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This is the twenty-sixth of a series, the “Caerphilly Collection”, that explores the whole Borough Council area. It is also the fourth of a subset along the Sirhowy Valley Walk. Five virtual caches explore Blackwood, before leading to the final regular cache (in a medium sized plastic storage box), by following the SV Walk beside the river. Anticipate a walk of about 2½ miles, almost entirely on good surfaces, with 150’ of ascent.
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.
Unlike many Valleys towns, Blackwood has a lively prosperous air, with a busy and diverse shopping area. The first part of this trail goes through this so, if you tackle it with someone who gets off on retail therapy or can’t resist eating places, leave your wallet at home or do it on a Sunday. The second part of the trail follows the Sirhowy Valley Walk alongside the river in an increasingly attractive environment. Altogether, you will get a glimpse of Blackwood’s past, present and future.
In the following, VC stands for Virtual Cache and RC for Regular Cache.
VC1 is at the coordinates given for the cache listing and was chosen partly because there is convenient parking in the quiet street that heads north from here. This memorial lists ab men who lost their lives in the First World War and bc who died in the Second. (Yes, CC stands for counting challenge here!)
VC2 is at N51 4d.ef9 W003 1e.gb0, where:
d = a - 4
e = b - 2
f = c - b
g = f + e
There are many of these buildings around the Valleys, but this is perhaps one of the more impressive ones. The name by which it is known today has dropped one word (and an apostrophe!) from its original name. What word is no longer used? Convert the answer into a set of numbers using the keypad of your mobile phone.
VC3 is at N51 4h.hj6 W003 1j.kh6, where:
h = the second number minus the fourth number of the set derived at VC2
j = the seventh number minus the fifth number
k = the mean of the first and sixth numbers
Here, the congregation has been replaced by an audience. But what sort of church was this originally? Again, convert the answer into a set of numbers using the keypad of your mobile phone.
VC4 is at N51 3m.mn3 W003 1p.qr6, where:
m = the sum of the fifth and sixth numbers of the set derived at VC3
n = the third number minus the second number
p = the ninth number minus the eighth number
q = the eighth number
r = the fourth number
We’re not too sure of the value of a weathervane in the corner of a market, where buildings will tend to funnel the wind. But, if you take time to look around, you will find out where J.B. Joyce comes from. It could be one of several places with this name, but this one is in Shropshire, where Joyce has been making these since 1690.
VC5 is at N51 3v.vs4 W003 1t.uv5, where:
s = the number of C’s in the place name found at VC4
t = the number of T’s in the place name
u = the number of H’s in the place name
v = the sum of s and t multiplied by u
When the cache was first set up, you would have found the Rock and Fountain here and an opportunity to get some refreshment. The present incarnation of the building may only appeal to more up-market cachers! The first part of its name has * letters and the second part is # .
RC6 is at N51 40.wx9 W003 11.yx5, where:
w = * minus 2
x = # plus 1
y = # minus *
Shortly after leaving VC5, on the right, the browny yellow staining in the stream is an indicator of iron in the water springing from the ground – often associated with abandoned mines. The route to RC6 passes under the new Chartist Bridge over the Sirhowy, part of the £36m Enterprise Way, which links the Oakdale Business Park with the A472, at the same time providing a bypass to Blackwood. The bridge is one of the few structures of the last 50 years that could prove to be as impressive as those of an earlier age. It was under construction when the cache was first placed, so provided another meaning for CC – crossing construction.
The tree cover and confined valley at the cache site may inhibit good GPS reception. However, the cache is close to the path and does not require clambering up or down steep slopes. If you are still stuck, there is a spoiler image, showing the location.
To get back to the starting point, re-trace your steps for about 100m and take the path to the right. After crossing the Sirhowy, keep straight on to the main road and head back into Blackwood. A short road to the right just before St Margaret’s Church and a stone-pitched alley will bring you to the suggested parking street.
Frr fcbvyre vzntr
- Spoiler imageCache is at centre of image.
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum