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Saturday, 22 January 2011

A lesson learnt from a big mistake.

Last weekend I set out to do the HGH Series in Hapton, Lancashire.  Click HERE to view HGH1.  I made a silly mistake and didn't go prepared.  I had baggy jeans on, my new walking boots that I must say are brilliant, a bag with GPS, Camera, note pads, swag and a few other bits and bobs.  I also had a jacket on.  It was already raining and the wind was blowing a little, not that any of that bothered me.  I pulled up in the car and for some reason I thought I should put my camera in a plastic bag before putting it in my back pack.  THAT WAS MY FIRST MISTAKE!  Why on earth I thought I needed my camera I do not know (well actually I was going up a hill that is called 406 hill because its 406 meters high and I thought a few good snaps where on the cards!).

So I set off, picked up HGH20 first, supposed to be the last in the series but a few had done that first looking at the logs.  I then went up the country road and did HGH1, 2 and 3.  By this time I am thinking this is a bad idea, getting wetter by the second.  But I carried on, THIS WAS MY SECOND MISTAKE!  I went across a cattle grid where the road turned to a track.  A man in a van coming from the only house out here waved at me, probably thinking what a crazy fool I am to be out walking in the rain and wind.  I must admit I was rather enjoying myself but a few doubts started to kick in.  My camera is in a plastic bag, but at this point I have realised the backpack is totally not waterproof and my jeans where soaking up more water than a sponge!  To top it off my jacket was not water proof and I was starting to get a little chill (which isn't like me at all).  So at this point I started to think about what I was going to do.  Only about a mile into the good 5 mile walk I made a brave decision to turn back and admit defeat.  I then decided that HGH19 wasn't that much off the track I was going back on so I decided to pick that up as well PROBABLY MY THIRD MISTAKE!  So I got back to the car, soaking wet, looking a little like a drowned cat.  I got into the car and drove home.  When I got home I found out my camera has got wet, at this point I started to swear a little, then I dried it off and this is when mistake 1, 2 and 3 came into play.  The camera was broken.  Too wet to start up I was thinking I should never have gone out in this weather.  So I thought no worries its probably the batteries, I changed the batteries and it still didn't work, this is when I started to swear a lot, then I swore some more and then a little more.

I learnt a really important lesson on that day.  That was to be prepared for the environment and make sure you have all the equipment you need to do something like Geocaching.  Not only had I completely busted a £200.00 camera I had gotten totally drenched!

In my annoyance I decided that my Christmas money that I had would be spent on a few things to prevent this happening again.  You see Lorna and I said we wouldn;t buy anything for Christmas for each other and we would go shopping between Christmas and New Year, we where ill so this didn't happen and we said if we thought of anything we would buy each other the thing we thought of.  So my thought was this!

Well before I go into what I bought I have to say thank you very much to Kelly who I work with for getting an exchange for my camera as it was still under warranty.  She may not have told them 100% the truth of why it wasn't working but I feel that I work for that company as does she and the wages are not all that good! Haha my bonus!

Okay so this id what I bought:

Firstly I thought a good pair on waterproof trousers for when it rains.  I could just put them over my trousers (baggy jeans as well I am stupid enough to wear them again!).

The one good thing about the trousers is that they fold away into a bag almost as small as my GPS,  This means I can put them into my bag!  Oh hold on the none water proof bag, yep I bought one of them as well.  Probably the better buy of the three (jacket later is the third).  Here are the pictures.

First is the front.  It has loads of pockets, front and sides.  Also at the top.  I like the two loops at the bottom that can hold a walking stick each with a strip a bit further up to hold them in place.  I don't use them but I still like it!

This is the back.  It has two thick strips to distribute the weight and a strap to go round your body to give extra weight distribution.  And this strip also has another small pocket, maybe to keep your travel coins in!  Another great thing, that I haven't got to use yet is the small circle on the left of this picture.  Basically the bag will hold a drinks pouch and the tube comes out of the circle so.  This is so you don't have to carry bottles of drink with you.  Also this means you don't have to take off the backpack every time you need a drink as the tube goes over your shoulder.

This is the best part of it due to my recent experience with the British weather.  At the bottom is a small pocket that contains a waterproof suit to fit over the whole bag.  It is attached so you can never lose it.  It is also great if you where the leader of a group so that you can easily be seen when walking out in front.

And finally here is my water proof jacket that was a bargin.  I got it for £15.00 and it retails at about £50.00.  The one thing I like about this (appart from it been waterproof) is that it has adjustable cuffs.  So if you have gloves on you can strap the end of the jacket around the gloves to keep warmer.

In a nutshell I want to say that you really need to read up about walking in the middle of nowhere, and make sure you take the advise on board.  I did the good thing and read about it, but then I totally ignored it.  Not only did I ruin a £200.00 camera but I made what could be a good day into a bad one.  If I did go on and got onto the top of the hill (more like a mountain if you ask me) then I really could have put my life in danger.  I learnt the lesson the hard way, please don't do it my way and ask for advice on the Geocaching Forums or the GAGB Forums if you are not sure.  I was eager to get out there and that was my downfall.  I am now 100% kitted up for the elements and should be okay.  Remember always tell someone where you are going if its rural just in case!

Sorry this has been a long Blog post but I feel like this is really something you should consider when going out!  My three mistakes basically saying carry on and not knowing what the weather can do was my downfall.  Think about it!!!

Happy Caching!

Monday, 17 January 2011

Geopuzzle Project by res2100

I came across this post in the forums see HERE.  I found it really interesting that res2100 came up with a brilliant idea to make a giant hexagon mosaic.  First he set up a cache to pick up a hexagon and then a cache to drop off your hexagon when you had designed it.  From there he got a few people joining in and then put it up on the forums as well.  As you can see below it has really started to grow:

Hex Mosaic 1 - Early Stages

 Hex Mosaic 2 - A few more
Hex Mosaic 3 - Getting bigger now!

As you can see it is growing steadily and wanted to share with everyone because I thought it was a great idea.  If your interested in sending a Hexagon design then see res2100's website where you can download a template.  To do that click HERE.

Finally I thought I would share my design, soon to be on the mosaic itself when res2100 gets round to putting it on.
Of course I had to include the Team Claret Tigers Logo!

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Geocaching Challange

Well it was a really nice walk we had today but the wind was bitterly cold.  We where on track to hit the goal but we came across a little problem.  A big wall that stretched as far as the eye can see in both directions.  I think I missed it on google maps.  We where about ready for the return leg anyway.

I do however see this as a success.  It was pointed out to me on the GAGB forums that enjoy the walk and if you bag some caches its a bonus.  So with that mentality I feel I enjoyed the walk got a few snaps and really enjoyed it.  I don't think I will be setting myself any goals in the near future as I its about the enjoyment and getting the fitness to go that little bit further the next time and not always about the numbers.
A beautiful man made waterfall

The water looks calm but believe me the water is frozen and the wind is howling!

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Geocaching Challenge Day for Fermentum

Tomorrow I have set myself a little challenge.  This is to complete more caches in a day than I have previously.  Now a few of you may be wondering how many is that, well its a massive 4.  Yes just 4.  So tomorrow I am planning to go with Lorna and get at least 5 and raise the bar a little.  I know 5 is nothing compared to most but with 19 finds getting 5 in a day is quite an achievement.

There is a few reasons I wanted to set this little challenge.  And these are as follows:

1) I just bought some really good walking boots today with a little Christmas money from family.  Yeah thats right I am getting all the proper kit and everything now!

2) I really want to get a few miles logged onto the Mileage Competition we are having on GAGB.

3) I have an aim to find 100 caches in the year 2011.  Only 99 to go!  I really want to be able to fulfil this task and have to raise the bar of finds but I thought no need to have something too high.

4) A lose weight and get fit new years resolution.  I know you have probably heard about 50 people say this already but sorry I am another.  Really want to do this and think caching is a good enjoyable way of doing it.

5) I LOVE CACHING!  Okay I haven't got many finds but they are slowly increasing.

I will let you know how it goes in the next update!

UK Mileage Competition (Just for Fun)

As some of you may have read a while back I said I was going to be helping out with the stats and graphs for the mileage competition Jacaru set up on the GAGB forums.  Well we are at the end of the first week and here is a look at the week one totals that I completed sometime last night.
Total Mileage after Week 1

As you can see lots of miles in the first week of the year.  I know its hard to see properly due to the size of the picture but please go to GAGB forums to see better pictures HERE.  I am disappointed with myself as I didn't register a single mile even though I did get one cache (because that is my starting point).  I really pushed myself to do one to get the brilliant I Heart Caching coin moved, which I picked up in Beverley near Hull.  I managed to move it about 85 miles which I am pleased with and as I said previously it is my first ever trackable move!  This is also my first post of the year.  HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!