Llanfaglan Church Event Update

Thank you everyone who responded to our last post. We have agreed with Ifor Williams for our tour of the church to be either Saturday 18th or Sunday 19th May, to start around 2.30-3pm. Do you have a preference of which day? Please let us know through the comments or email us at talktous@9usualsuspects.uk

News & New Caches 133

Just 2 new traditional caches have been published since our last post:

GCAP46W Can you see the monument by Coxystar79 Traditional D1/T1.5
GCANYPN Porth Swtan byTheAngleseyClarkes Traditional D1/T1.5

Please note there will be NO Nosh & Natter this month, but they will resume in May.

Llanfaglan Church

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

While enjoying a guided history tour of Caernarfon we met Ifor Williams who takes care of this lovely old church on behalf of the charity Friends of Friendless Churches. He has kindly offered to give us geocachers a guided tour of this fascinating church. The tour would last between 30-45 minutes. Our plan is to hold an event here, either a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, to include the tour and a BBQ or picnic just down the road by the ‘pirate ship’. Are you interested? Please let us know as we need to have a rough idea of numbers before making any further plans.

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.

News & New Caches 132

We have 2 new caches to report since our last post, please note both are Premium Member Only:

GCANW2F Most Northerly Harbour in Wales by Sqaddie101 Traditional D3.5/T1.5
GCANWCC Superman’s Changing Room by MonHunter Traditional D1/T1.5

Event Review, Anglesey Column

GCAN1D5 9 Usual Suspects Visit Anglesey Column by 9 Usual Suspects

With the column reopening to the public at the beginning of the year it was only a matter of time before we hosted an event here. The column closed to the public very shortly after we moved to Nantlle. Many times we have looked up at the Marquis and said ‘I bet the views are fab from up there’. We can now confirm the views are amazing. The 115 step climb to the top was not nearly as hard as I thought it would be. I’m not that confident when it comes to heights but the substantially built platform and railings made you feel very safe even when looking down over the edge.

The weather was not perfect but good enough to give us some incredible views, especially of the bridges and straits. After taking lots of photos and videos we all made our way back down the steps to join the not so brave attendees for some well earned refreshments in the new cafe. Another lovely afternoon spent with our geocaching friends.

For the geocacher there are currently 2 caches here, a multi and an earthcache. We highly recommend visiting, not just the column but also the cafe as it does a very good paned and homemade cakes.

For details on opening times, prices and history of the column follow this link Anglesey Column

Here are a few photos of our day:

Virtual Cache Award Update

We would like to thank you for all the comments and ideas of where to place our Virtual Reward Cache. After visiting Anglesey Column we have decided to place the virtual cache here, from the top of the column you look out across our ‘patch’. There will be another event for the launch of the cache…. watch this space!

Naturesbyte’s favourite Caches

No. 1 – St Melangell’s Church, (GC1C1GQ) Tonibunny – 28th May 2007

A favourite Geocache of mine is an ancient religious site in Llangynog, Powys, Wales. It has both history and a peaceful setting. To say that it is remote is an understatement, the church and a very few houses can only be reached down a long track off the B4391 or via a network of footpaths that span the Berwyn Mountains.

The road to the Church

It’s one of those rare places that it has been in constant use thousands of years for worship of various deities from Bronze age to the Christian church which stands there now. As you look around the church yard there are four stately Yew trees that are at least two thousand years old predating the current structure.

One of the Yew trees

There are many gravestones the oldest dating from 1680 right up to the relatively recent burials. The age of the site was revealed when Mid-Bronze age burials were found in the churchyard on an archaeological dig to establish the age, it’s also thought that an older barrow may have existed on the site of the church itself.

Church exterior

The interior of the church bears witnesses to changing patterns of Christian worship for nearly a thousand years, the origins of Christian worship on the site dates to around the seventh or eighth century when a community of nuns led by St. Melangell (Monacella) after who, the church is named founded a convent. The original convent was a wooden structure and was replaced by a stone building in the late twelfth century to match the needs of the worshipers and the lucrative pilgrim trade, St. Melangell’s shrine (the oldest surviving Romanesque shrine in Northern Europe) offered ‘miraculous cures’ for illness and other spiritual benefits for the pilgrim. That the shrine survives to this day is exceptional.

The Shrine of St Melangell

Most British shrines were destroyed either in the Reformation, or when major religious upheavals occurred, sometimes this was as drastic as sweeping away all previous iconography, as in the ‘English’ Civil war where so many churches across Britain were gutted and used as stables, barracks or warehousing. We perceive churches as austere colourless places which in the past was far from the truth, before the reformation in the mid sixteenth century churches were painted with brightly coloured interiors depicting religious scenes for the largely illiterate congregation, traces of these paintings can be seen at various places around the church. In the reformation ‘Superstitious images’ came under attack as Henry the Eighth sought to break with the Pope and Catholic church. Up and down England & Wales, pictures of saints, screens separating clergy and congregation, relics and miracle-working statues were ripped out of parish churches and destroyed, the remoteness of this church and the small insular Welsh speaking community probably saved the shrine from destruction, tragically not the wall paintings though.

Interior of Church

Over the centuries repairs have changed the church but, on the whole the fabric and feel remains the same.

Old gates into Church dated 1765

One feature which struck a chord for me was above the cache in the Yew tree someone placed a sharpening stone in the boughs and never returned for it, it is now slowly being absorbed by the yew, which to me symbolises the timelessness of this site.

Sharpening stone left in the tree

News & New Caches 131

Happy Easter! Since our last post a new series of 6 drive-bys with a seasonal theme have been published. Please note they are all premium member only.

GCANFM7 #1 Easter Egg Hunt 2024 by Squaddie101 Traditional D1/T1.5
GCANFMC #2 Easter Egg Hunt 2024 by Squaddie101 Traditional D1.5/T1.5
GCANFMK #3 Easter Egg Hunt 2024 by Squaddie101 Traditional D1.5/T1.5
GCANFMQ #4 Easter Egg Hunt 2024 by Squaddie101 Traditional D1.5/T1.5
GCANFMT #5 Easter Egg Hunt 2024 by Squaddie101 Traditional D1.5/T1.5
GCANFMX #6 Easter Egg Hunt 2024 by Squaddie101 Traditional D1.5/T1.5

Event Reminder

GCAN1D5 9 Usual Suspects Visit Anglesey Column by 9 Usual Suspects
When: 2.4.2024
Where: Anglesey ColumnParc Dre, Caernarfon
Time: 2-4pm

So, are you ready for the 115 step challenge to the top? Please note there is a charge to climb the steps to the viewing platform but not to attend this event.
The cost to climb to the top of the column is for adults £7.50 and for children £3.50.
Please note the climb is not recommended for children under 3 years.

GeoGuessr Souvenir

GeoGuessr, we love this game and spent many hours travelling the world playing this game in Covid lockdowns. So what is GeoGuessr? It is an interactive geography game that ‘drops’ players to random locations around the world using Google Street View, the objective being to guess where you are. Players must use their knowledge and deduction skills to guess their precise location. The more accurately a player guesses, the more points they earn.

A special limited-time collaboration between Geocaching HQ and GeoGuessr allow all geocachers a free trial of ten places inspired by real-world geocaching locations. By playing the game geocachers can earn a limited edition souvenir!

In order to earn the limited-time souvenir:

  1. Play The Geocaching Challenge between March 26–April 12 and correctly identify at least one location.
  2. Find the hidden tracking code on the completion message screen.
  3. Discover the code at Geocaching.com before April 12, 2024 to earn a special souvenir.

If you couldn’t find the hidden tracking code, don’t worry—a second tracking code will appear at the end of the game after guessing all ten locations. Discovering either tracking code will earn the souvenir.

NOTE: Geocaching HQ gives permission for these trackables to be discovered virtually.

The best experience is on desktop and this game will not appear in the GeoGuessr mobile app.

News & New Caches 130

A new virtual cache on Anglesey has been published since our last post:

GCAJGPY Wonderful Views by familykemp Virtual D1.5/T3.5

Event Reminder
GCAMVAX 9 Usual Suspects – Nosh & Natter 66 by 9 Usual Suspects
When: 28.3.2024
Where: Parc Snowdonia, Waunfawr, Caernarfon, Gwynedd LL55 4AQ
Time: 7pm to 9pm or when the last person leaves

Event Reviews

GCAMJH4 CITO 2024 Season 1 by 9 Usual Suspects Event D1/T3.5
GCAMM4Z 9 Usual Suspects Cake and a Brew Event D1/T1
Saturday 23rd March saw us picking litter at our regular site Parc Dre, along the Afon Seiont and the woodland behind Tesco’s. We manage to extend this area to include part of Lon Eifion cycle path allowing attendees to find some of the caches placed for Leap Day.

Results of our Efforts

Despite the awful weather forecast of rain, sleet and snow, the day stayed dry though very cold. Surprisingly there was a very good turnout of hardy volunteers filling the trailer with all of the normal cans, bottles, fast food containers and general rubbish. After everyones hard work we regrouped at ‘base camp’ for hot drinks and cake which was accompanied by lots of geochat and general banter.

Here are a few photos:

The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct Drained & Exposed 

We have all admired Thomas Telford’s incredible Pontcysyllte Aqueduct over the River Dee. Have you ever wondered what holds the water? This video may give you second thoughts about crossing the aqueduct either on foot or by boat.

For a great adventure we can highly recommend hiring a narrow boat from Anglo Welsh for a day trip from Trevor to Chirk. Cross the aqueduct, pass through the tunnels, cruise the picturesque canal, before turning at the Chirk turning point. An ideal place to have a P&P stop plus lunch at the Poachers Pocket before the return journey to Trevor. The cost of a days hire is very good value at £120 for a weekday or £180 for a weekend or Bank Holiday. Maximum of 10 passengers.

There are several geocaches and an Adventure Lab along the route.

News & New Caches 129

Two new earthcaches and a couple of new events to report since our last post:

Premium Member Only
GCAMJCN Great Orme and Little Orme adventure by seanx90 Earthcache D2.5/T4.5
GCAMJA8 Bardic Circle by seanx90 Earthcache D1.5/T.15

Events

GCAN1D5 9 Usual Suspects Visit Anglesey Column by 9 Usual Suspects
When: 2.4.2024
Where: Anglesey ColumnParc Dre, Caernarfon
Time: 2-4pm

So, are you ready for the 115 step challenge to the top? Please note there is a charge to climb the steps to the viewing platform but not to attend this event.
The cost to climb to the top of the column is for adults £7.50 and for children £3.50.
Please note the climb is not recommended for children under 3 years.

GCAN2QB Meet and Greet, Mine’s A Pint. by Bess’s Friends
When: 14.6.2024
Where: Bragdy Cybi, Unit 4a, Penrhos Business Park, Holyhead. LL65 2FD
Time: 6.30-9pm

GCCAN2QT Meet and Greet, Tanygrisiau. by Bess’s Friends
When: 18.6.2024
Where: lakeside Cafe, Tanygrisiau
Time: 12-12.30pm

Event Reminders

GCAMJH4 CITO 2024 Season 1 by 9 Usual Suspects Event D1/T3.5
When: 23.3.2024
Where: Parc Dre, Caernarfon
Time: 11am-1pm
Another CITO Event meeting on the old bridge. We will be litter picking the usual area but hope to extend to include the beginning of Lon Eifion cycle path. An area in desperate need of a tidy up. By attending this event you will earn CITO 2024 Season 1 souvenir and this event will also count towards the March Equinox souvenir.

GCAMM4Z 9 Usual Suspects Cake and a Brew Event D1/T1
When: 23.3.2024
Where: Parc Dre, Caernarfon
Time: 1-1.30pm

Anglesey Column, a Brief History

The column was designed by Thomas Harrison to commemorate the Battle of Waterloo which took place on June 18th 1815. The building of the 27 meter tower commenced a year later in 1816 and was finished in 1817. It is built of limestone quarried from Moelfre quarry.

On the foundation stone there is an inscription in English, Welsh and Latin:

The inhabitants of the counties of Anglesey and Caernarvon have erected this column in grateful commemoration of the distinguished military achievements of their countryman HENRY WILLIAM, MARQUESS OF ANGLESEY the leader of the British Cavalry in Spain throughout the arduous Campaign of 1807 and Second in Command of the Armies confederated against France at the memorable battle of Waterloo on the 18th of June 1815. Thomas Harrison Architect.

Installing the statue

It was not until 1860 that the Paget family added the brass statute of Battle of Waterloo hero William Henry Paget, the first Marquess of Anglesey, to a plinth at the top of the fabulous landmark.

The Column was listed grade II as a building of special interest in 1952 – its designation was lifted to grade II* in 1992.

Due to the deteriorating condition of the Anglesey Column it was closed to the public in March 2012. In 2017, the 200th year of the column’s existence, a charity, the Anglesey Column Trust, was set up to look into the possibility of repairing and re-opening the column. Close to £1.4million was raised, with the majority being from The National Lottery Heritage Fund plus donations from local charities and general fund raising. The results are impressive, the column has a new staircase and a general makeover, the original tiny cottage has been extended to provide a cafe, toilets and information centre with nature trails currently being constructed in the grounds.

While visiting remember there are two geocaches here:

GCAJ1GP Tŵr Marcwis by RichieBlod Multi D1.5/T2.5 Premium member Only
GC2G80B Geomon #7 Llanfair PG Blue Schist by The GeoBEATS Earthcache D1.5/T3.5

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News & New Caches 128

A couple of new caches plus 4 events have been published since our last post:

Parc y Dre after its recent council make over

GCAMC25 Parc y Dre by Clueless_Goose Traditional D2/T2
GCAMJ97 The White Rabbit by seanx90 Earthcache D1.5/T1.5

Events
GCAMM4Z 9 Usual Suspects Cake and a Brew Event D1/T1
When: 23.3.2024
Where: Parc Dre, Caernarfon
Time: 1-1.30pm

GCAMVAX 9 Usual Suspects – Nosh & Natter 66 by 9 Usual Suspects
When: 28.3.2024
Where: Parc Snowdonia, Waunfawr, Caernarfon, Gwynedd LL55 4AQ
Time: 7pm to 9pm or when the last person leaves

GCAMKWG Six Peaks Adventure – Hello from Llandderfel by terrapintim & GeoPaul Event D1/T1
When: 22.4.2024
Where: Bryntirion Inn, Llandderfel, Bala, Gwynedd, LL23 7RA
Time: 7-8pm

GCAMKV0 Six Peaks Adventure – Snowdon Meet & Greet by terrapintim & GeoPaul D1/T4
When: 23.4.2024
Where: Snowdon Summit
Time: 12-12.30pm

Old Anglesey Aluminium Site Demolition of Chimney Stack

Orthios Site in Holyhead Continues With Demolition

March 20th sees the demolition of the iconic 122 meter chimney stack which has stood for last 50 years at the old Anglesey Aluminium site. The demolition is to make way for the new Anglesey Freeport.

Would you like to push the button? Holyhead RNLI are running a fund raising draw in the memory of their crew member Iwan Williams to press the button signalling the demolition.

Single prize draw entry starts from just £3. Entrants to the draw must be 18 years-old or over, but the winning entrant can bring a friend or family member to accompany them to the event (this person can be under 18).

To enter visit: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/holyhead-chimney-stack-prize-draw

Village Hall Week 2024

The Village Hall Series started in 2013 with the first cache placed by GeoJaxx in Denmead, Hampshire.  It has steadily grown in popularity and currently can be found in 72 counties in England, Scotland, Wales, The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

​The geocaches can be set in any hall which is used by the community for local groups or available to hire for private functions (but not social clubs and halls for members only). They have various names including village hall, community hall, parish hall, reading room, church hall to name a few. There are thousands of halls within our communities so there is plenty of scope for the series to grow considerably. 

There are very few Village Hall caches here in North Wales and only one event in the whole of Wales but the following profile badges are available to download for:

  • Placing a cache/Hosting an event
  • Attending a village hall event
  • Finding a village hall cache

News & New Caches 127

Just one new event and an event reminder to report since our last post:

GCAMJH4 CITO 2024 Season 1 by 9 Usual Suspects Event D1/T3.5
When: 23.3.2024
Where: Parc Dre, Caernarfon
Time: 11am-1pm
Another CITO Event meeting on the old bridge. We will be litter picking the usual area but hope to extend to include the beginning of Lon Eifion cycle path. An area in desperate need of a tidy up. By attending this event you will earn CITO 2024 Season 1 souvenir and this event will also count towards the March Equinox souvenir.

Event Reminder

GCAJE8C Carrotking 🥕👑 @ White Rabbit 🐰 by Carrotking Event
When: 10.3.2024
Where: Promenade Shelter, Llandudno
Time: 5-5.30pm
Carrotking is visiting our area from Vorderer Odenwald, Germany and would like to meet up with other geocachers to discuss our great hobby.

March Equinox Souvenir

This week Geocaching HQ announced an extra souvenir for the March equinox.

The equinox happens twice a year when the Sun shines directly over the equator. It occurs because of Earth’s tilt on its axis as it orbits the Sun. When Earth reaches a certain point in its orbit, neither the North nor the South Pole is tilted towards the Sun, making the sunlight spread evenly over the Earth’s surface. This celestial event helps us understand more about our planet and its journey around the Sun!

To earn this souvenir, geocachers must find a total of 3 geocaches, event caches, and/or Adventure Lab® Locations between March 17th–23rd, 2024. Why three caches? Because March is the third month of the year!

Cotoneaster and the Plant Swap Scheme

Do you have cotoneaster growing in your garden? Did you know that this non-native plant has a detrimental effect on some of the most plant and insect-rich habitats in the UK? As it spreads here in North Wales it smothers limestone grasslands and is also beginning to colonise our redundant quarries. Limestone grasslands are some of the most plant and insect-rich habitats in the UK and can have over 40 plant species per square meter.

Photo Christine Winston Flickr

Cotoneaster berries were once thought to be a good winter food source for birds but now we are aware of the harm this plant is doing to our environment. Birds eat the berries that then pass through their digestive systems leaving the seeds intact and viable causing the progressive spread. Acting as a seed source, garden cotoneaster is escalating this issue. Cotoneaster is now considered in the top ten species having a negative impact on our protected sites in North Wales.

What is the Plant Swap Scheme?
The Plant Swap Scheme aims to reduce the spread of invasive non-native cotoneaster onto our landscape by removing cotoneaster from our gardens and therefore this seed source.
By ridding cotoneaster from your garden you are eligible to apply for a FREE £20 National Garden Gift voucher or The Woodworks Garden Centre voucher.

For details how to remove cotoneaster from your garden and apply for your voucher click on this link North Wales Wildlife Trust

News & New Caches 126

We have a few new caches to report since our last post:

GCAJ1GP Tŵr Marcwis by RichieBlod Multi D1.5/T2.5 Premium member Only

As part of our Leap Day celebrations 29 new caches went live on Lon Eifion. There is a varied mix of D/T’s and containers, some easy and some not so. Warning, there are no hints but there may be clues in some of the titles. The lack of hints is reflected in difficulty rating.

GCAJNTY Lon Eifion, Another Tree by 9 Usual Suspects Traditional D2/T1.5
GCAJNTZ Lon Eifion, Araneae by 9 Usual Suspects Traditional D2.5/T1.5
GCAJNV0 Lon Eifion, Afon Seiont by 9 Usual Suspects Traditional D4.5/T1.5
GCAJNV2 Lon Eifion, BOT by 9 Usual Suspects Traditional D2/T1.5
GCAJNVC Lon Eifion, Posted by 9 Usual Suspects Traditional D2/T1.5
GCAJNVE Lon Eifion, The Crossing by 9 Usual Suspects Traditional D4/T1.5
GCAJNVJ Lon Eifion, Rail Bridge by 9 Usual Suspects Traditional D3/T1.5
GCAJNVP Lon Eifion, Fron Goch View by 9 Usual Suspects Traditional D2/T1.5
GCAJNVQ Lon Eifion, Gated by 9 Usual Suspects Traditional D2/T1.5
GCAJNVW Lon Eifion, Meet Ivy by 9 Usual Suspects Traditional D2/T1.5
GCAJNWJ Lon Eifion, Meet the Bison by 9 Usual Suspects Traditional D2/T1.5
GCAJNW6 REALLY SideTracked – Bontnewydd by 9 Usual Suspects Traditional D5/T1.5
GCAK6FF Lon Eifion, Afon Gwyrfai Bridge by 9 Usual Suspects Traditional D2.5/T1.5
GCAK7VY Lon Eifion, Fence by 9 Usual Suspects Traditional D2/T1.5
GCAK6FZ Lon Eifion, Meet Nagini by 9 Usual Suspects Traditional D2.5/T1.5
GCAK6GC Lon Eifion, Gate Crossing by 9 Usual Suspects Traditional D2/T1.5
GCAK6MK REALLY SideTracked – Dinas by 9 Usual Suspects Traditional D1.5/T1.5
GCAK6MY Lon Eifion, Meet Kermit by 9 Usual Suspects Traditional D2.5/T1.5
GCAK6N1 Lon Eifion, Hole in One! by 9 Usual Suspects Traditional D2/T1.5
GCAK6N4 Lon Eifion, Meet Hazel by 9 Usual Suspects Traditional D3/T1.5
GCAK6N6 Lon Eifion, Rotcelfer by 9 Usual Suspects Traditional D2.5/T1
GCAK6NC Lon Eifion, Deathly Hollows by 9 Usual Suspects Traditional D2/T1.5
GCAK6NE Lon Eifion, Meet Roland by 9 Usual Suspects Traditional D2/T1.5
GCAK6NJ Lon Eifion, Gates by 9 Usual Suspects Traditional D2/T1.5
GCAK6NP Lon Eifion, Oak Tree by 9 Usual Suspects Traditional D4/T1.5
GCAK6NW Lon Eifion, Sycamore Gap by 9 Usual Suspects Traditional D2/T2
GCAK6P3 Lon Eifion, Design by 9 Usual Suspects Traditional D2.5/T1.5
GCAK69C Lon Eifion, Tafarn Pennionyn by 9 Usual Suspects Traditional D3.5/T1.5
GCAK6PA Lon Eifion, Inigo Jones by 9 Usual Suspects Traditional D3/T1.5

Leap Day Events Review

To celebrate Leap Day 2024 we hosted 3 events.

Starting with a breakfast event at Caffi Gerlan, GCAJWJ6, a conveniently located cafe to begin the day’s adventures. During this event our first batch of new caches went live. After hearty breakfasts accompanied by plenty of geochat we regrouped in the car park at Groeslon for the start of our CITO, GCAKA5E, and the walk to Caernarfon.

A grey day but luckily the rain held off. As well as finding the 29 new caches we collected 3 bags of general litter leaving the cycle path looking a lot tidier. Congratulations to Bess’s Friends who found their 8,000 find.

We completed our mission in a record time leaving us with several hours before our final event of the day. Once everyone was reunited with their cars we all headed to 9US headquarters for well earned refreshments before heading back to Caernarfon for our final event, GCAJXR3, at the Anglesey Arms. 

A few photos from our day:

CITO 2024 Season 1

Friday 1st March saw the start of CITO Season 1 which runs to Friday 31st May. To earn the souvenir simply attend a CITO event. We are in the process of planning another litter pick around Parc Dre and Afon Seiont area of Caernafon.

Piratemania Update

GCAH4MB Piratemania 16 Dinton Pastures, Eight Bells Nigh! 
Where: Dinton Pastures Countryside Park, Sandford Lane, Hurst, Wokingham RG10 0SU
When: July 25th-29th

Booking for Piratemania 16 camping is now open. Have you booked? We have!

Click here to book your berth here Piratemania 16