gordon.dewis.ca - Random musings from Gordon


Archive for the ‘Geocaching’

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).


And so it begins…

July 29, 2010 @ 20:56 By: gordon Category: Geocaching, Travelling, UK Trip 2010

…my UK 2010 trip, that is!

It’s been about five and half years since I was last in the UK. That was my “Gone to England for a Pint, Back on Sunday” trip that saw me take a long weekend to visit my friends Rob & Yuki. (You can see all the posts related to that trip in the UK Trip 2004 categ

I’ve been itching to get back to the UK for a couple of years now, so when I saw the Mega Scotland 2010 geocaching event in Perth on the geocaching.com website, I bit the bullet and signed up.

So now I’m sitting at Gate 14 at YOW waiting for the overnight flight to London. After clearing customs sometime tomorrow morning, I’m meeting up with Rob and we’re setting off on a 7-hour drive to Perth in Scotland. We’re planning on camping in Perthshire for a few days, doing some geocaching, and attending the mega event (of course!). After the event, we may walk a section of Hadrian’s Wall, or at least explore the some of the Roman forts along part of the Wall.

After that, who knows? Rob probably has to go back to work at some point, so I may spend a few days with them before heading off for parts unknown.

An update on the mass archiving of geocaches in Gatineau Park: It’s not as bad as it seems (and an apology)

June 03, 2010 @ 23:51 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, Geocaching

A couple of days ago, I wrote about the imminent archiving of about 300 geocaches in Gatineau Park. Based on the information being provided by one of the geocache reviewers based in/near Quebec City who is responsible for caches in western Quebec, it appeared that the NCC had requested the removal of all geocaches in Gatineau Park before the end of June. The reviewer in question sent an email to all owners of geocaches in Gatineau Park that contained the following:

The National Capital Commission (NCC) wishes to control Geocaching in the Gatineau Park.  Therefore, it is currently setting a procedure for caches within its territory, and is asking geocachers to archive all caches in the park.  They are requesting the cooperation of concerned geocachers to pick up all the containers.

Since then it has been determined that the National Capital Commission has contacted neither Groundspeak (the company that runs geocaching.com) nor the reviewer in question. Rather, the reviewer apparently took it upon himself to issue the email, without actually reading the Gatineau Park Ecosystem Conservation Plan.

The local geocache community is, to say the least, extremely unimpressed. The actions of the reviewer have seriously undermined the confidence some cachers have in the reviewer system in general, and in the reviewer in question specifically. Especially in the reviewer.

There have been some calls to have Gatineau Park removed from the area of responsibility of the reviewer in question and given to a reviewer who lives closer to the national capital region. Personally, I think there’s merit to this suggestion and hope that this is what happens. There two or three reviewers who are closer to the national capital region who would be good fits, though one is active in the local geocaching community so they might be too close. But either of the other two would be good choices.

I’m glad that the NCC isn’t the culprit in all this. Regardless, they’ve probably taken some flack that they don’t deserve. I tried to be fairly restrained in my previous blog entry about this topic, but I still pointed the finger at them and for that I apologize.

There are still some geocaches that are going to have to be removed because they’re in integral compensation zone (ICZ), but the number of affected geocaches is around 40, and nowhere near 300.

Hopefully, the local geocaching community and the NCC can work together with respect to geocaching in Gatineau Park. I know that I, for one, am interested in this and I’m almost certain that other members of the geocaching community are, too.