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A Fine Pair # 1566 - Torphichen Multi-cache

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Mr Indoorsman: Temporarily disabling while I figure out what I can do with this one during the renovations.

Hidden : 04/21/2021
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2 out of 5

Size: Size:   small (small)

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Geocache Description:

Number 1566 in a series of caches where a red telephone box is in close proximity to a post box. The only rules are that they have to be able to be photographed together, be not more than 100’ apart and the phone boxes have to be red.

A quick Multicache in the conservation village of Torphichen

Torphichen is a small, picturesque, historical village situated in the gently rolling Torphichen Hills. An ancient settlement, the village church can trace its roots to 400AD when it was founded by St Ninian and was at that time, a small wooden structure. The church was rebuilt in 1756. The Torphichen Preceptory was the Scottish headquarters of the Knights of St John and was founded in the 12th century but not completed until the 13th century. Sir William Wallace held his last convention of barons here, ahead of the fateful Battle of Falkirk in 1298. The church is very active today and its original pews include reserved stalls for the Knights from the Preceptory. The Preceptory has been added as a reference waypoint for this cache in case you want to take a look at it, it's about a minutes walk from the published cache coordinates. There is a lot of archaeology within just a couple of miles of the village, including prehistoric settlements at Cairnpapple, medieval refuge stones within the bounds of the village itself, and at least 3 iron age hillforts.

The village today is very much an active community, and Torphichen Square is the unmistakeble heart of the village, with a pub, a post office/shop (with red post box), a well, and of course, a traditional telephone box.

This is a multicache so you will have to visit a few locations to find clues to where the final container is hidden. However the locations are all within sight of the published coordinates here in the Square. The final container is a short walk away (about 5 minutes), so this a relatively quick and easy multicache.

The cache can be found at : N 55° 55.ABC' W 3° 39.DEF' and you can find out what those missing coordinates are by visiting each of the 3 stages, collecting clues at each as described below.

Stage 1 - Published Coordinates - The Telephone Booth

As has become quite common, the telephone box here (a classic 'K6' type) has been repurposed. It's become the home for an emergency defibrilator donated by members of the Order of St John - closely associated with the village for nearly 900 years!

Each year in the last week of August, the Order have their annual service in Torphichen Preceptory to commemorate the Martyrdom of St John the Baptist. It was after one such recent service that the lifesaving piece of equipment was unveiled in its new home, with the event being attended by members of the Order.

The Red Telephone Box At Torphichen Square

(the postbox is in front of the village shop across the square)

Community Defibrilators are an important part of the first response when someone is having a heart attack. They come with easy instructions on use that are quick enough to follow in an emergency - you do not have to be specially trained to use one. You can read more about them at the British Heart Foundation website here: British Heart Foundation - Community Defibrilators.

Defibrilator Telephone Boxes, like other community debrilators, have to meet certain standards to earn the 'Shockbox' marque, indicating they are safe and effective devices. There's a 'Shockbox' sign inside the booth, look at the post code on the sign, and directly above it you will see some a number. The first digit of that number is A. The second digit is B.

Stage 2  - The Jubilee Well

'The Jubilee Well' was built in the Victorian era at a time when few houses in the village had running water. It was gifted to the village by the local Free Kirk Minister. Inside the octagonal structure is a large tank which is filled up from a local spring beneath. It's no longer a functioning well however, and the spout has been removed.

The well has seen many repairs over the years, being significantly rebuilt at a couple of points. Just in front of The Well is an Information Board with more detail on its history, which was added as part of the last restoration in 2016.  The crown of The Well was changed at that time to include a Maltese Cross - the symbol of the Order of St John's. What year was The Well first built in? The last digit of that year is C. The Well was rebuilt some years later to mark a significant event, and an additional feature was added, what was the total cost of the rebuild at the time (shown in Information Board narrative and also 'The General Notice')? The first digit is D.

The Jubilee Well Before Restoration

Stage 3 - The Torphichen Inn

The Inn here was originally The Burnside Inn, but was renamed The Torphichen Inn in 1973. Adorned with symbols of The Templars, its functioned as a public house since 1872. The building was originally a Malt Barn afterwards converted into a house for public worship and thereafter again converted into a Malt Barn. David McNair, a local building contractor, bought the property in 1850 and then apparently converted it into a number of dwelling houses with a stable in front. When McNair died in 1872, the tenant of one of his houses was a 72-year-old man called James Johnstone, who secured permission to run a public house in part of the building. 

The Inn changed hands several times with conversions and remodelling expanding its capacity as a pub, however by 1937 licensing records describe it as antiquated and entirely out-of- date. More revamping took place at that point, such that the Inn then looked much as it does today.

Stand outside the Inn entrance and take a look at the templar-themed designs on its exterior. You might reasonably think they are themed around the Order of St John, but those with an interest in medieval history might notice that is not entirely the case, and it has echoes of a famous centuries-old conspiracy theory. It is believed by some that when the Knights Templar were famously outlawed as satan-worshippers in 1307, many of their number escaped execution by being harboured by the Knights of The Order of St John. It's asserted that in return they brought with them much of their material wealth. Here in Scotland was one of the few places in Europe where the Templars were not rounded up and executed, and it may be that the two orders aligned here in Torphichen at the Scottish headquarters of the Knights of St John.  Could that be why there's a simple red cross design on the side of the inn, but it's the cross-design associated with the Order of The Knights Templar, not the Order of St John, (which uses a Maltese Cross as its emblem - like the one on top of the well)? Also, note the name of the famous knight displayed on the exterior, he was actually a notable member of the Order of The Knights Templar, and wasn't in The Order of St John, very curious....or maybe it's just bad history wink.

There's a year noted beneath his name, the last digit on that year is E. Subtract the first digit of the year from the second digit of the year, and the answer is F.

When you have all the coordinates, enter them in the checker below, and it will give you some extra infomation on the best way to reach the cache, which is nearby.

You can validate your puzzle solution with certitude.

Parking, GPS & Terrain

Parking in the village can be tricky at times, so I've added in 3 parking waypoints near The Square, to give you some options. GPS isn't much of an issue in The Square since all the stages are visible from the published coordinates at the Telephone Box. However GPS is a little ropey at the final cache location, so a detailed hint has been provided in the checker. Terrain is very easy going, there are no steep hills, fences or natural hazards at the final cache, unless you count chickens as a natural hazard - yup there are sometimes chickens wandering around near the final coordinates, so please put any dogs on the lead. Oh, and take care crossing the road in the Square as a fair bit of traffic moves through the village, albeit it is does have traffic-calming measures.

The Fine Pair GeoCache Series

The 'A Fine Pair' series is managed by the cacher mattd2k. If anybody would like to place 'A Fine Pair' of their own please do. Matt just asks that you first visit A Fine Pair website to request a number to avoid any duplication. mattd2k also keeps a public Bookmark List of this series. Once your cache is published please contact him via the A Fine Pair website to have yours added.

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Oebxra Gerr

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)