October 19 – An Afternoon of Geocaching on the Wirral Way

And Around Parkgate and Neston

Hello from 1066 – A Medieval Mosaic

Today I planned a great circular walk from Parkgate and back. We parked in one of the Wirral Country Park free car parks and set off on a beautiful autumn day. The “Wirral Way” is a 12-mile countryside path which follows the route of the former Birkenhead Railway route from West Kirby to Hooton. The old line, which closed in 1962, follows the River Dee estuary for 7 miles between West Kirby and Parkgate and then heads across the Wirral to Hooton.The Wirral Country Park was the first designated country park in Britain and is based around the Wirral Way. Work started on the park in 1969, and the park was formally opened in 1973 by Lord Leverhulme. Thus, 2013 is the 40th anniversary of both the Wirral Country Park and Wirral Way.

The Wirral geocachers laid a series of 80 geocaches from West Kirby in the north to Hooten in the south. Today we would do 12 before we turned towards the coast an follow another series on the return journey. In total for the day, we did 29 geocaches finding 24 with 5 DNF, two of which we went back two days later to find. We gave out three favourite points for the day and walked a total of 12784 steps or 8.57 km. It was fantastic weather all day and we did not require jackets and even in the evening as the light was fading it was still a good temperature.

During the day we met other geocachers three times. We met Team Marj, a team of four geocachers new to the sport, twice, once at the beginning of the track and again halfway around. They must have driven around rather than walking the track. Then as we returned to Parkgate we met Majicou, who was from somewhere else in Europe possibly Sweden and he was taking a friend to find her very first geocaches. We also found some of Dee’s Dawdles geocaches, we have done quite a few of his caches during our stay on the Wirral.

Most of the caches were quite straightforward and we finally found a travel bug, our first in months. Some caches took a few minutes to find and at least two were too hard. At one even with 6 people looking it managed to elude us. Maybe it was just too many people looking. One really clever one was hidden behind a piece of fake grass which really threw us. We have seen this type of geocache before but only once. The CO gave us a hint so we went back a couple of days later and found it immediately. It is always easier when you know what you are looking for. Dee’s Dawdles caches tend to be clever containers with clever hints and extra hints in the title. “A Hole in One” was a cache placed beside a golf course. He had attached a holder to a post and then the cache was in the holder. Another was called “Swivel my Timbers”, which was an extra piece of wood attached to a fence post by one nail so that it swivelled and the container was safely in a slot in the wood. Another was “Off the Beaten Track” and the clue included the warning “watch out you don’t bang your head!”. So what does Mike do but whack his head on the branch which had a hollowed out piece of wood to hold the cache container? The best one was a half piece of pipe with the log book taped on the inside which then holds on to a street sign under its own power. We have seen these several times but they are super clever and can be very hard to locate if you have never seen one before. That was our favourite cache of the day.

A great day with some lovely walking through autumn trees and then on the return trip alongside the river Dee with views over to North Wales across the Salt Marsh. parkgate was a lovely little village with some wonderful Victorian black and white buildings. There were lots of eating places along here and very popular especially in the evening with people walking with dogs and as families and other going out to dine. A really fantastic day. We will sleep well tonight!