Mega Sweden FAD 2018

8 11 2018

A week after WINTER GEOLYMPIX: ASHRIDGE 2018 it was time to attend another mega event. This time the journey was somewhat shorter as the event in question was Mega Sweden FAD 2018 just a 2½ hour drive north to Sundsvall. Last year’s FAD was in Uppsala and I went there with Madchicken and Ironhawk67. This year Madchicken had other engagements so it was just Ironhawk67 and I who made the trip. Of course, many other geocachers from Gävle found their way up to Sundsvall but all seemed to make a weekend of it and had driven up on the Friday. We just made it a day trip.

We made a short break on the way up to log Amors låda and Gubben i lådan, both with a high number of well deserved favourite points. I won’t spoil them by posting photos.

Our first stop in Sundsvall was the Mega itself where we registered and collected little goodies bag then wandered around. We found the fantastic dragon ”log book” which we duly signed.

FAD log(book) dragon

My nick on the log(book)

There were a couple of vendors of geocaching paraphernalia but to my disappointment the prices were much higher than at Geolympix so nothing was bought. I hadn’t bought anything at Geolympix apart from a few AAND’s as I didn’t think that there would be any difference in price but some items I saw were 10 times more expensive in Sundsvall and most twice the price.

Presentations at FAD

Mingle at FAD

We then drove into he centre of Sundsvall to do the daytime lab caches. On our way down we stopped for a very sneaky cache GC Sundsvalls Julkalender 2012 #6 St Nicholaus. A handful of people were there when we arrived but it still took quite some time before there was that ”aha” moment. I can see why the cache has so many favourite points.

The lab caches formed a multi of sorts with ten different places to visit. Each stop had a hint to the next so doing them in the right order helped even if it was not 100% necessary. Before setting off we stopped by the local kebab place for lunch. We needed energy for the walk around town.

FAD daytime lab caches

One of the lab caches was at the top of the stairs in Hotel Knaust

Once the lab caches were all found we ticked off a few trads and a virtual before getting to Panic Room, another highly favourited cache. The container was very special and I must admit to not having seen one like previously. We rounded the afternnon off with a Wherigo Sundsvalls stadspromenad. I couldn’t get the Wherigo loaded onto my iPhone but Ironhawk67 had no difficulties getting it on to his Android phone. In this case the problem was more probably the operator and not the phone.

We headed back to the FAD site to load the evening caches (GPS and smartphone) but stopped on the way up to find a couple of simple trads and a nite multi Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. This was a (very) short firetack trail that took us to a box with the final coords.

I normally use the standard geocaching app on my iPhone (usually as a complement to my Garmin GPS) but that doesn’t have the ability to load GPX files. I can see that I will have to invest 50 SEK for Cachly or 65 SEK for Looking4cache pro to get that functionailty. I also need to update the OpenStreet Map on my GPS to the latest version as the one I had didn’t show most (hardly any) of the tracks in the area around Södrastadsberget but the smartphone did of course.

After loading the night caches and warming up we set off again in the dark to find the multi FAD Sundsvall 2018 #1 – Tarzanstigen. There were other cachers out there in the dark and they had fun finding an alternative route to the cache.

Some cachers taking a short cut

We found a couple more trads before calling it a day and heading back home. I didn’t take a photo of the view over Sundsvall during daylight so I have to make do with this one in the night. Still quite a good view.

Sundsvall by night

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WINTER GEOLYMPIX: ASHRIDGE 2018

2 11 2018

Last year I participated in my first Mega event which was Mega Sweden FAD 2017 as it ws not too far away from home. As I still had some frequent flyer miles to use I decided to visit WINTER GEOLYMPIX: ASHRIDGE 2018 as it was conveniently located less than an hours drive away from one of my brothers, and more relevantly the one that geocaches. He is half of ”zelger” and they had never participated in a mega and when I told them about my positive experience at FAD they were in.

I am not a keen myst solver and neither are they, however, we scratched our heads on the Friday evening and solved a handful of mysts. There was some lively discussion about how a myst can be listed as a letterbox/hybrid cache and even if we agreed it was stupid to give them that classification just because the CO stuck a stamp in the cache container of what is clearly a myst. It should be classed as a myst. Yes, I have read the geocaching guidelines, but I don’t need to like them. Rant over.

We started our journey mid morning and as always in England there is heavy traffic on most roads. When we got to Berkhamsted a closed road got us stuck in long queues. We finally made it and found a good spot to park on the road that passed by the night cache hub near Ringshall. Our reasoning was that there was probably going to be less traffic leaving from there than the main road in to the event site.

Even though there is no ”Allemansrätt” (free right of way) in England the woods were open for all to use and even though there are many paths we needed to leave them from time to time. As we meandered towards the event location we logged a few of the handful of mysts/letterbox hybrids we had solved including Hotter/Colder – WG2018: “Ice Cold in Ashridge!“and some of the Big G mysts such as Big G: Hanjie

Ashridge is a National Trust site where the Bridgewater Monument can be found. The main estate is popular for walking free in a forest which is not so easily done in England.

Bridgewater Monument

As we approached the event location we wondered if everything had been called off. There was a small party tent with no walls for registering at the event and for TB and geocoin exchange. There was no-one looking after that so if you were interested in trackables you just had to hang around and assume that everything there was dropped. When we were there, I was able to find nine trackables. I’m sure that if I had hung around more would have turned up. There was a stall selling a wide array of geocaching goodies and JJEF demonstrating his gadget caches of which I have found quite a few on earlier visits to England. We had a good chat.

JJEF caches

Otherwise, there were just a couple more stalls and a couple of lab caches that we didn’t bother with. We could log one lab cache and that was by pure luck. As we walked towards the event we met a guy in a green sweatshirt with a word printed on the front of it. We had no idea it was Simply Paul the main organiser. We then found that a lab cache consisted of finding Simply Paul and using the word on his sweatshirt as the key to the lab cache. Easy, peasy as a famous TV chef would say.

Not hugely impressed, we headed off to find Read The Flippin’… Yada Yada: WinterGeolympix’18. We couldn’t have missed it if we tried.

A “Large” cache

Our path then took us towards Tim & Jon’s 1st Re-Stashed (UK’s 3rd oldest/Eng#2) via The Mossy Tree which was house in an ammo can, a not too common site these days.

The Mossy Tree: Join the queue to log it.

A few years ago half of zelger and I had been in the area to find Coombe Hill, which is the oldest cache in England together with a very interesting visit to Bletchley Park, so it was great to now find England’s 2nd oldest cache.

I’m used to wandering around Sweden’s evergreen forests so it was quite a change to be walking through a forest of deciduous trees. Many of them were sweet chestnuts and there were a few people out picking them up from the ground. Roast sweet chestnuts are a delicacy.

We wandered back to the cafe and joind a long queue to get a cup of tea. The coffee was terrible by all accounts. We also took the opportunity to find a letterbox/hybrid cache Rescue This & Save the World! Winter Geolympix ’18 located indoors where we probably spent more time logging the find than was needed, but it was much warmer than outdoors.

A letterbox/hybrid in a warm location

Of course, we arrived on a dry day that gradually changed for the worse. After early afternoon drizzle we were treated to rain most of the afternoon that got heavier as dusk fell. We found our favourite cache of the day TrOll FREE in the dark as the rain turned to sleet. We headed back towards the car arriving there at 18:30 where we decided that another bunch of night caches probably wasn’t our ”cup of tea” so we left and headed back to zelgers home for a meal and a beer.

Will I visit again if the Mega is repeated? I suspect not and it had nothing to do with the weather, just that the set-up mostly based on mysts was not to my liking.





FAD 2017

9 11 2017

A Mega event just an hours drive away from home is not something you can miss! Together with Madchicken and Ironhawk67 I drove down to Uppsala on Saturday morning and found a free parking spot close to Studenternas. We had only one thing on our agenda and that was to visit FAD and find the lab caches. Everything else would be a bonus. It may seem strange but this is the first Mega event that any of us had been to and in my case I have been geocaching for more than fourteen years. Not having visited a Mega event meant that I had not found any lab caches either. That gave us a feeling of great expectations!

FAD isn’t just a Mega event either. FAD means Fumble After Dark and is an event that started many years ago in the west of Sweden and has grown in popularity and status with time. It has also had different venues. As the name suggests we were to expect night caches of various types and we weren’t disappointed. We passed the event location on our way to the car park just as the doors were opening and there were just a few people standing in line to go in. By the time we had parked the car and walked back the queue had grown in length so we decided to dive right into the day’s lab caches. The starting point was just a few meters from the entrance to the hall.

Queueing for entry to FAD

There were ten lab caches that could be found here. Finding them involved watching videos then answering various questions at chosen places. A bit like a multicache but without known coordinates. As each cache was solved the key unlocked the next in the series. Three of the caches had a TB code as the answer and were loggable as TB’s

After the lab caches we returned to the event hall. checked in and spent some time wandering around, visiting the well stocked tables of geo merchandise as well finding the lab cache Cubes and grabbing a “fika”.

Lots of geogoodies were on sale

A really good organisation for handling TB’s

We decided to try the nearby Wherigo Pelle Svanslös which was great fun and took us to new places. Well actually, I had been to the same spots previously but now saw them in a different light. Much more interesting

Pelle Svanslös behind the window

As we had no agenda for the day we didn’t feel any pressure to rush around just to get find numbers. Somewhere along the route I mentioned that we had the opportunity to try to get as many different cache types as possible in the day. A quick count told us that we could find a Mega event, Trad, Multi, Myst, Earthcache, Virtual, Letterbox Hybrid on top of the Whereigo bringing us to eight different types. It was agreed that we would try for this. We had already found a Trad on our way around the Lab cache trail Uppsala Slott in addition to two of the new Virtuals, Uppsala Slott

ds8300 blocking the view of the cathedral

Uppsala cathedral where there is an earthcache


and Gustavianum – Virtual Reward

Is the globe that small?

as well as the earthcache Minerals In The Cathedral

What we now needed were a Myst, Multi and Letterbox Hybrid. As Madchicken and I were looking for Multis and Letterbox hybrids Ironhawk67 calmly announced he had just solved a nearby myst. Yes! As the final coords for Lättare än Gormare were a fair distance away we decided that as it was lunchtime that we would drive over to the cache then eat nearby before finding suitable multis and letterboxes. We found a convenient pizzeria in Flogsta. It was then I remembered that I had scouted out letterbox caches earlier on in the week and that there was an easily accessible one not too far away. As darkness started to fall we arrived at Vernisage where we duly left our artisitc creations in the logbook.

Part of the Vernisage

Once that was done we headed back to Studenternas och parked the car in more or less the same place we had picked it up an hour or so ealier. The multi we decided to look for was an obvious choice as it started at FAD headquarters. Svandammhallarna lead us on a short hike but as the time was nearly 5 pm and we wanted to get our coordinates for the night lab caches we broke off and returned to the hall until 6 pm.

Loading the GPS was a painless process even if it wasn’t really relevant for the lab caches. It did make it very easy to know exactly where to go. I tried to download the info to my iPhone but as I don’t often use it for geocaching I am not familiar with the process. Luckily my friends had it covered. We finished off the multi then headed down to Stadsträdgården for the first five of the lab caches.

The caches were all reasonably close to the event HQ, but after the event they will be moved to other areas and be converted into multicaches. Anyway, this was our playground for the evening.

The FAD 2017 playground

The lab caches for the evening can be found here.

Again the name Pelle Svanslös turned up and was the theme for the caches. They weren’t really night caches but child and wheelchair friendly. When we started on the next series, Carl von Linné, which were located around Uppsala castle one night cache turned up but it was first when we reached the forest some way beyond the hospital that the real night caches appeared. The lab caches in both the Niklas Zennströn and the Anders Celsius series were really creative and in a couple of cases quite difficult. Nontheless we were able to unlock the finals, which were bird boxes locked with a code lock. The code came from solving the five related lab caches.

We decided that we didn’t need to do the final series, Maria Strömme and the reflex trail. We had walked nearly 25 km during the day and had a lot of fun so we headed back for home around 11 pm. The day netted us eight different types of caches including a Mega and 15 lab caches. One takeaway, was inspiration to want to copy some of the ideas that had been used in creating the caches. Let’s see what it will result in!





July events

1 08 2017

Despite being on vacation I have done very little geocaching, if you ask me. If you ask my partner it’s a different story, of course. I have been to three events and cached on a total of seven different days. On two of them I have found just one cache. Now that is what I call very little caching.

The month started with an event on 2017-07-01 Förmiddagskaffe. This was at the “commemorate Canada 150 years” weekend and in addition to the event itself also gave a souvenir. I could add it to the two Canadian souvenirs I already had. I’m pretty sure that the Canada souvenir came just last year, ten years after my visit but that the Ontario souvenir was available then. However, my memory being what it is I can’t be certain.

Canada souvenirs

The event was a bit special in that it turned out to be a “multi”. Due to the fantastic Swedish summer month of July, where EVERYONE is on holiday, the event location wasn’t open when we arrived. A new place was quickly decided on and the event info updated. That was also closed, and so was the third place. The event was finally held at Donkens in Sandviken. You can rely on them to be open. TB’s and coins were passed around and I chatted with new and old faces before going home and starting on my vacation chore of painting the garage.

The second event was at Axmar Bruk. 2017-07-09 Välkommen till/ Welcome to: Axmarbruk. I convinced my partner that it would make a nice afternoon out and that there probably would not be so many people there. I was wrong. The event was very well attended. A handful of new caches were released and we were able to look around the park, which we have not done before. We usually just pass by on our way to Axmarbrygga, a very good fish restaurant. After the event we drove out to Gåsholma where apart from logging a couple of caches on the way we bought some fresh perch (aborre) fillets and a smoked char (röding). They were delicious.

Some of the event participants on a hunt

One of the remaining buildings at Axmar Bruk

The third event was 2017-07-16 Build your crew: The lost treasure of Mary Hyde which was again an activity initiated by geocaching HQ. Over a period of time several souvenirs are to be gained by achieving various goals. As we are now in the middle of the activity I don’t know all the stages. More can be found here.

The event meant an early start from Gävle but the sun was shining and I was curious as to what the EO had in mind for us. He had formed a colourful cache description page and promised to release some caches at the event. The event location was Hohälla, some kilometers north west of Storvik. In the middle of nowhere! Again, this was a well attended event and there were plenty of geocoins to log (thanks Gluggfan) and a new mystery trail that we all followed in a caravan of cars and which lead us to a real treasure chest. Fantastic. An eloge to SE81293 for all the effort put into the event.

Participants at the Mary Hyde event at Hohälla

Is this Mary Hyde’s treasure chest?

The first Mary Hyde souvenir

After the event I decided to start ticking off some more of the GL3 trail caches and did the most westerly ones before the rain set in – GL3 #A21 to GL3 #A26 together with Lealetar. Since then I have found over a dozen more and hope to have found them all before the summer is over. More to come in a new post.





Heritage Power Trail – Isle of Man

20 04 2017

Isle of Man flag


The last time I visited the Isle of Man was in 1964 and the railways were still in operation. Fast forward to 2016 and I had the notion that I would like to revisit the island and add another geocaching country to my list. I mentioned this to my brother who is half of team “zelger” and he said that this would be a great opportunity for a “lads reunion”. Anyway, time passed and nothing materialised due to everyone having commitments. Finally, in March 2017 I raised the idea again and booked my tickets for Easter 2017. Half of zelger decided that this was not an opportunity to be missed and booked tickets too.

The aim of the trip was twofold. Walk the Heritage Power Trail in a day and spend a day of nostalgia on the electric trams and steam trains on a second day. While we were at it I threw in a geocaching event so we could meet some of the local geocachers. A friendly bunch they were too. The event was Meet a Swede, which isn’t quite a lie as I have dual nationality. Teamkiisseli from Finland were relieved that they were able to speak English not Swedish and didn’t need to discuss ice-hockey.

The Heritage Power Trail crosses the Isle of Man from Douglas in the east to Peel in the west. There are other trails as well but this one seemed to be the definite trail and also gave us the chance to brag that we had walked across the island. After a hearty but early breakfast at our hotel we made our way through Douglas to the start of the trail. Well actually, the end of the trail. Number 1 is in Peel and the last one, number 79 is in Douglas. I had been watching the weather forecast for a few days and it seemed as though we may be in for a wet day. Apart from some light rain early on we had no problems. The sky remained cloudy most of the day but cleared up for a while in the afternoon. There were several information boards along the trail. This was close to Douglas.

Steam Heritage Trail – Douglas to Peel

Our walk together with lunch and a couple of other diversions took all day but was worth it as it gave a nice string of smilies right across the island.

Heritage Power Trail – done in a day!

The majority of the caches were micros, either film canisters placed in nifty little wire baskets on trees and fence post or PET preforms. A few of the caches were larger, notably the TB hotel, the letterbox and the bonus cache.

Bonus cache

Of course, as the trail follows a disused railway line there are no really tough gradients. I think that the highest point we reached was 49 m asl. There were various remains from the days of the active railway, amongst them a couple of rusty bridges like this one.

A rail bridge across a river

The old station at Union Mills has gone along with all the track but there are details available on line for those interested.

Maps of the trail at Union Mills

Historical railway crane at Union Mill

After the third run of micros it was great to find the TB hotel. There was a TB in the box that we picked up and took with us along the trail.

zelger extracting a TB from the trail’s TB hotel

Even though it was overcast and only about 8 degrees C spring was still well on it’s way and there were flowers of all kinds along the trail. These were just some of them.

Plenty of flowers along the trail

Needless to say we were pleased to get to HPT #24 at Tynwald Hill so that we could get lunch. We got there a couple of hours later than expected but a couple of pints of beer to replenish our fluids and a hearty Manx cheese sandwich put us back in good spirits. I had originally planned to find a handful of caches at Tynwald Hill but decided to skip them as we were running late. Tynwald is also the name of the legislature for the island of Ellan Vannin (Isle of Man).

Tynwald Hill – of historic significance for Ellan Vannin (Isle of Man)

As we neared Peel the track followed the River Neb and the scenery changed somewhat. There was plenty of bird life including this heron.

Heron and mill wheel

Heron

After the intial difficulty we had finding HPT #76 the rest of the caches were easily found, until we got to Peel that is. HPT #2 was located at a sign but we couldn’t see anything. As we were searching we heard a voice. “Are you looking for the geocache? It’s in the …” It was a local guy getting something out of a nearby parked car. He saved our day. He had probably given the same hint to others before us too.

Peel Harbour

As we arrived at Peel Harbour we just had HPT #1 to find and that was a nano under a bench. Of course there were four people sitting there but we HAD to find that cache so we told them what we were doing and suddenly there were six people on their hands and knees searching for the cache. We found it after a rather long search much to our relief. All that remained was to get the bus back to Douglas. We had to wait an hour as it was Easter Monday and the busses were not running the regular weekday service. Once on the bus we were back in Douglas ready for dinner in just over half an hour.





CITO weekend

20 04 2016

Saturday morning offered cachers in the Gävle – Sandviken area the possibility to do a good deed in the form of a CITO.

The place of choice was Svartviksstugan on the shores of Lake Ojaren. There has been a public cottage there for as long as I have lived in Sweden and that is more than forty years now. It has always been free from vandalism until two years ago when it was burned to the ground by unknown arsonists.

Remains of the old cottage at Svartvik

Remains of the old cottage at Svartvik

It was rebuilt and opened to the public at the beginning of March 2016. Before the end of the month someone had broken in and stole all the new electric radiators. It is still open to the public but the road there has a new barrier across at night.

A group of more than twenty geocachers, family members and friends turned up at 10 am for CITO – Svartviksstugan and after the cleanup which included some pretty extreme rubbish the CO LFCFredda hosted a traditional Swedish “fika”.

CITO activities

CITO activities

After CITO fika

After CITO fika

Ironhawk67 and I noted that there were two nearby caches that we hadn’t logged so off we went to find Flora #6 – Rhododendron and Flora #5 – Juniperus that were placed along Gästrikleden towards Högbo.

A short walk out along Gästrikeleden

A short walk out along Gästrikeleden

Upon returning to Svartviksstugan we saw that there were still many cachers chatting away and enjoying the sunny weather. After leaving Svartviksstugan but before reaching the main road I had to stop again for a Number two. 🙂

Number two!

Number two!

I noted when I was logging my finds that I had received a new souvenir. Cool!

CITO weekend 2016 souvenir

CITO weekend 2016 souvenir





New souvenirs

7 01 2016

Goodbye 2015
What better way to end 2015 than a geocaching event just a few hundred meters from home? After eating a great New Year’s dinner courtesy of Gefle Gourmetservice it was great to get some fresh air and exercise. We walked up to the top of Hemlingbyberget where Nyårsevent at the top of the hill was taking place. Just a couple of cachers were there when we arrived but before midnight the numbers swelled and our group was surrounded by hundreds of muggles who came to view the fireworks over Gävle. It was great to see that cachers from Uppsala and Stockholm made it up to the event.

Vallafrun, Olleoljud, Eligirly and Team Ese sharing the FTF with me.

Vallafrun, Olleoljud, Eligirly and Team Ese sharing the FTF with me.

Yari had just published a new cache, Toppen Stället so was my final cache for 2015. Fantastic! It was also great for Eligirly who was with a little group who got the FTF as it was here first one ever.

Hello 2016

Of course, once New Years Eve was over and a new year started I needed to find a cache or attend an event to get the second souvenir. I had planned to attend the New Year’s event at Gavelhyttan as that is the site of my first placed cache from 2003, but I ended up finding two nearby mysts that I had solved some time ago. I had a pleasant walk close to home and was surprised to see that I wasn’t the first person to log a find here on New Years Day.

First cache for 2016

First cache for 2016

So now a week into 2016 the temperatures have dropped (-20 C this morning) and we have about 10 cm of snow. Winter has finally arrived. It probably won’t make a huge difference to the number of caches I have been finding over the past few months.








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