Odds and ends – Part II

9 08 2011

Åland
After the day trip to Stockholm we were on our way again. This time, we took the car on the ferry to Åland which is a large group of islands halfway between Sweden and Finland. We drove to to the ferry harbour in Grisslehamn on the east coast of Sweden, north of Stockholm and some 150km from Gävle. The drive takes about 2 hours as the roads are mostly of a minor nature. The ferry trip between Grisslehamn and Eckerö on Åland, takes two hours. Once on the island we drove to Mariehamn, the capitol of the islands and did some sightseeing before eating lunch and then looking for a few caches.
Of the five caches we found, three were in rather unusual containers, which is always something that I appreciate.
The first cache we found was St. Görans kryka. As we were sitting there two ladies approached and exclaimed that they had looked for the cache but not found it so had gone for a coffee and rethink. It was great to meet chocholate and NovnesoR.

NovnesoR and chocholate


The cache was of excellent quality and even if this picture is a spoiler you can see why it is well hidden.

Now you see it, now you don't

We went off to find some more caches but on our way back to the car we saw some people behaving suspiciously. 🙂 It must have been space dogs but they had no idea that they had been seen!

The space dogs in full geocaching action


Perhaps what was most satisfying for me was to be able to add the Åland Islands as the twenty sixth country where I have found caches. It’s the third new country this month! Yes, that’s a real exception to the normal pattern which is one or perhaps two a year.

Uppsala and Storvreta
As I have written before, maintenance of caches is part of the downside of the game. I read in a log for Upptåget #13 – Uppsala that a cacher had dropped the cache and that it had disappeared down a hole and was unretrievable. As it was my vacation I didn’t mind the 110 km drive to Uppsala to replace the cache as I took it as an opportunity to do some maintenance on my Upptåg cache in Storvreta on the same trip. One thing that I learnt on the station in Uppsala was not to rely on memory. All my Upptåg caches are micros stuck on the insides of gantries over the rails. They all look the same but luckily are numbered, which is the hint I give. I walked along the platform and looked at three gantries and thought I knew which was the right one. I had to go online to confirm that I had chosen correctly. Now I have uploaded a list of my owned caches to my Oregon 450 so I don’t have that problem again!
I decided to do a few caches in the Storvreta area and succeeded with finding the caches that contained the clues in the Den Gyllene Cachen series but not the final. I also had my less than positive thoughts about nanos confirmed, as I didn’t find the two that I looked for. Mind you, as one of them had several DNF’s I can guess that it’s disappeared.

Eckington
The last weekend before I started work I spent some time with my youngest brother and family in England. Of course, I suggested that we could take my brother’s son for a short circular walk in the countryside (and pick up a few caches on the way 😉 ). There were three short walks all starting at the same place, just north of Eckington so we headed off in that direction. What I chose was Ford Walk – the shortest track as my nephew is only five. A three mile walk seemed about right. It took us three hours to get round as he kept stopping at all sorts of things that are of interest for a five year old. The walk consisted of seven traditional caches and a mystery, even though the latter was classified on the web page as a multi. Ford Walk Over

Sam signing the log at Ford Walk - The Oak


Ferns and butterflies


The caches were either micros or small, which wasn’t so fun for my nephew. Luckily the final was a regular and even though it took some time to find it due to excellent camo we was very pleased that he could take the mini padlock and keys in return for 50p, a marble and a couple of feathers!

Swapping swag at Ford Walk Over


If my brother and I had walked alone we could easily have done two of the walks with a fortifying pint half way round. What we did instead was drop off my nephew at home and made a short excursion into Chesterfield where three pubs serving real ale were visited and some halves of a few of the beers sampled. At times I miss not having decent pubs in Sweden that serve “Real Ale”.

Rose & Crown, Chesterfield


Selection of Brampton ales


Chesterfield Arms, home of Evenlode Brown Porter, a mighty tipple!


Derby Tup, Chesterfield

Archiving caches
Perhaps I am just stubborn but since I started placing caches I have kept them all well maintained and if a problem is reported I have fixed it as soon as I have been able to. An example of this was the Upptåget #13 – Uppsala cache that I replaced and mention above. I archived one cache several years back as it was on it’s own and too far to keep visiting. Otherwise, I have kept sixty caches active, some going for eight years, until this week. Now I have three fewer. During this year I have been deluged by logs that just say “tftc” or less. There are still many cachers who write interesting logs and those are really appreciated. I have also noticed that there are many “Maintenance needed” logs, for all kinds of reasons and usually written by the “tftc” cachers. Maybe it is a good thing that the finders can alert the owner that the cache is in less than perfect condition, but who is to judge what is in good shape or not.
I wonder why finders who point out that a log book/strip is full don’t just put in a piece of paper. Some do and I am grateful when it’s done in one of my caches. I am still surprised when cachers complain that there is no pencil so they can’t log a cache. Isn’t a pen something that every cacher learns at an early stage to carry with them?

I have archived EMMA Call home!, not because the logbook was damp (it was) but because people complained that a gate was closed behind them and they couldn’t get out of the little harbour where the cache was hidden. It didn’t make any difference that the cache instruction said that they should follow the path around the fence to avoid just the problem that they report. I archived the cache as I am sick of having to defend why I have caches that don’t please everyone. It’s only a game so it doesn’t faze me. I will continue to place caches in what I hope are interesting places or have some other value. I won’t run to maintain them as I have up to now though. I will just archive them as that seems to be the trend – “slit o släng” to use a Swedish expression.

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