We visited the amazing Valley of the Rocks just up from Lee Abbey at Lynton in Devon. I'd looked up the details and found a few geocaches in the area, and had jotted down the coordinates.The first, The Valley of Rocks was too hard to start with, being the smallest possible size -- a keyring hidden under an overhanging rock. I think I hadn't quite figured the subtle difference between two types of coordinate representations either, and so I could have been 30m off. Dispiriting, as I climbed most of the White Lady rock the hard way to find it.


The second wasn't far away, even higher up, called Beachcombers Treasure. The instructions were misleading, suggesting a moderate hill walk. Not from where I started, going 300m straight up a 1:1 hill covered with bracken and brambles. At this point I still hadn't been able to get the Garmin GPS to accept a waypoint of my choosing, despite reading the manual twice. Most weird user interface. This meant I was having to mentally compare the current coordinates with a set in my head, and work out with reference to the coast (which was roughly N) which way to go next. I didn't find it; I think in the end I transposed two numbers of the coordinate in my head. Well annoyed by now.The next day I had accidentally found out how to set a waypoint, and headed with more confidence, with Martha to the third one, Old Baldy. Turned out we started from the wrong car park, which meant for a long walk up some difficult bridleways. Martha's MBT shoes are normally great, but not on the terrain. She stopped and I went on, eventually getting to the proper car park, and then onto the cache location. Again, lots of bracken, brambles, and extra spiky gorse to contend with. Running short on time, I couldn't find it, despite knowing from the GPS I was within the necessary 6m. Shown is the route we landed up taking (courtesy of Google Earth), and then the cache's general location.


Finally, finally, finally, a success. Exmoor TB Lodge was in a lovely wooded location, only a few hundred metres from an obvious carpark, and almost on the level. Here's a silly picture of Martha blowing bubbles from a tube left in the cache. The cache itself is sitting on a handy nearby log, along with the GPS unit. We updated the log, picked up a TravelBug which we'll move to our next succesful find, and then tired and weary, but happy, turned for home.

AuthorJonathan Clark