King of The Swingers
I started geocaching in 2011 with my friend Esther. We didn't find it, but bizarrely the bug still bit. (Don't know what geocaching is? Click this. It's better than it sounds. Curiously it really suits people on the autistic spectrum. There's a research paper in that...) Since then I've found geocaches beneath walls, in bushes, behind road signs (so... so many behind road signs, sigh...), in bomb shelters, out to sea, down sewers, deep down mines, in caves, and up trees.
It's the tree ones that I loved.
I found myself in the end driving hundreds of miles to find geocaches that I was yet to find high up trees, (and I realised one day that I was really climbing for the climb's sake, and driving past great trees to get there, so stopped hunting caches and looked instead for extraordinary tree-climbs.) Towards the end of this journey into and out of geocaching, I hid a number of my own high up interesting trees in interesting locations. This is the King of The Swingers collection of geocaches. Here they are listed in order of most favourite points with their cache-page descriptions with spoiler coordinates for each of them. Click the names for the cache pages...
N 50° 42.632 W 003° 15.026 (Stage 1)
This climb is on the wonderful Core Hill. Further up the hill is a whole avenue of very climbable beech trees that I recommend you explore. Before then however, you must erect The Swing Of All Swings and have a lovely time. In this area, and further up the hill, many rope swings come and go, but we can do better than that.
Park at the given waypoint and take the leftmost of the two pathways heading eastwards towards the coordinates. The leftmost path is less boggy and more satisfying than the right, but both will get you there.
Stand at the given coordinates and look up. High above you is a branch marked by a yellow reflective strip. Your job is to anchor a rope near the yellow marker, thus fashioning the Swing Of All Swings. Climb that rope, and find a small blue bison tube near the marker with instructions to find the cache.
But before you find the cache, have a really good swing. You only live once. A static rope is probably better for swinging, but I just had a doubled dynamic rope to play with. That was pretty cool too...!
The cache is a small lock'n'lock box, hopefully reasonably waterproof, but the proof of the pudding is in the, er, drinking.
A straightforward trad that is 15ft up a very climbable tree on Shaldon Ness. Parking very nearby. It's perfectly possible to climb much higher, but the cache location is too perfect to climb past. Just go up for fun! Since I started geocaching I've really come to enjoy the tree-climbs best. Now I've managed to put a few back out there around here.
The first King Of The Swingers was in what appears to be the tallest tree in Ashclyst Forest, and was quite challenging. This one is a much more straightforward climb. Everyone has different abilities and certainly I've met people who are far bigger monkeys than me, and far less intrepid ground-dwelling apes. I placed this cache with no equipment and it is rated with that in mind.
A simple bird box. Double-locked against unusually tall muggles. Placed with permission of the landowner.
This cache is placed at the given coordinates high up in a majestic, er, Lebanese Cedar? I don't know. I'm no arboriculturalist. However, I can vouch for majestic and I can vouch for high. It was placed using climbing equipment and cannot be safely attempted in any other way.
The sling and second karabiner are to secure you while changing the setup of the rope from ascending to glorious rappelling. Or you can do without and just return the way you came, but after all that effort, why not enjoy the drop...?
Please do not use spikes! This tree has been around longer than you and merits considerable respect.
At the request of the landowner, and out of simple common sense, please only attempt this cache in parties of two or more. The location is very busy and you will need someone for safety, to keep others away from your gear and the running end of your rope, and to guard against you rappelling onto a child... It would be best attempted outside of business hours for this reason.
(Both locks are 958. The locks are the longest in the country - 95m x 8m)
A drinks bottle at the top of a beautiful London Plane.
I drive past this great tree all the time and always feel a barely resistible urge to climb it. So now I have succumbed and placed a cache at the top of it to draw other people's attention to it. It looks appealing from the road, but once you are stood under it... it's even better!
There are several football pitches at GZ and so it might be somewhat tricky on match days. I have no idea when match days are, and any advice to that effect in the logs would be very appreciated. That being said, the tree is in a surprisingly quiet corner and the best route up starts around the blind side of the tree.
The cache is very hard to see from the ground, but just go as high as you can and you'll spot it once you start to run out of options.
A freeclimb followed by a limbwalk - so take a rope with you!
I wanted to set another climb on this hill because there are so many great trees here and the atmosphere is, I think, unique.
This is not a giant climb. To find the cache you will need to climb as high as you can to set an anchor-point, and then descend to limb-walk along the branch containing the cache. It is possible to freeclimb to the anchor-point and then abseil into position. This is what I did and my intention for finders, but please do whatever you feel safest doing.
BUT - Do not attach your rope to the cache branch and do not climb directly to it. The limb is in no way strong enough and you will hurt yourself and, more importantly, you will spoil my nice cache!
Park at the given waypoint and take the rightmost of the two pathways heading eastwards towards a large bowl in the landscape with ropeswings.
Turn right up the bank and follow your arrow along the avenue of beech trees. You are looking for a distinctively out-of-place object in the tree. See the spoiler images for help in locating it. The cache is somewhat fiddly, so get yourself nice and comfy once you get there so you can use both hands. Neither the jar, the log, nor the pencil are attached to the tree.
While performing maintenance on Several Pitches I kept looking at this location and thinking it was irresistible.
As usual, this cache is high up in a tree and will require equipment, experience, skill, and common sense.
King Of The Swingers - Freeclimb +
A drinks bottle high in a sycamore. I've called it Freeclimb PLUS for a reason. Be safe. Take NO risks.
So I'd discovered the oak tree at the bottom of the lane, and studied its architecture on several occasions to plan a cache there, and it's only when I arrive with a monstrous rope and several hundredweight of climbing gear that I look down and notice it is surrounded on all sides by barbed wire fencing. Not there then....! This one was found while walking back to the car, and I was delighted to discover it was climbable without any gear. It's also not an oak tree. They're pretty, but they've got hairy arms. Have you noticed? Makes 'em hard to navigate.
While I have tagged this as a freeclimb - that's only because it is possible to do it unencumbered by equipment. I set the cache with the help of an adjustable lanyard. Please do not take any chances. The cache is higher than you would be happy to fall, and if you do fall, you'll be about four feet from passers-by, but completely invisible to them. The only thing worse than a painful death is an ironic painful death.
So be smart.
The tree is best approached from the side away from the road. You will see a little entry where no doubt the local schoolboys indulge in schoolboy high jinks. That's the best place to begin your climb.
Notice the telephone wires and power lines. You do not need to go anywhere near them, and you do not need to climb directly above them (though you do have to climb higher.) DO NOT THROW ROPES OR THROWLINES IN THIS TREE!
A tree cache with no obvious or easy single-pitch.
To be honest I just fancied climbing a tree and thought I'd put a cache out. This is an oak tree very close to the A30, although there is no access from the main road.
The beauty of oak trees I think lies in their spread, and this is no exception. I wanted to place a cache high up, but no obvious routes present themselves (at least to me). I took seven or eight short pitches to get to ground zero, though I didn't necessarily go the most efficient way because it's a good tree to limb-walk and swing around in.
You are looking for a drinks-bottle sized container. The challenge of this cache is in the terrain rather than the difficulty, hence the rating (which inevitably causes consternation, but that's impossible to avoid...)
Relocation and improvement of previous cache GC4DQPF. The cache is locked at the given coordinates. The combination lock code can be found by visiting four marked locations in the tree.
Climbing trees is all well and good, but the real joy, and the challenge, comes from being able to get anywhere in the tree once up there. Hence limb-walking. You need to climb to a high point and set an anchor, and then descend so that you have a high pivot-point against which you can pull as you walk to the extremities of the limbs, and from which you can gracefully swing back to the trunk.
The cache is in a four-digit combination key-safe fixed high up in the tree. It's location is marked by a yellow reflective band. The four digits and their positions can be found written on four green reflective bands located around the tree. The green bands are all lower than the yellow band. This is because the yellow band marks the anchor point from which I set the green ones, and from which I suggest you anchor yourself. The code numbers are written in the format xx5x (for example). In case of the numbers fading, they are also written on the backs of the strips, but if you can read the front-facing digits there is no need to remove any of the strips from the limbs. Please do not move the strips, although you will have to have a close look to uncover the codes.
This was designed as a night-cache, but let's be honest - I set it on a sunny day! Darkness will make finding the codes easier, but the climbing harder. Daylight will have the opposite effect. Feel free to attempt this at day or night. Probably dawn is most effective...
I'd advise also a hitch-climber pulley, prusik cord, two krabs, and a foot ascender - but everyone has their style. I have left a karabiner on some stout climber's cord as an anchor point, but the suitability of this when you find it is yours alone to decide. Whether or not you choose to use it, please leave it where it is.
(In the event of trouble reading or inputting the combination code, I will accept photographic evidence of you touching each of the green strips and the keysafe.)
A cache at height between two beech trees.
A 100g geocache is suspended by 30lb fishing line, 15m up at the midway point between two beech trees, 1 and 2, which are 15.192m apart.
A geocacher weighing 70kg and carrying 5kg of climbing gear climbs Tree 1 with Rope A and attaches another rope (Rope B) to a sturdy anchor point. Using a throwline, he sends the standing end of Rope B over a limb in Tree 2, descends Tree 1, ascends Tree 2, and secures Rope B to a sturdy anchor point, creating a straight line of horizontal rope between Trees 1 and 2. Assume no tension in Rope B at this point. Assume the anchor points are the same distance apart as the trees.
The geocacher clips to Rope B with a small pulley, and pulls himself out to the centre of Rope B, causing it to deflect downwards in the middle a distance of 1m.
Using the table below (where "angle" refers to the angle created in the rope by the pulley) and the formula calculate the force in kilograms on just one anchor point using the formula:
F = w x (% ratio / 100) Where F is the force on one anchor point and w is the weight of the load.
Calculate your answer to three decimal places. ABC.DEG
The cache can be found at N 50 [D][G-E].[C+A][G+E][B-C] W 003 [D][D-A].[A+E]B[DxE]
N 50° 45.401 W 003° 35.878 (Stage 1)
This is a challenge cache marking my finally gaining thirty 5/5 rated caches and the BadgeGen Diamond Adventurous Cacher badge. (Pfft! I've got 175 now...)
This cache is not at the published coordinates but is just a short walk away. Solve the image puzzle to gain the Stage 1 coordinates.
The final coordinates are in a small jar at the Stage 1 location. The final container is a 30L ammo can.
To claim this cache you must have found thirty 5/5 rated geocaches, as evidenced in your profile statistics. Very likely you will have crawled up pipes, waded through mud, scaled sheer cliffs, navigated rough seas, squeezed through tiny underground passages, and swung from trees like Tarzan, not to mention having decoded some particularly tricky puzzles. For that, we salute you! This cache may contribute towards your count as the thirtieth find, but event caches do not. Please list and link to your thirty 5/5's in either your log or linked in a publicly accessible bookmark list.
*This is not a tree-climbing cache. This Virtual Cache is part of a limited release of Virtuals created between August 24, 2017 and August 24, 2018. Only 4,000 cache owners were given the opportunity to hide a Virtual Cache. Learn more about Virtual Rewards on the Geocaching Blog.
An excellent stand of huge trees, that I climb a lot - with a free parking area just metres away. I believe this to be wheelchair accessible as there is a hard track and the distance is very short, but I would be grateful for any user feedback on this.
From the M5, and indeed from everywhere within a huge radius, Ashclyst Forest can be seen on top of its hill, and Sprydon Beacon is the topmost part of that hill. From a distance the huge trees can be seen extending much higher than the canopy of the rest of the forest.
Who wouldn't want to climb them?!
To claim this cache, submit a picture of you at the Sprydon Beacon name sign in the car park, and ideally submit a picture of you at the top of one of the trees though this is by no means a requirement! The main trees are all in excess of 25m and they each pose their own particular challenges - especially the redwoods, with their downward-sloping limbs. From the top, of course, you can see so far that if you look through powerful enough binoculars you can see the back of your own head.