Last year I was very excited when I saw the Sussex Olympic Rings puzzles released and I tried very hard to solve them. We didn’t get the opportunity to head to Sussex to actually find them last year, but with the bank holiday coming up and my fingers tightly crossed for good weather I teamed up with Stones2005, Yorkie63, MummaD, Helennbrian, Hollyncharlie, and Andy750x to form Team Essex and we headed down south. 2 heads are better than 1 and as 10 heads are even better than 2, so together we managed to also completely solve BHQM (Burgess Hill Question Mark). That gave us 85 puzzles solved and ready for finding during our Busy weekend in Sussex…
Day 1 – Challenge caches and a challenging hill!
I headed to Sussex with Andy750x on the Friday and we decided to set ourselves a mini challenge. As we had 85 puzzles lined up to get, we thought we’d aim to grab 100 puzzles for the trip so first we stopped off in Kent to find the Assiduous Cacher Challenge caches. I’d worked out a long while ago that we qualified for 17 out of 20 of the challenges, so that was good enough for me to justify a nice morning walk around Scadbury Nature Reserve, where they were all hidden.
The reserve was an absolutely beautiful place to walk around and was reasonably quiet in the morning. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and there were many butterflies all around. It had been quite a mission trying to work out which challenges we qualified for, however, it was well worth it for the beautiful walk through the bluebell-filled woods.
The caches were relatively easy to find, apart from a couple which required some keen eyes. On route we bumped into a muggle who asked if we were looking for fungus (Hehe, haven’t heard that one before) and a lovely muggle lady who knew what we were doing and told us that she had found one of the geocaches in the reserve and always checks it’s still in place when she walks past.
After all that challenge caching, it was time for a rest on a conveniently shaped tree before heading off to Sussex.
We met up at Tottingham Totter #31 in Fulking with stones2005. Mrs. Stones2005 had spotted the 8 miler as a nice walk to do. She wasn’t wrong, but as the cache description mentioned “nice views” that could only mean one thing… a giant hill!!! We parked the car and looked up to see what was in store for us. The cache we started at was an excellent starting point as it meant we would conquer the hill, have an easy walk for the rest of the series and then finish at the pub! At the beginning here there was also a very nice little spring.
We then climbed the hill past the National Trust sign and through a herd of cows. Eek! I’d usually be really scared of them, but it looked like a popular walking route so they didn’t bother me too much.
Soon (after a bit of huffing and puffing) we were at the top and could admire the amazing views whilst we found the series’ earthcache.
As we looped around to the end we spotted the hill that we had climbed previously. I imagine if we started at #01 that spotting the hill would cause me to cry “Oh no, we don’t have to climb that, do we???” So I was very glad it was already out of the way!
After a quick stop off at the pub for a cider as a reward we headed off to Blacklands Farm where we were camping for the weekend to find the rest of Team Essex already pitched up and saving our spot so we could huddle around the camp fire and plan our route to scoop up the puzzles!
Day 2 – V for Victory!
We were up super early on Saturday morning as there was an 8am Flash mob for May the 4th around where the Olympic rings puzzles were placed. We all gathered around Lindfield Common for a quick piccie before we headed off on our adventure.
The slight issue with the Olympic “rings” caches was that once solved, they weren’t very…well… “ring-like” and although a couple of the colours made for nice walks, the rest were very scattered. We had planned the best order to do them all though and as the weather forecast wasn’t looking very promising for the afternoon we tackled the walks in the morning.
The rest were picked up during short walks and cache and dashes. We found a very good use for little Cass though as when finding caches for the black ring he was able to sneak into gaps and under bridges to grab the caches for us!
One of the nicest sights of the Olympic Rings series was seeing the 450m long Ouse Valley viaduct. It was absolutely massive.
The olympic rings caches took nearly the entire day to complete, way longer than we had anticipated. There was a really nice reward at the end though as by grabbing the bonus caches from each of the rings we had the coordinates that we needed to find the Bronze, Silver, and Gold medal caches. Each of these were big containers at fantastic, well planned locations. I’d love to show you a few of the piccies, but I’d probably be giving it away. Here’s one of the containers though…
Although the medal caches were nice rewards on their own for the hours spent puzzling and hours spent dashing around the area, we made our own reward as well by visiting the appropriately named pub, “The Victory Inn” for a celebratory pint to finish the day… or not…
Whilst sat enjoying our drinks we decided that we would properly finish the day by also finishing the BHQM puzzles. We were all completely knackered, but after refuelling we headed off to finish the already long day with 18 finds and 1 DNF, however I was able to replace the missing cache that we DNF’ed with the cache owners permission making it 86 puzzle cache finds in a day!!! WOW! It was very late when we got back to the campsite, but we were safe in the knowledge that our epic mission was complete. I definitely think we won a gold medal for our massive team effort!!!
Day 3 – Winding down
After our very busy couple of days caching we teamed up with Helennbrian to do a few short series whilst the rest of the team tackled the fabulous Devils Dyke. We had already walked that series so we left them to complete it.
We started off with Retreat Walk, a 2.7 mile walk for 17 caches before heading off to do West Hoathly Wander which took us past Philpots quarry. Both were lovely walks and far more relaxing than the day before’s hectic run around!!!
We finished the day with a few church micros and a long rest at the pub.
Day 4 – Packing up
And so it was the last day of our trip away Packing up is always the worst bit, especially when you’re feeling pretty tired after lots of walking! There was time for one last series though, and after the tent was packed away we chose Wineham Wonder as it was only a short walk from the campsite. This series took us for a lovely walk along the river on the hottest day of our trip. The hides were a little different from easily hidden film cans, so a few had us guessing for a little while, but we managed to find all of the caches on the series which were enabled. 6 miles later and we were back at the camp site ready to head off home.
There was time for one last cache though. Stones2005 had visited Church Micro 111 before and said it was a really lovely Church. We headed there on the way home to find St Hugh’s Charterhouse monastery. It was absolutely beautiful and a fantastic cache to finish the trip on!
I just want to say a big thank you to all my friends in Team Essex who made the weekend trip very special. It was great being able to grab the Olympic Rings and BHQM puzzles together and great to have such a mega caching trip. I’ve been snowed under with uni assignments recently and haven’t been able to get out to do much caching nor had any time to tile the bathroom! It was lovely to spend so much time with such lovely people. The caches were just an added bonus.