We always knew that HALO would not be easy to organise into circular walks and that we were likely to end up with a difficult group of caches to finish on. With hindsight we should have abandoned our ideal of “no c&ds” and just driven around the roads in the Blazey area to complete the series. But no, I had to come up with another circular walk! So we walked over 6.7 miles, almost all of it on roads, to attempt another 15 HALO caches to complete the series.
There was no real highlight of this final day, the Par Beach Nature Reserve being as good as it got! One reasonable cache, Marshy Marshy, was found, and a stupid error on Feeding Ducks Again, led to a DNF. Worse was to come with a DNF on HALO – St Feock and then it tipped it down with rain as we walked back to the car. So a very disappointing end to the HALO series.
Our HALOed Thoughts!
To be fair, it has to be said that HALO did attract us to the area and although it certainly wasn’t “all about the numbers” for us, that certainly was an influence, and we did want to experience a “UK power trail”.
Had there only been HALO caches in the area, I think we would have been very disappointed. By the very nature of a power trail, the hides have to be trivial and the caches very easy to find. Regrettably though, this also leads to some really sloppy caching. No effort had been made to hide several of the caches, signatures were anywhere on the logs (not in the next available space) and when it came to logging the caches it got worse.
Almost nobody (our dartymoor being a notable exception) had bothered to make notes and right unique logs. Logs, from some very experienced cachers were just copied and pasted (some apologised but still did it!) or the same couple of words in every log. Almost no caches had been logged as needing maintenance, although many needed it, and worse of all, so many cachers did not log their DNFs, very obvious when you are following them around!
For the most part, the HALO route follows the Saints Way which is not the most interesting of routes, missing out many of the more interesting features of the area, like the Luxulyan Valley and the coastal path. HALO does deviate on to the coastal path but of its 23 miles, 12.6 miles are on roads. The caches are very repetitive, many being large plastic bottle with brightly coloured lids, but there is some variation and several hybrids for those with stamps. Disappointingly, several caches have been hidden in or on dry stone walls.
Fortunately this area is full of attractions and a whole host of very interesting and scenic places are not far away. The highlights for us were definitely the Luxulyan Valley, the coastal path, Fowey and Helman Tor, all of which are well worth visiting whether you are geocaching or not. We carefully plotted circular walks to take in as many caches as we could and we increased the 121 of HALO to a total of 165, but increased our walking from 23 miles to 44.3 miles in doing so.
I think one of the local cachers summed up HALO for us. When I indicated that I found it a little tedious, he replied “I know what you mean, but it has to be done”. A bit like Ben Nevis, probably one of the least interesting walks I have even done, but it’s there and you have to do it!
Our final thoughts – yes, we were very pleased that we had come to this area, very pleased to have completed HALO (with only 2 DNFs) and very pleased to have visited the other local places of interest. So a big thank you for those responsible for placing and maintaining HALO, I am sure that it will attract far more cachers still. However, it is very clear to us, that for the vast majority who have attempted HALO it is “all about the numbers!”
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