We’ve been to Huriel in Allier twice in the last week on geocaching trips. We’d set ourselves the target of chalking up 100 geocache finds by the end of 2012, to give us some incentive, and Huriel is quite a cache hotbed, hence the two visits. And I’m pleased to say we got to our goal today, calling off at the lake at Treignat on the way home to find the magic hundredth one. Only it wasn’t. When we got back and Chris checked, it was actually number 101. We’d forgotten to log a cache we found on Christmas Eve. Here’s a photo of 80% of Team Llamagem (our geocache name) plus our faithful chien de cache Nessie.

Nessie’s backpack arrived on Christmas Eve. She’s now like Zephyrsailor’s famous geodog Shyloh with his rucksacks. Nessie carries the treasures we put in the caches we find. That’s the idea – you take a treasure out and leave one in its place (apart from in the nano and micro caches where you just sign the log). However, there is some debate as to what constitutes a suitable treasure. We leave polished gemstones, or keyrings made with Peruvian beads painted with a llama design. Other folk think an old cork, playing card or broken plastic toy will do. Hmm.

Huriel also has connections with my hero Jean de Brosse.

Jean de Brosse

He was born at the castle there, the twelfth century Donjon de la Toque. Here it is with Santa busily climbing up to the top. If he had any sense, he’d have landed on the roof with his sleigh, but maybe he wanted the exercise. Today the donjon is a museum, part of it devoted to the lords who used to live in it, and the rest to the wine industry that used to be carried on in the town.

There’s a recreated medieval garden around the donjon, funded to the tune of a whacking great €110,000 of eurodosh. I suspect most of it went on the fountain.

Huriel is a higgledy, piggledy sort of town with a warren of confusing one-way streets but some interesting landmarks. As well as the donjon there’s a fabulous twelfth century church.

Just round the corner from it, we spotted this guard kitty.

There’s also a roundabout with a large hand in it and there’s a prise d’eau, a small pumping house where water was drawn from the stream and pumped up to the railway station for the steam trees in days of yore.

We enjoyed both our trips to this interesting little town. And since we didn’t manage to find a coule of caches, we’ll be back sometime soon.

And guess what Ruadhri got for Christmas!

Yup, his own camera. He took 90 photos today!