Mawddach Trail

The Mawddach Trail runs between Dolgellau and Barmouth, approximatly 9.5 miles (15km) along the disused Great Western railway line and closely follows the southern edge of the beautiful Mawddach estuary. It is flat with a fairly even surface making it suitable for both cyclists and walkers. There are stunning views across to Diffwys and the Rhinogs, and up the estuary to Y Garn and the Arans beyond Dolgellau. Nearly the whole of the estuary is listed as a site of special scientific interest, there are two RSPB reserves, Taicynhaeaf and Arthog. See the map below for parking etc.

Map www.mawddachtrail.co.uk

We needed somewhere to test our latest geocaching equipment acquisitions, electric bikes. This trail looked perfect with 2 series of lab caches, 4 traditional, a mystery and virtual cache all on the trail. With a few slight divisions we managed to pick up another 3 traditional caches. We decided to find geocaches on the outward bike ride and lab caches on the return trip.

Start of the trail at Pont y Wernddu

We parked in the small car park at Pont y Wernddu which is 8 miles from Barmouth and very close to
GC7XVA3 BRIDGE OF RIVETS by Chipshop Traditional D2/T2. ( a cache we had already found)

Naturesbyte close to GZ

Our first stop was for a 2009 cache that had been on our solved list for a very long time, a very easy find as at GZ it was laying in full view with the lid partially open. Luckily the cache is double ‘boxed’ so logbook and contents were dry and in good condition. We left it well hidden!
GC1WK0E Mawddach Mystery by Gwyddno Mystery D2/T1

Path leading to the cache

Our next stop was for another even older cache, this time 2005.
GCQKMW Mawddach Trail Cache by Tywyn Team Traditional D3/T3
As it is a short distance off the trail Pete drew the short straw and went up the hill into Coed Garth for the cache while I guarded the bikes.
Here on the information board is a quote from John Ruskin, (Victorian painter, poet and philosopher)  “that only one other journey in the world had views to compare with the one from Dolgellau to Barmouth, and that was the journey from Barmouth to Dolgellau”

The trail looking towards Barmouth

It was quite a long ride to the next cache, but very easy cycling and surrounded by beautiful scenery.
GC4ADY5 Black Bridge by Linny bin Traditional D1.5/T1.5
So far we had been very lucky with very few other trail users, here it all changed. The bridge was a very popular spot, we managed to find the cache in a lull of cyclists and walkers but it took ages to replace. While waiting we watched a pair of shelducks, little egret and a heron feeding in the mud as well as appreciating the views.

Naturebyte with the cache

Our next stop was for a recently published cache, there had only been 3 finders before us. The cache is definitely hidden on an old piece of rail track.
GC9QRY8 Mawddach Meander – An Old Rail or a Pole? by CazzaB80 Traditional D1.5/T2

Close to GZ

We made a slight detour off the trail for our next find
GC9G4QF Mum and Dad enjoyed the view by svl379 Traditional D1/T1
It was then back the way we had come, through the gate and along the lane to another recently published cache. While I followed the arrow naturesbyte found the cache! A very beautiful spot.
GC9QRZR Mawddach Meander – Secret Houses by CazzaB80 Traditional D1.5/T1.5

View near the cache

Our next cache was back on the Mawddach Trail, the closer we got to Barmouth the busier the trail became. We took far too long to find this cache, our excuse, there was an awful lot of walkers and cyclists. We eventually found it in a ‘traffic’ lull where we both had previously looked!
GC9QRWP Mawddach Meander – Barmouth Junction by CazzaB80 Traditional D2/T1.5

The cache is hidden some where in the picture

The next cache is one we had already found way back in May 2019 while having a weekend in Barmouth with the Moseleys when there was only 3 of them.
GC7B6PQ Barmouth Bridge by SidAndBob Virtual D1/T1

Team Convoy back 2019!

Here is my log on this cache ‘To walk over this bridge has been on my ‘to do’ list for a very long time, so while spending a long weekend in Barmouth with Team Convoy we took the opportunity to discover this virtual, walk across the bridge and return by train. A great day, beautiful 360 degree views and several caches what more can you ask for. Favourite point awarded for taking me somewhere I had always wanted to go! 3,462nd cache TFTC.’

After navigating the incredibly busy bridge we headed for the ice cream shop in Barmouth for a ‘surprise’!

The end of the trail.

It was now time to do the return journey and complete the Adventure Lab Mawddach Trail – Western that we started ages ago before attempting the eastern series.

Mawddach Trail – Western created by TAG

Mawddach Trail – Eastern created by Lime Candy

Seen on the return journey

We highly recommend this trail, choose a day with good weather to make the most of the views. CazzaB80 is intending to place more caches along the trail which will give us an excuse to return!

News & New Caches

It is forecast to be a lovely weekend with new caches being placed all over our area there is no excuse not to get out, find a cache or two and enjoy the sunshine.

GC9Q66Y Minesweeper by Clueless_Goose Mystery/Puzzle D3/T1.5
GC9Q5KM You Are Here by Somot Traditional D1.5/T1.5
GC9Q3JG ❤️Dating Trees❤️ by StrawberryFinch Traditional D1.5/D2.5

Premium Member Only
GC9Q89N Pass the Parcel by Squaddie101 Traditional D2/T1.5
GC9Q59G Tilly’s View by Bess’s Friends Traditional D1/T1/5

Event Reminder

GC9PMX9 9 Usual Suspects – Nosh & Natter 44 by 9 Usual Suspects Event
When: Tuesday 29th March
Where: Anglesey Arms, Harbour Front, Caernarfon LL55 1SG
Time: 7pm to 9pm or when the last person leaves

If you are planning to attend please could you log a ‘will attend’ as we need to let the pub know numbers.

New Challenge, Signal’s Labyrinth

Geocaching have announced their latest challenge, Signal’s Labyrinth, which starts on April 4th 2022 lasting 12 months. By collecting points on geocache finds, Adventures labs, and mysterious bonus items you help Signal to escape from the labyrinths and return to Geocaching HQ. There are 6 different labyrinths with 2 months to complete each maze and 2 souvenirs for each stage plus a bonus for collecting all 12.

Event Reminders

Just a quick reminder of forth coming events, starting with tomorrows CITO.
GC9N9C1 Plas vs Plastic by Squaddie101 CITO D1/T1.5
When: Saturday 12th March 2022
Time: 9.30am – 4pm
Where: Plas Llanfair LL65 3LE
Why not attend the above event and be part of the Million Mile Beach Clean at the Inland Sea on Anglesey and earn 2022 CITO Season 1 Souvenir pictured below.

GC8MAT4 Community Celebration Event – Final Daily Grid by welshgirl11 & gmoseley88 D1/T1.5
When: Friday 18th March 2022
Time: 4pm to 6pm
Where: Dinas Dinlle
Join Lon & Gwyn in celebrating completing their Daily Grid at Dinas Dinlle. We are hoping to have a couple of new caches go live…………..

GC9PMX9 9 Usual Suspects – Nosh & Natter 44 by 9 Usual Suspects Event D1/T1
When: Tuesday 29th March 2022
Time: 7pm to 9pm
Where: Anglesey Arms, Harbour Front, Caernarfon LL55 1SG

News & New Caches

GC9N17R 9 Usual Suspects Go Peering Around the Pier By 9 Usual Suspects Event D1/T1

We have an event on 27th February at Garth Pier, Bangor published this week. After the event we hope to find GC9MJNM Friends and Piers by Clueless_Goose Mystery D3.5/T1.5.

February Reach the Peak Souvenir Challenge

The final stage in Reach the Peak Souvenir Challenge is the worlds tallest mountain Everest.

Everest and the Welsh Connections
Did you know that Everest is named after a Welshman? The mountain was named after Colonel Sir George Everest, who was born in Crickhowell, Powys in 1790. Sir George was a surveyor and geographer who worked as the Surveyor General of India between 1830 and 1843.

In 1802 the Great Trigonometric Survey of India was established to identify the world’s highest mountains. Over many years British surveyors used giant theodolites to measure the heights, and in 1852 analysing of the raw data led to “Peak XV” being officially verified as the world’s highest peak.

Although the surveyors attempted to preserve local terms wherever possible, there was no unified name for Peak XV. In November 1847, Andrew Waugh, the then surveyor general of India, proposed that the mountain be named after his predecessor, Sir George Everest.

Although Sir George opposed the suggestion, in 1865 the Royal Geographical Society officially adopted Mount Everest as the name of the world’s highest point.

Edmund Hilary and Sherpa Tenzing trained for their famous 1953 expedition to conquer Everest here in Snowdonia staying at the Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel. Here today many items are displayed connected with their training and the expedition.

Souvenir Challenge

The February challenge starts Monday February 7th, 2022 at noon UTC and finishes Monday March 7th at noon UTC. Geocachers must collect 425 points to earn the Everest Basecamp souvenir and 8,849 points to earn the Everest Summit souvenir. Geocachers who earn all fourteen Basecamp and Summit souvenirs in the Reach the Peak Challenge will also earn the Peak Performer souvenir.

Here are the point values for our climb up Everest:

Completed an Adventure975
Found a Mystery Cache900
Found a Multi-Cache850
Found a cache with 15+ Favorite points700
Found a Letterbox Hybrid550
Found an EarthCache650
Found it*425
Found an Adventure Location125

*Log a Found it on any other non-Event cache type, excluding Webcam Caches.

The maximum number of points you can earn for any cache log is 975 points.

News & New Caches

After several weeks with very little geocaching activity in our area I’m pleased to say this week we have an event, Adventure Lab series, a multi and 2 mystery caches all being published.

Adventure Lab Series & Bonus

This Adventure Lab consists of 4 Lab caches set on four peaks in the Carneddau with a physical bonus cache. I don’t think Ecobake will be doing a slight detour on his way home form work for this series!

Crown of the Carneddau by Clueless_Goose

GC9MHKC Crown of the Carneddau by Clueless_Goose Mystery D3.5/T4

Event

GC8MAT4 Community Celebration Event – Final Daily Grid by welshgirl11 & gmoseley88 D1/T1.5

Other Caches

GC9MKBP Y Coleg ar y Fenai by Clueless_Goose Multi D2/T1.5

GC9FKR2 Village Hall Series 1141 – Beddgelert by Flowerpot_man Mystery D2.5/T1.5

Is this the first Village Hall cache in our area?

Request your Free Kamp Koral badge trackable!

To celebrate the SpongeBob SquarePants spinoff, Geocaching has teamed up with Nickelodeon to release 7,000 limited-edition Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years character badge trackables across the globe.

Click on this link to apply Request your Free Kamp Koral badge trackable

If more requests are received than trackables available, Geocaching will randomly select people from the U.S. and other countries worldwide to receive them.

Guess the Cache 3

This one is proving a bit more difficult, so far no correct answers even though the cache does have 50 favourite points! Below is another picture clue.

News & New Caches

Apologies everyone, Ecobake has kindly pointed out that I missed a new cache on the Great Orme in the last post. Not making excuses, but the date placed for this new cache is 23.11.2020! So……. it didn’t show up in my search. At the time of writing this there has only been one find so 2nd to find is still up for grabs.

GC931C0 Fossil Fiesta by WildeFamily2 Traditional D2/T2

Guess the Cache?

Answer to Guess the Cache 2 is GC1QH55 Penrhyn Slate Train: 2, The Tunnel

Well done everyone that correctly guessed, this weeks cache is a little further a field but once done never forgotten.

Guess the Cache 3

Guess the Cache? Number 3, GZ is in the picture, a clue this one needs teamwork!

News & New Caches

Only one new cache and one new event published this week. The event is a bit out of our area but for anyone wanting to visit a beautiful beach on New Years Day this event by Pink icing should be considered.

GC9KBDP Happy New Year at the seaside by Pink icing Event D1/T1.5

GC9JT53 Promenade Across The Causeway by Clueless_Goose Multi D2/T1.5

A lovely multi cache which takes you along Belgian Promenade that can be combined with this Adventure Lab Gateway to Ynys Mon – Exploring Menai Bridge created by escapefromwork.

GIFF Results

This year’s Signal Award winner is…

First hide – Geocaching Documentary from Finland

“Braija returns with “First hide – Geocaching Documentary from Finland.” This year, he’s a Community Volunteer Reviewer here to help a cacher with his first geocache hide. He shares tips and tricks which can help every new cache hider!” Geocaching HQ Blog

This year’s People’s Choice winner is…

Signal Academy – Froggy’s Dream

“Signal Academy – Froggy’s Dream shows a day in the life at Signal Academy – a school for cute miniature Signal the Frogs! From Dr. Professor Signalus’ lessons to Outdoor Recreation class, there’s lots going on at Signal Academy.” Geocaching HQ Blog

I’m not sure if we all agree with the peoples choice vote result. There were 61 film submissions from 15 different countries, 17 of which made the cut for this years film show. The next GIFF will be in 2 years time, 2023, due to Geocaching HQ 20th anniversary celebrations. Could we do better?

Other Stuff

A big Thank You to everyone who attended last nights online party and Pete for sorting out all the technical stuff etc. Let us hope that next year we will all be meeting up in person and not online events.

Another elf dance from last year, take it away Pink icing and Jude100………

And as it is not quite Christmas here’s another cracker joke…….

Who says “Oh, oh, oh!”? Santa Claus walking backwards

Malta

Looking for some winter sun? We can highly recommend Malta for a winter’s Geocaching break. The country of Malta consists of five limestone islands situated in the Mediterranean sea between Sicily and North Africa. Only the 3 largest islands are inhabited Malta, Gozo and Comino. Malta has a typical Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot summers, rain occurs mainly in autumn and winter, with summer being generally dry. The average annual temperature is around 23 °C during the day and 15.5 °C at night. In August temperatures can exceed 35 °C. We visited at the beginning of February when daytime temperatures were 18-21 °C and we were very lucky to have no rain. The islands at this time of year are very pretty with masses of wild flowers, later in the year it can be very hot, dry, and dusty.

Independence from Britain was granted in 1964 and in 1974 Malta became a republic joining the EU in 2004. The islands have had a succession of different rulers including the Romans, Moors, Knights of Saint John, French and, lastly the British, all of which have left their influence in architecture and culture.

During the 2nd World War Malta was strategically a very important base for the Allied forces. The German and Italian air forces heavily bombed the islands causing devastating damage. In 1942 the George Cross was presented to the island of Malta in recognition of the bravery of the Maltese people. The beautiful catholic church at Mosta, Sanctuary Basilica of the assumption of our Lady, is famous for avoiding destruction when a German bomb fell through the roof of the dome during mass but failed to explode. This event was interpreted by the Maltese people as a miracle. A replica of the bomb can be found in the church.

GC7WAWP Rotunda Multi by aliandmart Multi D2/T2

The main advantages to the British traveller is that English is widely spoken, being an official language with 88% of Maltese people speaking it and they also drive on the left. The majority of road signs are the same as found in the UK and all written road signage is in dual languages making it easy to explore the islands. There is an efficient public bus service on Malta and Gozo, it is another good way to get around as the buses go practically everywhere and are inexpensive. Red telephone and post boxes are scattered across the islands are another reminder of the British connection.

The beautiful Dingli Cliffs lay on the western coast and are the highest point of the islands around 250m above sea level. There is a tiny chapel perched on the very edge, dedicated to St Mary Madgalene, and a large radar system known as the observatory because of its distinctive “golf ball” shape. The tiny island of Filfla lays off the coast, its size was greatly reduced by the Royal Navy and Air Force using it for target practice. Not far from the cliffs is Misrah Ghar il-Kbir or informally known as Clapham Junction, an area of paired grooves carved into the limestone pavement presumed to be cart ruts. Here the oldest geocache in Malta can be found.

GCHEQ7 The Ring of Clapham Junction by lucentio (adopted by Gremxul) traditional D2.5/T2 4.1.2004

Nearby to the cart ruts is the natural depression of Għar il-Kbir, forming a cave complex of interconnecting caves, which was inhabited by people from Neolithic times till 1835.

Another historic site worth visiting is the megalithic temples of Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra they are the best preserved of Malta’s prehistoric sites. A visitor centre and permanent tentlike canopies have been erected over the complex to protect the temples from the elements. The temples are in solar alignment so at each of the equinoxes the sun shines on the furthest edge of a slab inside the temples.

GC7B8NZ Mnajdra and Ħaġar Qim by Jovaluda Virtual D1/T2

Gozo

We recommend taking the ferry to Gozo, it takes just 20 minutes, the ferries are very frequent and cheap. The car ferry shuttles between Malta’s Ċirkewwa and Gozo’s Mġarr every 45 minutes from 6am to around 6pm and roughly every 1½ hours throughout the night. If travelling by vehicle you pay on your return leg, when leaving Mġarr, so there’s no need to buy a ticket in Ċirkewwa on the way out.
One of the highlights of our trip to Gozo was the salt pans and discovering this earthcache:

GC5MXE1 Salt Pans from Zebbug and Marsalforn by Hatamoto-Skyks Earthcache D1.5/T2

Useful Information

Currency is the Euro
Electricity is 230 Volts, 50Hz. Plug type G 3-pin plug as in the UK
Flight Time from Manchester 3 hours 25 minutes
Time Zone I hour ahead of UK

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!

Post Card from the Azores, Flores

After five and a half years planning we are here in Flores, the most westerly point of Europe, surrounded by the Atlantic ocean, next stop the USA. The scenery is truly amazing and we find ourselves repeatedly exclaiming WOW. With Waterfalls over half a kilometre high and volcano calderas two a penny here it’s hard to describe the beauty. Geocaches however are a contrast often a small fragile plastic bottle from a popular local non alcoholic drink being abandoned in strategic locations, without the respect of private property or stone walls. Our lack of Portuguese is a handicap even with google translate often the text and hint are often incomprehensible.