CC7 Gelligaer Romans (RVR7)
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This seventh cache of the “Caerphilly Collection” involves a relatively level walk of about a mile. Parts of the route may be muddy at times. Two virtual caches leading to a final regular cache (in a small plastic box) are designed to show you the sites of two Roman forts and to meet a Roman soldier. The trail will take you along part of the Rhymney Valley Ridgeway Footpath.
The Caerphilly Collection is distinguished with a unique CC number and is made up of 50 caches. The caches vary in difficulty and type and usually have other “C” word connections – castle, cheese, coal, canal, etc. There may even be Cryptic Clues for Clever Clogs! The current Caerphilly unitary authority grew out of the former Rhymney Valley and Islwyn Councils and stretches from the outskirts of Cardiff and Newport in the south to the Brecon Beacons, north of Rhymney. Despite a past dominated by coal and heavy industry, it has a diverse history and varied and dramatic scenery. We hope you will enjoy exploring it with us.
Towards the end of the Collection is CC48 The Accumulator, the location of which is given in coded form. The translation details of the code are distributed around the whole Collection, but only about a third of the caches will contain a piece of the code, which is on the back of the Log Book. To do the Accumulator, you will need to keep a note of each piece of code that you find. Unless you are very lucky, you will need to find the majority of the Collection in order to do the Accumulator. The Accumulator cache is hidden in an area of difficult terrain and demanding navigation, with a 5, 4½ rating.
CC7 is also the seventh of a subset of the main series around the Rhymney Valley Ridgeway (RVR) Footpath.
In this case, CC could also stand for cartoon character. Unfortunately, the information boards that described the forts here were not as successful as their Roman builders in surviving alongside the local inhabitants! Look over the wall at the coordinates given for the cache: the pattern of ridges in the field outline the remains of the stone fort, which was part of the Roman military network here in the first half of the second century A.D. This fort is thought to have garrisoned a “cohors quingenaria”, an infantry unit of 500 men, and included corner and intermediate towers and four double-arched gateways. Within the fort were a headquarters building, the commander’s residence, six barrack blocks each housing a century (80 men) and their centurion, stables, stores and granaries. Just outside the fort, to the south-east, was a bathhouse and, to the north-east, a parade ground.
There had been an earlier, and larger, earth and timber fort at Gelligaer. This was in the fields to the north-west of the stone fort, in the fields passed through by the RVR Footpath on route to the final cache location. We were sceptical of stories that Roman soldiers could still be found in the area, but their presence was confirmed by a reliable local source, as he staggered out of the pub at closing time. Then we found several ourselves and they proved very helpful in showing the way to Gelligaer Common, where the remains of Roman practice works can be seen. If you go looking for these, you will need a good map and to know how to use it – but don’t expect to see anything very spectacular and some can only be viewed over boundaries! As practical training exercises for fort construction, they would be short on walls, but include corners, towers and gateways aplenty. Also on the Common, close to the RVR Footpath, are the scant remains of Capel Gwladys dating from around 430 A.D.
In the following, VC stands for Virtual Cache and RC for Regular Cache.
VC1 is at the coordinates given above for the cache and it is usually possible to park conveniently nearby. You need to note that the first Lewis School was founded here in the year abcd.
VC2 is at N51 39.fgf W003 15.hbg, where:
f = a + b
g = b – c
h = d – b – c
e is the number of letters in the name of the type of unusual junction that is marked at VC2.
RC3 is at N51 40.jhf W003 15.kbb, where:
j = e - a - c
k = d - e
In keeping with our intention to encourage exploration of the RVR Footpath, we hope that some will go on from the cache to explore Gelligaer Common, anticipating a 5 mile walk which is likely to be very wet and muddy in places. But if you do this, you might as well go the extra mile and find CC8 as well.
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum