The 2018 Limited Edition Dartmoor Geocoins – Now Available

As many of you will have realised I have now received the 2018 Limited Edition Dartmoor Geocoins and should be able to start sending these out immediately. 

You may recall that last year there was a dramatic increase in my costs of over 30% because of rising production costs and the very poor exchange rate.  However,  I only increased the cost by £1 for the first coin and actually reduced it if you bought more than 2.  I am happy to offer these same 2017 prices to you for the 2018 geocoins.

Therefore the costs for 2018, 2017 and 2016 coins will be £14 for the first coin but only £12 each for ALL additional coins.  The cost for 1st class p&p will be £2 for 1 or 2 coins and £3 for 3 or more coins.  3 or more coins will be sent 1st class signed for.  These postage costs are identical to last year’s.

There is a dwindling stock of both 2014 and 2015 coins and the cost for these years will be £15.  However, if you wish to buy a complete set of 5 coins the cost will be just £65 including p&p – a saving of £6.

As in previous years, if you wish to purchase a second coin to be entered in the 2018 race I will offer a £4 discount, so it will cost £10, a total of £24 for both coins, plus £2 p&p.  But please, please do enter the race coins in the race!  Each year there have been those who have bought coins at the reduced rate and never released them!

If you wish to purchase any of the coins, please let me know using either of the facebook groups or reply to this post at the bottom of the page.  I shall be working my way through the orders in the order I receive them and sending out PayPal requests.  I will require an email address, so if you know I don’t have yours please send it to me using an email to davidgmartin@me.com or using a private facebook message.  If you have bought one previously or have signed up to this web site, I will have it already.

If you have any questions please leave a reply below or reply on the Dartmoor Geocaching facebook page: Dartmoor Geocaching

Many, many thanks to all who will be purchasing the Dartmoor Geocoins this year. THANK-YOU 

2017 Five Rivers Challenge & New Year Cream Tea Event

Just what have we done to upset the weather gods!  It was obvious several days ahead that once again New Year’s Day was going to be the worse weather day of either the week before or the week after.  In fact it was about the only day in nearly 2 weeks in which we had any rain! Devil

This year we had run out of local tors on which to place caches so I decided that we would have a go at the rivers instead – and what a great choice that turned out to be. This year was almost certainly the best for participation in the pre-event race with several teams enthusiastically participating. The format was similar to previous years with a mixture of Groundspeak and opencaches and I was pleasantly surprised at the number of opencaches logged.  The photos I have included were taken by Lisa Canning and shared on facebook, so many thanks to her.

It appears that no fewer than 8 caching names attempted one or more of the 10 caches (although there is at least one still to log!) and 2 found all 10 caches.  Very well done to wheelybarrow for FTF on the bonus cache and to the Truffelites for coming second.  Also I am very pleased to see that 5 caching names logged their opencaches.  If you haven’t done so yet, please do register with opencaching and log those finds.

The other amazing and very gratifying feature of the whole day, was the wonderful quality of the logs posted, not only for the Five Rivers Challenge but for the Cream Tea event which followed. Many thanks to everybody who took the time and effort to write such wonderfully enthusiastic logs – definitely the best set of logs I’ve ever received.

The attendance at the event was down on 2016, but that probably suited everybody.  There was just about enough room for all to sit this year and those who helped run it were certainly grateful for the reduced numbers. Not that it was in any way a failure, we still had 38 attend logs and served 67 cream teas! Tired

With the attendance being down it was to be expected that the money raised would also be down, but it was still a great effort by all concerned so many thanks indeed for coming and bringing your money for the cream teas, raffle and auctions.  The cream teas raised £181.50, the raffle £160, the auctions £40 and we had another donation of £15, so a grand total of £396.50, which we will round up to £400. Approve

As usual special thanks to all my helpers for their marvellous work, to Rosie and Paul (landlords of the East Dart) for free use of their hotel and to Sue (behind the bar) and her husband Mike for giving their time free and working so hard in preparing the room, helping with the cream teas and clearing up afterwards.  Last, but by no means least, my usual thanks to everybody for bringing the raffle prizes and of course to Caroline who once again offered to sell them.  Many, many thanks to all. THANK-YOU

As announced before, the proceeds (and there are no deductions whatsoever) will be split between the Devon Air Ambulance (£270) and the Devon Mega (£130).

The Dartmoor Blog – Around Widecombe

A beautiful January day was forecast and so much on the “to do” list. Much of it centred around the wonderful Widecombe area.  A few caches of mine needed to be checked, a difficult multi to continue, but the main objective was my first attempt at a Whereigo – A Moment in Time.  But whilst in the middle of planning, 2 new caches suddenly appeared! Another multi in Widecombe and a difficult 4.5/3.5 multi just up the road from there.  So, some rapid re-planning was needed.

Chinkwell Tor from Widecombe Churchyard

The day was indeed a beautiful one and the first stop was the church micro at Widecombe.  I soon rushed around the necessary gravestones and the CO kindly organised that the last waypoint was a seat where you could sit and calculate the final.  However, when I got there I think the tree had gone!  I can’t be sure so have sent photos to the CO, but there was a freshly sawn stump right where I made GZ and the tree stacked up outside.  So I started with a DNF! Right outside the churchyard was the new Widecombe multi and that was soon calculated and the cache found in a lovely spot I hadn’t visited before.

Bell & Chinkwell Tors

Next on the “to do” list was a difficult Cash in Cache multi which I had started on my previous visit to the area.  These caches all appear to be micros and so far, I believe all have actually contained cash!  I have in my possession half a £10 note I found in an earlier cache which needs to be matched with the other half, held by two other cachers!  There are 3 stages to this multi and I made my way straight to stage 2 having found stage 1 last time.  Eventually after a long finger tip search I found it, but no luck at the 3rd stage, which has probably not been found (1 found log, but which looks unlikely).  So 1 find and 2 DNFs for me!

Honeybag Tor

Next up was some checking and maintenance on my nearby series.  This series is placed along a delightful row of 3 impressive tors but I hadn’t checked them for some time. There had been 3 DNFs on Honeybag Tor but I eventually located the cache.  I’m not certain if it had been moved or not, but I moved it closer to the coordinates which seemed to be about 5 to 6 metres out.  I easily remembered where the Chinkwell Tor cache was, so then moved down to Bell Tor.

Bell Tor

Bell Tor was a problem as the previous finders found it damaged a long way away and kindly moved it back to the coordinates. But of course I had no idea where they had placed it!  A long unsuccessful search followed and I eventually sat down for some lunch.  I placed my hand into a nearby hole and there was the cache!  It had been totally trashed, with only half the bottom still there and a saturated logbook.  Just why do people do this!  I had come prepared with a replacement and had soon returned to the car.

Greator Rocks

I was already much behind schedule so decided not to bother with the new 4.5/3.5 Cash in Cache multi – it would probably need a whole day anyway.  So I drove to the A Moment in Time Whereigo.  It looked to have loaded ok as it said I was “Inside Zone” in the car park.  However, it gave me no instructions and never having done one before I had no idea what to expect.  I walked for about 15 minutes following the red arrow, but it was still telling me I was in the car park!

Along Greator Rocks Ridge from the Opencache

There was nothing more to be done with the Wherigo but there was a cache to be checked on Greator Rocks. Greator Rocks is a magnificent lump of granite and I have a Opencache there which has not been found since 2014. This cache is probably the best located cache I have on Dartmoor, it is in a wonderful position, but being an Opencache is rarely visited.  It needs a fairly difficult climb up to the cache, but the views are wonderful.  Fortunately I remembered where this cache was and it was soon in my hand – having only ever been found once.  The GPS read 2m!

Madman’s Lair with Haytor in the Distance

As I was so close I then decided to check out a friend’s nearby cache which had received 4 consecutive DNFs. In fact it is almost certainly the cache that has more DNFs than any other cache on Dartmoor, with 131 DNFs but only 35 finds.  However, it was soon in my hand and when I checked the logbook I discovered that the last 2 finds were false which meant in reality the cache had 11 consecutive DNFs going back to August.

The last task on my “to do” list was to check on another of my Opencaches, the one on Rippon Tor.  This has had a few DNFs and I couldn’t remember where it was supposed to be, although there was a hint.  Eventually I caught sight of it up through the rocks and managed to retrieve it from above.  On my way up to Rippon Tor I was surprised to see an earthcache which I didn’t know existed as it is hidden under other icons on the map.  Hopefully I have gathered enough information to answer the questions, took some photos and this should be a nice bonus cache to end the day as the sun was rapidly setting.

For those not familiar with Widecombe it is a beautiful area with a wide variety of caches close by.  There are a couple of nearby series, my small series of fairly isolated caches, two very difficult multis – neither yet found, a couple of more traditional multis, plus some Opencaches for those who wish to try something different.  Certainly something for everybody and an area well worth exploring.

2017 Five Rivers Challenge

Once again we have organised an extra activity to coincide with our 2017 New Year Cream Tea Event which is being held on 1st January, 2017 at The East Dart Hotel, Postbridge. We seem to have run out of local tors to place caches so this year we are visiting rivers.  But no swimming is necessary!

At about 8:30am on 1st January 10 new caches will be published on Dartmoor.  This year we have abandoned using offset caches and instead there will be 9 simple traditional caches and one very simple bonus cache. Unusually for me, all of the caches should be simple to find and each will have a good hint to help you.  The challenge is to plan your way around the caches rather than to spend hours finding them.

Almost every cache will have different approaches to it.  Maybe a short route with a river crossing or a longer route without one.

Three of the caches include a 2017 Dartmoor Geocoin as FTF Prizes

Yes, similar to last year, 3 of the 10 caches will have an unactivated geocoin as a FTF prize.  I would ask that any caching group takes no more than 1 of these coins.  Please do leave a second FTF geocoin to another group.

New Information Here

  • All 10 caches have been placed within a radius of less than 4 miles from The Cherrybrook
  • The total STRAIGHT LINE distance from nearest parking to every cache, and back, is less than 6 miles.  But you will need to plan your routes!
  • Two caches are near the Swincombe.  If you approach from Hexworthy or Holne you MUST NOT DRIVE PAST THE CATTLE GRID TO SHERBERTON, there is NO PARKING past that point.
  • All caches will be published at or before 8.30am on New Year’s Day.  You may come to The Cherrybrook AFTER 7.45am if you wish to use our wifi.
  • As in previous years some caches will be published on www.opencache.uk.  You will need to register in order to see the cache coordinates.  Please DO log your finds on opencache.
  • The Bonus Cache has already been published: https://opencache.uk/viewcache.php?cacheid=946

As in previous years, some of the caches will be listed on geocaching.com and some on opencache.uk.

There is not a long list of rules, but please use ONLY ONE CAR for each group and do not swap bonus numbers with other groups.

So, how many are up for our Five Rivers Challenge?  Please reply to this post to let us know if you will be taking part or to ask any questions.

Please note that you can participate in this activity without attending our New Year Cream Tea event and can attend the event without participating in this activity.

The 2017 Limited Edition Dartmoor Geocoins – Now Available

2017-coinAs already announced on facebook I have now received the 2017 Limited Edition Dartmoor Geocoins and should be able to start sending some out on Monday or Tuesday.  Several people have already said that they would like one, but as yet I’ve taken no firm orders.  They should make lovely Christmas pressies Pleasure

Unfortunately, as I also mentioned, there has been a dramatic increase in cost this year as the production costs have gone up by 13% and this together with the huge difference in exchange rate has meant that the total cost has gone up by over 30%!  However, the good news is that I will only increase the cost by £1, but if you buy two or more the price will be the same or less than last year.

The costs for all coins (whichever year you want) will be £14 for the first coin but only £12 each for ALL additional coins.  The cost for 1st class p&p will be £2 for 1 or 2 coins and £3 for 3 or more coins.  3 or more coins will be sent 1st class signed for.

As in previous years, if you wish to purchase a second coin to be entered in the 2017 race I will offer a £4 discount, so it will cost £10, a total of £24 for both coins, plus £2 p&p.  However, as promised, if you entered a coin in the 2016 race AND activated it AND released it, the race coin will be half price, so only £7, a total of £21 for both coins, plus £2 p&p. Smile 

If you wish to purchase any of the coins, please let me know using either of the facebook groups or reply to this post at the bottom of the page.  I shall be working my way through the orders in the order I receive them and sending out PayPal requests.  I will require an email address, so if you know I don’t have yours please send it to me using an email to davidgmartin@me.com or using a private facebook message.  If you have bought one previously or have signed up to this web site, I will have it already.

If you have any questions please leave a reply below or reply on the Dartmoor Geocaching facebook page: Dartmoor Geocaching

Many, many thanks to all who will be purchasing the Dartmoor Geocoins this year. THANK-YOU 

Caching with Cachly on Dartmoor with an iPhone!

This isn’t a formal review of Cachly, but an example of a day’s caching on a remote part of Dartmoor with an iPhone but no phone signal.  Click on a photo to enlarge it.

Cachly 01I’ve been beta testing Cachly for some months now and have been amazed at the functionality available and the frequency of releases from the developer.  My main interest though is to see how it performs when there is no phone signal, so all my testing has been done offline.  To start you need to create an offline list of the caches you are interested in and this is a very easy process.  The caches are either based around your current location or another location and they download in batches of 50 caches, with a large selection of search criteria.  You obviously need wifi or a phone signal to download them!  Once downloaded they can then be saved for offline use and you can save photos and/or maps with them and you get a warning of how much space this will take.

Cachly 02Cachly 03The caches I downloaded were my nearest 300 unfound caches.  Interesting to see that my DNFs are shown with a blue sad face.  I then drove to the point shown towards the south-east of the map from where I started my walk.  The planned length of my walk was about 9 miles and I knew it would take the majority of the day.  The first cache was InView Brown Heath and the single green spot next to Logs means that only the publish log exists – so maybe a FTF  Delighted  Tapping Navigate to Cache displays the map of the cache and the distance to it, in this case nearly 5km.  The offline maps displayed are excellent and even at this scale show the main tracks, rivers and lakes etc.

Cachly 06It was a great day for walking but I was well aware that I had at least 6 hours walking and the iPhone battery would never last that long.  So I carry an Anker charger but knew that it wouldn’t be needed until I stopped for lunch.  I’m not certain if I am right, but I am of the opinion that the battery will last longer if the phone is in airplane mode, especially if the phone signal is very intermittent, so I always select that.  This is Dartmoor so it was not surprising to see some Dartmoor ponies, but I didn’t immediately spot the little foal hidden behind its mother.

Cachly 04 Cachly 05As I got nearer my goal I zoomed the map in and it showed a greater level of detail including footpaths that hadn’t been visible on the smaller scale.  This certainly gives the level of detail required for caching in open and remote countryside such as Dartmoor.  I also switched to the very well designed compass which seemed to work easily and took me straight to the cache.  One criticism is that the map showing the cache you are navigating to, gives neither the name nor code of the cache.

Cachly 07On arrival at the cache I was very pleased, and relieved, to see that I was indeed FTF.  Had I had a phone signal I could have logged a find then and there, but without one I could either write a log to be sent later or write a cache note, which I can then refer to later.  This is a lovely spot on Dartmoor’s south moor, although many would find it rather featureless without any stunning views.

Cachly 09After my first to find at this cache I placed a couple of caches during which time I stopped for lunch.  My iPhone battery had dropped to 49% charged but having connected it to the Anker it soon recovered to 68%.  It is noticeable, however, that the battery seems to loose its charge quicker as the charge diminishes, so it goes much quicker from 50% to 20% than it does from 100% to 70%.  I needed to charge the iPhone a couple of times more at future stops, but not whilst I was actually walking, so it wasn’t a huge problem.  Not exactly native Dartmoor cattle, but the Belted Galloways are my favourite  Pleasure

Cachly 11By the time I had finished my walk I had completed 10.2 miles taking just over 6 hours.  I had one further FTF, another find and I placed two new caches.  Apart from placing the caches, I only used the iPhone throughout the whole day.  I carried a Garmin GPS which was only switched on to check the iPhone coordinates when placing the caches, map and compass, which I never looked at, and a satellite tracker in case I had a problem.  My iPhone was also running Memory-Map to keep a record of my track.  It is very clear to me that the combination of iPhone, Cachly and an Anker charger, is all you need for the most remote and difficult walks, although map and compass backup is essential.

 

Dartmoor 2016 Geocoin Race

Welcome to the third Dartmoor Geocoin Race  Happy

2016-Coin-WebOnce again I am pleased to say that there is demand for another Dartmoor Geocoin Race and you all seem keen to start it earlier this year.  Many of you have already got your coins so as Easter is fast approaching I suggest we kick it off this weekend!

As in previous years, I don’t want a complicated set of rules and I am sure that everybody will play fair:

  • The same as last year, I am only going to count the number of miles travelled.
  • Please do not give coins to friends to take somewhere.  All coins must be released into a cache to be picked up by anybody, not somebody known to you.
  • Only original Dartmoor 2016 coins can be used – no nasty proxies please!
  • Coins must start the race with zero mileage – if any mileage has already been recorded please delete those logs.
  • If you buy a second coin from me at a cheaper rate it MUST be entered in the race.  A couple last year never got started which is not fair on others who paid the normal price for their coins.

Once again I will award 2017 Dartmoor Geocoins for the coins with the top 3 mileages.

Some things to consider which have been learnt from previous years:

  • You can get a really good start by placing your geocoin in a travel bug hotel.  However, these could be more at risk than a normal cache.  You also may want to avoid a cache & dash or place it in a PM only cache.  However, after it has been retrieved you will have no control.
  • Take time to explain on the trackable page all about the race that it is in.  Also include a photo of the geocoin (you can use my one if you wish).  Also attach something to the coin itself explaining exactly what is expected of the finder.  We have so many new cachers and many will not know what they should do when they find it.
  • Constantly track your coin and ensure that it is immediately logged when it is retrieved.  Send emails to chase this up if it doesn’t happen quickly.  Don’t let cachers forget they have it!

The geocoin will remain your property and you can set whatever goals you would like on the geocoin page.  I would ask you NOT to remove the geocoin’s name but to add to it, e.g. it comes named as Dartmoor National Park 2016 Geocoin, so you could add Sue’s ….. to the front of it.  That way everybody can still search for it and I can produce some race details.

If you haven’t already got a coin for the race please contact me by email at davidgmartin@me.com or add a comment below.  If you have already bought one 2016 Dartmoor Geocoin I can supply a second one for only £9, but it must be entered in the race.

2016 New Year Cream Tea Event

NYCTE 2016 1This little chap turned up at our event on New Year’s Day and Judy is convinced it reminds her of someone!

NYCTE 2016 2But what a day!  For the third consecutive year we must have upset the weather gods for yet again it rained almost continually for the whole day.  The photo right was taken by Graham as once again he negotiated flooded roads to get to us.  Amazingly almost every single person who said they would attend did so.  Happy

NYCTE 2016 3As would be expected in such conditions the rain caused our Dartmoor rivers to be in spate and this photo by Mike Norton shows the East Dart at the famous Clapper Bridge, a couple of hundred yards from the hotel where we were holding the event.

 

NYCTE 2016 5From the 42 Will Attend logs we thought we may get about 80 people, but it would appear that we probably had over 90 (including our helpers)! What an amazing turnout.  So, many, many thanks to everybody who braved the Dartmoor weather to get to Postbridge.  Last year we struggled to serve 60 cream teas, but fortunately we had extra help this year and did manage to serve about 80 cream teas.  Delighted

However, the most amazing aspect of the day was the unbelievable generosity of all those who attended.  As you know I had set targets of raising £350 for the Devon Air Ambulance and £100 for the 2017 Devon Mega Event.  Well, we blew them out of the water!  Last year we raised a total of £337 – this year it was £553!!

Jason's Cornish Cream Tea
Jason’s Cornish Cream Tea

The cream teas raised £233 and thanks once again to Caroline for selling the tickets, to all those who brought such a wonderful display of prizes and to everybody for buying the tickets – the raffle raised £225!

However, we were not finished.  We then moved into Auction mode and after three preliminary auctions which raised £25, the highlight of the afternoon was a Blind Auction for an unknown box of caching goodies donated by our very kind and popular reviewer, Heather.  We had agreed a reserve which I thought we may struggle to reach, but after starting it at £10 I was amazed to see it go up in £5 bids.  I thought it had been sold at £50, but no, Andy had bid £55, but he was beaten by Bob who was clearly determined to win it for his wife Corinna. Love-Gift

I had already announced that all proceeds from the raffle would go to the DAAT together with two thirds of the cream tea money.  The auctions were split according to the wishes of those donating the prizes and there was another donation of £10.  The result is that the Devon Air Ambulance will receive £430 and the 2017 Devon Mega £123.  Happy

My last task is once again to thank everybody.  Thanks for coming, thanks for being so generous in bringing raffle prizes, buying tickets and bidding in the auctions, thanks to my partner Judy, my sister Pat and her friend Ruth, to Sue (behind the bar) and her husband Mike (who did all the washing up) and to the Paul and Rosie landlords of the East Dart Hotel for allowing us to use the hotel whilst they were away on holiday – totally free of charge.  In fact, once again there were no deductions and every penny taken (except over the bar) is included in those total amounts to be donated.  THANK-YOU

2016 Seven Tors Challenge

Once again we have organised an extra activity to coincide with our 2016 New Year Cream Tea Event which is being held on 1st January, 2016 at The East Dart Hotel, Postbridge. One more tor, but three less caches than last year, but a very similar format.

At about 8am on 1st January 8 new caches will be published on Dartmoor.  These consist of two or three caches in each of 3 areas, plus the bonus cache.  Of the 7 feeder caches, 6 are simple offset caches and the other one a very simple puzzle cache.  Each of the 7 caches will contain bonus information for the bonus cache.

Three of the caches include a 2016 Dartmoor Geocoin as FTF Prizes

Yes, no fewer than 3 of the 8 caches have an unactivated geocoin as a FTF prize.  I would ask that any caching group takes no more than 1 of these coins.  Please do leave a second FTF geocoin to another group.

2016 Seven Tors Challenge Update
As promised these are the tors that need to be visited:
Rippon Tor – 1.4 miles (mainly paths – rest fairly easy)
Laughter Tor/Bellever Tor – 3.2 miles (mainly paths – rest fairly easy)
Rundlestone Tor/Hollow Tor/Foggintor – 2.9 miles (two thirds on paths, rest more difficult)
Bonus cache – 0.4 miles(easy path) 
All distances round trips from and back to recommended parking.
So a total of less than 8 miles with the majority on paths with many hints.

As last year, some of the caches will be listed on geocaching.com and some on opencaching.org.uk.

There is not a long list of rules, but please use ONLY ONE CAR for each group and do not swap bonus numbers with other groups.

So, how many are up for our Seven Tors Challenge?  Please reply to this post to let us know if you will be taking part or to ask any questions.

Please note that you can participate in this activity without attending our New Year Cream Tea event and can attend the event without participating in this activity.

 

The 2016 Limited Edition Dartmoor Geocoins Have Arrived

2016-Coin-WebI am very pleased to announce that the 2016 Dartmoor Geocoins have arrived and as in previous years, they are stunning!  I shall now be starting to ask for payment – details below.

As always the coins are very difficult to photograph – use normal room lighting and you get shadows from the camera, use a flash and the light reflects.  This is my best effort so far, but I shall try again with natural light tomorrow.

I shall be working my way through the orders in the order I received them and sending out PayPal requests.  I will require an email address, so if you know I don’t have yours please send it to me using an email to davidgmartin@me.com.  If you have bought one previously or have signed up to this web site, I will have it already.

If you have only ordered one coin but would like an additional coin to enter the 2016 Dartmoor Geocoin Race, I can provide one for only an additional £9 – but it MUST be entered in the race, when that is announced.

If you haven’t already ordered a coin, they cost £15 for one, £28 for two or £24 for two if one of them is going to enter the race.  These prices include £2 p&p.

As promised £100 will be donated to the Devon Mega Fund, plus an additional £10 for 3 orders placed with the Black Friday offer  Pleasure

If you have any questions please leave a reply below or reply on the Dartmoor Geocaching facebook page: Dartmoor Geocaching

Many, many thanks to all who have supported the Dartmoor Geocoins this year.