CC18 Waun Pen-y-garn (Raven4)
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This is the eighteenth of a series, the “Caerphilly Collection”, that will explore the whole Borough Council area. This cache is also one of a subset around the strenuous circular Raven Walk. Three virtual caches lead to the final regular cache in a medium sized plastic lunch box. Anticipate a round trip of about 7 miles, with 1000' of ascent. Paths may be wet, muddy, steep, rough and difficult to find. Judicious use of a car can make things much easier.
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.
CC18 is the fourth of a subset of the main series, following the Raven Walk which is about 14 miles long with 3500' of ascent, around the confluence of the rivers Ebbw and Sirhowy. The official start/finish is at the Cwmcarn Visitor Centre and our set of caches begins here and is designed to follow segments of the circular route (so CC could also stand for Cwmcarn Circular) in the recommended anticlockwise direction.
When originally established, the guide from the Visitor Centre included the cost of a badge for those who completed the walk. Proof of the achievement was the aggregation of four brass rubbings from posts (topped by carved ravens) placed strategically around the Walk. There was (and still is) no obligation to do the walk in one go. Sadly, all of the original carved ravens succumbed to vandalism and their posts (and brass plates) have been removed and most of the original waymarks (see uploaded image) have disappeared. But don't let this put you off: there are new raven sculptures and waymarks, an improved guide and a new challenge, which requires the finding of Ogam characters at the sculptures and translating these into a Welsh word. The correct word will gain you an enamel Raven Walk badge. Despite its proximity to over-populated valleys, the trail finds some beautiful countryside and achieves magnificent vantage points.
You are advised to use a 1:25000 map to ensure that you find the Raven Walk route and use public rights of way to get to the cache. The section between Mynydd Machen and the final cache can be particularly difficult to find.
In the following, VC stands for Virtual Cache and RC for Regular Cache.
Convenient free parking is available at Pont Lawrence (N 51 36.825 W 003 10.331).
VC1 is at an "underground map" at the coordinates given above for this cache. The map doesn't work for us, but we would be interested in the views of others. What are Graig Goch Ancient Woodlands doing with wildlife? Convert the answer into a set of numbers using the keypad of your mobile phone.
VC2 is at N51 3a.bc6 W003 1d.ea5, where:
a = the sixth number in the set derived at VC1
b = the fourth number minus the first number
c = the third number minus the second number
d = the fourth number minus the third number
e = the fourth number minus the seventh number
The Camping Barn offers slightly more spacious and solid accommodation than a tent … and you don't have to carry it with you. But we can't pass it by without noting that it is about half way round the Raven Walk so, if you want to do the whole route in one go, but spread it over two days … And it also offers another meaning for CC - cosy camping. The barn claims to be the first opened in South Wales, in 1988. But in which month? As before, convert the answer into a set of numbers using the keypad of your mobile phone. The third stage of this cache follows the Raven Walk for about 1 mile, initially passing through the ancient woodlands (remember them from VC1?). You may see some of the animals kept in the Country Park (the golden brown Tamworth pigs - see uploaded image - appealed to us) and the bluebells are excellent in May (on this north facing valley side, they tend to be later than elsewhere in the area).
VC3 is at N51 3f.gh3 W003 0j.kg7, where:
f = the first number in the set derived at VC2
g = the fifth number
h = the first number plus the fourth number
j = the second number plus the third number
k = the third number
Here you will find the second raven sculpture – in a word, how many birds are there? Again, convert the answer into a set of numbers using the keypad of your mobile phone. The final stage of this cache follows the Raven Walk for some 2 miles, on the ridge path over Mynydd Machen.
RC4 is at N51 3m.nn1 W003 0m.pp4 and close to the third raven sculpture at N51 3m.nq4 W003 0m.pm1, where:
m = the third number in the set derived at VC3
n = the first plus the third number minus the second number
p = the second plus the third number minus the first number
q = half of the first number
If you are doing the whole Raven Walk subset (CC15 to CC19) in one go, you will carry on through Risca. If doing this cache on its own, using the Raven Walk, you will pass so close to CC4 that it would be silly to miss it. With a slightly longer diversion (about 2 miles with 150' of ascent), CC5 could also be picked up. If you can organise transport to each end, this cache could be tackled as a linear walk finishing in Risca (bridge over Ebbw to Glenside). If you make maximum use of a car (and can navigate your way around the lanes and find scarce parking spots), the exercise to complete this cache can be reduced to no more than 3 miles with 450' of ascent - but you will still need a good map. In this case, the difficulty and terrain ratings would reduce by, at least, one.
Gur pnpur vf nccebkvzngryl 13 zrgerf sebz gur Enira Fphycgher va n jrfgreyl qverpgvba
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum