The Sketch

I’d managed to persuade Izzy to come out caching with me, so after a quickish breakfast of cereals and toast we all piled into Dr Evil and headed off for my chosen target of Queensferry. I picked there mainly because there was a short circular route that would suit Izzy and myself for the morning, and then a longer walking route alongside the River Dee back into Chester. Kas needed to spend some of her afternoon in Chester at the racecourse sorting out running stuff as her race pack hadn’t arrived, plus she’d entered the girls into the mini-marathon too, so she had a fair amount to do in the afternoon. In the morning, her and Ami were happy to go and drink posh coffee, eat cakes and read books. Fair enough.

Famous Cyclists

Kas dropped us off in the car park of Phil’s garage in Queensferry – Lindop Brothers Toyota, which was very handily placed for starting the walk I’d planned with Izzy. I’d measured the walk at about 5 miles, which is enough for Izzy in one go, but as ever I completely underestimated and we ended up walking nearly 6 miles, as you can see from the Caching Morning Near Chester Garmin Track. Izzy did remarkably well. We reached the high 20s in cache finds on the walk, but I was quite disappointed as many of them were in need of maintenance and there were three we completely missed. Most of these caches were from the Famous Cyclists series.

The weird highlight was probably the “Sidetracked” cache at Hawarden Bridge Station. When I say “highlight”, in mean it was a strange place. There seemed to be absolutely no reason whatsoever for putting a station at this point. The station has no building and we couldn’t find a car park. There is no ticket office or machines. There are just two concrete platforms either side of two rather overgrown railway tracks. OK, so there’s a view onto a fairly impressive bridge at one end. Hell, it took us nearly 10 minutes just to figure out how to get onto the platform. And there’s a geocache called SideTracked : Hawarden Bridge. It was a 35mm film pot stuck in the top of a concrete post.

A Less-Than Relaxing Lunch

We looped back around towards the impressively named Garden City and called Kas about meeting us at a pub we’d found earlier as she dropped us off. I haven’t been into a pub like that for quite some time. I suspect it will be quite some more time before I go in one again. The staff seemed friendly enough but the facilities were basic, to say the least, plus when we arrived the place was full of a children’s birthday party, several of whose invitees seemed to suffer from an advanced form of ADHD. Maybe it’s just that we are blessed with kids who aren’t particularly boisterous. Ours generally calm down when you ask them to. But from my perspective these were some kids that needed some serious chill-therapy. I was quite glad to get out.

Whilst still parked up at the pub we all walked over to the Blue Bridge to find another geocache and on the way back we split up – I had about 6 miles ( look at my Caching Afternoon Near Chester Garmin Track ) to walk in a near straight line to get back to Chester and Kas promised to take the girls to a nearby soft play place for a couple of hours before retiring to the racecourse to do the race preparation gubbins.

A Theme is Developing Here

In the event the girls didn’t get their 2 hours at soft play, even though Kas paid for them. They had about half an hour before they managed to elicit some unwanted attention from a group of local children. The mother of said children took it upon herself to walk over to our already crying child and hurl a torrent of verbal abuse directly at her. Whilst she was doing this her three daughters were standing in a line behind. They were pulling that face that children pull on children’s TV programmes when they’ve just duped a parent into making an arse of themselves.

Anyway, Kas issued a few choice words in return but by that time the girls were too upset to be bothered with staying, so they decided to leave early for Chester. Kas texted me as I was at the furthest point I was going to get from any roads all afternoon. A couple of exchanges of text and I was good to continue but it did put me in a bit of a grump all afternoon until I met up with them again.

Some Actual Caching

Aside from that the geocaching walk back into Chester was fairly quick and fruitful. There’s a cycle path that runs alongside the straightened section of the river. Most of the caches were either on features of the cycle path or were just down the slope. I think the cycle path is on what Americans would call a levee. No sign of any Chevvys being driven to this one though. And in Wales in October the levees are most definitely not dry.

By the time I reached England I was about on my last legs. Well, by this time I’d walked about 11 miles over 6 hours. I figured I had a right to ache a bit. From here I could quite clearly hear that there was a match going on at the Deva Stadium – which peculiarly is sited in Wales all except for the back of the main stand and the car park, which are in England. How very strange. From this point I still had about a mile and a half and another 10 caches to go.

When I got back to Chester Racecourse I found Kas sitting outside a fairly swish looking bar with a big playground wooden ship in the garden. The kids had seemingly recovered from their ordeal and were enjoying the afternoon sunshine. Kas was downing some coffees and reading some more of her book. I went for a beer. I felt I’d earned one.

Time for Recovery

Once I’d finished caching we’d booked a meal at a nearby Zizzi’s but we were itching to get on with it so we turned up a bit early. They managed to sit us down a bit early too and I treated myself to an enormous cornish pasty. It was proper pukka.

After which we drove back home again. There was just time to fasten the numbers to everyone’s running shirts for the following morning before putting the kids to bed. I include Kas in with the kids there as she needed an early night. I stopped up to watch Match of the Day and log a few of the caches. Most were quite quick logs of the “Quick Easy Find” variety. My logs tend not to be particularly exciting. Especially those from days like this, as the caches were all much of a muchness. And anyway, I don’t really go caching so that I can spend ages typing the logs up.

The caches I found on this day, plus the handful found on Sunday, were :