First in series GC4CCB6 Completed on 23/11/2013
The circular series begins from a little place called Shelfield in Warwickshire, about halfway between Redditch and Stratford Upon Avon, it consists of 70 caches plus a few others on the 17 mile or so route. The trail is mainly footpaths and the occasional quiet road section. There is some really nice countryside along the route and great views to enjoy. It is generally flat but there are some inclines but nothing really that hard going. The series has been put out in 6 sections and when I walked it there was a distance of about 1.5 miles from the last cache back to the parking place, perhaps in time this will be filled in with a 7th section!
As usual I was out with Pip, it took us about an hour and a half to drive up from Wiltshire leaving home in the dark and arriving just after sunrise. I calculated that we should have been able to get around all the caches and back to the car before dusk but it was going to be very tight. The weather the whole day was suberb, although a little chilly when we set off first thing, we soon warmed up in the sunshine which lasted the whole day.
Amongst the 70 caches, 52 are rated difficulty 2/2.5, 13 are rated 3/ 3.5, 2 are 4 star and 1 is a 5 star difficulty cache so I knew from the outset that some were going to require some time at GZ to locate. I decided to spend no more than a couple of minutes hunting at each cache no matter how tempted I may be to stay longer. A long search at any of the caches would ensure the last section would be completed in darkness.
I pretty much stuck to 3 minute rule, occasionally going a bit over as I had “just one more look” so I did come away with 5 dnf’s which I was happy with and not at all disappointed in. Many of the finds are quick but several match the star rating they are given. There are some very ingenious hiding places so you need to think outside of the box, check out the number of logs that say I looked in the obvious place but it wasn’t there. There’s a good variety of caches in the series, not all the standard film pot cannister that can often be the case on a big series.
Despite my careful calculations, I failed to make it around in day light. In fact the last couple of miles we lit by torch light, quite a different experience walking muddy footpaths in the dark accompanied by the sound of owls and other woodland animals which spooked Pip as the rustled in the bushes. Before dark fell, there was a spectacular sunset which I watched from the top of a hill.
In winter you’ll need to wear good boots as it is a bit muddy and wet in places but I love a bit of mud every now and again. A great series which goes on my recommended list.