlyish too to say farewell. We weren’t quite as early as Pauline and Pete, but before they left, everyone turned up. It turned into a breakfast party, and no one left for Ages. Absolutely fabulous. The food was so yummy, even bettering the dinner of the night before.

Life’s interesting coincidences. When I was a boy, my parents had a friend called Pauline P, who was Irish living in England, and the Garden of England at that. Now I have a new friend called Pauline P, who is English, living in Eire, and we get a new holiday home thrown in, and on the west coast at that.

In the next exciting instalment read about the oldest geocache in England.

A Reunion – what a good idea.

Some weeks ago John contacted me about a sooty reunion. Before you ask, (oh, you just did), ‘Sooties’ are RAF engine fitters. We joined up in 1961, and completed our three years training in ’64, so this reunion celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the happy event. Our last reunion was twelve years ago, so it seemed like a nice idea.

The first thing I did was to check out John’s link to the hotels web site, and it looked like a good choice. The second thing I did, was check out the geocaches in the area, and it looked like a very good choice. Oh yes, and the third, fourth, fifth, sixth ….. things I did was research the geocaches in the area, in ever finer detail. Just in case you think I wasn’t taking this seriously, John had the hotel sussed out, and the meals and all, so I had plenty of time to do some serious planning for the non-reunion elements of the weekend.

Over the following weeks, a date was set, and our numbers finalised. There were a hundred and eighty or so cadets in our entry – the 99th – but only thirteen Engine fitters, so we were an elite group you see. It coloured my whole career, that did, and even when I retired thirty odd years later, I was still having to educate the other trades to the eliteness of sooties. Our numbers have been depleted by deaths and the vagaries of fate, but we are now up to sixteen, counting our lovely partners. This reunion came with an extra special bonus though, in the shape of Pete. Special because we’d lost touch, and hadn’t seen each other for forty years, and special because Pete had been my close buddy – even if he did knock me out one bull night in a friendly! rough and tumble. Pete came with a new partner, and a lifetime of stories, but you’ll have to wait a bit for that part of the story.

The weekend arrived, and we set off after breakfast. The car was pre-fueled, pre-washed and pre-hoovered, so we could have driven non-stop to Whitney, Oxfordshire, but we didn’t. Our route skimmed the edge of the Wirral, and there was a geocache there that we had qualified for by bagging other designated geocaches, and it was only a mile or so off our route. I was navigating this bit, but I got us to the geocache and back to the M56 anyway. The weather was on the drizzly side, but it held off why we got the cache.

I was driving when we got to the M42, and we stopped at the first service station for lunch, a yummy home made salad picnic. We had planned to get to Witney about four pm, and a quick ETA check indicated we had forty or fifty geocaching minutes we could use, plus a percentage because we were heading in the general direction of Witney anyway. Well, that was the idea. We left the M42 and got a couple of geocaches, and then nipped further down the motorway, for another two.

Prunus spinosa (Blackthorn)
Every hedge and village was bedecked with Blackthorn blossom, making them all look so pretty

We were now on the opposite side of the M42 to Oxford, but a quick simple loop and we’d be back on track. Well, it would have been quick, had the road we wanted not been dug up. After a wiggle or three, and two geocaches, we noticed that three miles to the east was a geocache just over the border in Northamptonshire. We hadn’t got a geocache in that county yet, so we went for it. We got the cache, and were sitting in the car signing the log, when another car turned up. This cache was in the middle of nowhere, on a by-road through farming countryside, and not a house in sight, and the only thing of interest was the geocache beside a gate.
“They must be geocachers” we said.
The young couple saw us parked up, and said, “They must be Geocachers”.
We all introduced ourselves, and they proved to be very nice and very chatty. They have hidden a series of caches themselves, all with puzzles in them, which are so fun. They even had a Geocaching.com icon on their car, and they had made the car a trackable (TB), by sticking a TB sticker on it. All this fun and perambulations meant we didn’t get to the hotel until just before five, so not too bad really.

A TB is an item that we can buy from Geocaching.com, or specialist website, and it has a unique number that identifies it. We can chain a favourite item to it, and then leave it in a geocache. it will then move from geocache to geocache by a succession of geocachers, each one retrieving it from one cache, and putting it in another. People not only move them between local caches, but take them to caches in other countries. Each TB has it’s own site on Geocaching.com, and we log every move they make. One of my TBs has been to the USA, Australia, New Zealand, and is now back in California, having travelled 49,117 miles.

Wellington Fob Travel bug
A key fob and it’s trackable. This one is called a Travel Bug

Kreen Krazy Kroc Trackable
This is Crazy Kroko, and something this big creates a problem in finding a geocache big enough to take it.

Anglezarke Moor revisited – Friday March 14th

The best bit about geocaching is that it takes us to lots of pretty places, but the thing with the British weather means, we can’t always see them. And so it was on this particular day. The weather leading up to the Friday had been delightfully sunny, and although fog had set in the day before, we had been told by the weather forecasters that it would clear, and turn into a sunny day. I have probably mentioned before, and I’m not letting that stop me from saying it again, that I believe everything the forecasters say if it’s good news, and disbelieve everything if it’s bad news. It’s more fun being ever the optimist, even if the good stuff doesn’t materialise.

The plan today was to collect geocaches with good dates and difficulty/terrain combos, plus some fun tree and puzzle caches. I was being collected at half seven, and I so wanted to be ready in time, but a slight accident with a tin of chocolate powder messed that up. My poor sweetheart took over the hot chocolate jobs, and we were soon on our way.

My lovely niece, nephew-in-law, our ace geocacher friend and I disappeared into the gloom and onto the arterial road network, to pop out two hours later near Chorley. We parked up, and suitably attired, headed for the first geocache. This was my first trip out since doing my ribs in, and I was on strict instructions not to do anything mad (silly, energetic, dangerous, fun, etc etc), so I was looking on longingly as Pete climbed down into the river, wading under a bridge, to hunt around some girders.

Black Brook at White Coppice
Black Brook viewed from our first geocache of the day

With the log signed we headed up onto the moors, and into the mist. Ann had planned the route, and so under her command we walked, trudged, paddled, and ambled our way over the tufts, humps, hills, bogs, and things vaguely representing paths, with an event horizon fluctuating from a hundred to four hundred metres – almost up to a quarter of a mile in real distances. The good news was – we had lots of fun, because it’s always nice making a successful find, and we got to watch our ace geocaching pal at work – he found most of the geocaches I think, mainly because he has long long legs, and got everywhere first, LoL. Some of the caches took a bit of finding, so they weren’t all a walk in park. Pete found a geocache that the last few searchers had listed as DNFs(did not find), and it’s especially satisfying to that. It’s especially annoying too, when it’s me that has a DNFS, and the next cacher writes, “A nice easy find.” This took ages to find, so a even better chuff factor.

Ruin on the moor.
An old ruined house on the moor.

We found seven of the eight moorland geocaches that we wanted, so we were very pleased. I took some time off up there to take some photos, as the mist and fog produced some pretty effects.

Wall, moor and mist.
Walls, mist and Moor

Back at car level we did a photoshoot for an earth cache. This type of geocache doesn’t have a physical log. They are normally at geologically interesting places, and to claim the geocache as found, we have to answer questions to prove we were at the appropriate place. The answers to todays questions were on an info board, and the photoshoot was required as further proof, that everyone whom claimed to be here, really was. This area was interesting because a fault line cuts into the moor, down which Black Brook flows, and the area was mined for lead.

My geocaching partners.
Ann, Pete, and Glyn, our Ace Geocacher Pal, plus Max of course. Glyn is Max’s new best friend.

We had lunch at the car park, with food and drinks provided by my lovely niece and my own sweetheart. Suitably refreshed, we ambled to a nearby waterfall, and a particularly clever cache in a tree. The climbing rope came out, and we spent an hour clinging to roots above the river bank, and inspected the tree from every direction, but all to no avail. We eventually ran out of time, and had to leave empty handed. We were off, next, to an event celebrating the 14th of March as Pi day, where the cache owner (CO) was going to be, so we planned to discover if we were in fact in the right place. We believed we had looked in the correct hiding place, and that the cache had been flushed out somehow.

Black Brook.
Black Brook in the mist

Twenty minutes and eight kilometres later, we at a carpark, just a short walk of seven hundred metres or so, from the Pi event. Unfortunately, it was all uphill, and the last bit was extremely steep. This was when it became obvious, that six weeks recuperating from the rib event, wasn’t good preparation for this hill, which I guess was a 1 in 3 slope. I stopped several times on the last relative short sharp slope, to give the old legs a rest. The mist had finally lifted, and we had a view across Rivington reservoir.

We met up with other geocachers at the top of the hill, beside Pigeon Tower, and had a good chat, and swapped stories. We chatted to the CO of the tree cache, and he confirmed we had been looking in the correct cavity, and was happy for us to claim the geocache. With the event over, we were back on the trail of more geocaches, and the first one was just below the tower. The cache was straight down the hill, on it’s steepest line, and no one fancied doing it, so we ‘ambled’ down the path to the access road that we had come in on, and followed that around the shoulder of the hill. We found a path back up into the wood, only to find three geocachers trying to replace the cache back on a branch of the tree. We took it off their hands, and after signing the log, our Ace Geocacher Pal reached up and hung it on the branch – the benefits of long long limbs.

While we up at the Tower we were gatecrashed by a policemen looking for a man in blue. The police helicopter had been circling over head too, and now, as we set off back down the access track, three police officers and a man in grey came past. It appears the guy was suspected of having suicidal tendencies, and needed rescuing. And you thought it was quiet in the countryside!

48 daffs and stream
Daffs at the burn

We drove back to our original geocaching spot, but instead of heading into the moors, it was off across the farm land. The guys carried an item of ‘specialist equipment’ that was required for the next couple of caches. If I mention that they were up trees, then you can guess what the equipment was. The use of the ‘specialist equipment’ was all to no avail, as we didn’t find it, not even with me having a go too.

50 specialist equipment
The ‘specialist equipment’ in use.

We found a geocache on the way back to the car, and at the car, we stood in a shallow burn to clean our boots of mud. We also got a couple of other caches on the way to the pub, where we were attending another event. The CO of these other tree caches confirmed, again, that we were looking in the correct holes, and gave us the go-ahead to claim the them.

It was a super pub, with very reasonably priced meals. We ate heartily, and did a pub quiz, and had goes at the ‘Find the Geocache’ on an island. It was an A4 picture of a satellite photo of a real island, and it is has just one geocache on it. We all bought squares of the island at a pound a square, and the monies going to finance an event somewhere. Every one was so friendly, and they and the food were all great. A brilliant evening, and a great day out. I jokingly told our number one organiser that she had let me down, as I was hoping to pass my 1000th find today. But when I got home, I discovered that I’d miscounted, and the event at the pub was my 1000th find. What a fitting end to a gorgeous day out.

A walk in the Park – not.

It was a rainy day in January, and I headed to The Llyn Padarn Country Park. I wanted a geocache to fill in a day of my day/year matrix.

I parked up on the Fachwen Rd and set off for my first task. There happened to be a footpath opposite my car, and because it headed downhill towards the geocache I wanted, it seemed like a good idea. Wrong, after a hundred yards it turned left, and it was quite a while before I found a path heading downhill again. I eventually got to the main path, and headed back towards the cache. I reckon I doubled the distance to the cache from the car.

There was a cafe above the cache, and the path into it looked private, so I slithered down a nearby bank. Just as I reached a lower path some guys with rakes and shovels appeared. One chap asked me if I was lost, so I told him I needed to get to this path, and couldn’t see how to do it apart from this of piste attempt. He told me that it was private land, but they allowed access through the cafe grounds.
Hen Bont Lenten 1
The stream at Hen Bont Lechen

He asked me what I wanted, so I told him I was after a geocache. As luck would have it, I was speaking to the guy that owned the geocache I wanted. I’d recently adopted some of his geocaches that he was too busy to look after, so needless to say, we had a good geocaching chinwag before he went off to do some work in the park, and I got the geocache.
Hen Bont Lenten 2
The stream at Hen Bont Lechen

Having bagged the geocache, I went up to the main path via the patio around the cafe. I would have liked to have stopped for a panad (cup of tea) but I was over-running my schedule already. Retracing my steps a bit, before continuing east to Hen Bont Lechen (The old bridge of slate) to put a new geocache in place. This was one of the geocaches I’ve adopted, but the cache had been washed away prior to adoption, so this visit was to get it up and running again.

The geocache had been cached under the bridge, and as the fence beside it had evidence that the stream had been higher than the bridge recently, it seemed like a good idea to put it somewhere else. I found a cosy spot, and took readings of it’s new position. I took four or five readings, approaching the geocache from different directions and angles before each one. I was hoping that the average of these readings would produce an accurate position, or as accurate as you can get under tree cover.

I did a photoshoot before leaving, but I checked my watch first. I was even further behind schedule now, but I reckoned I could still walk a bit further into the park, and get back in time for lunch. I wanted to check out some waypoints – these are positions on the planet connected with geocaches at points of interest, carparks or places with clues to solve puzzles and co-ordinates. There were two that I wanted to visit, for clues needed to solve a geocache that we plan to do in the future. They were fairly close, but on checking my GPS, they weren’t on it. I thought I had loaded them the previous night – wrong. The phone didn’t have a signal, so I couldn’t load them that way either.
Hen Bont Lenten 4
Hen Bont Lechen – The Old Slate Bridge

I set off up a path anyway, hoping that I would meet the path they were on, and recognise the clues from what I remembered from reading the cache instructions. I photographed a likely clue sn route, (arrows on a post), and eventually came to a meeting of paths, where there was a post with footprints painted on it, and this was definitely one of the clues I wanted. As I was saving the co-ordinates of the post – it’s waypoint – a couple of women walking their dogs came past, so we had a bit of a chat.

By now I was at the point where I couldn’t do any more exploring, so I started back towards the car. I had passed a side footpath on the way up this forested hill, which looked like being a short route back to the motor. I was walking down the hill, when I stepped on a sheet of granite, and my feet went from under me and I fell onto my back. An incredible amount of pain hit me – I had put my camera in my backpack, (as another layer of protection should it rain again), and luckily it missed my spine, but got me in my left kidney area.

It took some minutes to gently roll over and pull myself up with a tree trunk, and I was relieved to find I could walk without any extra pain. As it was, it was a mile and a quarter back to the car, using the discovered side path as a short cut. The pain ebbed away, only to return when I sat in the car, but freezing in one position soon got rid that. I rang home, to let my gorgeous gal know I was on my way. It seems she had rung me earlier, but the lack of a signal had scuppered that of course.

Back home, I was left with a rather sore side, which was only to be expected with a bruised kidney (if my diagnostics were right of course). I didn’t go to A&E as I thought there was no point, having been lucky to get away with just some internal bruising. I didn’t get any bruises on the outside of my body.

Getting in and out of bed was extremely painful, and when I woke up one night, and found moving was agony, we went to A&E that day. “You’ve fractured some ribs”, the nice lady doctor said, ” Go home, and take it extremely easy for six weeks. You’ll have to sleep sitting up.” They checked that the kidneys were ok, and gave me medication to control the pain and help everything calm down and start healing.

The six weeks from the accident is nearly up, and I’ve been (mostly) pain free, and pill free too, for two weeks. I’ve got a big geocaching trip coming up in seven days, and hopefully, this time I’ll stay upright.

Limavady Holiday – Nov 2012 Pt 3

Written by Julie, with my comments in italics.

19th November, Monday.

Very relieved to see Meg was moving better this am. I had checked her in the night as I could see her light on but she was asleep. At least she is able to move without the terrible pain she was in last night, although her knee is still swollen. We didn’t get out of bed very early so by the time we had breakfasted, and dressed, it was time for a game of golf.
Alastair called in while we were playing golf and he was still there when Andy and I decided to go out and do a bit of caching. Jean rang just before we left, so we left Meg chatting to her, as she thought a day of rest was the order of the day.
We set off with Andy driving as he had an idea as to where he wanted to go, which was to Inch Island in Donegal. The weather wasn’t brilliant and we had drizzle all the way to the first cache.
We stopped as we travelled over the causeway because I spotted some swans. They turned out to be whoopers which are the first for the year, and then we saw two black swans. This area is a bird reserve, and it would be nice to go back when the weather and light is better.
This cache was by a chapel and the clue was “V”. Andy immediately found a services indicator with a V on it and we spent quite a bit of time fumbling around, getting damper and damper. We were just about to give up when I had this brainwave that perhaps the V was a red herring and it might be a V of a tree. Hey presto, the second tree I investigated, I found the cache.

Just as well one of has some brains LoL.

Our Lady of Lourdes Church

Our Lady of Lourdes Church


We carried on round the island and headed towards the second cache. This was right along the waters edge of Millbay, and we walked straight to the cache point— no cache. Quite a few muggles were around, so we used the bins as a distraction. Again we were about to give up when I suggested it might be the rubbish in a carrier bag lying close to GZ. It was, but how it got there remains a mystery. The cache was damp, but usable, so we dried it off, packed it better, and returned it under the stones.

It was quite a pretty bay here and well worth earmarking for a chillout coffee break one morning.

Millbay looking into Lough Swilley

Millbay looking into Lough Swilley


On the beach we saw dark-bellied Brent geese, and a few waders. We drove round to the Grange “pier” if you can call it a pier, as it was a bit rough and ready. There was a mussel boat docked there but little else. Andy took a few photos and we had a coffee there.
By now the light was going, so we headed back home, stopping off at Hungry Joes for a take away, and back to find Meg. She had had a lazy afternoon, resting her knees, and practising her frisbee skills. It obviously worked, because she thrashed us, getting minus 8, Andy had minus 1 and I got my best ever by getting par. We played a couple of party board games and Meg won both, so seeing she won the golf this morning, she trounced us.
Meg moving much better this evening and even managed to put her bins out, even though we offered to do it for her.
In bed by 12.30am

20th November, Tuesday.

Andy got up to make us all a cuppa and went into the sunroom to draw the blinds, and a sparrow hawk flew in. Unfortunately for the sparrow hawk, Andy had just scared off all the birds with the disturbance of the blinds, so no breakfast for him this am.
We dressed, breakfasted, and then into the lounge for a game of golf. I played well this am and got -17, Andy had -13 and Meg -10. Alastair came round with some shopping and a chat.

Myroe farm land

Myroe farm land with Binevenagh Mountain in the distance.


We were not sure if Meg wanted to go out today but she suggested Loch Foyle, and on to Magilligan Point for lunch.
Loch Foyle turned out to be really good. Loads of Whooper swans, curlew, lapwing and grey plovers on the fields, and green shank and redshank along the edge of the cuttings. The grey plovers were in such great numbers that when they landed in the ploughed field, they made a light streak across the dark soil. We couldn’t see anything on sea side as the tide was way in.
We drove along the road to Magilligan, and passed Owens school. He had just come out of school and he spotted us driving past and gave us a wave. I couldn’t believe he recognised our car, he only saw it for a few minutes the other day. Alastair was picking him up as Sharon is working today.

Binevenagh, close up.

Binevenagh, close up.


We drove to the ferry terminus to the pub called The Point Bar and the waitress said we could sit anywhere, so we opted for the table by the window. Andy turned the table a wee bit so we all had a window view of Loch Foyle.
The menu was very varied, with loads of choice. Andy opted for chicken chasseur, me chicken Provençal and Meg pork chops. All was delicious with very nice service. The sun gave us some beautiful shots through the clouds, the cloudscapes were lovely, the water quite rough sending spray across the ferry terminal, and a mussel boat quartering kept us occupied.

Martello tower near the Point Bar

Martello tower near the Point Bar


We finished the afternoon by picking up a cache, and got home about 5pm. We played frisbee golf but none of us improved our scores.
Alastair came this evening with some bananas, and chatted all the way through “it takes two”, and then later David arrived to watch the football in the bedroom, and then joined us for a game of party board.
Dawn rang this evening to say that she and Jay have seen a house that they like. She emailed us the details and we had a look at it on the site. It looks very nice, we googled it to see the location, and we could see a garden out the back which looks as though there is a hot tub in the corner. When we queried this with Dawn, Jay said she thought it was a trampoline, but whatever it was, it would be replaced by a tomato greenhouse!!!
Late to bed again tonight!!!!!

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