On The Prime Meridian Day Four

Say Cheese

Whilst I might proclaim that for us, geocaching is not all about the numbers, we decided to complete a trail this morning.  Not a power trail, of which Lincolnshire boast several with over fifty caches. We cannot imagine completing one of those in a day, to us that’s the waste of a good walk. No, today’s trail had a humble seven caches placed around Snipe Dales Country Park.

Snipe Dales is, as the crow flies, less than five miles south of our cottage, so only a short journey. On arrival we boot up and set off in search of treasure. Which doesn’t take long because, by pure chance, we have parked less than one hundred yard away from cache one. Himself finds the little blighter (it was as tiny as a Lusby churchyard pony – see Day 2 post).

These caches have been aimed at children which means no shinning up trees or stretching too high (some require a little ducking down low, which falls to me, being more diminutive). It also means that we do not spend too long searching and can enjoy the country park walk. We come to a clearing where there is a special landmark:

Meridan Stone in Snipe Dales

Meridian Stone In Snipe Dales

 So here is our proof of at some point being on the Prime Meridian. We note the reference to a Lincolnshire local. It seems everyone wants a part of the meridian action. We took a little time to  stand in the place where we were and faced North, then faced South. It doesn’t feel any different to any other point in the park. Not that I was expecting this.

It’s a pretty little spot and we soon complete all but one of the caches on a ‘circular route’ with surprising changes in gradient in the final few sectors. As we leave, a coach full of small school children appear, wide-eyed and excited to be outside the classroom. I bet that they find the cache where we failed.

Snipe Dales Path

Snipe Dales Path

 

Next we head to nearby market town Spilsby. It isn’t market day so we find it easy to park and head to purchase some Lincolnshire Poacher  cheese from a shop which doesn’t sell any. We are told that the butchers would be able to sell us some if it wasn’t half day closing. It’s not even half eleven, so we are thwarted by the moveable feast of Spilsby half-day closing and depart the town cheese-less.

Our next attempt to purchase the Poacher is at one of two petrol stations which are situated on roundabouts at either end of a relatively short stretch of A-road. I am surprised that this can support two such enterprises, especially so for “petrol station one” which has a paucity of working pumps. We play musical chairs with other punters and secure some fuel. But no cheese in the attached ‘mini-mart’.

We put our cheese obsession on hold for a while and revisit Claythorpe Water Mill and Wildfowl Gardens. We pull up in the spacious grassy parking area and decide that this would be a good spot for our lunch. When we finish and stroll over to the admission desk we spot the sign “Picnics In The Car Park Are Strictly Prohibited”. We glance around furtively, decide that we haven’t been rumbled, brush the crumbs from our faces and try to act hungry.

The wildfowl area has been given a makeover, there are better footpaths, clearer signs and new additions, some of  which are hiding and are only evident by a vague murmur from their nest. Or is it a recording? The birds prove difficult to photograph, so this is the best I could do without holding up other visitors’ access.

Claythorpe Cockerel

 

Back on the Cheese trail, we locate a sizeable garden centre (“It’s bound to have a local produce section”), where I get a little claustrophobic as I have left my retail head behind. The only produce we find to our liking is some asparagus which we purchase from a woman who insists on telling us about her visit to the dentists that morning: “He completely numbed my face” she says. This hasn’t prevented her from giving us a blow-by-blow account of her treatment. I might sound unsympathetic, but I need to leave, now.

We turn our attention to searching for briquettes for the BBQ which we have no idea how to use. Ironic that we do this just after leaving a garden centre (home of all things BBQ). I think that the need to get out outweighed and temporarily obliterated all other items on our agenda. The BBQ is different to the one back home, but as the weather is half decent, we will burn some food tonight. With this in mind we head to the Not Much Better Petrol Station which sits nearest to ‘petrol station one’. Its fails to creep above the mediocrity of its rival by attempting to overcharge us. It has such a complicated refund system that the assistant has to call for managerial help twice. There is of course, only one till and we can feel the eyes of an angry queue building behind us. With the correct change we make a quick exit, avoiding eye contact with anyone.

Our afternoon coffee stop is in a windy but very pretty spot on a minor road close to Tetford.

Big Big Lincolnshire Skies

 

We chill and are chilled by the breeze. Again, I am very taken with the big skies.

We could head directly home, but we have one last attempt at purchasing cheese and are rewarded at an organic farm shop in High Toynton. Sadly, we are too late in day for the best cuts of meat and leave with leeks, cheese and two greetings cards. At least we have our Poacher which we enjoy with a wee dram later. At this point we are not sure how we will use leeks and asparagus on the BBQ.

Close to the cottage is Belchford. Locally famous for hunting, thankfully now drag hunting. It also has a pretty (and locked) church surrounded by a peaceful churchyard, where we take a short walk and gather our thoughts.

Belchford Chuchyard

 

Back at the cottage we are thwarted by not knowing exactly how to use the BBQ (it’s gas, not like back home) and eat indoors. Despite our meanderings from plan, or perhaps because of them it has been another good day and we look forward to more tomorrow.

 

MinG

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Apr 9th

Not much seemed to happen on Tuesday April 9th.

We did visit Whisby Nature park which was very pleasant. Although the main focus is on water based wildlife, they did have some sheep, so I took a photo.

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We also bought some fantastic cake, but then the day descended into a bit of moody stand off so we headed back to base and I went to bed for an hour -unsmiley face.

Tomorrow would be better….

MinG

Apr 8th 2013, Donna, Amy and Connie

After a late start (we only woke at 6am today), we headed out towards Sainsbury’s to top up on essentials and luxuries.

First stop was one of our old favourites, the Belmont Mast. This is situated near to Donnington on Bain. Unlike many radio masts which are on hills and generally viewed from some distance, the Belmont Mast is in a field next to the road. And it is massive. It used to be the tallest mast in Europe until the top hundred feet or so were removed. The information board states that it is 750ft high, but it was added to and was over 1000ft before the haircut. I can’t remember the exact the stats. Si would be able to tell me, but he is asleep.

As casual geocachers, we decided to bag a couple en route to our lunch stop.

The first was in a field hedgerow, where we left a rather fussy trackable which was only supposed visit caches with the word travel in the title. Without full internet connectivity to research possible hides, we gave up and passed the burden onto the next unsuspecting cacher. It was a good cache spot, but not easy to park up at, so we moved on.

The next was in a favourite lay-by near Burgh-On-Bain. I had already researched this and let Si do the searching. We logged and moved on to our lunchtime date with Donna Nook.

Donna is a place by the way. A bleak windy spot on the east coast. We had planned a walk but it was bleaker and windier than our previous visit in February 2008 so, after a brief temperature tester, we gave up. Still, lunch was pleasant and the people watching amusing.

Then onto see Amy.

Amy is a small village boasting a wildfowl collection at a retired watermill. Two of our favourite pastimes. We were chased by a belligerent chicken and treated to a fine display by a peacock. We also discovered that not all otters are scared of Si. Which pleased him.

Amy was also cold. Bone chillingly cold, but we persevered around the sanctuary and took some pictures which I will probably add to this at a later date.

Our final stop was chez Connie. RAF Conningsby to give her official title.

Si is a military aircraft enthusiast, inherited from his father (how else?), who completed his national service in the RAF.

We descended upon the equivalent of fraggle rock and waited for action. We didn’t have to wait long. Plenty of ‘phoon action and even the Battle of Britain DC3 put in an appearance much to the excitement of all the spotters in the enclosure. Again I hope to be able to post photos soon.

Then back to base to reflect on a day of wings galore.

Cloud:Altocumulus
Placename: Mavis Enderby (ooh Rita, I don’t really know…..)

MinG

April 7th 2013. Majesty and Wonder

This morning started early. Which surprised both of us. By 8am we were heading towards Lincoln.

We both wanted to visit the cathedral. Whilst Sunday might not have been the most obvious day to visit, there are services daily and we hoped to be able to peruse peripheral architecture before completing our tour between communions.

Arrival in the city did not start well, as we observed “Events Management Companies” erecting crowd control barriers and bright banners announcing the Lincoln 10k Charity Run. Much beloved was starting to mumble and grumble about turning around.

Undeterred I persuaded him to continue to the castle, where we found a good parking spot for a price which was also good (if you happen to be the chief accountant for Lincoln City Council).

We donned our boots for a brisk walk and I led sulky child towards the Cathedral quarter. Historical information boards would not cheer him, so I decided to ask a man wearing “the high-vis jacket which symbolises wisdom and authority whether we were in danger of becoming trapped in the city by the “fun run” (he didn’t seem to appreciate this tag for the gruelling ordeal ahead of a major city event). He was however, very helpful and armed with a small amount of his wisdom knew our timetable and, more importantly, our exit strategy.

When we made our way through the nearby gate house an exit strategy was the last thing our minds. We were stopped in our tracks by the majestic west end of Lincoln Cathedral. We have seen the building on numerous occasions from several miles away and had commented on how it would have appeared to workers in the fields centuries ago. Si calls it “shock and awe”.

When we entered the Cathedral, it was not what I would call shock, but we were most definitely in awe. In fact we were dumbstruck, reduced to gasps of wonder at the sheer size of the knave and unnerved by what I can only call the sheer spirituality of the space. It is very difficult to put into words. It was a moment that I will never forget.

Regrettably our enforced timetable and the restrictions of Sunday worship would not allow a full appreciation of this landmark and a return visit is planned for early on Wednesday.

The rest of the day was enjoyable, but somehow insignificant by comparison.

The clouds were mainly Altocumulus Stratiformis. At least they tried to be, they never quite covered large areas of sky.

The placename award goes to

    Carlton Scroop

Si decided that Scroop would be a Dickensian character. I plumped for the occupation of Tax Collector.

MinG

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April 6th 2013, On our way, aren’t we?

Ah yes. A week away with the much beloved. Shortly after a significant birthday (him, not me).

The journey was delayed briefly by the car not starting. Poo we said (and worse). Never mind, the AA arrived within 30 mins and shortly afterwards we were on our way.

I had been elected as diver for stint one, with Si taking over at a spot of my choosing which was supposed to contain a geocache. It didn’t but Si cheered me up by attempting to leave via a dead end (I stopped him in time).

Upon swapping I could, between navigational instructions, partake of one of my favourite pastimes, finding interesting or amusing placenames near to where we happen to be..

Technology can be a wonderful thing but a sat-nav does not easily enable one to enjoy virtual diversions from the prescribed route.

And so, one of the themes for the week has presented itself. Placenames of interest or amusement, or better still both.

Not far from where we swapped over, we were gifted:
Oughtibridge. We are not entirely sure why this brought about a fit of the giggles. It might have been something to do with oxygen starvation on the Woodhead Pass. It is more likely that it is only a letter away from sounding like nowty-bridge, if we have the correct pronunciation.
Dungworth. No prizes for guessing why that made it onto the list.
Wigtwizzle. My favourite of the three.

We elected to omit that well known town, which I am reliably informed by a former inhabitant is pronounced PEN-IS-TONE. Ahem.

Not long after such fun we were presented with more roundabouts than you could shake wigtwizzle stick at and the game was temporarily suspended. However we had to bend the rules slightly to allow a road name in:

BILLY BUTTON LANE

I kid you not. It is on the A638 not far from Retford. Excellent.

    Clouds


I am a great admirer of clouds. They fascinate me. I am hoping that the week away will present some absolute crackers in an area where there is plenty of all round sky watching available.

Saturday 6th April was a very pleasant day and we were blessed with countless cumulus humilis en route to the cottage we are renting. Even the man made plumes of Gainsborough power station didn’t spoil the view (if you had your back to them and could not see the station near Helmswell either!).

And so to rest a while in Lincolnshire. Home of the poacher who will visit our table later this evening.

MinG

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