CacheCrazy.Com: The Mad Geocaching Pensioner - Caching with History

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Mad Geocaching Pensioner - Caching with History

By: Heather at The Ramblings of a Mad Pensioner
 I have been geocaching since 2009 and have claimed 360 finds, surprisingly the furthest away I have had to travel from home is only 21.759 miles, these geocaching statistics are precious aren't they. This is only a small percentage of what is available in that radius and I live in the countryside. So lets take a look of what I've seen on my travels and the subject I've chosen is HISTORY. Now don't get bored to quickly as it's surprising just what's out there.

Woodchester Park. (GC322D8)  In the last few weeks this place has hit the headlines throughout the UK, with the discovery of deer remains being found that had been mauled by a big cat. Why news you might ask, well in UK we have no dangerous wild animals at all, unless you class farmer Jones after you've trample over his virgin corn field. It's believed to be either a puma or panther but they have taken DNA samples from the deer to confirm their investigations. More recently the remains of another deer has been found along with 3 wallabies from a private park 10 miles away, no this is not Australia.

I actually did this cache last September, walking through the wooded valley on my own. If I had known the possible dangers I might have taken a very large saucer of milk whilst repeatedly chanting "Here pussy, nice pussy".

Woodchester Mansion which is in the centre of the park has a great history being a 19th Century Victorian Gothic Masterpiece mysteriously abandoned mid-construction in 1873. According to legend, Sir Rupert de Lansigny, who also inherited Spring Park after killing his cousin, once owned the estate. Several locals have reported seeing a headless horseman, believed to be Sir Rupert, near one of the park lakes. A coffin has also been observed hovering above one of the estate's lakes, which possibly belonged to a Dominican friar who killed himself by drowning! More recently, February 2004 and September 2005 saw sightings of a black dog inside the mansion itself which appeared to coincide with the deaths of individuals closely associated with the building.

In 1902 a local vicar saw a strange apparition at the gates to the mansion needless to say he never returned to the building again. A few years later a phantom horseman was also seen on the drive dressed in civil war clothing. But it is the Mansion itself that is the epicentre of the haunting. (Pussies & Ghosts and only a short distance from my home, whatever next - geocaching pensioner riding naked through undergrowth).

Minchinhampton Long Stone. (GCVXD9) Parking for this cache is tricky as the stone is opposite the gates to Gatcombe Park, the home of Princess Anne the Queens Daughter. When you park you know that the royal bodyguards have probably got their eyes on you. 

The Long Stone at Hampton Fields near Avening is undoubtedly the best known megalith in the county. It is a rough oolite stone standing about 2.4m tall in an area packed with stones, long barrows, and the site of a former stone circle. It is naturally a rough lozenge-shape, reminiscent of the some of the stones at the Avebury Henge complex. The cache was hiden in the hedgerow just in front of the stone, unfortunatel it took me two visits to find it, that's the cache not the stone. The reason for its fame is the fact that it is pierced by two holes. One of the few holed stones that can still be seen.

Although the holes were created by a natural weathering of the rock, the stone has attracted a number of legends and folktales. People would pass their limbs through the holes to cure themselves of illness. Mothers would even pass their children through the hole to cure them of, or prevent them from getting, rickets, smallpox, whooping cough and "other infantile diseases". I'm not sure about actually passing babies through it, I could hardly get my hand through.

According to legend, when the local church bells strike twelve midnight, the Long Stone and its neighbour, the Tingle Stone, will run around their respective fields. It is also said to make the journey to Minchinhampton to drink from the spring there.

The stone may also be associated with fertility rites. There is evidence that couples would hold hands through the stone and betroth themselves to each other. (I wonder how many men have come home these days and found out they got engaged the night before only to make the mortal words  "My god I must have got stoned out of my mind.")

The Ocean (GC1TJ9J) The spot I always go when I'm feeling a bit stressed, perhaps not these days as the pressures of work are long gone and the pleasures of retirement has started. This is also the place for one of my own cache hides and the wildlife is being appreciated by all who come here. What about the history of this place, well it's actually The Stroudwater Canal, an inland waterway that stretched between the River Severn in the west to the River Thames and London in the east, in fact it slices England in half.

 My place of piece and quiet - beautiful wildlife.

This canal was built between 1775 and 1778 and allowed boats to come up the valleys to where there were hundreds of woollen mills. The Ocean was a place dug out so that boats called Severn Trows could tie-up over  night without blocking passage to other canal boats. The canal had many problems as it climbed the Cotswold hills and pumping stations had to be built to try and maintain water levels, these often failed and the canal was closed at times.
The exact same spot at around 1900
The same farm buildings & swing bridge are still there.

The Canal's plight became worse when control of the canal company fell into the hands of the Great Western Railway who, in the 1890s, sought to close the eastern part of the canal.  The Gloucestershire County Council did reopen the canal at the turn of the century but the levels of trade were insufficient to justify maintenance costs and the last boat traversed the whole canal in 1911. The canal east of Chalford was abandoned in 1927 and the rest in 1933. Today the canal is being restored for pleasure boats but there is still a lot of work to go.

CacheCrazy.Com author BigAl's had his TB sent to me from America and set off on it's travels from here.

(Footnote: Glad I've had a hair cut and lost weight since this photo - HONEST !!)



Heather, this is an awesome post! I love history and when you add a geocache it's always a great combination! Great work......

Kim@Snug Harbor said...

History is one of my favorite parts about geocaching. I am constantly amazed at the interesting things I discover. Great post!

CrazyCris said...

Fabulous spots, thanks for sharing them! I'll have to keep them in mind next time I visit my sister in England... see if she wants to go exploring around these places. ;o)

Heather Cook (Lady-Magpie) said...

Well thank you for publishing my blog again, this poor old pensioner is still curtailed in my geocaching activities due to illness but managing to get out for short cache hunts and lots of photography - old age doesn't come easy.

Happy Caching all

Heather (Lady-Magpie)

Kevin Bloodhounded said...

I love this post Heather and we are all pulling for you to get better and write some adventures soon! I miss you....BH

Naida said...

This sounds so neat! Woodchester Mansion looks beautiful nestled there like that. wow!

Kevin Bloodhounded said...

I loved this post so much I just had to post it again......This is great work!

sarah saad said...

نقل عفش بالدمام
نقل عفش بالقطيف
نقل عفش بالجبيل

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