Merthyr Marathon MM6 - Friends Miners and Climbers
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This is the sixth in a series of caches aimed at exploring Merthyr Tydfil. You will need information gained from earlier caches in the series in order to start this one. There are six stages: the first five are virtual caches, the last a medium sized plastic container. A 2.5 mile linear walk or cycle links the virtual caches. You may prefer to use motor power to get closer to the final cache site which offers fine views over Cwm Bargod.
What do you do when two of the biggest collieries in South Wales close? Nature needs a helping hand and time to rectify the devastation caused by mining. The helping hand is called reclamation, in this case producing a Community Park. When this cache was first set, the reclamation work was quite fresh, but the park has now matured nicely and is well worth exploring. The reference coordinates for this cache are at an adventure centre, specialising in indoor climbing and an aerial adventure course. You may wish to call in (light refreshments available) - but don't blame us if you are then tempted to have a go yourself (although pre-booking will normally be required). Want to know more? Then visit (visit link) . Good cycle tracks, including part of the Celtic Trail, link the sports facility and all the virtual caches. While there are footpaths to the final regular cache, they are not in the best condition so, unless you fancy some pioneering, a car may be the best choice for the last stage, though safe parking is very limited in the vicinity of the cache. The last few steps to the final cache are on a steep hillside – it is only this bit that justifies the terrain rating. Once again, completion is rewarded by fine views. But we are getting ahead of ourselves - to start we have to go to see some old friends.
THERE IS A "WHEELCHAIR FRIENDLY" CONVERSION AVAILABLE FOR THE FIRST EIGHT OF THE MERTHYR MARATHON SERIES. PLEASE CONTACT US BY EMAIL IF YOU WANT DETAILS.
The letter/number codes used in previous caches in the series do not apply here.
Virtual Cache 1. N 51 cd.eae W 003 ab. fgg where:
abcd = year when the Ivor Works were built in Dowlais (MM1)
e = number of letters in name of Brychan's daughter (MM2)
f = year of 19c that first steam locomotive ran on rails (MM5)
g = year of 19c that Lord Nelson visited Cyfartha Works (MM4)
Okay, so dead Quakers and old Friends is a poor pun! The Quakers were founded by George Fox in the 17th century and you will see that he visited here in 1667, during a period when the religious society suffered severe penalties for refusing to betray their beliefs. One of these beliefs is that individual graves should be unmarked - so why is there one commemorative stone for Thomas and Mary Edmund? (No, we are not expecting an answer to this question but, if you have one, we'd be pleased to hear it.) Not far from the Burial Ground, in the village “square”, there is another source of information about the area. Question 1: What was the surname of boxing Jimmy who was born in 1892?
Virtual Cache 2. N 51 cd.bah W 003 ab.gfb where:
h = (number of letters in Answer 1 above)
This public building owed its foundation to a Scotsman who made a fortune in the steel industry in the U.S.A. Question 2: What was the surname of this philanthropist? Treharris had a strong Quaker influence. It is named after William Harris who came from a Quaker family which owned steamships. This led to an interest in coal and he was chairman of Deep Navigation Colliery. Just up the road, you will find Fox Street, named after George Fox, while next up the hill is Penn Street, taking its name from William Penn who founded the Quaker colony of Pennsylvania in 1681.
Virtual Cache 3. N 51 cd.dfe W 003 aj.jak where:
j = (number of letters in Answer 2 above) - a
k = (number of letters in Answer 2 above) - (c + h)
You are now standing at the top of the main shaft of Deep Navigation Colliery. What do you mean, "Where's the big black hole? Where's the winding gear?" Be patient, all will be revealed!
Virtual Cache 4. N 51 fk.gad W 003 ab.kac
Hopefully, having passed through about 20 coal seams to get here, all is now clear. When completed in 1879, Deep Navigation was the deepest mine in South Wales: with a working life of over 100 years, it was also the most productive. The m feet Gellideg Seam was the deepest in the mine, npqr feet below ground.
Virtual Cache 5. N 51 pq.qps W 003 qs.ttu where:
s = m + n
t = m + p
u = n x p
The reedbeds provide a wonderful habitat for birds - but creating this environment is not the only reason they are here. Reeds have a remarkable capacity for cleaning up contaminated water, which can be a particular legacy of mining activity and the beds mark the site of Taff Merthyr Colliery. Question 3: Which Authority welcomes you to the reedbeds?
Regular Cache 6. N 51 pr.tvn W 003 qs.wmr where:
v = (number of letters in Answer 3 above)
w = v + n
Up to now, we have seen the Bargod Taf at close hand, but perhaps this vantage point offers the best views of this quiet valley. The decline of coal mining may have had a devastating effect on employment and the prosperity of the Valleys - but the improvement to the landscape, as here, is no small compensation.
Remember - clues from this cache may be needed for later caches in the series.
(No hints available.)
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum