Our Olympic Geocaching day…
We’d decided that we wanted to celebrate our first year of Geocaching by doing something epic and so we scouted around the Geocaching map looking for somewhere that would be both scenic and a little bit challenging. As soon as I saw the Sussex Olympic Rings series (pictured above) I knew that we had to go for them!
We started solving them but it soon became clear that we were going to have to work quite hard before we’d crack them all having not really done too much puzzling up until that point! And so as the days turned into weeks, and the summer started to draw to a close, we attempted one final push at cracking the last couple of stubborn puzzles but to no avail. We were stumped. Admitting defeat we contacted the CO’s of the puzzles in question (Blue 09 and Yellow 06) and they happily got back to us very quickly with nudges in the right direction and we soon had them cracked. 🙂
Solving the puzzles was just the first challenge though, we still needed to plan the route. For anyone yet to solve the puzzles, or for those who have, you’ll appreciate that they are quite spread out and in order to ‘cache them all’ you need to be very prepared with maps and printouts of where you’re going.
Each ring has between 11 and 12 caches and inside most of the cache containers there are clues which when solved enable you to find the coordinates for the bonus cache in the ring. Once each of the five separate bonus caches are solved and their passwords are put together you can use the passwords to give you the locations of the Bronze, Silver and Gold medal caches….sound confusing? Well, it is a little but having everything printed out really helps!
And so, on the 4th August, with the RideLondon event passing by our flat (which meant that all of the roads around where we live were being closed), we decided that it would make the perfect day to set off to Hayward’s Heath and attempt to bag all 65 caches in one…which is a mammoth undertaking (which we drastically underestimated) due to the amount of walking and driving required….
We arrived at the red circuit at about 7am which is the only circular walk of the five rings and was probably the easiest out of the bunch with some good hints to help you find the caches once you got to GZ. The rest required a lot of ‘cache and grabs’ but there were handy lay-by’s for quite a few of them and good options for parking (which were highlighted on the GeoChecker once you’d solved the puzzles on the cache page).
Our downfall I think was opting to walk around a large chunk of the middle section of caches (I don’t want to spoil the route for others but it was picking up the yellow ones which gave us the most difficulty). We were also using the Google: Map option on the c:geo app on our phones which we have since found to be a bit naff in comparison to the OSM: Mapnik option (shame we never knew about this at the time as it could have saved us a few hours!!) You live and learn!
Either way, by the sixteenth hour(!!) of our caching expedition and with only one cache left to grab (the Bronze medal) we decided we’d had enough. This was after driving down a public bridleway in the pitch black getting the car stuck in mud near a pond and me having to push our poor little (just as knackered as we were) pap pap out…oh, and after the spooking a field of cows incident…and the getting lost (again!) incident…and the fact that our phones and torches were on their last legs…in fact I think even our legs were on their last legs after 16 pretty solid hours of Geocaching! So, with heavy hearts we called it a day and drove home, knackered, a little bit disgruntled, but overall pretty chuffed with our epic mzadventure!
Looking back I’d say that it’s definitely achievable in a day (as proved by other cachers) but make sure you’re über prepared with your route and your batteries, and your food supplies…as we hadn’t even packed any food!! Thinking about it I’m actually surprised we got as far as we did on our empty stomachs…don’t think we found anywhere to eat until 4pm!
It’s a great series though and the scenery is lovely, our highlight was walking under the Ouse Valley Viaduct which is a truly breathtaking piece of architecture!
We’d like to extend our thanks to the CO’s for setting and maintaining this epic series. It’s still been our most challenging caching day to date…we’re hoping that now we’re armed with a little bit more knowledge of our technology that next time we attempt to do something quite as insane we’ll be ready!!
To all those attempting the Sussex Olympic Rings in the future, good luck and I hope this has given you a few tips!
*We successfully finished the Olympic Rings on the 15th September when we headed back to the area to pick up the Bronze cache, which although tricky to find proved to be our favourite due to its location 🙂