Woohoo! We didn’t get woken up in the night by the rain, so we were optimistic as we slowly rolled off of our deflated air bed (spung a bloody puncture the morning before and despite us patching it with gorilla tape it was still dead. Need to get a new one) Out of the window the sun was shining, however the grass was wet with dew which made it interesting packing the tent away!
To speed up the process we skipped brekkie on the stove and headed to McDonalds for the healthier choice of their brekkies: A Phili bagel and jam porridge. As a side note, being the health conscience peeps that we are we hadn’t visited McD’s in ages. The restaurants are great now they’ve done them up. It’s just the little things that impress me, like the blue neon light that shines on your hands as you dry the. Useless, yes, but aesthetically pleasing none-the-less! Here we pondered our route…
Today we were going to try some quality caches rather than number runs. First point of call was the Puzzle Classics series (GC1D5QM). This was a set of 6 puzzle caches + 1 bonus around south moulton. It involved solving a set of traditional puzzles (1 per cache) to find out the co-ords. There was word search, code breaker, sudoku, kriss kross, skeleton crossword (AH!), and my favourite: Crusadex. These appealed to me because anyone willing to spend a bit of time on them had a chance at cracking them as opposed to the impossible cryptic puzzles where you spend hours trying to work out what the hell they are on about!!! After solving the puzzles you revealed a password that unlocked a word file. Now, despite solving all these puzzles manually (as I do genuinely find them fun) I can see a few problems in these challenges:
1) Sudoku solvers are readily available on the net
2) If you pay a few bob you can buy programs that break Word doc passwords in seconds! At work (IT department) we had a user moan that they forgot their mega important word doc password. What could we do? Answer: Nothing, but a quick google revealed you could legitamately buy programs to crack it. Suddenly as the user found out they had to pay for it the important doc suddenly got less important! Lol!
So as I’d spent so long solving them they had to be done! All went very well apart from Crusadex. The previous logger reported finding just the log book as kids had stolen the container. We searched and searched and eventually found a piece of wet decomposing paper with something log-like scribbled on. We scribbled our name in and put it back under a pile of leaves. Not my favourite way of claiming a find, but at least it was something! As we didn’t have the number from this we couldn’t complete the bonus, however we were pleased with the 6 puzzle finds!
Next we headed to Exmoor Park to try and grab some. We stopped by Lanacre Lunacy (GCKBRO) we tried approaching along the stream but it was full of muggles and so muddy and wet so we approached along the top of a bank and attempted to climb down it to reach an ash tree where the cache was underneath. It didn’t go too well. It was a vertical drop down the bank and despite being ever so careful i couldn’t get to more than 39feet. It was quite time consuming as we checked 3 trees before decided we should have taken a different approach.
It was now time to head to the big daddy of North Devon caches, the one that I’d been eyeing up for a few weeks, the 5/5 difficulty/terrain journey through an old tin mine to the cache at the end. Look into the light (GC1AGGD)
We’d never done a 5/5 before and I am a complete chicken! I studied logs and pictures to prepare for it so I knew what to expect. Surprisingly I wasn’t phased about going into a cold, dark mine with ice cold water! It was a fair trek to the cache and there were lots of sheep on the hills, but they moved when we got near.
We carried along the stream and spotted a path that looked like it led into the rock, so we went for it. And there we saw the opening. We were nearly sure it was the right one.
It looked a lot bigger than the picture on the cache page. The GPSr said about 240ft so we thought it must be the right one. I (obviously the brave one) clambered down first and into the water. It wasn’t too cold, really. I looked down into the cave and was suddenly extremely scared!
I took a few steps in and was still scared! I don’t know what of though, perhaps just the “not knowing” I very nearly chickened out and turned back, but one more step forward and the water filled my wellies up! There was no going back now as the cold feet had turned into wet feet!
We slowly waded through the water. It was slightly cold on our feet but warmed up and wasn’t too bad. It wasn’t long until we were out of the water and on the dry. It felt like we had walked miles though and despite seeing footprints of the many cachers before, still had doubts that we had the right cave. Then we looked back at the entrance and it turned out we weren’t really that far (hehe!)
We marched on through slowly. The mine was amazing to look at! The rocks sparkled as the water trickled down and plopped into the mini river that had built up. We carried on quite slowly, not just because we were unsure, but because we were admiring the rocks with our torch light. It felt like it would never finish, but all of a sudden I caught sight of the end. We sped up with excitement and saw a mound on the left. Up we went and I thought I saw the cache.
But it was a bag of toys. I desperately felt around for a log book but there wasn’t one! A surge of disappointment filled my head. What if its been muggled! (muggled? Here?) what if its been disabled? Whats going on? A few seconds later I snagged it and uncovered the treasure under a pile of rocks. Phew! The bag was just an overspill for swag! Amazing! Absolutely brilliant!
The trip back to the entrance was a lot quicker. The fear had gone and the not knowing was known. It helped that we could see the light at the end of the tunnel all of the way down.
It was amazing to think of the poor miners working in there all those years ago. The rocks they had chipped away at, however were truly beautiful.
We loved this cache and it’s now at the top of our most favourite caches ever list! It was worth the long walk to it (infact it was worth three times the walk to it!), worth the wet feet, and worth feeling scared. If I could do it anyone can! This was the final cache of the trip before the long drive home. What an amazing ending!