CC11 Llancaiach Fawr (RVR11)
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This eleventh cache of the “Caerphilly Collection” involves a walk of about 2 miles, generally on good paths or tracks, with modest ascent. Two virtual caches lead to the final regular cache in a medium sized plastic box where, because of tree cover, GPS reception may be poor in summer. There is convenient parking close to the given coordinates. The route uses the part of the Rhymney Valley Ridgeway Footpath that finishes at Llancaiach Fawr Manor.
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.
CC11 is also the eleventh of a subset of the main series around the Rhymney Valley Ridgeway (RVR) Footpath. In the following, VC stands for Virtual Cache, RC for Regular Cache and WP for intermediate WayPoint.
VC1 is at the coordinates given above for the cache. The single-wall handball court here is thought to be the only one of its kind in mainland Britain, dates from the 1860’s and is still in regular use. It may not look too impressive, but it was the venue for the European Handball Championship in 1995 – but, for some reason, it did not attract prominent TV coverage. Ball games are not permitted at certain times (so CC means court closed): when can play resume?
Convert the answer to this question into a set of numbers, using the corresponding digits on the keys of a mobile phone (e.g. A, B or C become 2).
VC2 is at N51 3W.UY7 W003 1Z.VX1, where:
U = seventh number of the set derived at VC1
V = the difference between the first and fourth numbers
W = the sum of the third and seventh numbers
X = the second number divided by the fifth number
Y = the difference between the fifth and seventh numbers
Z = the sixth number
At VC2, you are warned to beware of … what? Convert your answer into a set of numbers, using the keys of a mobile phone, as before.
RC3 is at N51 3M.TP7 W003 1Q.RL1 and it is suggested that you go via WP4 at N51 3M.NP6 W003 1Q.RS7, where:
L = the fourth number of the set derived at VC2
M = the sum of the second and third numbers
N = the difference between the second and fourth numbers
P = the third number
Q = the sixth number
R = the difference between the second and sixth numbers
S = the difference between the first and second numbers
T = the fifth number
It may come as a surprise to find an operational railway here. It is a mineral branch line linking the coal transfer facility on Merthyr Common to the Rhymney Valley line at Ystrad Mynach. (Yes, you’ve guessed, CC stands for coal conveyance here). The coal comes from opencast operations along the Heads of the Valleys Road.
Llancaiach Fawr is a semi-fortified Tudor manor house, built in 1530. It has been restored as a living museum to replicate its condition in 1645, perhaps the most important year in its history. At the start of this year, the household and its master, Colonel Edward Prichard, are firm supporters of the Royalist cause. In August, Charles I visits (so CC could stand for Charles calls), trying to rally support after his defeat at Naseby in June. Shortly after the visit, Colonel Prichard changes his allegiance to the Parliamentarians and later becomes Governor of Cardiff Castle. A visit to the museum is an opportunity to step back into the atmosphere of this turbulent time. The Manor is reputed to be one of the most haunted houses in the country … and you can find out if this is true for yourself, if you try an evening Ghost Tour (adults only).
This cache only utilises a few hundred yards of the RVR Footpath but, in keeping with our intention to encourage its exploration, we would recommend following the railway south-east from VC2 to join the long distance path at the first over-bridge (WP5 at N51 39.149 W003 16.431). The RVR Footpath heads north, then west from here and will take you to the cache – but it is not waymarked and may be difficult to follow. You will need a good map and should be prepared for a walk of 3½ miles in total. There is not a lot of ascent, but it may be wet and rough in parts and the Difficulty and Terrain ratings would be one higher.
(No hints available.)
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum