This map represents one of my personal challenges over the recent half-term holiday - getting some geocaches hidden around our town because there wasn't a single one before I started ! Each of the green stars represents one of the caches that I have hidden and, as you can see, I managed to find thirteen new hidey holes. It's lovely reading people's comments when they find them and I even managed to drop off a couple of travelbugs which were snapped up.
Most of the local geocaches are micros, which are tiny things just slightly larger than the canisters that you can attach to dog collars with their name and a phone number in. They're useless for swaps so I wanted to make some larger kid-friendly ones and we saved up loads of empty jars and plastic containers from the recycling box for that purpose.
I decided to take a trip down memory lane and hide a cache just next to the old disused maternity hospital, where both Juliette and Sophie were born. It closed just before Pierre was born and has been empty ever since.
I hid a re-purposed chewing gum box and poked it down between a fence post and a hedge. As it's a fairly quiet residential area, I didn't bother hiding it that well and by the next day, someone was posting to say the cache had disappeared. I went to check and found the pot a few metres from the cache - I'm not sure if it had been trashed or if it was because of the strong winds but either way, I decided to move it to somewhere better hidden.
I swapped over to a smaller pot - the inside of a Kinder egg - and moved over to a different part of the fence. Can you see it in the picture on the left? No, it's not in the hole, it's half buried under the mud !
Next, I moved to a nearby park and looked for a place to hide this camouflaged jam jar.
I thought about putting in under this bridge but decided it would be too easy to uncover by accident.
This rock had a little cave underneath which looked perfect.
I figured this would be OK because, if you didn't actually go and peer under the rock, you wouldn't see it.
A couple of days later, it had totally disappeared though, so I reused the red and black pot that I'd recovered from the previous cache and tucked it in between a different rock and a bamboo bush, covering it in fallen leaves.
I've already had someone post a "did not find" but I'm not sure if that's because it's been destroyed again or if I hid it too well !
As it had been extremely windy, with Storm Doris (or Thomas as it was called on the continent) passing through, I decided to check up on one of my original caches in the bigger park. I was pleased to see that it had survived intact.
There were some huge branches that had been blown down so I was impressed it was still there, safely tucked away in the middle of a tree.
One of the (few) claims to fame of our town is that a famous French WWII pilot, called Georges Guynemer, spent his last night based here before meeting his doom over the fields of Flanders. The house has a plaque on it to commemorate the fact and it's the 100th anniversary of his death this year, so I wanted to place a cache nearby to mark the occasion. As it's on a main road with no sensible hiding places, I had to go for plan B and headed to a local school, whose special needs pupils had constructed a model of his plane.
A handy ivy plant growing up a crack in a wall gave me a sneaky hidey hole. Someone found it today though and it was on the floor when they arrived so I'm not sure how long this one will last if people don't push it back in far enough.
I like finding interesting landmarks and places of interest, whether I'm hiding or searching for geocaches, so when I stumbled across this train statue in the middle of a roundabout, I knew it was a great place for a cache.
Mother Nature is a geocacher's best friend sometimes. It took me a bit of aimless wandering around, then I found a tree with a large cavity in the roots. Perfect for secreting a camouflaged cream cheese tub.
The train in my previous cache referred to the fact that this was historically the district that the railworkers lived in. There was a big railway yard near here for the nearby factories, so for the next cache, I headed up into the dunes.
There was a huge sand pile but there were signs saying you weren't allowed to head over there so I had to look around for a decent hiding place.
It's a pretty deserted spot so I didn't bother trying to hide it too well - this little sapling provided a mini landmark to help people find it.
Heading back across an industrial estate took me to the hub of our town's industry - the huge oil storage vats.
The old-fashioned sign looks very quaint but the whole perimeter fence is electrified so I headed across the street to the other side.
These two rocks were on the side of the road and begging to have a cache hidden there. The only cache I had left to hide was a bit on the big side so I have a feeling this one will be discovered and vandalised.
I did find another large rock to help hide it though so we'll see !
I've been geocaching for a few years now and have always wanted to place some caches but thought it would be complicated and/or expensive, because people seem to buy lots of ingenious devices for hiding their caches, like fake rocks and official camouflaged ammo boxes. By wrapping empty plastic boxes in black tape and printing log books from internet, it doesn't actually have to cost a penny though, so even if the caches do get trashed, it doesn't really matter. I still have a few ideas for secret hiding places up my sleeve, maybe for the next time I'm on holiday !