The age old debate of quantity versus quality. I’m happily pitched in the quality camp. Happy to go above and beyond for a special cache. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the odd flirtation with chasing numbers. (Such a floozy!😉)
Occasionally it is enjoyable to spend a day completing a trail and satisfying of course to watch your numbers gradually rise.
Having been caching most days now for the best part of a year on my calendar quest, it’s fair to say that some of the caches I’ve found have been caches for caches sake. ‘Wow! How lovely of you to bring me to this lay-by beside the tip.’
It’s these caches that come March I will be more than happy to ignore.
Equally however I should point out that I’ve been recently dabbling in power trails. My friend, a lover of stats gets the rewards in seeing her numbers fly and we both love a good walk, cache and chat. Mostly I’m using my GPS so have no idea of the progress we’ve made until later on a text arrives from my far more organised friend with the day’s stat rundown.
Generally I don’t pay a whole heap of attention to my stats page, it’s all about the calendar. However the other day I caught a glimpse of my total of finds for the year. With a quick tot up I realised that I stood to end 2015 with a total finds of 951 finds for the year.
Tantalisingly close to a nice round 1000.
Hmm. Could I?
Had it have been 950, that would have been marvellous but 951, just enough to ever so slightly bug me…yep I’m one of those people who has to have the TV volume on an even number – totally normal yes? 😉
I had to text my stat loving friend.
She’d understand right?
I was merely Threatened with a painful death if I was to even think about attacking the trails without her.
(OK, artistic license but you get the idea.) 😉
Twitter however understood my anguish, and probably realised that I was daft enough to attempt the extra caches needed for that elusive total.
But then the following day, much to my surprise, I awoke and was sensible. 😳
Or more truthfully still very much in post Christmas lazy mode and maybe a little bit that I’m so Christmas fat I can barely move. *Dunks a mince pie into a glass of cream.*
Having the day before visited a friend who lives in a neighbouring county, we needed to whizz back again to collect something one of the children had left behind. Time of course to scour the maps to see what caches were achievable in her area.
It was then I spotted a cache that had been on my to-do list for ages.
A very old cache placed back in 2001. Ooh! Jasmer!
(I’m kidding..that’s never going to happen!)
A cache placed on the historic site, Bartlow Hills. A series of Roman burial mounds, the tallest being the highest barrow in the country. You can read more about the excavation here.
Trying my hardest not to think about that totally irritating number, I was determined that quality was going to emerge victorious.
With an initial faff we failed to find a place to park. Navigating narrow but stunning country lanes, lined with the types of chocolate box houses that set my heart a flutter.
I could barely contain my pleasure as I gleefully exclaimed to the children ‘Check out the herringbone on that!’
Getting the inevitable eye roll in response. Weirdos. 😉
Eventually a space became available by the village church and my map showed a perfect footpath leading to the site.
As we were walking through the church yard my brain finally caught up. Hmm, where there’s a church, there’s normally a church micro!
Sure enough with a switch of my screen we were due to walk straight past it in mere moments. As I read out the hint to the children, my second look of disdain for the day.
My daughter had already found it. That’s my girl.
The footpath narrowing down to a small alley of ancient trees and private estate walls, providing the perfect atmosphere to tease our curiosity further.
The path continuing past an old abandoned railway line. Exactly the type of place we like to explore, unfortunately however fenced off.
Then the site itself. As we turned the corner to view the three majestic mounds in front of us. The children were off. Racing to explore.
I love it when that happens.
Of course they headed straight to the largest barrow and scaled the steps quickly. A great view from the top across the other mounds and the traces you can see of a fourth, now sadly overgrown.
Historically seven mounds in total. Three were flattened to make way for the railway line, which itself is now abandoned.
*shakes head in disbelief*
Once at the top the children suddenly curious of what was beneath their feet.
I’d previously told them they were burial mounds, which was now a sudden cause for deliberation.
I kindly reassured them the mound was ‘Full of dead Romans…just watch out for that big hole team….’ 😉
We then went down to read the information boards, where I was quickly exposed as a fraudulent tease. To be honest though I think they prefered it being an impressive heap of Romans.
All this excitement and still we were yet to find the cache. Following the path out of the site to a small tree lined path and a quick find of a rather delightful ammo can. To my horror a recent cacher had logged that they had accessed this cache from the lane nearby as a cache and dash.
What a missed opportunity. I think W.H Davies has this one covered though…
“A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.”
With our business complete, back to fun and discovery. As the children explored the smaller barrows, lots of tricky challenge and lashings of mud. Perfect. 😊
Once again a hidden gem of a place to explore that I truly never would have found if it wasn’t for geocaching. Even my friend who lives just a few miles down the road had the response when I mentioned it of; ‘Hills in Bartlow? What hills?’
Well kept secret hills it would seem. Once again Geocaching helping us to find more than just Tupperware boxes. Discovering amazing places in your local area, and for me that beats chasing numbers any day.