How very decent of dartymoor to place a cache at out back door! Well less than a mile from our back door to be accurate. It’s been on my mind for the last 4 days but we’ve been busy, the weather’s not been great and then there’s the little problem of the West Dart which rather gets in the way.
But today is a glorious day (the best of January so far) so off we set on a delightful walk along the Devonport Leat from Beardown Farm. Not very dog friendly, this path, but Tigger is getting better at leaping over stiles. A very easy FTF, our 3rd this year!
It seemed a shame to come out on the moor without giving something back, so we placed a new zoom lens puzzle at Beardown Tor. I know puzzle caches aren’t very popular, but field puzzles are a bit different and I know a few will come up here for it.
We deserted Dartmoor today for our first real day’s caching of the New Year on the best day of the year yet.
Visited Westwoods 2’s Chudleigh Knighton Heath series which is a delightful series of caches set in the Devon Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve and well worth the visit. In total we managed 20 finds including two rather special ones. Dartymoor’s Clay Pits Puzzle Box which has a very unusual cache container and the very seldom visited A Dam Fine Little Cache by Cantor Clan which has only had 76 finds since 2006! We would strongly recommend both of these. The dam itself is a very interesting structure, evidently built to protect Newton Abbot from flooding, but I was expecting some water behind it!
Wonders of modern technology. There was I waiting in the dentist waiting room for Judy when up pops an email with a new cache! It looked like an easy puzzle cache from sukidee. Fortunately the iPhone gives me internet access so I had the puzzle solved before Judy appeared and it was only 2 miles from our house!
Unfortunately I had made a small error, so a DNF, but by the time we had returned home another puzzle cache had arrived about 3 miles away. Quickly solved both for two easy FTFs – our first caches of 2012!
Driven by yesterday’s success and my desire to get this finished, it was head down until it was done! Hugely more time consuming than I had first envisaged, but I am very pleased to finish and I hope others find it all interesting. I have certainly learnt a lot about what sort of caches are popular and favoured and it was well worth the effort.
Created another pocket query from the 219 caches in the bookmast list and exported it as a .gpx file. Then a real breakthrough – discovered a brilliant free piece of software called GPSBabel which imports a .gpx file and exports it as a .csv file with all the fields you need to analyse the caches. Well not quite, it doesn’t count finds or favourites, so still more manual manipulation was necessary to get the necessary data.
Finally, we have our first analysis of the most popular caches to publish to the web site!!!
PS That’s a Geek!
You can create a pocket query from a bookmark list, but you can’t create a bookmark list from a pocket query!!! And I want a bookmark list with just the new Dartmoor caches!
So, I must enter every cache manually from the pocket query and check visually to see if it is in the National Park. The nearest 122 caches are all in the park, but as we get further from the centre then obviously less are. Eventually my bookmark list consists of 219 caches, all in the park and all placed in 2011. Wow!!!
The green mass shown on geocaching.com by Google is not very accurate so have decided to go with the OS definition instead – there are quite a few differences!
Decided that the centre of Dartmoor was near Postbridge and that a circle of radius 12.6 miles would encompass all of the National Park. But….. it also encompasses a huge area which is not in the National Park – help!!
Have created a pocket query which returns 303 caches placed in 2011, but sooooooo many of them are not in the park! How to proceed from here?????
The Home page of the web site was designed to be a blog, but to launch the site I wrote a Welcome page instead. This has now been moved and I can have ago a writing a blog! If anybody else wants to write on their caching experiences, please let me know.
Very busy here at The Cherrybrook looking after 10 guests who are with us over New Year for 3 days, so absolutely no chance of getting out on the moor. However, have found time to start thinking about analysing the caches placed on Dartmoor in 2011.
But first you have to identify them! e2