Why so few dartmoor trails?

Welcome to Dartmoor Geocaching Forums South-West Power Trails Why so few dartmoor trails?

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  • #2032
    Tamerton Chocolates
    Participant

    I guess the charity walks are being taken in for several reasons; I would think that after 6 months the revenue income would be near zero and the few walks that I have done suggest that they simply don’t last any longer. They seem to be either stolen/missing and a lot of the stamps are beyond repair (probably because of the number of people using them in such a short timespan).

    I quite like BB’s idea of removing the geocache walk after a certain time – at least if you choose not to do the walk you rid the map of unfound caches 😉

    #2034
    dartymoor
    Participant

    Dave, no, I’m not upset about your comment. My first series had several unusual containers, but a series of 26 is never going to be easy to make special containers for. There’s also a logistical issue. Great Plantation’s containers include various logs, fence posts and bricks – one weighing about 10kg. Now try carrying 26 of those up hill and down dale!

    I also took time to fill those with swag. I didn’t bother with this one because it’s not an aspect to the game *I* enjoy, and the fact is that it’s a rare cache indeed where swag doesn’t get down-traded and you end up with the rusty and mushy contents you describe in another thread.

    And also… When being innovative, I’d rather do it as a surprise, such as #21, where the cacher has been trained not to look for something unusual. If every container had been unusual, but then it would have become humdrum.

    Isn’t it fantastic that all use cache owners have different ideas about what makes a good trail? That ensures diversity and interest to all cachers. Be a boring old world if we all did things exactly the same, now wouldn’t it?

    Hobo – the six month thing. I don’t mind this at all, it gives me impetus to go and do it. And I disagree that a letterbox walk doesn’t make a good geocache walk, and I’ve done plenty of both. I’d like to hear your opinion on why you think they’re so different.

    #2036
    Dartmoor Dave
    Keymaster

    An interesting, but not unexpected, side effect of the new Brentorboxer trail is that it has attracted a stack of new visitors to two of my caches – Smallacombe Bottom and Gibbet Hill. Of the 25 or so cachers that did the new series half found my Smallacombe Bottom cache and a third walked up to Gibbet Hill. This gave me a total of 20 finds on these two caches earning 4 favourite points (20%) whereas the only cache in the new series to attract any favourite points at all is the last cache. In total there were approximately 375 finds but only 12 favourite points awarded – just 3%. So, lots of visitors for the “numbers” but not very appreciative ones.

    #2039
    Miss
    Participant

    We’re not that difficult to please. Today we found seventeen caches and gave favourite points to these seven:- GC3EDKX, GC36N7X, GC3K4VT, GC466XF, GC3RZNE, GC3YE1B, GC47EEX. All excellent hides.

    #2049
    reb10
    Participant

    I agree with dartymoor that short trails are great for those who for what ever reason cannot do long walks but also agree that caching walks should have variation and not be boring.
    I often do short caching trails and add extra miles on to make the walk longer, like the Daccombe ramble near Newton Abbot, a great walk with a variety of different cache containers and hides. And last week we did the Ideford Common series adding on a few more miles and three more caches.

    #2077
    dartymoor
    Participant

    I’m very happy that there is a wide variety and lots to choose from. My only complaint now is that too many near to home are now yellow, pushing me further and further each time!

    #2079
    Dartmoor Dave
    Keymaster

    There are lots of green ones awaiting you on the moor 🙂

    #2091
    Dartmoor Dave
    Keymaster

    I’ve just done a couple of short walks on a part of Dartmoor which is definitely “real moor” but not remote, to plan this new trail and see where I might place the caches.

    However, it is not easy. The obvious hides are in dry stone walls and in gorse bushes. The former is definitely a no-no and nobody really likes the latter. But the choices are very limited and will probably end up “under a rock” or somewhere on a tree!

    #2104
    Vardini85
    Participant

    Wow, all of that took some reading! I’m very much still a newbie at geocaching! I’ve got 204 now? I’m not too fussy about the caches, but I am slightly competitive! So I like getting as many as I can. However, the few trails/loops/circuits myself and Triarii have done are a good way of getting me off the Xbox…! It’s also handy for anyone without a sense of direction, as you know you’ll make your way back to the car (if you forgot to set a waypoint! :-/ ) Despite being in my late 20’s, I’m fairly unhealthy :-/ so these circuits break up the periods of walking for me 🙂 actually, as a result, I don’t get so out of breath anymore! The random individual ones are good too for (for example) you’re in the car and you’ve had to stop, I think it’s brilliant to see if there’s anything nearby. I’m not a great walker, but some caches have taken me to places I’d never have the care to go to if it wasn’t for a cache being there. I agree that varying the caches themselves are great, one of my favourites being Dartymoors old puzzle by the clay pits! The hiding location variety is just as important. We just did the Its a jungle/bush tucker trail and seeing something different is brilliant! I do think a series further into Dartmoor would be a good idea, but it’d take me longer to do it I think! The moor is cold and harsh! 😀 in the mean time, my village and most of the surrounding areas are covered in smiley faces (with the exception of that blooming puzzle in Chudleigh that I just don’t understand….) so we’re having to go further afield each time – not that I have any issue with it! 😀

    #2107
    dartymoor
    Participant

    Hi Vardini, Some interesting things there – and pleased you enjoyed my puzzle cache 😉

    The health aspect is a great one – I started walking more a few years ago after a combination of giving up smoking and changing to a desk job meant I put on weight, and shortly after starting walking again I discovered caching. It’s made me much fitter, although sadly hasn’t done much about the weight. But I quietly rationalise this by saying to myself – “You weigh 18 stone and can walk over 15 miles, you’re a super athlete!”

    Dartmoor’s not /always/ cold and harsh. Some days it’s the best place in the world to be. Warm, soft, welcoming – and in the right place – without dozens of people, screaming children, radios or even a sense of time. Hard to find that elsewhere.

    #2178
    muddypuddles
    Participant

    Well I’ve done it at last. Having set up the Forest Boundary series of caches I have felt duty bound to complete the Perambulation myself, which I did last weekend. It was harder than I thought and took me 2 and a half days, rather than the 2 I had originally anticipated.

    When I set up the series I had anticipated that the caches could be picked up on the way, but to be honest, the walk was hard enough as it was without having to make numerous side trips, however small, to pick up any caches.

    Still, the weather was superb, and Dartmoor was on her best behaviour, with a cool breeze throughout, and nice and dry underfoot. I usually come back from walks on the moor with damp feet, but after 78km, they were still bone dry.

    I really enjoyed the walk, and would highly recommend it to all!

    #2179
    Dartmoor Dave
    Keymaster

    Hi Matt, Congratulations on your achievement. Most of the route (and I walked much of it in completing the caches) is far from easy and for much of the route there are no trails but just the odd boundary marker and tor top. Without wishing to detract in any way from your achievement, it makes you appreciate just how tough the 10 Tors is. They walk 55 miles (88km) over much the same sort of terrain but have less than 2 days to complete it. In fact many complete it in about a day and a half! Did you use your gps or just walk map & compass?

    #2182
    muddypuddles
    Participant

    We did discuss the ten torists many times whilst walking the route, and wondered how they managed to do a greater distance in less time than we managed. Part of it is that they split their equipment up between the teams to lighten their load, but mainly we thought it was because they were about twenty years younger than us!

    Interestingly, the ten torists refer to the West Okement valley as the Valley of Doom, for obvious reasons, and this is where we camped on our second night. Waking up next to the river at 6AM on a sunny Sunday morning in that setting was grand. It meant starting the day with a bit of a chuff up the hill, though better at the beginning of the day than the end.

    We took a GPS Spot Beacon with us as a test for an upcoming more remote walk. This device sends an “I’m OK” SMS along with a GPS location to a nominated phone and email address every 10 minutes. This is done via satellite link rather than mobile phone so works anywhere, and the device can be used to summon SAR in an emergency. A useful bit of kit to have along. We used this to log our track, but you can’t use it for navigation. We had a map and compass of course as back up, but we navigated mainly from memory. I’ve walked most sections of the walk quite a few times and the route isn’t a difficult one to follow particularly with good visibility, although we did have to resort to the map on a couple of occasions.

    #2183
    Dartmoor Dave
    Keymaster

    Any more information on the GPS Spot Beacon please? – I think we would all find that very interesting. Is it the same sort of thing that the 10 Tors teams carry?

    #2184
    RockKicker72
    Participant

    I can’t comment on this specific beacon, but most GPS trackers that I’ve ever had to deal with tend to ping messages off the Iridium satellite network. The devices can cost anywhere from 100-400 quid but you have to pay a subscription for satellite access, plus messages can cost a lot if it’s pinging away frequently.

    It’s something I’ve often thought about whilst alone in the far north moor; what happens if a leg goes snap? Crawl miles to get phone reception or pay a significant quantity of cash for an emergency button that maybe I’ll never use?

    As for the original topic – I’m not even on 200 yet; that’s because I’m not too interested in numbers. It’s the challenge of an interesting/difficult cache that drives me into the remote moor; I love the place and always have.

    #2185
    muddypuddles
    Participant

    The beacon we used belonged to my friend, and I didn’t ask how much it cost, but I understand that you have to buy the unit and then pay a subscription to use the service. The cost of that subscription depends on the level of support you want. The automatic OK messages come as part of the package, and there is a manual OK button you can press which will send the usual message and location, with a tag that it was generated manually. If you injure yourself and the unit is not damaged, it will continue to generate OK messages, but the location won’t change. The manual message confirms you are still conscious, and this service is also included in the subscription. It is possible to send SMS using the unit, but this is very expensive. When summoning help, you may get charged by the rescue team, and the subscription includes insurance against these costs, and a guaranteed level of SAR should it become necessary. I don’t know how much these subscriptions cost either, but I can’t imagine they’re cheap!

    #2186
    Tamerton Chocolates
    Participant

    Well done .. I wish I had the time to get out again. Did you know you can (could?) get a (souvenir) badge for your walk? You should talk to Ochico if you haven’t done so already.

    #2272
    Dartmoor Dave
    Keymaster

    I thought I would return to this topic for a couple of reasons. First we completed Brentorboxer’s Following the Dartmoor Trail series today. I have to say that we enjoyed this series more than I thought we would. I had obviously read the comments posted in this topic and it was difficult to start with an open mind. However, we are glad that we completed the series and really did enjoy the walk and the caches, although I can understand the comments about the gorse and the similarity of the caches and hides. But there is still a fairly large amount of effort required to place a series such as this, and most of the logs were very complimentary.

    The second reason is that I promised my own series on Dartmoor. I wrote previously “I really am planning a trail for you, it will be called Dart’moor’s Dozen and will have only 12 caches over a 6 mile walk. Hopefully the caches will all be interesting and different to each other and will definitely not be trivial finds. Hopefully it will get you out on to the real moor, which I don’t think you get on to very often, but will not be remote. But I’m not going to rush these out tomorrow, they need thinking about and planning.”

    Well, I’ve done my thinking and planning which has resulted in a couple of changes, but basically the same route I had in mind before. I’ve walked the route about 4 times, the locations have all been approved and now I must get out there and place the caches. Watch this space.

    #2274
    Jaughan
    Participant

    An intersting conversation. Open moor trails are few and far between away from Dartmoor but open moor series (such as the Ten Toors series or Somewhere on Dartmoor) are more common. These take more than a day to complete or if possible in a day are a challenge to do so and need car assistance. In mountain areas where more there is more ascent involved than on Dartmoor, long trails would involve alot of vertical ascent in a day and be exhausting.

    I must admit that I enjoy these more and they seem to come in various forms- some have a letter= a number solition to where the final bonus is but others ask other things of the cacher. Gwyddno’s Mountain Challenge in North Wales has 15 mountain general knowledge questions to solve at home. I recommend this series- the final is beautifully placed- there are 3-4 ways to get to the cache- all but one are a 5 for terrain and the other is a 4.5. But it does not require climbing skills or equipment.

    The big Granddaddy of these series is the SWMCC series in South Wales- have a look at my log for SWMCC 30 for my statistics for the series. From memory 6000m of ascent and over 100km horizontal travel on foot.

    #2292
    Dartmoor Dave
    Keymaster

    All the caches for my new trail have been approved, placed and will be published tonight. I think I have walked most of the route about 6 times!

    The caches are fairly varied both in nature and difficulty and several are NOT typical DD caches. I am expecting a few comments 😉

    No real help with hints, certainly no spoilers, but most caches have an obvious feature, so concentrate your search there. NO trees need to be climbed, NO walls need to be disturbed and for most of the more difficult ones – just use your eyes!

    If you are free tomorrow then you probably need to allow 5 or 6 hours.

    Good luck and enjoy 🙂

    PS There is an unactivated FTF Geocoin for the FTF on the last cache.

    #2293
    dartymoor
    Participant

    Certainly looking forwards to doing this DD’s new trail very soon – looks like a beauty. Walked almost exactly this route a couple of months ago on a lovely evening surrounded by nonstop skylarks.

    #2314
    reb10
    Participant

    I have to admit that i prefer caching trails to be more spread out. I have not yet done DD’s new trail but i see no’s 3 and 23 are very close together, i have walked up the river many times though.
    To me having to stop every 200 metres or so detracts from a really nice walk, but saying that i will still have a go at doing it.

    #2316
    Dartmoor Dave
    Keymaster

    There are 27 caches in 6.5 miles or one every 420 yards on average, so approximately at quarter mile intervals. They are closer together than I would like, but these were placed specifically for those who were looking for some sort of Dartmoor Power Trail. It will be interesting to see how many bother with them, but it has already attracted considerable interest including cachers we rarely see on Dartmoor.

    As regards 3 and 23, they are on opposite sides of the river and are spaced accordingly. They are not supposed to be done consecutively.

    #2396
    dartymoor
    Participant

    “Incredible – 86 finds in less than 2 months [8D]! ”

    Amazing, isn’t it?

    Shows how much interest there is in a relatively high density walk in a beautiful place.

    Grumpy old sorts will mutter “Sure, it’s all about the numbers” and yes, of course. Without a geocache to search for, we wouldn’t be geocachers, just walkers. Two geocaches make it twice as good, and so on…

    (NOT denigrating isolated caches which have their own charm and worth!)

    #2504
    dartymoor
    Participant

    Spent an enjoyable half hour re-reading the posts in this thread and figure it’s time to re-visit this for two reasons:

    1) Brentorboxer has published the second part of her series around Wheal Betsy, which I walked today. I don’t expect Hobo and Miss to try it given their comments before, but I certainly enjoyed it – and yes, gorse features! This is a more interesting area for me given the industrial archaelogy, and that my sister worked at the stables 25 years ago, and that I walked part of it two and a half years ago just before I discovered geocaching. It’s a nice area, and some of the geocaches have taught me a little more about its history than I knew before. I recommend it because I enjoyed it – but one thing this thread has shown is that there are different tastes! I’d be interested in others views too.

    2) It’s now five months since Dartmoor Dave published “Dart’moor’s Double Dozen”, inspired by this very thread! Given his early posts on this subject, I would like to ask him if he has changed his views on caches “closer together” in a shortish series? (Although this was still too long for my wife who got very tired and grumpy by the time we reached the waterfall and meant we had to cut it short!). I think other cachers have enjoyed the series – sure there are a few harsh comments, but I know DD has thick skin – the majority certainly like it! It’s had well over a hundred visitors, lots of photos and favourite points.

    #2505
    Dartmoor Dave
    Keymaster

    Dartymoor,

    Many thanks for this post. The overwhelming reaction to the DDD series has been very positive and I have been enormously grateful to the very kind comments logged on the series. Yes, there have been a few negative comments (some from those I would have expected better) but generally they have been very good.

    Have I changed my views? Yes and no! No, regarding those power trails with a micro dropped in a hedge row every 1/10 mile – absolutely not. But I never set out to place a series like that. When I see the opportunities for some very interesting roadside caches, it makes me so annoyed to see a 35mm film canister shoved in a hedge – why! Just lack of imagination.

    I did about 10 visits to the DDD location to plan and place all the caches. Each location was carefully mapped to avoid each other and other caches. The locations were approved long before a single cache was placed. I wanted a wide variety of caches and hides but this is more difficult on the open moor than most would imagine. I also wanted a variety of difficulty. Anybody can make a cache difficult by placing a micro in a clitter field, but I wanted something different and am fairly happy with the result. I will change things in the future though. Difficult hides should not contain bonus information and which caches contain the bonus information should be available. The cacher can then make a better judgement of how much time to spend looking for a cache.

    As I have already planned another series, I guess the answer to the question is Yes. But the new series will be about the same length as DDD, but with more caches. It will also be doable both clockwise and anticlockwise. However, the terrain will be more difficult.

    A couple of things from the CO’s point of view. I really hate TFTC logs and even worse copy and paste logs. If a CO bothers to place a cache then please think of something unique to say about it. I have had some wonderful logs and this one came yesterday:

    “The terrain rating gives an idea of what to expect here. Yes, you will need to climb over boulders to get to this one. I had a bit of an adventure here.

    I searched for a while
    I thought about giving up
    I turned around and lo and behold the cache was staring at me
    I do that thing where you punch your fist in the air and shout ‘yes’ (not that anyone is listening out here)
    Elation turned to despair when I dropped the cache when retrieving it
    At this point the angel and devil appear on my shoulders. Do I rescue it or do I DNF it?
    Fortunately for Dartmoor Dave I mounted a daring cache-rescue

    Since the cache was in two feet of still water I took off one boot and rolled up the clothes on my left side. Hanging from the tree I managed to recover the cache, sign it and replace it incredibly carefully.

    The moral of this story: bison containers don’t float but they are watertight!”

    That really made my day AND I thanked them for it. That’s what geocaching is all about 🙂

    #2507
    dartymoor
    Participant

    <Mutter> Power trails are for cars! </mutter> (Cornwall and Dorset so far – and having done part of the Bodmin one… I didn’t actually enjoy doing it from the car – too much stress about parking, blocking the road, getting in and out constantly. By bike might have been better.)

    Not many trails I’ve done have been micros only, in fairness. The main setter in devon in kevham1 with some huge number of caches out, and he often uses interesting and unusual containers to break things up.

    But an interesting reply and thanks for your views. Glad you were willing to give it a go – and committed in a big way with a long series, and pleased you’ve had a positive response.

    Look forwards to your next one!

    Oh – and TOTALLY agree about cut and pasted logs. Laziness. I write unique logs for every cache I go to, and I do a lot of series – so why can’t other people?

    Maybe some cachers don’t think the CO reads every log submitted. But I certainly do, and obviously, so does DD.

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