Dart’moor’s Double Dozen – Lessons Learnt

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    Avatar photoDartmoor Dave

    First of all many thanks to all who have attempted this series – it’s popularity has exceeded all my expectations.

    However, this was my first attempt at this sort of series and I have learnt a few things which may be helpful to others. Please feel free to add your own comments so that we may all learn what makes a good series.

    • Don’t place the most difficult caches at the start of the series as it demoralises those attempting to complete the series.
    • Don’t place bonus numbers in the difficult caches as cachers are more reluctant to log a DNF and move on as they know they will struggle to get the bonus caches as well.
    • Give hints for caches where damage is likely to be caused to trees, etc.

    From an owner’s perspective there are a few comments I would hope that cachers may follow and I am sure most other COs would agree:

    • Please make notes so that you can write meaningful logs for each cache.
    • Please avoid copy and paste logs – there is nothing worse than getting 27 identical logs 🙁
    • Please avoid just logging TFTC.
    • Don’t be afraid to log Needs Maintenance when a cache needs it – its the only way to bring a COs attention to a problem.
    • I have no problem with constructive criticism and I always read and think about every log.
    Avatar photodartymoor

    Pleased it’s proved so popular. It’s an excellent walk and we’ve had a cracking summer but even so, blimey.

    I saw your temp disablement of #2 and think it was probably the best thing to do, hope you can find somewhere nearby to hide it.

    This is one of the reasons why I nearly always give clear hints, and has proven especially important for Ups and Downs through the SSSI of Bridford Woods – it was a promise I made to the NT Warden when getting permission. On a main circuit two months ago there was only one spot where there was obvious damage, and it wasn’t clear whether cachers or deer.

    Agree about copy and paste, or tftcs. Boring and discourages me from continuing to set almost as much as the reviewing team. The balance of that is those who do take the time to tell me about their story. Love those, and sometimes drop them a line afterwards to say thanks.

    I’m not so keen on people placing NM logs unless where clearly needed. Had many which were posted in error and it makes the whole series look unloved.

    Also, amusingly, I had a friend complete Ups and Downs and swear on his life that three were missing. All found by the next cacher, along with #3 which has now gained a new log in a bag. I’m guessing the original has migrated, but I’m told it’s still there – so now there are two.

    So I would add another:
    Put the ruddy cache back where you found it! Not a foot away, not in another hole that you think suits it better. WHERE YOU FOUND IT!


    So I would add another:
    Put the ruddy cache back where you found it! Not a foot away, not in another hole that you think suits it better. WHERE YOU FOUND IT!

    Dartymoor I couldnt agree more I am getting a little fed up visiting some of my caches after a few DNF. Look around and unable to find my own cache so assume its gone walkies. I place another and then down the line someone logs a find on two caches at the GZ.

    Another one to add which I had happen to me recently:

    A cacher deciding that as they couldnt find the cache means the cache is missing and replacing it with a different container, missing bonus information in the log without contacting the CO in advance.

    Avatar photoDartmoor Dave

    These caches are called throwdowns and there are a couple of interesting links here:


    A couple of our local cachers tried this trick with some of my first caches and I refused to allow their finds. It is one of the reasons I am reluctant to have spoiler photos. With a spoiler photo you can be 99.9% certain that a cache has gone and therefore may be more inclined to throw a cache down, if you are not so sure you probably won’t.

    It should only ever happen with the owners prior permission but some try to put pressure on an owner after they have done it to allow a find. They haven’t found it – they placed it!


    I thought the route for this series was excellent, and I really enjoyed the walk. There can’t be many other routes which are just right to encourage cachers who might be a bit wary of venturing deep into the moor to give it a go and actually see why Dartmoor is such a rewarding place to walk.

    Having said that, the series seems a bit confused in its intent. If it’s set out to waymark a nice walk then having very difficult hides en route detracts from the walk. Also, I would disagree about not having the harder finds at the start of the walk. It’s much more discouraging to have a DNF 2 miles from the nearest parking, particularly if there is bonus info in it, and extra particularly if there is no hint!

    If a cache is set so as to be hard to find, then perhaps it shouldn’t really be on a lengthy walk. Such a cache will just hold everyone up frustrate them.

    I agree that having a simple “TFTC” log makes me want to tear my hair out. I am a bit more relaxed about newbies doing this, as they may not appreciate that their comments can wound us owners so deeply, but cachers with a few hundred under their belt really ought to know better, and there are some repeat offenders locally I’m sad to say.

    I couldn’t agree more with the other comments about putting caches back where they were found, I mean, it’s not rocket science is it?

    Avatar photoreb10

    I have not done the Double Dozen yet but the problem i have with these sort of trails is the closeness of the caches. It seems that the hides are set as close together as possible to get as many caches in a small area.
    We did the X Marks the Spot series near Newton Abbot on sunday, a very enjoyable walk but the caches were placed very close together and the containers were all the same making it very difficult to think of anything imaginable to say when logging the caches. And then there’s the Patience is a Virtue series near Totnes, some of which have already been archived, which would have been far better with the caches placed further apart.

    Avatar photodartymoor

    “the problem i have”

    Proof we’re not all the same!

    That’s the “reason I go there” for myself and others with series. In fact, I would have placed the caches closer together still than Dave did on that walk. 🙂

    And I generally find plenty, or even too much, to say even on the bigger trails. X marks was great, and the hides inventive (and IMO different enough) to stand out when logging that evening.

    Patience – well, it looks like the CO has archived half of the series, but removed all (or almost all) the caches. The remaining ones are racking up a lot of DNFs now. (Notified reviewer earlier this evening). Ill-fated series, which is a shame as nobody sets out to lay a bad trail, but it ended up disappointing a lot of people, and I rank it the worst series I’ve ever done – not for density, but for 13 out of 14 DNF’s when I tried.

    Avatar photoDartmoor Dave

    It is not possible for everybody to agree on an ideal density. I placed these caches approx every quarter mile. I couldn’t have put them closer as I had to alternate them with the ones on the other side of the river (and a few existing caches as well). IMO the most important thing is to generate and maintain interest in the series. This comes from a variety of terrain, of scenery, of cache type and of cache difficulty. I get very bored when all the caches are of the same type and are all too easy. On some series I just wish the end would come!

    As for Patience, well I think we all lost it. I actually found over 50% of those I looked for and we really enjoyed the walk. This is a lovely area and would be excellent for a really good series. Isn’t this on the Sharpham Estate? If so, I wonder if the CO got permission for the caches?

    Avatar photoDartmoor Dave

    I went up to Sittaford Tor today and checked on a couple of the caches as I passed by. I couldn’t be bothered with the boxes under rocks ones but I did check No 8 the one by the hunt fence. I couldn’t find it 🙁 Somebody hadn’t bothered to replace it in the nice little hide I constructed for it but had stuffed it under the wire about 6 feet away, so I soon found it. But it emphasises Dartymoor’s comment above “Put the ruddy cache back where you found it! Not a foot away, not in another hole that you think suits it better. WHERE YOU FOUND IT!”

    But worse – when I opened the cache it had only one log sheet plus scraps of paper that had been added. When I placed this cache it had at least 5 double sided log sheets – somebody had taken all but one of them :(. Some other cacher had kindly added the scraps of paper, but can you believe that a cacher would steal all the unused sheets!

    I think maybe the problem with caches not being replaced where found is that sometimes there is a group of cachers, somebody finds it, it gets passed around to be signed and somebody else puts it back. Probably the finder has already moved on so the cacher replacing it probably had no idea where it really was, only a general idea. Some of my ones that are hooked onto brass hooks have been found on the floor, that really is not acceptable.

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