February 12 – Geocaching around Hoarwithy

Hi from Gillian and Michael

After some research I found a series of 32 geocaches put out by Grumpy Alan along the single track roads covering an area from Hoarwithy, Ballingham, Bolstone and Little Dewchurch which looked like it could be fun to do. More fun for us than the dogs as it turned out as many of the caches were on the road with only a small area to pull over but whenever we could actually park we would let the dogs out of the car and sometimes I would walk with them while Mike drove on in the car. I planned a route not in the order that they were laid to enable us to do all the caches but when we arrived at Ballingham my GPS had one of its melt downs and lost all the coordinates. As it turned out we had already done 18 caches by then so we called it a day.

The series is called D.J.F. or the Dwayne Johnson Filmography series. We like “The Rock;s” movies so it made the series interesting, trying to remember whether we had seen the movie or not. I think we had probably seen most of them. Each cache had three things in common: named for one of Dwayne Johnson’s films, easy access, whatever the weather, plus a common camouflaging technique, that is a pet rock container.

When we set off we stopped before the Hoarwithy Bridge and found one of the the Alphabet Irritation series which was A is for Acronyms to which I was sorely tempted to log – TFTC, but I managed to resist the temptation. On the other side of the bridge is a tiny house which is basically one room wide but three stories high. It is right beside the bridge and there is no place for a car to park or to even pull over so i have no idea where the owner can park his car. The Hoarwithy Toll Bridge spans the River Wye and links Hoarwithy with King’s Caple. Originally travellers crossed the river using the ford or ferry crossing. These were replaced by a timber bridge in 1856. After 20 years of use it was replaced by an iron structure which was 260 feet long and 15 feet wide. This was built in a novel way as the bridge was built on top of the old one and then lowered into place by hydraulic pumps. In 1935 the Herefordshire County Council purchased the bridge and freed it of tolls and then also took over the maintenance of the bridge.

After the bridge we turned immediately right and drove beside the river Wye which is in flood at the moment. We have not had any rain but it has obviously been raining heavily in Wales and even at our housesit the river level has risen between 6 and 8 feet which is quite amazing. All the trees along the river side are just tree tops in the river.

Our first cache was for the movie “Moana”This is the 56th Disney animated feature film and tells the story of Moana, the strong-willed daughter of a chief of a Polynesian village, who is chosen by the ocean itself to reunite a mystical relic with a goddess. When a blight strikes her island, Moana sets sail in search of Maui, a legendary demigod, in the hope of returning the heart of Te Fiti and saving her people. Both Moana and Maui are part of the mythology of New Zealand. The cache was at a place called the Bibletts which is a lovely word and the area is obviously full of wildlife.

At “Central Intelligence” I got stung by stinging nettles that can barely be seen but they certainly pack a wallop at this time of the year. Thank goodness for Antihistamine cream. At “San Andraes” I saw a pub which had been recommended to us for our Valentines/Anniversary dinner so I went in to make a booking for 6.15 on the 14th. We then turned up a road which was not only even narrower but also was mostly mud with very little seal. In New Zealand they would be shingle covered roads but in the UK they don;t seem to do that. The great thing about all these geocaches are that each one has a good, safe place to pull off the road.

At “Walking Tall” the road suddenly turned into the MI as while we were parked there with three trucks passed by. Then a farmer, who had been attending a bonfire walked up the hill to see what we were doing. He had seen several people stop here and he was curious. I explained about geocaching and that we weren’t up to “no good”. He was fine with it and we chatted about his visit to NZ several years ago. There was a great view of Little Dewchurch from up here.

We gave the dogs a good walk around Ballingham and although we had been here previously and had already found the church micro, this time we did a village hall cache which has been newly placed since we were here last. By then the GPS had stopped functioning so we returned home so that I could reload the coordinates. A lovely day with eighteen cache finds, lovely spring weather and some good views.