Thursday 31 December 2020

2020's caching in review


I hope this post finds you well.

This was meant to be a big year for geocaching - the twentieth anniversary of the game. A raft of exciting announcements were made by Geocaching HQ; like many, I was looking forward to attending Community Celebration events and logging a Locationless cache for the first time ever!

By the end of January, my initial plans were in place: I was going to attend the Prague Giga in May and the UK Mega events in August. I had also set myself some ambitious goals. The main one was to find 1,000 caches by the end of the year (i.e. today), and I was also eager to fill in more of my Jasmer Grid.

Then the pandemic arrived, and the country went into lockdown - putting an end to my regular geocaching outings (for a while), and my hopes of attending events.

As the months went by, I still managed to find some good caches and several great series were completed - from the superb Eastbury Fields loop, to Chalk Downs, RED, and Mercot Meander (the latter is definitely underrated).

My favourite series of the year has to be NameThatTune in the Cotswolds. The walk was simply superb, mostly within some lovely woodland, with spectacular views to enjoy along the bottom stretch. The caches themselves were outstanding - the tableaus were excellent, and extremely well crafted. 

I am pleased to announce that the bonus cache of the NameThatTune series, GC8TDBK, is my Cache of the Year (link to bookmark list). This is partly in recognition of the series as a whole, but it's also a great cache in its own right, with a fantastic surprise to be found inside. This year's runner-up is Be Afraid - a high-quality cache with a Halloween theme... I wish that all caches were of this high standard.

This year has also been my fifth on the GAGB committee, and I have enjoyed working on my various projects. Being on the committee is a nice way to give something back to geocaching, and it has kept me engaged with the game over the lockdowns. I was honoured to have been elected to the position of GAGB Chair last month - I am looking forward to seeing what myself and the committee can do for the GAGB in the year ahead. One of my aims is to increase our membership numbers - so, if you're not a member, please sign up today! Feel free to get in touch if you have any comments - feedback and ideas are always welcome.

So, despite not meeting my geocaching goals due to the unprecedented circumstances, I have thoroughly enjoyed my tenth year of geocaching. Here's to 2021!

Stay safe everyone, and Happy New Year!

Griff Grof

Wednesday 27 May 2020

Write a geocaching story - then spread the word!


I hope this post finds you well.

This is just to promote the GAGB’s Story Competition, for those of you who haven’t heard of it.

This competition is perfect for fellow geocaching bloggers and writing enthusiasts - stories will be judged (anonymously) based on their content, not the standard of spelling and grammar.

There’s a great prize for first place - a £30 GAGB Shop voucher.

All stories will be published in Seeker magazine, which is read by hundreds of geocachers.

Bloggers can submit an EXISTING post, as long as it’s edited/modified in some way! Of course, newly written stories are prefered.

Click here for more information.

Please spread the word on your own blog or elsewhere!

Stories can be emailed to

Good luck!

Griff Grof

Tuesday 31 December 2019

2019's caching in review


It's been another year since my last post on this blog. Why? Well, when I complete a cache series, I arrive home and spend several hours writing unique logs for each cache, which leaves me too tired to write a detailed blog post, so I decide to leave it for another day... and then forget about it. Apologies. I'll try my best to keep the blog up to date throughout 2020.

Right now, it's time to review my caching year.

It's been a great one - I've come across some brilliant caches, and visited lots of new places. Compared to 2018, I've found twice as many caches, attended three times as many events, and had four times as many FTFs (only eight, though!). I managed to do this as I've had more free time, having graduated in June. But what were the highlights?

The Aberdeenshire Mega week was excellent and very memorable. I had attended several UK Mega events in the past, but this was the first time we went and stayed in the area for the entire week, with a full programme of side events to attend. Lots of great walks were completed (the Castle Fraser series and Craigievar Castle Walk both come to mind), and the events took us to some fantastic locations. I loved the Mega itself, from the Lab caches, to the opportunity to finally see the Original Can of Beans. It was great to meet so many people and I enjoyed plenty of geochat.

I have completed lots of series' this year. Some of my favourites include: Eastleach Valley (a stunning Cotswold walk), Yarningale Common Circular (some creative hides), Buscot Bunker Bimble (a superb walk along the Thames Path), Bah Humbug (a nice route, with good quality caches) and several placed by the sundowner, as he always throws in a special field puzzle or two.

It was hard to choose my 'cache of the year', but I eventually settled on YCC07 Cachers Express, due to its unique concept/container... the favourite points speak for themselves! The runners-up are: Manchester Central Library, Cromwell's Seat (my 3,000th find) and stage 1 of Bah Humbug #6, which was very sneaky.

In November, I was re-elected as a member of the GAGB committee - thank you to everyone who voted for me. I look forward to working with my fellow committee members, and hope that we will achieve a lot in the year ahead. If you have any thoughts, feedback, or ideas regarding how the GAGB could improve or do things differently, please let me know!

So, that's 2019, but what are my goals for 2020? It's a big year for geocaching, as May 2020 marks twenty years since the first geocache was placed. March 2020 marks ten years since I found my first geocache. I'd love to find my 4,000th cache, but my main aim is to attend a Giga and, of course, log the first active Locationless cache in 15 years before it's archived for good.

I can't wait to see what the next year (and decade) of geocaching will bring!

Griff Grof

Monday 31 December 2018

2018's caching in review


This is my first post in twelve months... apologies for not keeping this blog up to date.

Another year is almost over, which means that it's time for me to look back at the best caches I've found, assess what I've achieved, and set some goals for the year ahead.

My Cache of the Year is Tibi Dabo Claves. I first came across this cache in January while using Project-GC's D/T Matrix tool. I skimmed through the cache page and was hooked. After working out the first part, I put it aside for a few months and returned to it in the summer. As things became clearer, I managed to work out the final two stages and obtain the coordinates. The journey to the cache was challenging, but very memorable. Once at GZ, the elusive cache was finally found! I felt a great sense of achievement! It's one of those caches I know I'll remember forever.

The competition was close this year, with The Ghost of The Corpus Clock taking second place. A brilliant and surprising method was used to provide the information required to calculate the coordinates. I have no idea how the CO managed to make this work. This is a VERY special cache, and I suggest you add it to your To Do list to understand what I'm talking about!

Runners up include More Christmas Crackers and Secret Santa. These were my only FTFs of the year. The first one was in a stunning location with fantastic views. The second was reached following a good walk, and was also in a nice spot. Both caches were filled to the brim - I won't spoil it by saying what was inside them.

I have also enjoyed several series' this year. These include: SFGrantchester Grind and the Little Compton extra loop. The latter was placed for our tenth CacheWalker Twixmas Bash, which was a great success - there were over 50 of us on the group walk!

I found my first caches in the Americas this year. I visited Colombia (South America) over the summer, and managed to find three (well, there aren't very many there...). The first was Santuario de Monserrate, placed in a special location overlooking the city of Bogotá. I was waiting for a new cache to be published there... I've now been FTF on at least one cache in three countries (UK, Spain, Italy) and a fourth would have been great! Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be...

There are lots of things I didn't manage to do which are on my list for next year. I'm keen to finally complete my D/T grid. I would also like to find my 3000th cache. With just 182 caches to go, it's certainly an achievable goal. Above all, I want to focus on finding quality caches. Finally, I promise that I'll make more of an effort to post on this blog!

So, I've thoroughly enjoyed geocaching in 2018. I've found some excellent caches, many of which have taken me to new places. Bring on 2019!

Happy New Year.

Griff Grof

Sunday 31 December 2017

2017's caching in review


Firstly, apologies for the lack of posts on my blog this year. I haven't been caching much, so there hasn't been much to write about!

However, I decided it was still worth writing my annual 'In Review' blog post.

In August, we went on holiday to Italy, and found some fantastic caches. These included some Earthcaches in Rome, including in tourist hot-spots like the Trevi Fountain; the Earthcache within Vatican City was also great. I'm not really a fan of urban caching, but I do enjoy finding Virtuals/Earthcaches/Webcams in cities.

The main highlight of the holiday was our stay further south. Our visit to Pompeii was particularly notable. I was pleased to see that there were several caches within the ruins; the first one I found was inside the Theatre of Pompeii. It was tucked away inside the theatre itself - I have no idea how it's still there with so many muggles around! We also found a cache within the Amphitheatre of Pompeii, which is the oldest surviving Roman amphitheatre in the world. It was brilliant to find these great caches in such a beautiful and historic location.

A few days later, I had a surprise FTF! It wasn't planned at all. We were in the area, and I checked the Geocaching app to see whether there were any caches nearby. There was one a few hundred feet away called Pictum Ferratum. After searching for a few minutes, I decided to check the recent logs to see whether the last finder had logged a DNF. I was shocked to see that it had never been logged before - despite being published in 2015! We kept searching and eventually I spotted it. The log was indeed blank - I couldn't believe that I was FTF on a foreign cache so long after its publication. This, in addition to the fact that it was in a breathtaking location, made it a very memorable and special find.

In the months that followed, I completed several series' and found a few more special caches.

The CacheWalker Twixmas Bash is always a highlight for me. This year's event (held today) was organised by Hogshunters, and they did a fantastic job. The walk was very enjoyable, with some good new caches to find along the way (see GC7FYQ0). The event itself was great as always - it was nice to continue geochatting and putting faces to names. Two reviewers were in attendance, and they kindly handed out some special trackable tags to all the attendees. Perfect to use for our CacheWalker TB race! It was also nice to receive a gift from our hosts - CacheWalker pens! Overall, it was a throughly enjoyable day - big thanks to Hogshunters for organising CacheWalker's ninth Twixmas/Twinew event!

Last month, I was re-elected as a GAGB committee member. Thank you to everyone who voted for me! I will continue to oversee the GAGB's website and social media channels.

Having considered all the caches I've found in 2017, one more has been now been added to my 'Cache of the Year' bookmark list: Pictum Ferratum. Why? It's in a stunning location, with breathtaking views, and the unexpected FTF made it particularly memorable.

In sum, I haven't found many caches this year, but I've been on some nice walks and found some quality caches. And that's what geocaching is all about.

Happy New Year and all the best for 2018.

Griff Grof

Saturday 31 December 2016

2016's caching in review


This is my first post in months, sorry about that! I haven't been caching very much as I've been busy studying. However, I've still been on some fantastic walks and found some great caches this year. I've written several articles for the GAGB's Seeker Magazine about a few of them but sadly never got round to writing anything here.

This is my annual 'in review' blog post in which I recount the highlights of 2016's caching and assess the degree to which I've met the goals I set myself at the start of the year.

These were my goals:

  1. Reach 3,000 finds
  2. Find more than 576 caches (my current record)
  3. Find more quality caches 
  4. Complete more of my D/T grid
  5. Place my next series

At time of writing, I've found 2,535 caches - so I am still not near to 3,000. I've found 258 caches this year. Whilst not my best count, it's still more than I found in 2013 and 2014. I filled in only one more space in my D/T grid with GC5X3MZ. However, it's not all doom and gloom! Far from it!

I have found some excellent, quality caches this year - and that's what matters most. I have just updated my Cache of the Year bookmark list highlighting my favourite finds. This year's winner is Mont Tendre: le sommet 1679m (GC59HC1). It's placed at the summit of Mont Tendre, which is the highest point of the Jura Mountains in Switzerland. The walk up was fantastic; the sun was out and our surroundings were simply beautiful. It was a unique experience to see so many friendly cows up there and hear their bells ringing, from both near and afar. The views were gobsmacking from the summit. We could see across Lac Leman to France and Mont Blanc, which is the highest mountain in the Alps. The sense of achievement was great and finding a nice cache container in good condition was the icing on the cake. We had a great walk back down the other side of the mountain too. You can read my article about this trip in a recent issue of the GAGB's Seeker Magazine.

The competition for my Cache of the Year has never been closer, with Amour Series Bonus (GC6D641) as the runner up. This was an immense ammo container that served as the finale of a super series of Multi caches. Each Multi had an ingenious first stage, each of which put a smile on my face. The caches themselves were all ammo cans. Other notable caches include Pi In The Sky (GC446E2)Magic Eye View (GCTV41) and Reloader's Cache#20 - RomainmĂ´tier & le Nozon (GCQ8YJ).

I also thoroughly enjoyed various events. The Geolympix Mega was excellent and so was the GPS Maze, which was in the UK for the first time. I also had a great time at the CacheWalker Twixmas Bash yesterday. We were very lucky with the sunny weather for the pre-event group walk! Next year is CacheWalker's 10th anniversary so I'm excited to see how we'll celebrate it - I'm sure I'll have a lot to report in next year's 'in review' post!

In addition to meeting my goal to find quality caches, I managed to achieve my final one - to place a new series. It's called Brailes Bonanza and consists of 20 caches on a hilly route of 6 miles. I first walked the route back in May 2015, so I already had an idea of where I was going to place the caches. I really love the route - it's my favourite of all the series' I have placed! The views are fantastic and the area is so quiet. I chose the final route and designed the cache placements to reflect what I perceive to be the perfect formula for a series. Obviously this is subjective! I'm happy that several of the caches have quite a few favourite points now. I'm really looking forward to walking the route again and maintaining the caches in 2017.

Once again, I can conclude that finding quality caches is far more rewarding than seeking numbers and improving stats. The fact that I've managed to write a reasonably blog post having not found many caches or improved any stats is a testament to this.

Happy New Year and all the best to all for 2017.

Griff Grof

Sunday 7 February 2016

Ilmington Jubilee Walk

ILmington Jubilee Walk, 3.5 miles, 11 caches, Ilmington, Warwickshire
The cache page links to this walk guide


I knew that we'd be a little busier this weekend so I decided that a shorter series would be ideal. Clearly, we were very pleased to see this new series being published on Thursday, as it certainly fitted the bill. After a day of relentless rain, and more forecasted for later today, we decided to head out to complete the series in the morning as a sunny interval had been forecasted.

Arrived in Ilmington where we initially struggled somewhere to park. It was then along some pretty streets and past the idyllic church, which had its bells ringing for its Sunday service. We were soon on the footpath, which was flooded! The little stream running across the field had burst its banks so we had to dodge the water to get to the first cache, which was quickly spotted.

Before too long, we made an ascent up the northern face of the Cotswold Edge. We were rewarded with some spectacular views and we stopped to have a snack whilst we admired them for a little longer. There were plenty of other people up here today, from fellow walkers, to cyclists - great to see people enjoying the outdoors as well, and the sunshine whilst it's still here!

Looking back: some nice views

We spent ages searching for the fourth cache. The hint stated that it was in the bottom of a wall, which confused us as one of the cache placing guidelines says that caches should never be placed there. Knowing this, we widened out search but eventually, having almost given up, we spotted somewhere where the cache could be and I can confirm that there is no reason to move any stone associated with the wall whatsoever - I'll make a note of this in my log. How did we miss it to begin with?!

It was then across a couple of crop fields, and, with the recent rain, our boots were extremely muddy by the time we got to the other side. There wasn't really a path through the field either, so hopefully people will still be able to find their way across in the summer months once the crops are fully grown.

A nice lane with some great views
The next section of the walk led us down a quiet lane, where we enjoyed the great panoramic views ahead of us. It was surprising to see daffodils and snowdrops in flower, just goes to show that we really have had an unusually mild (and wet) winter.

It was very interesting to pass a healing well, which people used to heal their eyes in. It's a shame that a landowner diverted a stream into the pond in the eighteenth century which muddied the water! Unfortunately, we didn't finish the series soon enough as the rain caught us. Luckily, it didn't last for too long, and the sun was soon out again - talk about changeable weather!

The old healing pond
We were soon back at the car, having completed a good, pleasant walk in some lovely Cotswold countryside. The views were great and the caches were good, some were even a little challenging as they took longer to find than they should have. The route was quite muddy, though, but as you'll gather from my other recent posts - it's muddy everywhere! We really enjoyed the series.

Griff Grof