The Sketch

A rather windy bank holiday weekend up north, and for us a whole new caching experience, three whole degrees north of our normal haunts. South Shields is quite well endowed on the caching front, so it proved to be a fairly busy weekend. We’d driven up on Friday night, as we normally do. We had no particular plans other than passing the time in the company of family.

The caching was all completed on Sunday and Monday. Saturday involved one complete failure, Coast Cache, which was supposed to be in the nearby Cornthwaite Park in Whitburn. It was obvious where it should have been, but it was equally obvious that it wasn’t there.

A Breezy Sunday Morning

So on to Sunday morning. Weather conditions were untypical for August, although maybe common for August in South Shields. By which I mean it was howling a gale and freezing cold. One jumper each was not enough really. The kids were complaining. We initially tried up on Marsden Leys as there are a whole stack of Earthcaches down there – see below. It was way too cold with the kids in tow though.

So we adopted Plan B, which involved doing Rattler by brandywine as a drive by (it is quite close to the coast road), and then heading for nearby Cleadon for a couple of interesting looking activities.

Firstly, Cleadon Pond Earthcache by Pie Man. This is an Earthcache. “What’s that?” I hear you say. It’s one where you have to do some activities and answer some questions that are only available from visiting the site. Then you post a log and Bob’s your proverbial. It’s all about geosciences. Which is kinda my thing.

Next came Cleadon’s Nursery by vicarvernon. This is a traditional cache and it proved to be right outside Nonny’s old workplace – the travel agent in Cleadon. Cool. It was a nice easy little find for the girls.

And that was us for the morning. We had other appointments. Mainly, we were dropping the kids off with Dennis and Linda for the afternoon and evening, thereby making a free afternoon and morning to spend as a couple.

A Child-Free Afternoon

Obviously we decided to use it by doing more caches. OK, it was cold-ish and windy, but that was mainly a problem for the kids. We are made of tougher stuff and, in Kev’s case anyway, we are much less likely to get blown away by the wind. We therefore decided to go for some altitude, and a walk from Whitburn up to Cleadon Hill Earthcache by seahorses2_uk looked a good bet. This Earthcache thing seems like a good idea. For this one you have to count some bits of geology and send in a photo.

On the way back to the car we picked up Geocaching 10 Years by Munkeh. A cunning little hide in a hedge. We had some issues with selecting the correct hedge due to having typed the coordinates into the GPS wrongly and following them until it was obvious we were a long way from anything appropriate. Doh! But once we had the correct coordinates it was a fairly easy one to locate.

So back to the Earthcaches. As mentioned above there are a stack (pardon the pun) of them along Marsden Leys, each requiring you to read a few bits of info off the information board and submit a photo. Marsden Rock Earthcache by Pie Man was the first we tried.

Camel Island by Munkeh came next and then Frenchman’s Bay by jackflet44. All were pretty similar but it is good to do them all in one go anyway. The information signs are good because this is National Trust managed, so they have gone out of their way to cover the proper geology and history associated with each location.

Five Earthcaches in one day must be a bit of a record, I think, especially for us, having not done any before.

Monday, Monday

Monday morning saw us free once again and with an hour and a half to spare before having to fetch the kids back. More caching, I believe. So we drove up to the top of Marsden Leys to attack Norwegian Blue  and INVASION! , both by brandywine. They are close to each other so it didn’t take much time to do, although it is a fairly busy muggle and doggle zone.

We still had a bit of time left and weren’t quite sure what to do so we decided to go looking for Newcastle Ferry TB & GC Hotel by dubnut, which is over the other side of the river north of the ferry terminal. The idea is that you can chuck TBs into this one for travellers to take and move on. It is handily placed for the ferry terminal so should hopefully attract some overseas traffic, particularly of the Scandinavian persuasion, given that it’s where all the ferries go to. The only problem was that it took us somewhat longer than we hoped. The traffic was bad, we parked in a bad place and then had to move, and then on the way back the traffic was still bad. We ended up over half an hour late to get the kids back, not that they really noticed or cared.