News & New Caches 135

We have no new caches or events to report since our last post.

Blue Switch Day

On May 2nd, 2000 the U.S. government opened up accurate GPS technology for public use, prior to this day the technology had only been available to the US military. The very next day the first geocache was hidden and the beginning of the game we all love. Known as Blue Switch Day geocachers like to commemorate this day by finding a cache and earning a souvenir.

To earn this years Blue Switch Day souvenir simply find one geocache, attend an event, or Adventure Lab® Location between 2nd to 5th May, 2024.

Llanfaglan Church Event Update

GCAPJB8 9 Usual Suspects Visit Llanfaglan Church by 9 Usual Suspects
When: Sunday 19th May 2024
Where: Llanfaglan Church
Time: 2.45-3.15pm

We will be meeting our guide Ifor Williams at 2.30pm by the kissing gate at the beginning of the footpath that leads to the church. From here there is a short walk across the field to St Baglans. The tour will last between 30-45 minutes. For anyone who has not found the multi cache there will be an opportunity to gather the information.

GC8DH3W Church Micro 12800…Llanfaglan by 9 Usual Suspects Multi D2/T1.5

After the tour we will be heading down the road to the ‘pirate ship’ for a picnic. Please bring your own food we will be supplying hot and cold soft drinks.

Geocaching and locks

With Geocachers looking for ever more ways to make their caches challenging and individual, having a lock to open without a key is gaining popularity. This isn’t without controversy, even owning a set of Lock picking tools in some countries is illegal, however, in most countries this isn’t the case. ‘Lock-picking’ has an image problem in the general public’s mind, which is largely unfounded. Before we start, a large caveat, if it can be shown that the tools in your possession are intended for illegal purposes, then expect the full weight of the law. Being able to demonstrate permission to open a lock is everything here. All caches of this type should have the fact that “there is a lock to defeat (Pick, bump etc)” stated very clearly in the Geocache description, or else the act of opening it would stray into the grey area as to the legality of opening the lock (see lock sport rules at the end of this piece). There’s far more legal complexity that I can cover in this short article and.. I’m not a lawyer.

Given that defeating locks is a life skill that few of us possess, there is a hobby called Locksport where you can learn. Locksport is based around defeating locking system using a variety of skills traditionally known to a small group of people in the associated professions. Locksport has its roots in the broader field of lock defeating or picking, a skill that has been practiced since the very first lock was made. However, the organised and recreational aspect of lock picking, known as locksport, did not appear until the latter part of the 20th century.
The origins of locksport can be traced back to the hacker and computer security communities who regarded any closed system as a challenge. As computer enthusiasts explored the digital realm, many found a parallel interest in physical security, including the mechanisms that safeguarded valuable information. Lock picking became a hands-on extension of the broader ethos of exploring and understanding systems.

In the 1990s, groups like the MIT Lockpicking Club and the Open Organisation of Lockpickers (TOOOL) started formalising and popularising the recreational side of lock picking. TOOOL, an organisation from the Netherlands founded by Barry Wels and Deviant Ollam in 2002, played a significant role in promoting locksport globally. The organisation aimed to advance the public’s understanding of locks and security through educational initiatives, training, and organised events, constantly working with the public and manufacturers to highlight lock vulnerabilities.

Locksport events, often referred to as “lockpicking villages,” became a staple at hacker conferences and conventions. These gatherings provided a platform for enthusiasts to share knowledge, exchange techniques, and engage in friendly competitions. The focus was on education, ethical behaviour, and responsible use of lock-picking skills.
Locksport has evolved into a diverse and inclusive community that welcomes individuals with varied backgrounds, from hackers and security professionals to hobbyists and locksmiths. The emphasis remains on education, skill development, and fostering a sense of responsibility in using lock-picking knowledge.
In the past two decades, the popularity of locksport has grown, with local groups forming both offline and online, bringing together like-minded individuals who share a passion for this unique skill. The community continues to promote a positive and ethical approach to lock picking, emphasising the importance of understanding security systems to enhance overall safety and awareness.

To keep lock-picking skill away from those who would abuse it, members of locksport groups have zero tolerance for illegal or immoral lock picking, bypass, or other forms of entry.

Locksporters abide by the following rules, with no exceptions:

  • Locksporters may open only locks that belong to them. For other locks, they need express consent of the owner.
  • Locksporters may not open a lock that is in use.
  • Permanently removing (or relocating) the lock may be done only when lawfully and specifically sanctioned by an appropriate authority.
  • A lock which has been effectively abandoned by its owner and placed in a public place without securing anything (i.e., not “in use”, such as a lock placed on a “lovewall”) may ethically be picked by any locksporter, provided the lock is returned to its original locked position and state.
  • The security needs of others must be preserved.
  • All activities take place within boundaries of respectability, integrity and professionalism.

Xmas Greetings from the 9 Usual Suspects

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… for geocaching! And as we gather with our fellow geocachers to celebrate the holiday season, we can’t help but think about the “Usual Suspects” we might encounter on the trails.

First, there’s the “Grinch” cacher who hides caches they have found in more difficult, obscure locations, to give others a bit harder challenge. But don’t worry, a little determination (and possibly a GPS signal boost) will help you track them down.

Then there’s the “Elf” cacher who is always full of cheer and ready to lend a helping hand to others. It’s a good thing they’re around, because without them we might all turn into the “Scrooge” cachers, who always are grumbling about the cold, rain and the mud.

Of course, no geocaching adventure is complete without encountering a few “Reindeer” cachers – you know, the ones that are always on the move replacing damaged logs and containers. And let’s not forget the “Santa” cacher who generously shares their caching knowledge with the rest of the community and replenishes SWAG, bringing joy to junior cachers.

So as we set out on our holiday geocaching adventures, see how many of these Christmas cacher types you can spot.

Thank You from Gwynedd Council

A message from Norman Hughes, Clean & Tidy Officer, Gwynedd Council. On behalf of the council he would like to Thank all litter pickers for their fantastic work throughout the last year and to say they appreciate all that you do. He also would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone Nadolig Llawen, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

And finally…………..

A Christmas Cracker Joke to get you all in the mood:

What do they sing at a snowman’s birthday? – “Freeze a jolly good fellow…”

From all of us at Nine Usual Suspects, we wish you a very
Merry Christmas/Nadolig Llawen!

Ulefone Power Armor X11 Pro Rugged Smartphone: The Ultimate Outdoor Companion

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you know the importance of having a reliable and rugged smartphone by your side. The Ulefone Power Armor X11 Pro Rugged Smartphone is designed specifically with durability and versatility in mind, making it the perfect choice for anyone who loves to spend time in the great outdoors.

Phone in bright sunlight

One of the standout features of the Ulefone Power Armor X11 Pro is its ruggedness. It’s built to withstand even the toughest conditions, with an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance. This means that it can be submerged in water up to 1.5 meters deep for up to 30 minutes without any damage. It’s also shockproof, able to withstand drops from up to 1.5 meters without any damage.

In addition to its rugged design, the Ulefone Power Armor X11 Pro is packed with features that make it perfect for outdoor activities. It has a large 5.5 inch HD display that’s perfect for viewing maps and other information, even in bright sunlight. It also has a powerful 8-core processor and 4GB of RAM, making it capable of handling even the most demanding apps and games.

Quick to obtain GPS lock and accurate

But where the Ulefone Power Armor X11 Pro really shines is in its GPS capabilities. It’s equipped with high-precision GPS, GLONASS, and BeiDou navigation systems, allowing you to track your location and movements with incredible accuracy. This is especially useful for activities like geocaching, where it’s important to get a quick lock onto your exact location and give exact readings to that elusive cache.

The Ulefone Power Armor X11 Pro also has a range of other features that make it perfect for outdoor adventures. It has a long-lasting 8150mAh battery, so you don’t have to worry about running out of power when you’re out in the wilderness, I got a day of heavy GPS usage without having to recharge the phone and never ran out of battery. It also has a 16MP rear camera and a 5MP front camera, allowing you to capture stunning photos and videos of your adventures.

Excellent camera

Overall, the Ulefone Power Armor X11 Pro is an excellent choice for anyone who loves spending time outdoors. Its rugged design, powerful specs, and advanced GPS capabilities make it a fantastic outdoor companion. Whether you’re hiking through the mountains or exploring the wilderness in search of that cache, the Ulefone Power Armor X11 Pro has you covered. The phone is priced at £155 but as can be found for less.

News & New Caches 65

Just two new traditional caches published since our last post:

GCA2QQK Golygfa Cob Porthmadog (Porthmadog Cob View) by Hitch-Hikers Traditional D1.5/T2.5
GCA2TNZ Cornel Cob Crwn (Cob Crwn Corner) by Hitch-Hikers Traditional D2/T1.5

Be safe in the hills and mountains this winter

To have safe adventures in the hills and mountains, it’s important to plan ahead and be prepared for the conditions. Here are some tips to help you have a safe and enjoyable time:

  1. Check the weather forecast before you go and plan your route accordingly. The UK can experience harsh weather conditions, remember that the weather can change in minutes, so it’s important to be prepared for the elements.
  2. Wear appropriate clothing and footwear. Layering is key to staying warm, and sturdy boots with good grip are essential for hiking on slippery terrain, if you are going up on to the ice, ensure you have the correct equpment .
  3. Tell someone your plans. Let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return. This will allow them to raise the alarm if you don’t return as expected.
  4. Take a map and compass and know how to use them. It’s also a good idea to carry a GPS device in case you get lost, don’t rely on your phone, battery life is dramatically reduced in freezing conditions.
  5. Bring food and water. Pack enough water and snacks to keep you going, especially if you’re planning a long hike.
  6. Be aware of your surroundings. Watch out for steep drops, loose rocks, and other potential hazards.
  7. Stay on trails. This will help you avoid getting lost and will also protect the environment.
  8. Be prepared for emergencies. Carry a first aid kit and know how to use it. It’s also a good idea to have a mobile phone with you in case you need to call for help.

By following these tips and using common sense, you can have a safe and enjoyable adventures this winter.

9 Usual Suspects 2022

We are in the process of compiling a YouTube video of our 2022 Geocaching adventures. Have you any photos/video that you would like to be included? If so please email them to me,, in original or large format.

and finally…..

Ale Trail June 11th 2022

As “post-pandemic normality” creeps back into everyday life the first local Ale Trail since 2020 has been announced. With an all new route including nine of our favorite pubs to visit. If you have never been on the Ale Trail, in the past there has been a wide variety of beers, including our local microbreweries Purple Moose, Cwrw Llyn, Bragdy Lleu and Cwrw Cader, all served in some of the very best, off the beaten track and hidden pubs that the area has to offer. I hope to see you there.
Tickets are £20 in advance, £22 on the day available from all participating pubs from May and online. Full details here

This summer’s route

Answers to the Big 2021 Quiz

Here are the log awaited answers to the Big 2021 Quiz. How did you do?

  1. Who was the winner of the Grand National? Horse & Jockey

    Minella Times ridden by Rachael Blackmore who became the first woman to win the race

  2. Which country won the Eurovision Song Contest?

    Italy won with the song “Zitti e buoni” by Måneskin

  3. Pete & Ann were away on holiday for nearly all September, Where were they?

    Azores, Portugal

  4. Which county was this years UK Mega held in?


  5. In which month did Prince Philip die?

    April 9th

  6. What vehicle did Prince Philip choose to carry his coffin at his funeral?

    Land Rover Defender TD5 130

  7. A new £50 note entered circulation in June this year. Which scientist is celebrated on the new note?

    Alan Turing

  8. A ship blocked the Suez Canal for days causing worldwide delays: What was the name of the vessel?

    Ever Given

  9. A legal dispute hit the headlines in April when Colin launched legal proceedings against Cuthbert: Who are Colin and Cuthbert?

    Caterpillar cakes, from Marks & Spencer and Aldi respectively

  10. Bitcoin became the official currency in which Central American country?

    El Salvador

  11. The Zoom meeting of a UK council went viral this year, with one guest memorably exclaiming “You do not have the authority, Jackie Weaver!” What council was it?

    Handforth Parish Council

  12. The cast of which long-running American sitcom reunited for the first time since the show’s finale in 2004 this year?


  13. Who was the female tennis star from South London who won the US Open this year?

    Emma Raducanu

  14. Which American singer terminated a 13-year legal conservatorship giving their father and others control over their finances and personal life?

    Britney Spears

  15. This year ITV announced they had axed The X Factor – what year was the show first aired?


  16. What is Adele’s long awaited album called?


  17. Matt Hancock resigned as Health Secretary in June, after being caught doing something in his office – what was it?

    Cameras caught him snogging his aide Gina Coladangelo

  18. In January 2021, online retailer Boohoo acquired which brand and website for £55 million?


  19. Which news channel was launched on 13 June?

    GB News

  20. Who was the former owner of a Ford Escort sold at auction for more than £52,000?

    Princess Diana was the owner of the 1981 Ford Escort Mk 3 Ghia

  21. Police are called as hundreds flock to Diddly Squat Farm Shop – who is its famous owner?

    Jeremy Clarkson

  22. What is the name of the new James Bond film?

    No Time To Die

  23. September saw the eruption of a volcano on which Canary Island?

    La Palma

  24. The 2021 Labour Party conference took place in which seaside resort?


  25. The contactless payment limit is increased from £45 to how much?


  26. Alec Baldwin was filming on the set of which upcoming film when a terrible and fatal accident occurred?


  27. Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenne visited which British non-league football club’s stadium for the first time since buying it earlier in the year?

    Wrexham AFC

  28. Voyage is a studio album released on 5 November 2021 by which group?


  29. Which supermarket chain spoofed the John Lewis Christmas advert?


  30. At the end of November, which country became the world’s newest republic?


  31. The northern part of which English county saw a massive swing from the Conservatives to the Liberal Democrats in a by-election?


  32. Where was “I’m a Celebrity 2021” held?

    Gwrych Castle

  33. Who was the winner on “I’m a Celebrity 2021?

    Danny Miller

  34. What is the is the current Geocaching Souvenir Challenge called?

    Reach the Peak

  35. In February, Captain Sir Tom Moore passed away, aged 100. He raised more than £30m for NHS charities by initially walking how many laps of his garden?

    100 laps of his 25 metre garden in Marston Moretaine in Bedfordshire

  36. In July, Unesco removed its world heritage status from which UK site?

    Liverpool, because new buildings undermined the attractiveness of its Victorian docks

  37. On which planet did Nasa fly a small helicopter called Ingenuity, bearing a fragment of the Wright brothers’ first aeroplane?


  38. Name the drummer of the Rolling Stones, who died aged 80?

    Charlie Watts

  39. Who controversially won the Formula 1 Championship in Abu Dhabi?

    Max Verstappen

  40. Which sports personality was awarded an MBE for their campaigning to help vulnerable children?

    Marcus Rashford

  41. In June which MP defected from Conservative to Labour, calling his former party “reactionary, populist, nationalistic and sometimes even xenophobic”?

    John Bercow former Speaker of the House of Commons

  42. Which landscape in Northwest Wales is given UNESCO World Heritage status?

    The Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales

  43. AUKUS, a trilateral security pact with was formed between the UK, Australia and the United States to provide what to Australia?

    Nuclear Submarines

  44. Who was the first civilian aboard his own winged rocket ship to reach space, attaining an altitude of 53 miles above ground—three miles beyond the threshold of space?

    Richard Branson

  45. Who filed a lawsuit against Disney — the parent company of Marvel Studios — over their decision to stream Black Widow on Disney+ simultaneously with the theatrical release?

    Scarlett Johansson sued Disney, accusing Disney of breaching her contract

  46. We all have heard of PCR Covid tests, what does PCR stand for?

    Polymerase chain reaction

  47. Which famous BBC DJ passed away on Christmas Day?

    Janice Long

  48. Who was the above’s famous brother?

    Keith Chegwin

  49. Which European country’s flag change went largely unnoticed?

    France, the blue is now a darker shade

  50. Slovenia laid claim to having the largest pile of which substance in Europe?


Geminids meteor shower.

As we approach the shortest day in mid December in the UK, on a clear night we see the Geminids meteor shower. This is one of the most active and reliable meteor showers in the astronomical calendar. Although this peaks on the early morning around 14th, it starts on the 4th and extends to the 16th of December. The best time to see this phenomenon is around 02:00 to 03:00 in the morning. The name Geminids comes from the “apparent” source of the shower the Gemini constellation which is currently to the east. That said, meteors from this shower can appear from just about anywhere in the sky, although they will appear predominantly from the direction of the Gemini constellation. Meteors are small stony or metallic natural objects from space usually the remains of a comet or collision between asteroids. When a meteoroid enters the Earth’s atmosphere, it is traveling faster than a speeding bullet, estimated to be greater than 11 km per second (25,000 miles per hour). Friction produced by the collision with the atmosphere, causes them to vaporise, and heat the air around it giving the characteristic trail, any colour is given by the material that is burning usually white for iron-nickel but can be blue, green or red . If the meteor reaches the ground it’s known as a meteorite.
The Geminids are intensifying every year and recent showers have seen 120–160 meteors per hour!

Geminids photo by Jeff Sullivan

Here’s hoping for a clear sky tonight.

Saturday’s Litter Pick

GC9HE10 CITO Season 2 by 9 Usual Suspects

19 geocachers gathered for Cache in Trash Out (CITO) season 2 at Morfa Common Park / Parc Y Dre on the banks of Arfon Seiont, returning for the 5th time since 2018. As we stood in the drizzle for the safety briefing it was an unpromising damp start, both in the weather and the amount of litter that had accumulated since our last pick at this location. We split up into groups and got on with the task in hand keeping a steady flow of bags back to the collection point, for kerbside sorting of the recyclables into their respective categories. As the litter pick progressed, the weather improved with some autumnal blue sky putting in an appearance and Morfa Common Park looking much tidier than when we had started. We would like to say a very big thank you to everyone for all your hard work.

Thanks Andy (YnysMonBirders) for the photos.

We would like to make everyone aware that a syringe complete with needle was found in one of the arches. Please be vigilant when out and about geocaching, you never know what you may come across.

Our GPS history and why we still use them along with our phones

We have been using a GPS since we started Geocaching way back in 2010. Our first GPS was the eTrex 10 with no maps, we just ‘followed the arrow’, it did however support downloading Geocaching GPX files via USB which made it ideal for Geocaching. A testament to the eTrex’s toughness and simple design is that this model, although revised is still available today. It was bomb proof had no touch screen just a thumb-operated joystick, monochrome display and a pointer to where the destination was, and how far away it was. The eTrex has exceptional battery life but was slow to get a signal and its accuracy was truly hit or miss under tree canopies. This little unit spawned many adventures for us.

Garmin eTrex 10 Patche99z, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

After a few years of finding ourselves on the wrong side of a river or having to make a long hike due to a dual carriageway or some other obstacle blocking our progress we decided on the Oregon 450T which had Ordnance Survey maps 1:50 k. This was a revelation and for the first time allowed us to see a map which allowed us to plot a route unhindered by obstructions. The Oregon 450t had a touch screen, a SD card slot for maps and extra data, an electronic compass, a barometric altimeter and could store thousands of Geocaches. We got about 6 years of use and abuse out of these units. Maintenance, mainly due to rough handling, resulted in screens being replaced, buttons fixed and other sundry parts replaced until they both were beyond repair. I recycled parts from both and with some bits off a Russian GPS breaker on eBay, a ‘Frankenstein’ Oregon 550 GPS was created, this had all the same features as the 450T it now sported a 3.2 megapixel geotagging camera. Although this unit has now slightly out of date OS maps it is still fully functional and in constant use to this day.

By Garmin -, CC BY-SA 3.0,
Garmin 450T By Garmin –, CC BY-SA 3.0,

I personally own a Garmin GPSMAP 64s now, I never liked the touchscreen which with my big hands didn’t work so well for me, I love the buttons and simple menu system. The unit has a good sized display that can be read in bright sunlight which was always a problem with the older models and mobile phones. The reception is great even under trees, and the unit is quick to get a GPS lock. The 64s uses GPS + GLONASS + WAAS although not Galileo. I also 3D printed a simple mod that allows rechargeable batteries to be used and charged in the unit whilst connected to USB. Bluetooth is available and in reality only useful for transferring Geocaches to another compatible unit, it’s a battery killing extra I don’t need and is designed for external sensors like heart rate, therefore remains switched off.

Garmin GSMAP 64S By Virgilinojuca – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

So why do we still use this old tech? We get at least a couple of days battery life out of both the 550 and 64s which is a lot more than our mobile phones. If the battery runs out we just pop in another couple of AA batteries and off we go. They survive rough treatment much better than mobile phones. Detailed maps can be downloaded from sites like Open Street Maps and preloaded on SD Cards, these are always available even when there is no phone signal, this is also great for caching abroad where maps can be preloaded. They accurately track our route which can be examined in Garmin’s Basecamp software when we get home. I’m not saying GPS units are more useful than mobiles, but a phone with apps like Geocaching, C:geo, Looking 4 Cache is a perfect compliment to a GPS.