Skir Hill Trail – Maintenance, Hints & Spoilers!

Thirty five consecutive DNFs on just six Skir Hill Trail caches made me think it was time to take a look!  A spot of maintenance was clearly needed – or was it?  This is the story of today’s walk up the O Brook and on to Skir Hill.

O Brook 3As might be expected after weeks and weeks of rain, Dartmoor is saturated and the O Brook, if not in spate, is at least challenging – when is a brook no longer a brook  Pondering

The caches which have been causing problems are those along the brook which requires multiple crossings.  Many times there have been several consecutive DNFs, but almost always the caches have been there.  Would today be different?

I splashed up the path to No 2 which was clearly visible metres away despite 5 consecutive DNFs, not to mention the cachers’ path which is gradually forming!

SHT04Up stream to No 4, which may well be missing, as this is an easy find in plain view and has disappeared before.

What’s that a spoiler – I must really be getting soft  Cheers

But, it had gone so a new cache placed in a slightly more secure location – hopefully it will stay there.

No 6 is another easy find in plain view and rarely gives any problems.  It’s hanging about knee height and you are looking for this (photo left).

No 8 is always the most problematic and is on a run of 13 DNFs dating back to May 2015!  I added a hint after I last visited “No need to touch anything – just use your eyes! Cache at ground level.”  I will add another hint here – try around the tree roots.  It really is not that difficult  Devil

O Brook 4

So far only one cache missing, which was much as I expected.

Now it was time to leave the O Brook which is one of my favourite Dartmoor streams. I have carefully crossed it 4 times today – and I still have totally dry feet Pleasure


Up the valley towards Skir Hill and the first stop is at No 5 with 6 consecutive DNFs.  But I couldn’t find it either.  I was certain I knew where this was but there was a beautiful clump of mushrooms growing there!  But it was there, the mushrooms had grown up and hidden it.  I’ve now moved it away from the mushrooms, but once again it is in plain view.

SHT08 Log

In case you are wondering what you are looking for, both No 8 and No 5 are the same type of cache and look like the photo right.

Further up the valley we reach No 7 (Replaced).  I have no idea what happened to the original cache, one day it was there, the next it had vanished Angry

The replacement cache was in position for over 4 months before it was found and had 9 DNFs before FTF.  Currently it has 4 DNFs, but once again I was sure that it would be there and it was!

SHT ViewNo 7 (Replaced) still has more DNFs than finds but once again I checked the coordinates and they are spot on.  It’s just a normal “small”  cache under a rock – you just need to find the right rock.

Today was a superb day for walking on Dartmoor and this was the view from the cache site  Approve


The last cache to be checked on the Skir Hill Trail today was No 19.  This is situated in a clitter field with numerous hides and has caused a few problems since it was placed, but  as expected I soon found it. I also have to search for these caches, because if I had taken a spoiler photo I didn’t have it with me.  It is a 900ml box, so not small and it hadn’t even been well hidden and I soon spotted it poking out!  Once again I checked the coordinates and they are spot on!

I checked on a few other caches, dropped off a couple of travel bugs, but the main task of the day was complete – and only one of the caches was missing  Happy

Late Trip Secures 2015 Race Win for Christine (chutch74)

2015 Coin LowRes

A late journey to New York from New Zealand made Christine an easy winner in this year’s Dartmoor Geocoin Race.  The trip of nearly 9,000 miles took Christine’s coin from 3rd place to first for an easy win by nearly 7,00 miles.  Congratulations

Unfortunately the previous leader’s coin, owned by Justine, has not been seen since 25th September and has now been marked as missing,   Cry  but might still reappear as coins often do.

Considering that Kevin’s and Sue’s coin didn’t even get placed until August, it is amazing they they managed to finish third with Tammie’s coin fourth.  The top 4 coins have a total mileage of over 63,000 miles and visited places all over the world, including two going to New Zealand and one to Hawaii.  Trips to Europe and America by the race participants were almost common place, with almost all the coins reaching foreign countries at some stage.

What is really amazing is that out of 27 coins which started the race, it appears that 20 of them are still being moved around, which is excellent considering the quality of these coins and all the bad news stories that are always being circulated regarding trackables.  Two of these 20 coins did reappear after it was thought likely that they had been lost, so you should never give up hoping.

I did say that I would offer 4 prizes if we received 30 entries, and it is no fault of those participating that some coins never got activated or placed.  I will therefore honour that and award 2016 Dartmoor Geocoins to the first 4 in the race.  Smile

So that’s all for the 2015 race, we will start the 2016 one some time in the new year and hope for the same great support that we had this year.  Many thanks indeed!  THANK-YOU

Name/Geocoin LinkCacher NameMiles TravelledLast LocationStatus
Christine Hutchinschutch7421,955.2MassachusettsIn cache
Justine TearThe Old Grey Mare15,151.3Hessen, GermanyLast seen on 25th Sept
Marked as missing 🙁
Kevin & Sue Bastowdartmoor strider14,225.7Coffs Harbour
New South Wales
Still visiting!
Tammie Walkertacks spaniels12,423WashingtonIn cache
Steve GodfreyGodfairies8,064.8Near SunderlandRetrieved - no news since 16th August
Brian ImesonPonte Raiders7,614.5Halifax, YorkshireStill visiting!
Paul SmirfinThe Smirfs7,010OntarioRetrieved
Colin RamageBigCandLittleC6,915.3Hessen, GermanyRetrieved
Nigel GreerTeamGruffalo6,308.6New YorkVisiting
Neil ArmstrongFinder-Man5,995.4Limburg, BelgiumStill visiting!
Sue Nickelstobytwirl5,855.8CaliforniaIn cache
Andy ManningTouc and Becks4,663.2Karlovarsky kraj,
Czech Republic
In cache
Trevor Pearce-Jonesangels553,578.7Ontario, CanadaIn a TB Hotel - no news since 6th August
Sammie Janetiggersam3,924.5Niedersachsen, GermanyVisiting
Janet KnellerWeather-IT3,781.9Hamburg, GermanyIn cache
Cathy PengillyPinguigloo2,615.7Bayern, GermanyVisiting
Joe Birdmiss1302,467.4Salzburg, AustriaIn cache - no news since 1st September
Kevin & Hels AshfordEros & Us!!!1,771.4Nordrhein-Westfalen, GermanyRetrieved
Adam Hollandtango5tavy1524.9North WalesStill visiting!
Paula GrebotQashguy+21,263.1Niedersachsen, GermanyVisiting
Bill & Mary KingdonThe Odyssians1,050.1Near StockportRetrieved
Suzy Ayshfordjazz_a (-339 miles)713.3ExeterIn a TB Hotel since 22nd June 🙁
Colin MastersClan Masters550.2Knighton, PowysIn cache - no news since 29th August
Zara Lesterzjac517.3Noord-Brabant, Netherlands Retrieved
Jason Deanedixie_gooner (-2.1 miles)423.6TB Hotel on the M62Still visiting!
Paul Blakeping68177.4Hampstead HeathVisiting
Theresa Phillipstaz921313.7ExeterIn cache - no news since 4th June 🙁
Alex GoedhalsTeam Noodles0With OwnerNever released 🙁
Emily BransonBrave bransons0With OwnerNever activated 🙁
David Routleydaver590With OwnerActivated - but withdrawn from race 🙁
Graham NorthFlexburyites0Please confirm locationUnknown

Get the 2016 Dartmoor Geocoin and Support Devon Mega 2017

I don’t normally release the design for the new coin but tonight I spotted the Devon Mega request to help fundraising just as the final factory die art arrived on my desk.  So here’s the deal – for the first 50 coins sold before Christmas I will donate £2 to the Devon Mega funds  Delighted

2016 Die Art

I have been promised the coins by the beginning of December, so they should make excellent Christmas presents.  The cost is the same as the previous 2 years, £15 including £2 p&p or £28 for 2 coins.  The Devon Mega will receive £2 for each of the first 50 coins sold!

If you are interested please post a comment below or post a comment in the Dartmoor Geocaching Facebook group


Dartmoor Geocaching – Autumn 2015 Update

Our busy Summer season at The Cherrybrook is drawing to an end which means that I can once again turn my attention to caching Happy 

There’s so much occurring at the moment it’s difficult to know where to start!

Update on the Dartmoor 2015 Geocoin Race

Another great month for the race with coins moving all over the world!  We now have coins in New Zealand, Canada, California, Nepal and at least 5 different European countries.  The vast majority of the coins have moved recently and only a handful seem to be stuck or maybe lost.

Both Christine’s and Kevin & Sue’s coins have gone to New Zealand, but the race leader is now Justine’s coin which has gone to Hawaii and back – amazing. 

Zara’s coin was lost for two and a half months but was then found and is now in Amsterdam.

Latest race positions can be found here

New Dartmoor Geocaching Facebook Group

This web site always had a very active user forum where many topics have been discussed over the years.  However, it is very clear that most now prefer Facebook and the use of the forum has declined severely.  I therefore thought that it was time that we had our own Facebook group which I have now set up.  Please click on the Facebook icon to visit the group.

Please join the group and enter a draw to win a Dartmoor Geocoin

The first 50 cachers to join the group will be entered into a draw to win one of the Limited Edition Dartmoor Geocoins.  A second draw for another coin will be made once we have reached a total of 100 cachers.  Please do join our group today  Happy

Family Friendly Series for Half Term

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was planning a new family friendly series for half term.  I have now mapped out the route completely and have final locations for over half the caches.  In total there will be 32 caches on a route of 7.5 miles but with a couple of opportunities to shorten this.  There will be several largish caches which hopefully I can fill with swag and many others will be novelty type caches.  None of the caches will be too difficult and my hope is that everyone will have lots of fun with no DNFs Delighted

Over the next few days I should complete the planning and all will be submitted for review (in dribs and drabs Heather has requested).  The plan is to have these available for Wednesday 28th October.  I am not certain what would be the best time to have these published and are very happy to receive your views on this?

For now I will tell you that the route will take in Bellever Tor and much of Bellever Forest, but I am not given any other clues as to the route.  However, I will publish a map of the route on this web site before publication of the caches to allow you to plan your day and parking etc.

2016 New Year Cream Tea Event

The event listing for our Annual New Year Cream Tea Event has now been published, but it doesn’t tell you very much!  As you will all be aware, there are restrictions on what can be placed in an event listing, so it is left to Facebook and this web site to fill in the missing details.  It will be of a very similar format to last year where Judy and I donated the Cream Teas and ALL proceeds from the event went to the Devon Air Ambulance Trust.  However, this year we will be also be raising funds for the Devon Mega.  At the moment I would see a raffle for the DAAT and an auction for the Devon Mega, which will also get a third of charge we are making for the cream teas.  Last year we raised a total of £337 for the DAAT, can I suggest that we target £500 this year  Approve