gordon.dewis.ca - Random musings from Gordon


Archive for August 2010

Cottenham, Cambridge and Southend-on-Sea

August 24, 2010 @ 12:58 By: gordon Category: UK Trip 2010

imageI spent four days with Rob, Yuki, Lisa and Emma after Rob and I arrived back from Scotland and Hadrian’s Wall country. Rob had to work the first couple of days so I hung out with Yuki and the girls.

On the first day, we headed into Cambridge to take the girls to a fun fair that was in town. After the fun fair we wandered around Cambridge for a bit, including going to an old-fashioned candy store where the phrase “like a kid in a candy store” was demonstrated by more than one of us.


The start of a busy four days: Hadrian’s Wall

August 14, 2010 @ 23:35 By: gordon Category: Geocaching, Photography, Travelling, UK Trip 2010

Rob and I bid farewell to Scotland on the Tuesday after the Mega Scotland 2010 event and set out for Hexham in Northumberland. We followed the A68 most of the way. At one point, we headed off to try and find the Waterloo monument, which we saw from afar but never found the road to the parking lot for it. We did, however, see it in the distance from the end of a long farm road.


We paused at the Scotland-England border to take the obligatory border photos and find a geocache.

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I hate nanocaches

August 10, 2010 @ 04:29 By: gordon Category: Geocaching, UK Trip 2010

image After returning to the campground, we bumped into Fishteers, the geocacher that we had met at GC1WVG1 earlier in the afternoon. He asked us if we had tried to find The Good Green Doctor (GC1AX6W), which we hadn’t. He’d tried to find it earlier in the day, yet despite some fairly intensive searching, wasn’t able to find it, even though a number of other people had.

That sounded like a challenge to me, so I said “Well, let’s go find it now” and with that we hopped into Fishteer’s car and off we went.

The cache container was one of the tiny magnetic containers about the size of two or three hearing aid batteries and it was supposedly stuck to the metal fence behind a bust of a local doctor. As we were driving up, we watched as a couple of teenage girls adorned the bust with silly string.

Parking the car, we approached the cache’s supposed location and started a methodical search of the area. At one point a local dog walker asked us if we’d found it and said that most people seemed to be finding it to the left, where we had already looked. We thanked him and continued our search, spending extra time looking where he pointed.

After an hour’s searching, we admitted defeat and headed back to the camp.

Some other cachers who had found it said that the magnet wasn’t working, so they had tucked it into a crevice in the wall near the end of the fence. Even when Rob and I took a second stab at it the next day, we couldn’t find it.

I figure that it fell into the leaf litter behind the wall and being both black and the size of the eraser on the end of a pencil it’s gone for good.

There seem to be a number of these magnetic nanocaches in the UK. I’ve logged more of them than I have in the last couple of years of caching in Canada. The frustrating thing is that many of them could just as easily have been 35mm film canisters without causing any problems.

Another day, another geocaching event and my 500th find

August 07, 2010 @ 19:40 By: gordon Category: Geocaching, UK Trip 2010

Monday saw yet another geocaching event at the campsite, this one the Bun and Brew to Recover from the Post Mega Blues (GC28DDX). I started the day with 494 finds and had thought it would be fun to find 5 caches to bring me to 499 and make the Bun and Brew my 500th cache.

Naturally, this didn’t happen. Instead, Rob and I returned our kilts to the kilt store and then headed back to the campsite to go to the event. I met some more UK cachers and said farewell to some that I’d gotten to know over the last couple of days.

Heading out from the event, we went to the Leisure Centre next door to the Mega Scotland 2010 event location in Perth. The facility was pretty impressive with two waterslides that had sections that went outside the building, a giant pool part of which extended outside and had a curved section that had high-power water jets that sped the water along at high speed. Lots of people and lots of fun!

After the pool, we headed out to do a few more geocaches and I got behind the wheel for the first time in the UK. It didn’t take too long to get sort of used to driving on the left side of the road. The biggest obstacle to overcome was not finding the rear-view mirror where it should have been.

We found three geocaches before deciding to head back to the campground in Kinross, bringing me to 498 finds. After stopping at the Sainsbury’s in Kinross, we stopped to find a microcache at a nearby church (GC1WVG1) that we’d driven by a number of times during the last few days.

Finding the cache wasn’t terribly difficult and we bumped into one of the cachers from the campsite. When he heard that I now had 499 finds, he recommended a couple of geocaches not too far from the Sainsbury’s, so off we went.

My 500th geocache was Barts Road (GC2AF63), a geocache similar to my First Deacon of Golden Lake (GCW5JH) except with the added challenges of thorns and nettles. Logging the cache, we decided to do one more geocache – Welcome to Kinross (GC2AF5Q) – before heading back to the campground.

The Post-Mega Blues

August 06, 2010 @ 18:25 By: gordon Category: Geocaching, UK Trip 2010

image On the Sunday following the Mega Scotland 2010 event, Rob and I headed in to Edinburgh for some sight seeing. Driving to Edinburgh involved crossing the Forth Road Bridge (also Wikipedia), which parallels the Forth Railway Bridge. I visited the little town of North Queensferry, which is at the north end of the rail bridge, on my first trip to the UK, so it was interesting to see the area from a different perspective.

Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland and it’s steeped in history. The Edinburgh Castle dominates the skyline and some many of the buildings are hundreds of years old.

After finding somewhere to park, we headed up to The Grassmarket and stopped in at Mamma’s American Pizza Co. for a most-excellent pizza. We then continued on our way and eventually found ourselves on High Street.

Stopping in at a few shops on High Street, we came across Royal Mile Whiskies.

We spent a bit of time in this store. I was trying to find a special bottle of whiskey on behalf of my dragonboat team and Rob was trying to find something to put in his brand new Clan MacKenzie mini-flask.

One of the salesmen spent quite a bit of time helping me find the right bottle, which included sampling a very good whiskey or two along the way. (Hey, I didn’t want to be rude!)

20100801-IMG_2847 Just as we were leaving, it started to rain.

We had been watching the rain approaching from the Firth of Forth, so we weren’t terribly surprised by this.

We continued up the street to the castle, stopping in to see how tartan cloth is actually woven, buy a few souvenirs and hide from the heavy rain.

Carrying on from there, we went to find the Crag & Tail (GCHXMH) geocache about halfway down the side of the hill the castle sits atop. Naturally, there were some nettles in the vicinity of the cache, but fortunately we avoided most of them.


We made our way back to the car and headed back towards our campsite in Kinross, just in time for yet another geocaching event, this time the Yorkshire Day, Away event cache (GC2B8N7), which was hosted by a number of geocachers from Yorkshire.

As with the other gatherings of geocachers at the campground, it was great getting to know some of the other UK cachers.

Mega events, mega sewers, and “Hey, what’s in your sporran?”

August 05, 2010 @ 15:53 By: gordon Category: Geocaching, UK Trip 2010

One of the reasons I decided to visit the UK this summer was to attend the Mega Scotland 2010 geocaching event (GC1XDQ0) in Perth, Scotland.

As I mentioned in my last post, we arrived at the campground much later than we had planned. After setting up our tent, we did manage to meet a few other geocachers attending the Mega and most of them were quite impressed with the fact that I had a) come all the way from Canada, and b) driven up from London.

On Saturday, we staggered out of bed and headed to the mega event location in Perth. It was in a large community centre that normally has a curling rink and indoor lawn bowling green in it. We checked in and picked up our swag and roamed around the venue checking things out.

The travel bug table was covered in weird and wonderful travel bugs and there were dozens of people madly writing down the TB numbers. Getting between them and the table was a bit like getting between a pack of hungry dogs and a rabbit – a serious undertaking.

We also checked out the various vendors who were selling everything from containers to geocoins and everything in between.

At some point we grabbed breakfast before heading out to pick up our kilts from the kilt store (more on this in a bit).


Lies, damned lies and traffic jams: Driving to Scotland

August 03, 2010 @ 13:43 By: gordon Category: Out and about, UK Trip 2010

So, my flight from Ottawa to England was uneventful (generally, the best type of flight) and I was even able to sleep a bit. and we arrived about half an hour ahead of schedule. Clearing immigration and customs was the least painless experience I’ve ever had and I was basically standing on the sidewalk within five to ten minutes of joining the queue. Even the baggage retrieval was fast.

I called Rob on my cellphone and he gave me a “talk-in” to where he was parked and we were on our way.

According to all the route planning thingies, the trip from Heathrow Airport to Perth, Scotland takes 7 hours and 10 minutes. The most charitable way we can describe their accuracy, based on our experience, is with the phrase “they lie”.