BBC, JJEF and FF40

24 04 2017

Once my trip to the Isle of Man and England was known to zelger, he suggested an outing close to his home with a group that he is involved in: WKMU3A. U3A is the abbreviation for University of the third age and is for active people who have retired. WKM is for Wokingham where most live. I am still working but my younger brother and his wife who form “zelger” are both retired. Go figure.

I was given a list of potential walking loops of about 5 km that ended at suitable eating and drinking establishements. One that caught my eye was north of Reading and was a series of 40 mystery caches. I looked at them and found about half to be doable. The rest I just gave up on. That meant I had a list of around twenty caches in nice woodland. However, mysteries are not something that zelger or the WKMU3A group are keen on so the idea was parked.

We arrived at Gatwick after an uneventful flight from Ronaldsway airport on the Isle of Man and took the direct train from Gatwick to Wokingham. It’s very convenient as it completely misses out on having to go into London. zelger had some things to sort out in the afternoon so he sent me off out on the BBC trail. Now, for me BBC stands for British Broadcasting Corporation, but in this case it meant Binfield Bridal Bicycle Circuit and consisted of a mixture of twenty six traditional, mystery and letterbox hybrid caches. zelger thought it was too complicated for them so they had parked it. I thought it was great fun. In the first two caches BBC#1 and #2 were laminated cards that gave the coordinates of BBC#3 and #4 which were mystery caches. Got it? All along the trail new coordinates were given so you are forced to follow the series in numerical order.

Spring had really arrived and it was great walking along the country lanes and bridal paths that the caches were placed along.

Country lane on BBC trail

I managed to get to BBC#8 which was a letterbox/hybrid cache before my time was up and I had to meet up with my brother again for the evening activities. In the middle of the trail were a couple of JJEF caches, The ATM cache and Bobbing Pot. Our plan for the following day was that with zelger and WKMU3A we would attempt a series of JJEF caches in the morning ending with lunch and that zelger (both members of the team) and I would do a further series in the afternoon.

We met up with three of the potential fourteen members of WKMU3A (not counting zelger who are also members) and started off for Rampant Rhododendron. When we got to GZ it looked as though a tornado had passed through the forest. Not a rhododendron in sight!

Now where is that rhododendron?

We had better luck at Opposites Attract which Bernie was keen to find.

Bernie – Gone fishing

From there we moved on to The Green Hill No. 2 which was a block of wood hung up in a tree with a cable lock on it. There were letters carved on the wood that translated into the code for the lock. The look on everyones faces when they cracked the number at the first attempt was priceless.

Neat construction

The Green Hill No. 3 was equally well constructed. This was a wooden box with a similar kind of lock and a block of wood with numbers on it. It was necessary to divide a huge number with a smaller number to get the code for the lock. I was just pulling up my smartphone in order to work out the answer when one of the U3A team whisked up a calculator out of their bag. A calculator! I haven’t seen one for years!

Locked box

Still dazed by the sight of the calculator we moved on to the remaining caches in the series and The Green Hill No. 4 was even better than the previous three caches that we had found. A padlocked birdbox hanging in a tree had a nearby plastic tube containing the key. I won’t spoil the game by telling you how to get hold of the key but everyone was really wound up by the caches we had found. This was much better than a film canister in an ivy covered tree.

Cache hanging upper right, lock lower centre

We carried on and found a couple more caches by the same owner and DNF’d two more. Can you spot the last cache the group found?

Can you see the cache?

There was a lot of talk over lunch about the experience from the morning and how much fun it had been. So, after lunch both halves of zelger and I set off on the six caches that comrpised the Fifield Frolic series. The trail passed along open and not so open paths in the area. Again, there were no two caches that looked or functioned in same way and all were well made. They were placed four years ago and a lot of growth of the vegetation had occured making some of them a little more well hidden than they would have been when placed.

Overgrown paths

After a full day of JJEF caches we had a quiet evening and spent the Friday morning sorting out the TB’s and geocoins we had found before moving off north towards Sonning Common and FamousEccles Favourite Forty mystery caches!

Typical FF40 beechwood cache

The puzzles I could solve were fun and the caches were located in a beech forest which luckily was still in it’s winter overcoat with little undergrowth. It will be a different story in a few weeks time. As we followed the paths an animal jumped across the path ahead of us. Was it a deer? Or a dog? It ran over to another of it’s kind and I learnt then that it was a muntjac. It’s an Indian deer that is proliferating at a great rate in England and is now quite a pest. I took a photo but it’s not worth publishing.

We also saw other wild animals including this golden pheasant and a rabbit. They didn’t seem to mind each others company.

Golden Pheasant and rabbit

So the day ended with a visit to my brothers daughter and grandson on the way to catching a train to Heathrow and the flight home. The following days were spent logging over a hundred caches and a dozen or more TB’s plus updating my blog. Phew!

END





New Year’s Day 2017

3 01 2017

New Year’s Day – 11 am. The sun was shining and the temperature was above zero. We just intended to go for a local walk in order to get some fresh air after a pleasant New Year’s Eve celebration, but the walk developed into a mini myst-cache hunt in Andersberg with a slight detour to Gävle Bro for a cup of coffee and a sandwich. I had quickly glanced at the geocaching map and seen that there were many mysts in Andersberg that I hadn’t solved/found. As I have written before, they are not my favourite types of caches. Anyway, there was a graffiti painting of two cats on #8 Katterna and I guessed (incorrectly as it turns out) that they were on one of the underpasses in Andersberg of which there are just four so we set off to visit them. The extra walk to Gävle Bro came on the spur of the moment as we passed the second underpass on to Skogsmurvägen.

By now we had stumbled on A-Hill 3 by chance. During our coffee break I worked out the coords for the cache and we started heading in that direction. Suddenly my partner stopped and asked if I had looked at the house wall to my right. I hadn’t, but there was A-Hill 5 and a quick calculation showed that GZ was on our walk home. Nice.

One of my newish toys is a Yaesu FT-2DR, an amateur radio handheld radio with built in GPS. It sends a signal by radio at an interval I choose and can be picked up on http://aprs.fi if you know my radio call sign. It’s fresh information and probably won’t be seen after a day or two.

APRS tracklog from my handheld radio

APRS tracklog from my handheld radio

It’s not like looking at the track log from a GPS but it is visible in real time. So our little walk around Andersberg confirmed that there are no cats there, at least not that we saw, but there are other caches there somewhere. Maybe there will be a new walk in the area next weekend?





The Rasbo Circle

6 05 2015

I’m not sure when the idea turned up but an agreement was formed with a little group of geocachers to make a day trip to Uppsala with one goal in mind. Have FUN. Well actually it was also to Find 50 Mystery caches in a day. So who was this little group and which mysts are we talking about?

On a few previous occasions Ironhawk67, MadChicken and Slas together with me, ds8300, have made geocaching day trips to Uppsala, Sundsvall and other places in Sweden not too far away from our home base in Gävle. By taking the first initial of our geocaching nicknames in alphabetic order we were able to form “Team DIMS”. Maybe not the most flattering of names for the team but our combined brain power and strength is legend on the geocaching scene. Ahem.

So, a couple of weeks before the trip there was a lot of mental activity in four corners of Gävle and it was only when a couple of days remained that we started to share hints if they were needed. We try to solve our “own” mysts as far as possible which I think is fair. I know there are many geocachers who hang along with others who have solved the problems so that they can sign the log and get a smiley. We are all different in how we value our game.

After a couple of days of rain the sun broke out and we had great weather all day on your trip. We left Gävle at 8 am and arrived at The Rasbo Circle (Rasbo Ringen) which is a series of about 50 mysts to the North East of Uppsala.

This is what we started off the day with. Just a few finds in the centre of the Rasbo area.

This is what we started off the day with. Just a few finds in the centre of the Rasbo area.

As you can see there are a few smilies in the centre of the circle and these are caches that Team DIMS found on an earlier trip to the area. We reached the first cache Mikael just after 9 am. Our intention was to follow the circle in an anticlockwise direction and thus end up at Challenge – 50 Mystery på ett dygn. By 10 am we were at Staves på Kreta and were up to 21 finds which meant an average drive and find time of three minutes per cache. Nice going!

A find on Rasbo Ringen.

A find on Rasbo Ringen.

A find on Rasbo Ringen. Quite a few were located "above snow level"

A find on Rasbo Ringen. Quite a few were located “above snow level”

A find on Rasbo Ringen.

A find on Rasbo Ringen.

We continued along in this manner for another hour and decided that we needed to have a “fika”. We found a suitable place to park near Den gömda koordinaten by which time it was 11:08. Perfect.

Yes, we are still friends. This was the only seat we could find.

Yes, we are still friends. This was the only seat we could find.

We noted that this was our 41st find in two hours so we were still averaging a find every three minutes. Of course, having a twenty minute coffee break killed our average find rate after that. Most of the caches were micros or small but we did find a couple of interesting constructions. You can see a couple in the photos.

A somewhat different find on Rasbo Ringen.

A somewhat different find on Rasbo Ringen.

What have you got there Peter?

What have you got there Peter?

When we got to the top of the circle we made a detour down into the centre to grab some of the caches that had been released during an event in Rasbo 2012. Here we found a large traditional cache that needs maintenance.

A large cache in need of maintenance

A large cache in need of maintenance

A find in the center of Rasbo Ringen.

A find in the center of Rasbo Ringen.

It would be good to keep this one alive as large tradtional caches are not so common. Additionally, we found a fun multi close by and a couple of other traditionals and a field puzzle.

Our trip continued back out to the periphery of the circle and on to the final cache which was the challenge cache. There were a couple of DNF’s (Did Not Find) on the lower stretch of the circle due to road widening activities that had wiped out the caches and a third DNF as none of us were able to find the final X in the myst Var är X:en

This is what the map looked like at the end of the day.

This is what the map looked like at the end of the day.

Once we had finished the circle, 4 hours 45 minutes later, we headed into Uppsala for food and a quick stop to grab a couple of caches with many favourite points, namely Kvarngärdets Värmeverk and The Monark´s Right Hand. The former had 46 FP’s and the latter 400 FP’s! It’s tempting to post a spoiler picture but I won’t as it’s a really fun cache and a little lateral thinking is needed.

There are many caches in Uppsala but we decided to pay a visit to Gamla Uppsala. My last visit was in 2003 when I found 3 Kings Tombs. A couple in the team had never visited Gamla Uppsala before so they got the chance for some cultural exchange. We were disappointed that Ledtråd 4 had been temporarily disabled due to the nearby May 1st bonfire and couldn’t find the cache despite following the line generated by finding the other three clues.

Burial mounds and 10th century church at Gamla Uppsala

Burial mounds and 10th century church at Gamla Uppsala

Unusual flowers on the burial mounds at  Gamla Uppsala

Unusual flowers on the burial mounds at Gamla Uppsala

I collected a few TB’s and a geocoin during the day that I dropped off at the event Travel Bug Event held on May 5 in Gävle. Olleoljud and Dreamdharma were collecting TB’s to take with them to Italy on May 8.





How long to publish a cache?

14 04 2015

In order to celebrate having been a geocacher for ten years in 2013 I decided to publish two Challenge caches: “1 line D/T challenge ” and “3 line D/T challenge”. I had seen similar caches in New Zealand but nothing like them here.

However, due to the feedback from the Swedish reviewers which I guess was based on revised rules/guidelines from geocaching.com, I had to really water down the requirements and the cache that was published is in my own opinion rather trivial. In it’s original form it was much more of a challenge and worth finding. This is my cache and this is the original. See the difference!

Anyway, I placed two physical caches, one of which just sat there waiting for me to do something with it. The date it was placed you may ask? 2013-04-06! In other words over two years ago. There are’t a lot of interesting things to see at the spot it was hidden, just like so many other caches, so I guess that’s no big deal, but I wanted it to be different.

The cache, a bird box, now contains clues to three mystery caches and a fourth one will come later. Again, you won’t be enthralled, by where the caches are placed, but hopefully you will have fun finding them and if I may add, a little frustrated at times on the journey there. 😉 It only took me slightly more that two years to get them placed but I doubt if it will take that long before they are found.

This is the view you will get from the cache. You will walk this path a few times. :-)

This is the view you will get from the cache. You will walk this path a few times. 🙂

I was on my way to the cache and was complaining to myself about dog owners that didn't clean up after their dogs, when the "poo" jumped away.

I was on my way to the cache and was complaining to myself about dog owners that didn’t clean up after their dogs, when the “poo” jumped away.





Pi-day

16 03 2015

Pi-day is my brother’s birthday so I never forget it. However, I nearly forgot that I could collect two souvenirs on the same day. That there was a Pi-day event was easy to spot but it wasn’t until I got there that I learnt about the Pi-day souvenir for finding a myst on the same day.

Pi Day Event Souvenir

Pi Day Event Souvenir

Pi Day Mystery Souvenir

Pi Day Mystery Souvenir

The local event  Pi som i pizzalunch was held at a food court in the centre of Gävle and was the initiative of a relatively new geocacher, Udenius. Great initiative. About 25 people turned up so it was quite a task to find a group of tables to sit at. I didn’t get the opportunity to say hi to everyone but I think we all managed to get a place and good food during the couple of hours that most of us were there. I ate a tuna salad so not a lot of “pi” in that. So here are the souvenirs. Rather stylistic and simple.

I had recently had a failed search for Madchicken’s Bearlake mystery caches that I cursed and swore about at the time – see my post Bear-lake and was now over the moon as I was able to go back today and find a couple more of the caches in order to earn my souvenir. I was still not able to solve all of the mysteries but that wasn’t a problem for today as the finds picture was a pie!

Bear Lake Pie

Bear Lake Pie

I tried hard to fish for tips on the remaining two unsolved mysteries one of which was  Bear Lake #6 – P13 – a pi-mystery of course. It was like getting blood from a stone as the CO was as tight as a mussel, just to use a couple of often used euphemisms.

Finally to round off pi-day I had a look at the new geocache GC31415 but my video skills are too poor to even think about sending in an entry. Actually, Pi-day spilled over into the Ides of March as I found a newly released cache Pi-dagen 2015 the morning after the official pi-day unlike a team who shall be nameless who logged it a year ago. 🙂





Bear Lake

9 03 2015

I completed the 366 dates of the year challenge a couple of years ago but decided late last year in a moment of boredom that I could at least have two finds as a minimum on every date. If I didn’t miss any dates, even though that’s unlikely, I should be able to complete the second round on 29th February 2016, another leap year. Theoretically I should easily have been able to find a cache on the few dates each month where I have gaps but life tends to get in the way and I still have plenty of dates to work on. I started with 64 dates and have now whittled that down to twenty five.

Yesterday was one such day so I decided to look for not one cache, but seven on the mystery trail around Björsjön or in geocaching terms Bear Lake. It wasn’t a day with 13 C and sun that SMHI forecast a couple of days ago but it was around 10C and cloudy which was still quite pleasant for walking.

MadChicken placed a series of caches around the lake late last year and after solving a couple of the easy mysteries I decided that I would wait until I had solved them all before going out to the lake. Two of the caches are still on my unsolved list but I decided to go out to the lake anyway. On some days it is not possible to drive to the lake and on others it is. Today the barrier at the Järvsta end of the road was up so I drove in and parked close to the first trail head. What struck me most was that there was no snow, or very little at least, in the forest. Some short stretches of path had some ice on them where the snow had been packed by walkers but otherwise it was dry underfoot.

A snow free forest at the beginning of March

A snow free forest at the beginning of March

The first cache was Bear Lake #9 – Blues Brothers which told me I was doing the series in reverse! It was quickly located even if my GPS pointed me a little off GZ. As I approached Bear Lake #8 – Battlefield I realized why. The batteries were dying and that’s why the coords were way out. A fresh set of batteries cured that problem. I was busy changing batteries as I skirted a fallen tree so wasn’t really looking around me. I turned back after about ten meters and saw that I had walked under a fallen tree that was precariously leaning against a tree by the path. It could easily have fallen in the one of the many gusts of wind that yesterday brought with it. Beware, you who walk here in the next few days.

Don't walk under the tree!

Don’t walk under the tree!

Cache finds three and four for the day Bear Lake #7 – Picross II and Bear Lake #4 – C64 demanded a good search method as they were also not quite where my GPS was pointing, but nonetheless easy to spot when you looked in the right direction. The only hinder on the way was a bridge of sorts over a fast flowing stream that was more than half a meter deep. Luckily none of the tree trunks rotated or slipped so I got to the other side without getting wet.

Rather rickety bridge

Rather rickety bridge

This was where the fun stopped though. The remaining three caches in the series that I had solved had not been entered onto my GPS correctly which was quite evident from where the GPS was pointing me as it differed completely from what I remembered seeing on the map after I had solved the mysteries. Never mind. I enjoyed the walk which took me about an hour including the time needed to hunt for the caches and will come back here again after solving the final two mysteries. I can then log all five caches that remain.

I look forward to seeing more trails like this and of course now that more paths are open after the winter I will continue to build on my series in Hemlingby, the last one being Hemlingby Trail #13 – Child Proof





April Fools Day Magical Mystery Tour

1 04 2013

I blame it all on SR88 but he’s not to know it. During the Earth hour event on the 23rd March I was talking to SR88 and Jetoma among others and they told me about the caching trip that they had made to Uppsala and a couple of really great caches that were worth visiting. Of course, with it being these two guys, aided and abetted by Jaol84, I knew that they weren’t talking about D1/T1 caches, oh no!

We were talking about:
On the mountain
Brutal Betong Extreme
XMAS2012U – 23 Julfirandet

As the rest of our little group were there as well – Slas, Madchicken72 and Ironhawk67 we decided to visit Uppsala on Easter Monday which just happened to be April Fools Day. We needed a name for the Team so taking the initials from our nicks in alaphabetical order gave us Team DIMS. I don’t know exactly what there is about the name but it doesn’t sound quite right. 🙂

Anyway, as is our want we met outside Slas’ place where he had encouraged !mrc! to join in the fun. So off we went south towards Uppsala. I had read about an interesting cache called Not for cowards in Husby. As it was only a few kilometers off the E4 we made the detour where stage 1 went like a dance, even if we had no idea what we were supposed to make of the clues we obtained. Mulling over the information since then has given a couple of leads but if you are reading this vw bus a hint would be fine, thank you.

The tour then continued on down the E4 and then in a big loop through Storvreta and onto back roads crossing road 288 near Rimbo and on to the “X” series of mystery caches placed by Team Ese. All but Mönster which seems to be a mystery where luck seems to play a large part of the solution were solved and found.

We had previously had great fun in the “pheasant farm” but afterwards I was a bit dubious about letting Madchicken72 and Ironhawk67 back into the car as they were cackling and smelt like their relatives after roosting in the loft of the farm for a while. I suspect that they picked up avian influensa as their behaviour after the visit changed considerably.

Our first stop in Uppsala took us to what looked like the site of the next episode of “Arga snickare”. I just can’t believe that anyone could start a renovation project on a house like this.

House for sale in need of renovation

House for sale in need of renovation

Not my idea of a dream kitchen

Not my idea of a dream kitchen

The day progressed well and we picked up another handful of mystery caches and a couple of challenges before eating a huge pizza or kebab in the exotic location of Gottsunda where we felt we were in another country. It was a slight tactical mistake as we then continued on over to the south west of Uppsala where Slas and I spent a fun hour abseilling down the “Preachers chair” known to geocachers as XMAS2012U – 23 Julfirandet

Our target for the day was the cache On the mountain which we decided to do after dark, not that it really makes a difference as it is dark underground all the time. To pass the time we hunted down a few traditional caches with high favourite points that included Baksidan, Dirty Dancing and XMAS2011U 14 Rörigt.

So what is so special about “On the mountain”? Well firstly the mystery itself is diabolical and demanded many hours of researching and the frustrating use of tools that crashed except if used with Windows 7. I won’t say any more, but I really enjoyed some of the side tracks that I ended up on. The cache itself was located underground and I love old cold war installations in Sweden, of which there are hundreds all over the country. Most are now being filled in so it’s a case of getting to them before they disappear.

In this case it seems that we were in a storage facility for the Swedish Government’s archive, or perhaps one of them. Who knows! Obviously it was empty and in the process of being decomissioned but was a great playgrond for the cache.

I would have loved to see what was on the other side

I would have loved to see what was on the other side

In god condition

In good condition

Keys needed to operate

Keys needed to operate

We didn't hear anything but the Tannoys were huge

We didn’t hear anything but the Tannoys were huge

Plenty of little dors to open

Plenty of little dors to open

To end the day we decided to visit Imse vimse spindell. Ironhawk67 wanted us to get there on road 288 but Madchiecken72 wanted us to take the Google route otherwise known as “how the crows flies” (another relative). We parked our cars in the middle of the field we ended up in and walked the rest of the way to the cache.

A great way to end the day wich resulted in finding 5 traditionals and twenty two mysterys. I was most pleased with finding XMAS2011U – 23 Julfirandet as it filled in an empty cell in the D/T matrix, so I now only have three emty cells to fill and it doesn’t seem impossible any longer. Maybe this will be the year I will do it.








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