October 15 – A Geocaching visit to Hoylake, Wirral

Puzzles, Challenges, Traditionals and an Earthcache

Hello from 1066 – A Medieval Mosaic

Today we went exploring in the Wirral and we drove to Hoylake which is at the top. There is sea on both the West and the North sides. It was a lovely autumn day, not cold or windy but we did need to wear jackets. I had planned a route so we parked on the promenade and walked south picking up an earthcache and several traditional before going back one block and walking back picking up several more caches. The earthcache was about Hoyle Bank which is a bank of sand formed by longshore drift. The prevailing SW to NE winds blows in this area so sand is blown from North Wales coast causing the bank to lengthen and move gradually over time. Sand is also brought to Hoyle Bank by wave-induced currents bringing a west/east supply of sand from the Irish Sea. The bank also has a problem with spartina grass which grows on the beach and they have a arrange for eradication periodically. Dredging in the River Mersey in the 20th century to aid the passage of ships to Liverpool has also diverted the tidal flow, slowing the water down and increasing deposition even more.

In Medieval times this area was a lake which was a natural harbour and those who settled here called the area Hyle Lake, later Hoylake, By the 17th century the lake was used to unload ships and the lake gave a safe road for vessels of any size in the roughest of weathers. We answered the questions about this place and then took a photo as required of me on the sand with the letters TFTC underneath (Thanks for the cache).

The promenade is lovely and we walked a lot of it. There are a couple of lifeboat buildings and beside one was a lovely pond of water for sailing model boats. It is about 3 ft deep and only newly refilled as there the water shortage during the summer meant that it could not be filled. We saw four people sailing motorised boats on the pond. Further along, the promenade was a sensory garden where there were various sculptures for touching, listening too and playing with. The cache there was easily found but we were asked to sing a song while signing the log. I sang “Row, row, row your boat” while M tried to pretend he didn’t know me. We then talked to each other through the talking flowers and I continued to serenade him which gave us both the giggles.

There seem to be very few church micros on the Wirral but today we managed to find one at St John the Baptist church in Meols. Unfortunately, the church was no open. There are lots of churches on the Wirral so we wonder whether no church micros is a missed opportunity, too many caches or a premeditated decision on behalf of local geocachers.

Maby of the caches in this area have been placed by familykemp who must be a musical family as there is a theme running through their caches. Some of the caches were puzzles which I worked out this morning and so I was excited to go to find them all. One was about woodwind instruments, another was musical terms, symphonies and even a challenge where we had to have done caches spelling out the word music in order but not all on the same day. Today we reached 6600 caches so we easily met the requirements of the challenge in 2015.

One puzzle we did was Symphonies but when I put the results in the checker the coords were wrong. We went there anyway and we found and signed a cache easily. Then we crossed the road to do a multi called jingle bells where you had to recognise a musical note which was easy for me. When we put the coordinates into the GPS it turned out to be where we had previously signed the cache which meant I had Symphonies wrong. After making a slight adjustment we were able to go to the correct place. The problem was that Sibelius had written 8 symphonies but had only published 7 so that makes a significant difference. I love doing puzzles and challenges. We then drove to another place where we parked and walked the challenge caches for finding the most icone=s in one day. At the Christchurch Mega that we attended in 2016, we were able to get 11 icons in one day. For the Challenges, the Gold required us to have done 10 icons in one day which meant that we automatically got Silver and Bronze too. Two of the three caches were not very easy to find but we did find them and then moved on to the 366-day challenge which requires you to have found a cache on every day of the year, not necessarily in one year. We only wrote a note as we have not quite finished this challenge as we still have eight more days to go. We filled one of these spaces on October 14 and have another in October, three in November and one in December and three in June which will have to wait until next year. The fields where we found ourselves had lots of waterways and so when we tried to find a shortcut back we couldn’t and had to return the way we came. The sunset across the field as we walked which was lovely.

We had a lovely day finding 21 caches and reaching both 6600 caches, actually 6604 and also 6601 which is our pseudonym backwards (1066). Funny the things Mike thinks of! There are so many cache trails on the Wirral it is hard to figure out where to go next.