Balsam Bashing

We are looking for Balsam Bashing volunteers to join us on Sunday 25th July at 10.30am at Hafod y Llyn Isaf, Nantmor, Beddgelert. This is not a geocaching event. We will be working in conjunction with the Snowdonia National Park’s Celtic Rainforest project.

yellow dots represent balsam distribution

Please register your interest in the comments and we will be in touch with further details.

New Caches

Just two new caches this week and Ecobake has already got the FTF on one!

Time and Tide Bell

GC9D712 St Patrick’s Time & Tide 🔔 Cemaes Bay, Anglesey by Team Marzipan Traditional D1/T1.5
GC9DH5M This grass doesn’t grow…. by hayleycox Traditional D2.5/T1.5

Future Events

As Sully pointed out I have gone completely mad as there is no Monday 31st in July this year! It looks as though Covid restrictions are going to be with us for a while longer here in Wales which makes all geocaching events and N&N’s impossible. So we will carry on arranging unofficial events until the rules change, at least this allows us all a chance to meet up and do something nearly ‘normal’. The next scheduled event will be August 21st International Geocaching Day.

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?” 
“No.”
“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 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

New Caches

There has been 6 caches published in our area during the last 7 days and I am sure Ecobake has already found them all.

GC9BGKD Radio Waves by Jonesof3 Traditional D1.5/T1.5
GC9BF65 Grit your teeth by Jonesof3 Traditional D1.5/T1.5
GC9BF5X Cache Windfall by Jonesof3 Traditional D1.5/T1.5
GC9BR7F Lets fence it, magnets are fun! by Hayley and the kids Traditional D1.5/T1.5
GC9BR7Q Track it down by Hayley and the kids Traditional D1.5/T1.5

Premium Member Only
GC9AWPM Cefn Y Meusydd Isaf by Ruthiejane Traditional D1.5/T1.5

CITO Update

We can confirm that the council have picked up all the bags but have left the road cone!

Bags have now gone but the cone is still on the wall

Thanks again to everyone who attended.

Glaslyn Ospreys Latest

For those following the Ospreys it has been a very traumatic week, terrible weather leading to floods, injury of the male, Aran, and the loss of the first chick.

The latest statement from Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife can be found here

Saturdays Unoffical CITO

Before the clean up

Firstly I must thank everyone for all their hard work, what a difference we made to this area, in just 2 hours we picked over 30 bags of rubbish and removed a fallen tree.

After the clean up

On Saturday afternoon 3 Usual Suspects and geocaching friends met up for an unofficial CITO litter pick around the Tesco area of Caernarfon. Even though in Wales 30 people can now meet up outside UK Geocaching is continuing its ban on all events. It was the first time we had all met up since March 2020. Once again the weather was on our side, after two days of dreadful wind and rain, with us nearly calling off the event, Saturday afternoon was dry and the sun shone. The area picked was not as bad as the previous clean ups, but we still managed to collect 30 bags! Mostly consisting of clothes thrown over the wall from the recycling bins in Tescos car park.

Cleaned and cleared path

Dave did a fantastic job in removing the fallen tree that has been blocking the footpath for at least the last 3 years. We had reported the tree to the council on numerous occasions but nothing was ever done.

Some of the bags waiting collection

With all the bags placed at the collection points ready for Gwynedd Council to pick up it was time for a well deserved pint……… or was it two!

Latest Update

New Caches

Sadly, there were no new caches published in our area this week. We will have to see what we can do for next week…………..

Litter Pick Saturday 22nd May

The weather forecast is looking OK for Saturday, cold but dry, a vast improvement on today! Due to cut backs Gwynedd Council is currently not issuing equipment, luckily we have a reasonable stock of pickers and bag hoops. The glove situation is not quite so good, we have some but they are not in the best condition so please could everyone bring their own gloves.

To comply with current Covid Contact regulations we will be asking all attendees to complete a register, name, address and phone number.

Hope to see you at the usual spot, the bridge above Afon Seiont (N53 07.825 W004 16.125) at 2pm.

Glaslyn Osprey Update

Latest arrivals photo Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife website

This week saw two eggs successfully hatch, all eyes now on the 3rd egg. Follow the latest news here

Snowdon Lily

Gagea serotina (formerly Lloydia serotina)

The Snowdon Lily is one of the rarest plants and therefore most endangered plants in the UK. This Alpine plant is a relic from the ice age and is only found in the most inhospitable areas of Snowdonia.

Originally know as spiderwort or in Welsh, brwynddail y mynydd, rush-leaves of the mountain. The Snowdon Lily grows to 10-12cm high, as its Welsh name suggests it has rush like leaves, the flowers are white, veined, cup-shaped with six petals and a yellow/green centre. It grows on north facing inaccessible ledges and from the tiniest cracks in the rock out of reach from grazing animals. The lily flowers from late May to early July. It has evolved to self pollinate as even in the summer months weather conditions can be very harsh causing a lack of pollinating insects.

I feel very privileged to have seen the Snowdon Lily growing on Snowdon. The Tuesday walking group which I belong spent 3 years trying to find the Snowdon Lily, they followed many false leads to some very remote places before getting a reliable tip off. I felt a bit of a gatecrasher in joining them on their successful walk as I had not been part of the red herring excursions. We were all sworn to secrecy not to reveal the location as it is not far from one of the main walking paths on Snowdon. 

New Caches

Just two new caches this week:

GC9B20Z Stop At The Estuary by KANDRANDD Traditional D1.5/T1.5
GC9B21C Diwedd Marw by KANDRANDD Traditional D3/T2.5

GIFF 2021

Lights, Camera, Action! We are excited to announce that the Geocaching International Film Festival is back for another year of geocaching film fun! We hope to be hosting the film show on Saturday 20th November, times and venue still to be confirmed.

Osprey Update

I don’t know if you have been following the Glaslyn Ospreys but it has been quite a week with another female osprey, KS8’s, prolonged intrusion at the Glaslyn nest on 9th May 2021. KS8 was hatched on the Clywedog nest in 2018. A video summarising the days events can be found here

This weekend should see the hatching of the first egg, let’s hope there are no more intruders.

Himalayan Balsam – Impatiens glandulifera

As the name suggests Himalayan Balsam comes originally from the Kashmir and Uttarakhand areas of the Himalayas. It was first introduced into Kew Gardens in 1839 as an annual greenhouse plant. Being easy to grow and having attractive pink/white trumpet shaped flowers it became a very popular plant with gardeners. Within 10 years it had escaped from the confines of gardens and begun to spread along the river systems of England.

Himalayan Balsam grows very quickly and once established in an area, forms dense thickets of up to 2 meters high. Each plant can produce up to 800 seeds, the seed pods once ripe, explode shooting the seeds up to 7m away from the parent plant. If the seeds land in a waterway they float down stream before settling in soft mud banks and germinating. The seeds can remain viable for up to 2 years.

Himalayan Balsam image Wikipedia

Why do we need to control Himalayan Balsam?

It smothers native vegetation by crowding and shading out light, in the winter it dies back leaving bare earth which is then subject to erosion. This can cause major problems along river banks. The dead plant debris can block waterways causing flooding and more damage to local habitats. Being very rich in nectar its flowers attract a wide array of pollinating insects. Studies are taking place on how this effects the pollination of our native plants. Initial finding suggest that it does have a detrimental effect as reduced numbers of insects are visiting other flowering plants. 

Controlling Himalayan Balsam

Being a non-native plant it has no natural enemies to keep it under control. There are two traditional ways of removing Himalayan Balsam from a site hand pulling or spraying of chemicals. The best time of year for tackling the plant is May-July, before the seeds have set. Not all sites are suitable for either of these methods and trials of introducing a rust fungus from India are currently taking place in England and Wales.

Volunteers Wanted

Why am I writing about Himalayan Balsam? We have an escalating local problem, nearly all our local waterways have some Himalayan Balsam contamination. We are looking for volunteers to form a ‘Balsam Bashing” party to tackle an area at Aberglaslyn. This site can only be controlled by hand pulling due to the closeness of the Afon Glaslyn. We will be working along side Snowdonia National Park and other volunteers at the end May/June. 

Are you interested in helping? Please let us know in the comments.