It was high time that I got out in to the woods again so I opened my geocaching map last week and had a look for a series that might tickle my fancy. I had heard great things about The Fairy Realm series by Wicca Cailín from various cachers, so decided it might be a good way to ease myself back in as it’s only 6 caches. I put the feelers out on the Geocaching Ireland Facebook page to see how long it would take to complete and was told 3 hours was plenty of time, so once I had convinced my muggle other half, it was all systems go! In the end, we went along with Bohstom and the two Tuckettes of TucKids for a wander in to the Fairy Realm in the Glen of Imaal, West Wicklow.
The mountains around us were snow-topped but there was little or no snow along the walk, although it was quite cold! Wrapped up well, we set off in to the Fairy Woods. The series was particularly attractive as it has 6 different cache types: traditional, multi, letterbox, puzzle, wherigo and EarthCache.
First up was the traditional cache and once we got near to GZ, all of us agreed: that looks like a fairy tree! And sure enough, there was the fairy door. Fortunately, there were no magical creatures at home, as I’m not sure they would have appreciated being disturbed.
The next stop was the multi cache, where we all had our hearts broken looking for stage one. We spent a good 30-40 minutes searching but couldn’t find anything. We were convinced it was gone but we later got confirmation from the CO that it was checked last weekend and was firmly in place. You can’t win them all!
We admitted defeat on the multi and moved on to the letterbox. As we were making our way around, we met a man in camouflage (almost didn’t see him!), with a rifle slung over his shoulder. My initial thought was that he was a soldier, as I had been forewarned by cachers that the Irish Army carry out exercises in the area. But no, he explained to us that he was a hunter and one of a group who were there to help keep down the number of deer in the woods. As it turned out, all 5 of us had completely missed the signs telling people not to walk in the woods that morning as they would be shooting there. Oops!! It’s still a mystery how nobody spotted the signs. Luckily for us, none of us had gotten caught in a crossfire and since they were finished for the day, we could continue on.
We finally arrived at the coordinates for the letterbox and started to follow the instructions. We spent a good 30 minutes looking for the cache again but to no avail. Just as we were about to call time on it, Bohstom redid the steps and found the cache, far away from where we had been searching. Another fairy’s house awaited us here. The CO put in a great deal of effort with all the hides in the series and it was great fun finding the little abodes, especially for the younger cacher with us.
Next up was the wherigo cache, which wasn’t overly complicated, with just one intermediate stage where we had to answer a question and then the final, which was found quick smart by the geokid.
At this stage, we were walking alongside one of the areas that the Irish Army uses to carry out exercises, so we saw warning signs not to touch any military debris, as “it might explode and kill you.” If that doesn’t warn people off, what will?!
We quickly moved on to the puzzle cache, where we found another fairy home, before heading for the last cache of the series: the EarthCache, which highlighted the amazing Ogham Stone standing at the edge of the forest.
Ogham is the oldest writing system in Ireland, dating back to the 4th century and comprises of a series of strokes across or along a line. The alphabet was carved into standing stones to commemorate somebody important. There are many examples of Ogham standing stones still in Ireland.
After leaving the Fairy Realm and bidding adieu to Bohstom and TucKids, the boyfriend and I headed to Hollywood. No, not that Hollywood! The real Hollywood in West Wicklow. The village has had the famous name for 1,000 years, leading many locals to speculate that the famous L.A. neighbourhood was named after it.
I had a muddy 300 metre walk uphill to the cache to get a great view of the sign from the field next door (the sign itself is on private land!). After taking the obligatory selfie, I started my descent and promptly landed in the mud. Well it wouldn’t be a proper geocaching day without me falling down!
The final stop of the day was an FTF run in Greystones. The town is the next one over from Bray, so quite close to home, but we were over 50 km away when I spotted the notification. I put it on the watchlist and the boyfriend checked my email periodically as I drove us in the direction of home. Once at GZ, the only issue was muggles. Sometimes the best thing is just to search and hopefully make the find as quickly as possible, then leave quickly, instead of lingering waiting for the ‘perfect moment’. The waiting around and looking shifty usually arouses more suspicion in my experience. I found the hide within a few minutes and was ecstatic to see a nice fresh logbook.
One of my New Year’s geocaching resolutions was to not stress about FTFs and I really wasn’t. I actually thought I probably wouldn’t get one this month, but sometimes everything just falls in to place (read: other geocachers were further away than me or had better things to do).
It was a great day of geocaching and it felt fantastic to be out walking in the woods again. This weekend looks promising too, with a couple of events lined up. What geocaching adventures did you have at the weekend? Let me know in the comments!
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