Posts Tagged ‘Geocaching’

Yes, it really is me, back after a disgracefully lengthy absence! I cannot even lie and tell you that I have been off on a deserted island without Internet access. I have actually been burrowed away waiting for the advent of spring. I don’t like venturing out until the first Daffodil peeps above the frozen ground! Really, I am that bad and cannot abide the cold. Then why on earth am I heading to the north of the border when a couple of days ago they were fishing some unfortunate souls out of snow drifts?
Well, it is in honour of hubbies 50th birthday. I thought that as he had reached his first half century he definitely deserved a good send-off, and bought him a four-day trip from one end of Scotland to the other in a beautiful sea cutter – to us land-lubbers that is a sailboat with a few masts!
Rather than wait ashore like other good sailors wives, I decided to go on a road trip and drop him in one port and fetch him at the other – that means that he really does have a girl in every port! Arg arg me ‘earties….(sorry).
We headed out in the morning to start a very leisurely three-day trip to the port in Inverness. Day one saw us meandering around Cumbria and towards Hadrian’s wall. This was the first time we actually went into one of the forts and we had a fabulous time looking around Birdoswald fort. Although the weather was overcast, at least it was dry and that was a first as every other time it has been pouring down. The terrain was a doddle in my K-2 and the biggest problem was dodging the sheep droppings all over the place! Oh well, more wheel cleaning after hubby failed to avoid a few piles whilst admiring the view!

A great day out…. Next stop border reiver country!

Braveheart here we come….

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Not every holiday can have perfect weather and for late October, we were very fortunate, on day 10 we decided to go off to the Dordogne for a boat trip on the river.  Of course, you guessed it, of all days, this was when it decided to open up the heavens and pour down on us and our lovely trip down the river turned into a pizza and drinks at the local bar in La Roque Gageac.  As optimistic as I am, even I had to admit that the boat was not going anywhere that day.  Having come all this way, we couldn’t just turn around and go home so we headed for a little town close by that was highly recommended in the Dorling Kindersley guide to France. 

 Sarlat turned out to be one of the most beautiful towns I have ever been to and well worth a visit for all the incredible old buildings, shops and restaurants. 

While we were in Sarlat, we thought we would see if there were any Geocaches  in the vicinity without taking us too far off the beaten track.  Luckily for us someone had very kindly hidden a cache in the town itself and we had a wonderful time trying to translate the French instructions and then finding it and logging our visit in the book. 

Just take a look at this church entrance… I could not resist getting a picture of what has to be the largest door I have ever seen – no problem getting a wheelchair through this one!

So, what started out as a rather disappointing weather day, worked out rather well in the end….

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You might recall that we starting Geocaching recently and we thought that it might be fun to try find a treasure whilst in France.  My iPhone came in very handy for finding a local cache, translating the instructions and using the compass to point us in the right direction.  We selected one that had a very easy rating because the last thing we wanted was to get stuck in the wilds of France and not be able to speak the language to call out a rescue party!

We parked up as close to the site as we could and then it was on foot (and K-2) from there.  We had a good laugh with our non existent French and the dictionary and translation software, but eventually with a lot of pushing and shoving, the boys helped me negotiate the very overgrown path up the hill, across the clearing and through the thickets to the general location.  With me shouting directions from the compass, the two of them foraged around in the undergrowth and within a few minutes successfully located our cache. 

So, despite our language and physical disabilities, we all had a great sense of achievement for locating our first international cache.

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On a return visit to Rivington Hall Barn with hubby, son and daughter-in-law, they brought along a recently purchased iPhone 3Gs and were very excited to tell us about their newest hobby – Geocaching.  We have known about it for years but coming from Africa this was more about you, your 4×4 and the great outdoors.  I had not realised that it was also for urban adventurers just out for a stroll with baby in a smart new 3 wheeler and hot latte!  After showing us the application he had bought and how it identified caches in the area we thought that this was a perfect opportunity to try it out – after all we were here to go for a walk, so why not see if we could find some treasure at the same time.  Using the 3Gs and some software it was really easy to head in the direction of the first horde – who knew that you didn’t need an eye patch and parrot to find treasure!

While I stuck to the more established paths the family headed directly into the forest and stream in their quest for the hidden stash.  This was where the fun really began because the trees blocked much of the satellite signal and it kept changing its mind about the precise location.  After one shoe got swallowed up by the mud and had to be retrieved, and my daughter-in-law nearly becoming the next bog person for discovery by future generations, I was laughing hysterically from my dry and safe vantage point above the stream.  Eventually they admitted defeat and we decided to try for a tamer cache with less mud and risk to life and limb (well wellies and trainers anyway). 

The next cache was fairly close by and proved much more successful, and for me in a wheelchair it was easy as it was along a well-travelled pathway and just off the track.  This meant that I was able to participate in the discovery – until they needed to dig around the nettles and then I was obviously not able-bodied enough to assist!  After leaving a message in the book and trading one object for another of equally little value, we called it a day and headed back home.  

I think this may prove to be a very good way to build up my strength and at the same time enjoy the outdoors – hopefully our experiences will come in handy for other disabled geocachers. I have since found a great website at handicaching that allows you to rate each cache for ease of location and you can link back to the reviews from the main geocache website. With any luck, it will encourage a few other wheelchair users to be confident enough to try going off the beaten track; after all if I can do it then so can you!

Next cache here we come; arg, arg me maties…

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