In April we headed to the Peak District in search of some quality geocaches. Our last proper visit to the peaks was four years ago in an attempt to fill in some holes in our difficulty and terrain matrix (You can read about that adventure here and here). Since then I’d accumulated quite a list of caches that looked great in that area and when we decided to head back again it was a good opportunity to visit them.
We were staying near Glossop in the high peaks so decided to head up early via Dove Dale, a renowned beauty spot along the river Dove, in the south of the Peak District. Our first stop, however, was Mountain Warehouse in Ashbourne to pick up our Meryl the Sheep Trackable! Mountain Warehouse are running a competition where you can grab a free trackable and send it on its adventures. I wasn’t particularly bothered about the holiday, but wanted a sheep so that it could come on an adventure with me! :D Either way, it’s nice to see another big company getting on board Geocaching.
My Meryl the sheep TB
Once at Dove Dale we headed off along the river. I had listed three earth caches that looked to be interesting along the route: Thorpe Cloud, Lionshead Rock mimetolith and Dove Holes.
Our first stop was the trickiest one: Thorpe Cloud.
Me at Thorpe Cloud with my sheep TB (of course!)
To claim this EC we had to climb to the top of this limestone hill to answer the questions. The summit is 942ft up. Not particularly high, but quite a steep climb. It was a beautiful day for it though. We started by crossing over the Dove Dale stepping stones and then began the ascent.
Andy on the Dove Dale Stepping Stones
Thorpe Cloud summit in the distance
The path up was very well walked. A little steep and rocky in places, but a very enjoyable climb. Thorpe cloud and Dove Dale were used as locations for the 2010 Robin Hood film staring Russell Crowe and it was easy to see why!
The track up to Thorpe Cloud
At the top!
From visiting the earthcache we learned about “Derbyshire Screwstone”. We’d noticed these in the stepping stones as we crossed the river, but from the earthcache learnt that these were composed of crinoid fossils which look very much like nuts and bolts which is how the name came about.
Derbyshire Screw stone
Once we were down from Thorpe Cloud we carried on up the river and eventually reached Lionshead Rock mimetolith. This large rock outcrop resembled a lion. It took us a few seconds to make it out, but then we recognised the nose and eye.
Our final location before heading back was Dove Holes. I’d expected to see a couple of rather small holes in the rocks, but the dove holes were huge gaping holes that had been created by water wearing away the soft limestone cliff face. We were pleased that we could explore the holes and head inside as well.
Andy at the large dove hole
And the smaller dove hole
A fantastic start to our week in the Peaks!
We’d climbed up Kinder Scout a few times before via the different routes, but had never climbed up via Jacob’s Ladder. It sounded interesting anyway and was a good route to a few of the caches that we wanted to find on top.
The path up to Jacob’s ladder
Footpath sign to Jacob’s Ladder
Views of the bridge while climbing Jacob’s Ladder
Jacobs ladder steps
After a diversion to Noe Head we headed up the ladder to Cracker of a View. It was quite a gentle climb, but the views were pretty stunning once at the top!
Cracker of a view
Selfie with Cracker of a view
We’d found quite a lot of the caches up Kinder Scout on a previous visit, but there were still enough to keep us busy for the morning. Our next stop was at one of the fantastic rock formations, Noe Stool.
Noe Stool cache
We spotted a trig point on our walk across the top so headed off on a very small diversion to find it. I’m glad we did as it was quite a nice one with some good views. It was the Kinder Low trig point.
Approaching the Kinder trig
Kinder Trig point
We carried on along the top towards the tallest waterfall in the Peaks, Kinder Downfall where there was a cache of the same name. We thought this would be a pretty straight forward find, but we must have been hunting for a good half hour. The hint was “Go down a level”. We assumed this meant a level from the footpath, but there were a couple of footpaths, and a couple of small levels… and big levels… and… well… we just searched everywhere!!! We focused on one spot that looked like a pretty obvious hiding place, but were still empty handed. Then Andy thought he found something. “It’s definitely Tupperware” he was shouting as he poked and prodded with his walking pole trying to unsettle the rocks on top of it. I left him prodding while I searched elsewhere to no avail. “I can’t get to it…it needs someone smaller” yelled Andy. Well, I wonder who he meant! ;) “It’s definitely Tupperware” he said again. So, reluctantly, in I squeezed into a tiny gap between the dusty ground and the rock above, wriggled along in the dirt to the back of the gap, pulled a few heavy rocks off to reveal… “IT’S A BLOODY POT NOODLE ANDY!!!!!!!” Honestly! So back we went to searching high and low and all around. I wanted to scramble even further down the rocks to search lower, but Andy wouldn’t let me as he said it was too dangerous (which it probably was to be honest) when finally on the level I was standing on I spotted the cache! Woohoo! An epic search! We had been assuming that the container was a larger “small” box but it was a thin container slid between the rocks. At last!
Kinder Downfall at last!!!
We sat on a boulder near the footpath for lunch after that. It was very well earned! While we were doing so a huge crowd of runners came whizzing past. There were about 300 of them in a fell running race. Andy exclaimed that they were all crazy and it looked dangerous while I was secretly thinking to myself that it looked a whole lot of fun! :D
Our next stop was Kinder Gates. It was quite a long walk to the cache, but the most beautiful scenery. A really pretty location followed once we got to GZ and we could understand where the cache got its name.
Our final cache was Kinder Trespass. To be honest, it wasn’t the most pleasant cache to get to. We had to cross very mossy, muddy and wet undulating land. Eventually we got to GZ which was a very remote and tranquil spot. We were delighted to find an ammo can to reward our trek!
Cass with the Kinder Trespass cache
We clambered down Kinder via Grindsbrook which was a tricky descent of scrambling and rock hopping. We came out in the pretty village of Edale and were greeted by a sign directing us to a Cafe. We had definitely earned it!
We headed back to the car via the conveniently placed BL (Booth Loop) cache and rapidly doubled our cache finds for the day. Once back at the car we had walked about 11 miles and found 16 caches. The perfect day and the perfect walk!
I’d spotted that there were four interesting looking D5/T5 caches in the Peak District. A fair distance from where we were staying, but as they were all relatively close to each other we thought we’d try to complete them all in a day.
The first we attempted was probably the hardest and a cache that has been on my bucket list for quite a while. It was Jonah’s Journey. The cache was hidden along Froggatt Edge which was lovely to walk to after finding a cache of the same name. The walk took us along the top of the edge and there were some beautiful views from that point.
Froggatt Edge Views
The cache told us that we had to find the whale (or rather rock formations that looked like they resembled a whale), enter, and find the cache under the tongue. Things started off extremely well when we instantly found what we thought was the entrance. I compared it with a photo from the cache page and it was definitely the right whale. So far, so good and in I went! :D
Into the whale…
The entry to the whale was pretty straight forward, but once inside there were a few options. As usual, I tried the wrong option first, but soon headed back and then delved deeper. After a rather steep clamber down and then a very tight squeeze between rocks I kicked something that sounded like an ammo can, and indeed it was!
A very tight squeeze!
The Jonah’s Journey cache!
The clamber up and out was a little tricky and I needed to call on a bit of upper body strength, but eventually I was at the top and Andy gave me a hand out.
Andy at the top!
Our next stop was White Edge for two more 5/5’s: Dadda Bu – In a Grouse Hunt and Mumma Bu – Aladdins Cave. From reading previous logs and looking at the gallery, they looked to be quite overrated. The climb to the caches was slightly steep, but they weren’t hidden far from a footpath that many other walkers were using as well. For the Dadda Bu cache Andy just reached up and grabbed it as he’s so tall. For the Mumma Bu cache I had a rummage under a boulder and uncovered it, so they were both really quick finds!
An easy 5/5 find!
Our final 5/5 for the day was The Bu’s Tunnel of Love which was a short drive away. We clambered up some rocks and were eventually at the tunnel entrance. I think we got lucky with this as from reading a few logs some cachers spent ages looking for the entrance! This is where our luck ran out. I clambered down and inside, found the cache instantly, but discovered it was padlocked! There was a torch near by and a combination lock on the other side of the ammo can, but we had no way of getting in. It didn’t make sense. I tried to squeeze even deeper into the tunnel, but it was extremely tight and I just wouldn’t fit. I was thinking maybe a clue or key would be further in. The spider egg sack was enough to make me rapidly retreat though!!! I won’t give away how we got to the log book, but 15 minutes later and we were finally signing our name in it!!!
The tunnel and cache!
Andy signing the log
Thors Cave and Lud’s Church
We made a special trip for the Thor’s Cave and Lud’s Church earthcaches as they looked like they would be fantastic. Thor’s Cave had been on my to do list for absolutely ages.
There was a fantastic path up to Lud’s Church via a few other caches. Lud’s church was also very well sign posted and obviously a popular spot amongst walkers judging by the large rambling groups in front of us who were also on their way there.
Well trodden path to Lud’s Church
We followed the coords and knew we were at the right place when we got to the broken marker stone.
Lud’s Church broken marker stone
Lud’s Church was naturally created by a massive landslip on the hill side which formed a deep chasm. It got its name, however, from the Lollards (followers of the early church reformer, John Wycliffe) who used the chasm as a secret place of worship during the early 15th century when they were being persecuted due to their religious beliefs.
The walls of the chasm were absolutely huge and my photos don’t do it any justice. Inside it’s a mini labyrinth of passages. Hard to believe that it was naturally formed.
Scrambling through Lud’s Church
More lud’s Church
Stairs out of Lud’s Church
You can just about see Andy in the distance
Our next stop was Wetton Mill where we parked for Thor’s Cave.
Wetton Mill Bridge
Before heading there we clambered up the hill side to Nan Tor cave where the White Peak 3 cache was hidden. From this spot we could view the magnificent Thor’s Cave in the distance.
Views of Thor’s cave from Nan Tor
Again, we followed a well walked and well signposted path to the cave. It was clearly a popular spot to visit. We eventually reached the massive entrance.
Steps to Thors cave
Thors cave entrance
I was stunned by how big it was inside. There were a couple of chambers to explore so we had a good look around. The cave floor was very well worn and actually slippery in places.
Thor’s cave into the next chamber
Light illuminating the cave walls
Views out of the cave
The easiest way was to slide down!
What a fantastic adventure. Even though we’d visited before, the Peak District still had loads of fantastic caches for us to find and we really enjoyed our trip.
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