Coastal Watch, Ponta Delgada, Azores

One of the guns still in place from WW2

GC7ZR5T JOKER PDGT – COASTAL WATCH – P. Delgada CANONS by PALHOCOSMACHADOD D5/T4

This letterbox cache explores a WWII defence post high on Pico da Castanheira over looking the city of Ponta Delgada and its harbour. Portugal was neutral throughout the war but the Azores Islands laying in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, 870 miles west of Lisbon and 1,200 miles southeast of Newfoundland, Canada were strategically very important to both sides.

The CO pointing out the importance of the guns siting in relation to the harbour

After meeting the cache owner, Luis, at an event we took up his kind offer for a guided tour of this fascinating place. The three guns are all still in situ and in remarkable condition seeing they have been in place since 1940 with no maintenance since 1969 when operations here ceased.

Into the tunnels

On the cache page there is a map of the underground tunnels and rooms, it is advisable to bring a copy, as well as studying the attributes. The condition of the tunnels is remarkable, no sign of damp and seeing they are open to all there is no vandalism or graffiti.

The doors lead to one of the gun emplacements

The hunt for the coordinates of the final hide guides you around the battery exploring the different rooms and tunnels. As with all military establishments your rank determined conditions and facilities, with the Battery Commanders having proper toilets!

A latrine for the lower ranks

The tunnels eventually lead to the underground observation post which would have been manned at all times, here there was a machine gun, only the concrete mount remains today. All defences of the battery were positioned for a seaward attack.

View of the sea and Ponta Delgada from the observation post.

This is another one of those places that we would never have known existed let alone visited if it had not been for Geocaching. Having Luis as a guide with his knowledge of the history of the fortifications added to our understanding of how it operated and its position strategically.

We certainly did!

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.

Favourite Locations

Some areas have it all, great countryside and some of the best geocaches. If you have a favourite location and would like it to be included here, please contact us.

The Moseley’s Recommend Kentisbeare

If you are ever in Devon, you must visit a little village called Kentisbeare! This area is filled with fantastic geocaches placed by a geocacher called heartradio. 

We travelled to Devon for the Mega in 2017, but decided against camping on site because we dragged along a then 6 month old Moseley_Bach with us, so we stayed in a static caravan near Kentisbeare, and accidentally stumbled across these caches nearby. 

In this village and the surrounding area you can find traditional caches, multi caches, a devious mystery cache geo-[he]art, earth caches, letterbox caches and wherigos! And within these caches, there are Church Micros, Village Halls, Little Bridges, Village sign and a Fine Pair!

We spent days exploring the numerous paths and finding the varied containers and some near impossible caches. 

We had to message heartradio a few times for some help, and he always obliged. He passed us one day as we searched for a particular difficult cache and stopped to say hello!

We didn’t manage to complete his caches, and will hopefully return to the area one day to find more! 

Kentisbeare, definitely worth a geocaching visit. 

Kentisbeare Geocaches

Contributed by Lon Moseley, Welshgirl11

Ann@Birdbrook’s favourite caches

GC4WEDK 147 Snooker Challenge D5/T4 Challenge Cache UK
I like a good challenge and this is certainly one. For this cache all you have to do is find 36 caches in a day, simple, well it’s not quite that easy. Basically, you are playing geocaching snooker, different types of cache count as the different coloured balls as in snooker and you have to score a maximum break of 147! See the cache page for the rules. The idea for this cache is “borrowed” from Just-Us-Two, the original cache being GC4NYHP.
Disappointedly we failed this challenge on our first attempt, too many DNF’s and too long spent looking for parking spots resulted in us running out of time. Having learnt from our mistakes we planned our next attempt like a military operation – even having a dry run to check parking spots. We had a great sense of achievement in signing the logbook of the well-hidden nano.

GC1TG4P Intertidal Footprints D5/T3.5 Earthcache UK
I am not a big fan of earthcaches but this one is very special. Coastal erosion at Formby has revealed the sub-fossil footprints of humans, animals and birds preserved in laminated silt exposures. Due to constant erosion and shifting sand, the coordinates are for the general area. We had tried twice unsuccessfully to find this earthcache so signed up for The National Trust Guided walk. Our guide was excellent, answered all our questions and took us to an area about 500m away from the published coordinates where we immediately found human footprints. At the first location, we found Human, Oyster Catcher and what was probably Aurochs footprints. The best discovery of the day was a trail of footprints left by an adult with a child’s set of prints running alongside. They looked so perfect that they could have been made that morning. At the second location a bit further south, we found Crane and Red Deer, here the laminated deposit was a completely different colour. The guided walk is highly recommended for this one, cost about £5.00 – worth every penny!

A Red Deer hoof print from approx 4,000 years ago.

GCKCJV Ghost Village (Wiltshire) D5/T1.5 Virtual UK
This is one of those places I would never have known about, let alone visited if it had not been for geocaching. The virtual cache is found in Imber, Salisbury Plain, a village taken over by the army in 1943 as a training ground. Originally the residents were told that they would be allowed to return after the war but this was never permitted. As the village finds itself in the centre of a military range danger area it is only open to the public at certain times of the year and with very strict access rules. The whole experience is very surreal, the drive across Salisbury Plain with its abandoned tanks to the perfectly preserved church and graveyard.

A house converted into a training room Imber

GC6K8BF Ogof Clogwyn D5/T5 Letterbox UK
I have not found many letterbox caches mainly because there are very few in our local area. While planning a trip to find the oldest cache in Wales this letterbox caught my attention initially because of its type but also it being a D5/T5. I’m not that good with confined spaces but after studying the cache page and a bit of general research on the internet there didn’t appear to be any tight squeezes or anything too difficult. Ogof Clogwyn is rated as a beginners cave therefore it has plenty of space and head room. This cave really has the WOW factor. The walls are lined with amazing rock formed shelves, so, as with any cave/mine, hard hats are a must. I’m surprised there is not an Earthcache here. The hardest bit was getting into the cave as there was a lot of water tumbling out of the entrance which is quite high. Once in, armed with a laminated copy of the excellent instructions it was easy to find the route to the cache. To be honest it would be very hard to get lost. Be prepared to get wet! Oh and the water is very, very cold.
This is one of those caches that you wish you could give more than one favourite point too.
As the cache pages says ‘its simply a pretty cave in a pretty spot”.

Ogof Clogwyn Cave – Photo published by kind permission of cache owner Stuart (Funk to Funky)

GCM7R6 Northside Pub Crawl D2.5/T1.5 Virtual
GCJJVZ Southside Pub Crawl D3.5/T1 Virtual Ireland
If you are in Dublin and love pubs these two caches are a must. All answers to the clues are on the outside of the buildings but the inside of the pubs are worth a look and you really should sample the quality of their Guinness. These two caches are great to do in a group, we had a fantastic weekend of drinking and caching around the City, only realising a little too much Guinness had been consumed when it came to working out the final calculations! Also after visiting the 20th pub the terrain rating maybe a little on the light side……..

A pint of the black stuff always tastes better in a Dublin Pub

GC3D4F9 Arte de Portas Abertas D2.5/T1 Multi Portugal Madeira
I usually avoid Multi Caches especially if they have lots of stages, they always seem a lot of work for very little. This cache guides you through an area that is best described as an outdoor art gallery. A near derelict street of Funchal was brought back to life by The Art of Open Doors project. Local artists were commissioned, each artist being allocated a space/door to express themselves, with their imagination and a few low-cost resources, the street was transformed. As the tourists began to visit they were quickly followed by shops, cafes and bars. The area is now thriving with very little evidence of its past. The final cache is not great but the artwork makes up for this.

Painted doors in Funchal