Discovering Geocaching

So how did you discover geocaching? A question I have been asked many times by fellow geocachers. I had never heard of Geocaching until I received a phone call from a very good friend, the conversation went like this:
“Have you heard of Geocaching?” 
“Well Google it. I think you and Pete will love it”
My friend was walking her dogs on their daily walk through the churchyard when one returned with a small Tupperware box in his mouth labeled “Official Geocache, Do Not Remove”. Having no idea what it was she cautiously opened the box to find a seal easy bag, inside a piece of paper with dates and strange names, plus a marble and a couple of plastic toys. Not sure what to do with the box she took it home and did an internet search, this lead her to the Geocaching site, which in turn revealed that the box was a church micro geocache. From the pictures of the tree and the hint she was able to return the cache to its rightful obvious hiding place.

We did as we were told and did ‘Google it’. We were surprised to find that there was a cache placed on one of our regular dog walks hidden under a little bridge that we had crossed hundreds of times unaware of its existence.

Our first geocache.
GC20FZM Stambourne troll replacement by Foxfords 17.1.2010

Friday night in our local pub we met up with Sian whose first question was “I didn’t realise you were geocachers”. It turns out that she was the owner of our first find. Small world.

And the rest, as they say, is history – we were hooked!

July 4th BBQ

Just a week to go before our American themed unofficial geocaching event on the 4th July. We will be lighting the BBQ at 3pm and partying until the last person leaves. To give us an idea of numbers please log a ‘will attend’ in the comments.
For anyone that has not been to an event at our house the coord’s are N53 02.994 W004 14.177
Parking will be in the field at N 53° 02.988 W 004° 14.295 (Hopefully we will have mown the grass!)
Very close by is GC8CCV6 Under Ann@Birdbrook and Naturesbyte’s nose.

New Caches

This week we have two new caches and, yes, one is a new 9US cache! It will be a deja vu moment for anyone that found the previous ‘Aberlleiniog Castle Trail, Broadwalk’. The cache is a replacement of the multi that has had to be archived due to the disappearance of the information board.

GC9CXPB Fruit of the Forest (2) by Ijrk Traditional T1.5/D1
GC9CZA6 Aberlleiniog Castle Trail, Broadwalk by 9 Usual Suspects Traditional T2/D2

Cwm DJ’s favourite 10 caches (to date)

Cwm DJ’s favourite 10 caches (to date)
Who, other than geocachers, would repeatedly put their hands into nasty disgusting crevices in search of a container to log a smiley face? Such is the ‘sport’ of geocaching.

Though I’ve been caching since 2007 my find rate has been relatively low compared to my friends (1,384 finds as of June 2021). However, this doesn’t mean I haven’t had great enjoyment out of Geocaching.
Also, despite the fact that my caching area has been slight, it has taken me to numerous places I wouldn’t have otherwise. I’ve seen some spectacular views, visited historical locations, places with industrial heritage, geological features, engineering, chapels & churches, & not to mention the birds & animals encountered on route. In fact, my first wild deer sighting was while doing the Rhobell Fawr series & my first otter sighting was also while out caching.
So here are my ten favourite caches which I’ve listed in the order they were found.

No. 3 – Folly Foot Castle (GCG7BH) – BESS’S FRIENDS – 5th Aug 2007
How often have we seen in a log ‘Thank you for bringing me to this location that I never knew existed’. To prove this, my first choice is with only my third ever cache find. Though it is less than 4 miles from home, I never knew it existed until geocaching brought me here, so thank you Bess’s Friends.

No. 325 – Yllethr Cache (GC19FN2) – thefortytwa – 12th March 2013
Though dry, there had been a really cold spell prior to me getting this cache beside Llyn Bodlyn (Reservoir). Combined with a strong wind, which had blown the reservoir’s water over the dam, resulted in an icy spectacle. Ice had accumulated on the rushes as though they were frozen fingers.
Ice clad steps & guardrail.

Extent of the overtopped ice formation.

No. 474 – Suitable for Miners! (GC4YHHG) – A Mine Explorer – 24th Feb 2014
Though only a small section of the mine was encountered the spectacle that greeted you as one ventured underground to find the cache was mesmerising. The toil the miners endured to retrieve the copper from the mine must have been backbreaking, their legacy now mainly forgotten. The vivid colour of the percolated copper bearing rock was worth seeing.

No. 556 – Dee Bore Earthcache (Cheshire/Flintshire) (GCND09) – Jan and the percey boys – 14th July 2014
Though I now know what pillow lava is & what it looks like, the signs left by receding glaciers & various geological features due to earthcaches, this is the earthcache I chose as a favourite. It may not be as spectacular as the Severn bore & definitely nowhere near the scale & grandeur of the Grand Canyon (give it another 5 million years, who knows), it is still a spectacular natural phenomenon.

No. 599 – Sunny Day at Siabod (GC58XCM) – meltdiceburg/the Magna Demarooner – 17th Sept 2014
This was a film cannister cache on the island in Llyn y Foel, to the east of Moel Siabod. It hadn’t rained for 3 weeks (What? Yes, I know this is Wales) so I was hoping that the water level in the lake would be a bit lower than normal, to make for an easier crossing to the island.
The water level was certainly lower than usual, by about 60 to 90 cm I’d say (2 to 3 feet). This exposed more rocks to make the crossing easier, but you still had to get your feet wet. The water never reached my knees though on the route I took, but you had to be very careful of the very slimy & slippery submerged rocks.

No. 603 – Gwyddno’s Mountain Challenge (GC1D3GX) – Gwyddno – 24th Sept 2014
The challenge consisted of finding clues from one multi-cache & four traditional caches scattered in remote locations across Eryri. Once all the clues were found you needed to work out the location for the final mystery cache. Not only was this a memorable challenge series but my first 5/5 also. There are still only 24 finds of this cache in its 13-year existence.

No. 747 – Crag Lough (GCJ3QF) – THE SMILEYS – 24th June 2015
I’ve not ventured as far as many of you have & my favourite, out of the few I’ve done outside Wales, was while walking a 3 day walk along the central section of Hadrian’s Wall. Situated at Sycamore Gap, made famous for its scene in the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, starring Kevin Costner as Robin Hood.

No. 885 – Tyrau Mawr (Great Towers) (GCQFE6) – climber1958 – 17th Sept 2016
This was a letterbox hybrid cache on the modest peak of Tyrrau Mawr; a western outlier of the Cadair Idris range. Spent some time here admiring the spectacular views while having a bite to eat. Llynnau Cregennen below & Barmouth & the Mawddach estuary beyond. Still only 36 finds in its 15 ½ year existence.

No. 929 – Halloween tunnel – day or night – it will be dark (GC6W42F) – sionyn68 – 13th Nov 2016
I doubt that any local cacher wouldn’t have one of sionyn68’s caches in their top 10. The ingenuity, workmanship & trickery in his caches are renowned across this fabled land. On this occasion it was the location & what greeted you which stands out. Since I mainly cache by myself, venturing into those dark & forbidding places brings the heightened sense of adventure.

No. 1073 – 9 Usual Suspects Go Swashbuckling on Cei Ballast (GC76XBB) – 9 Usual Suspects – 15th July 2017
It was difficult to pick out an event that stood out amongst all the others, as they have all been superb. The hospitality, hearty fare, comradery & friendship, with puzzles, games & quizzes. Not to mention all the Nosh & Natters, CITO’s, GIFF’s & Christmas parties (pre-Covid).
There’s one constant in most of these events that needs special attention I believe & that is to Ann & Pete’s dedication & commitment in showing us all a good time; & Ann’s scrumptious cake of course.
In the end I picked this event as it involved us making an effort by dressing up & then the expedition to Cei Ballast. The fact that I won the award for the best event log of 2017, at that years’ Christmas party, tipped the balance.

For the video of 9US pirates raiding and plundering Cei Ballast click here

As you can probably tell from my choice of favourite caches, I tend to cache in some of those remoter Eryri locations.

Submitted by David – Cwm DJ.
If you would like to share your top caches or locations please let us know.

New Caches

This week there were 4 new caches published in our area and with Ecobake hunting for Scotlands first there is a chance for a FTF.

GC9CPGW Townswomen’s tree by llw66, _josiem Traditional D1.5/T1
GC9CKWG Toilet break by MrsLalone Traditional D1/T1
GC9CTHV Eisteddfa views by ClareSion14 Traditional D1.5/T1.5
GC9CGRH Pirate Treasure by epheliadavenport Traditional D1.5/T1.5

Latest News on Events

Due to the increase in Covid cases restrictions have not been lifted as promised from the 21st June, the limit of 30 people that can meet up outside remains in place in England, therefore Geocaching UK are continuing their ban on official events for the whole of the UK. So, our American themed BBQ will still be going ahead on the 4th July but sadly not as an official Geocaching event.

Latest Update

New Caches

There were no new caches published in our area this week……… Maybe there will be some next week 😉

Summer BBQ

The BBQ at ours will be a week later than originally planned on Sunday 4th July, as this just happens to coincide with American Independence Day, the theme is anything American. If Covid restrictions are lifted from the 21st June we should be able to make it an official Geocaching Event. Our UK Reviewers have not updated their policy on events since the 12th May, we had expected a further announcement as they have started to published side events for this summers UK Megas.
To give us a rough idea of numbers please could you log interest in the comments

Other News

Julie, CairnDhuSeekers, has finally had her long awaited op and is making good progress. On behalf of all her geocaching friends we would like to wish her a very speedy recovery and look forward to seeing her out and about this summer.

New Caches

This weeks new caches, 9 caches in total, all on Anglesey.

Shall we go for a walk series by Jonesof3

We can highly recommend this new series around a long disused oil storage facility that has been taken over by nature. There is plenty of evidence of its past industrial history but at this time of year it is full of wild flowers, birds, butterflies, damsel and dragonflies, all things I love. The geocaches are all interesting hides and containers, though we do feel the difficulty rating on some is a bit on the low side. After following in the footsteps of the master FTF shark Ecobake for most of the series, we did manage a FTF but sadly the last cache in the series eluded us on our first attempt. But NOT being competitive First to Finders we have since rectified our failure with a lot of help from the CO!

GC9BZ2D Shall we go for a walk #1 by Jonesod3 Traditional D1.5/T1.5
GC9BZ2G Shall we go for a walk #2 by Jonesof3 Traditional D1.5/T1.5
GC9BZ2N Shall we go for a walk #3 by Jonesof3 Traditional D1.5/T1.5
GC9BZ2V Shall we go for a walk #4 by Jonesof3 Traditional D1.5/T1.5
GC9BZ2Z Shall we go for a walk #5 by Jonesof3 Traditional D1.5/T1.5
GC9BZ33 Shall we go for a walk #6 by Jonesof3 Traditional D1.5/T1.5
GC9BZ37 Shall we go for a walk #7 by Jonesof3 Traditional D1.5/T1.5
GC9BZ3E Shall we go for a walk #8 by Jonesof3 Traditional D1.5/T1.5

Anglesey is this weeks hot spot with the only other new cache also placed there.
GC9C67C Cae Mynydd Bryngwran by TegwenEdwards Traditional D1.5/T1.5

Return of Nosh & Natters

We had hoped that we would be announcing the return of N&N’s at the end of June but it is looking highly unlikely that Covid restrictions are going to be lifted to allow group gatherings in a Pub/Restaurant and therefore Geocaching UK will not be reinstating events. So we have a suggestion, as groups of 30 people can met outside at an organised event, how about a “*Pot Luck” BBQ at ours? This will also give Pete a chance to show off his posh BBQ acquired in lockdown. We are thinking either the weekend of 25th/26th or the evening of Tuesday 29th June as this should have been N&N night. Please register interest in the comments and your preferential day.
* Pot Luck – everybody bringing a contribution

Numbers Stations, secrets hiding in plain sight

In the mid-late 20th century, before digital technologies, the radio was the easiest way to communicate over very long distances. The shortwave frequencies were crammed with pop stations, political propaganda and ham radio users. Jammed in between these transmissions, there were occasional unexplained broadcasts, some obvious analog data transmission and other unexplainable stations. Some of these broadcasts consisted of just a series of figures being read out in a mechanical voice, these often started with a short jingle beforehand to identify the station. Officially, no one knew what they were for, governments vehemently denied their existence, however, just about everybody knew these were spy communications. These mysterious transmissions were nicknamed numbers stations because of their transmissions consisting of apparently nothing else but sequences of numbers, and for want of a better name it stuck. I can vividly remember as a boy discovering these stations and being both puzzled and excited as I tried to decode them.

Antenna “G1” at Hörby Shortwave Station, near Hörby in the south of Sweden

Numbers stations were mysterious and suggested top secret agents, clandestine meetings, this was at the height of the cold war where the eastern bloc was the enemy from an unknown land and nuclear war was an ever present threat. They had names like the Linconshire Poacher, Cherry Ripe & The Russian man. It’s now certain these were transmitting codes using what’s called a One Way Voice Link (OWL) that required no response from the listener, apart from being tuned into a radio frequency at a given time along with their code book to decrypt the incoming message. The code was decrypted using One Time Pad (OTP), which at the time was considered completely unbreakable without the corresponding code book. The OTP was so called because the decoding sheet usually tiny was used just once then disposed of, each sheet had a random set of numbers which was used to decode the incoming message. There are 5 factors in using a OTP

The key must be as random as possible.
The key must be at least as long as the plaintext so it never repeats.
The key must never be reused even reusing part of the code would compromise the message.
The key must be a secret between the sender and receiver.
The key must be destroyed after use.

Using a one time pad

Every letter of the alphabet has its own number equivalent.


Convert letters to numbers

Replace letters with numbers from the table.

Replace letters with numbers

Now add the Numbers from the pad to our replacement numbers, if more than 100 use the last two digits only, then divide into groups of 5 and transmit


Encode using sender OTP

Our message becomes
79577 72928 96245 62806 09104 81713 76737 32342

To decode the message, the recipient uses the same page from his own one-time pad. Numbers are broken into pairs once again and subtracted, we will have to add 100 I the product of the 2 numbers is less than 0



Decoded message at numbers stage
Reconvert into the alphabet

Some OTP used X for spaces and punctuation and added an XX at the end of the code with padding letters after to make the code up to the required 5 letter blocks.

Copyright Mark Pitcher
Russian Shortwave Volna-K radio set

OTP is still in use today as a medium to send encoded messages that require little equipment to decrypt once received. Even using brute force methods on super computers isn’t thought to be able to crack the code and is as secure as when it was devised in 1882 by Frank Miller, although Quantum Computing will change this when they become large enough.

Times have changed, with the opening up of the eastern bloc, greater knowledge of these places due to travel most of the mystery has gone. Now the internet is currently used for most of our day to day communications these transmissions are laborious and largely redundant, although a few number stations still exist because of their simplicity to operate in remote parts of the world.