Forty Sortie

Forty Sortie

I’d been working on a bunch of puzzles down in Petersfield in anticipation of going there to attempt to make forty or more puzzle finds in a day. This would qualify me for a Challenge Cache called the Forty Sortie, which is over near Woking.

So being of the mad variety, Happy Hunter HP20 and I planned a day out to try to achieve it. Before doing that we had to go through the rather painful process of attempting to solve the series of puzzles in question. Despite being called the “101 Series” they were far from simple. They wouldn’t be, because they were set by Mr Cyptic, a local puzzle solver who seems to delight in setting confusing things. If these are his easier ones, I’m glad I wasn’t trying to solve the hard ones.

Anyway, down near the hamlet of Langrish he has set several series of puzzles. The “101 Series” has 39 (A-Z and 0-9), which meant we needed to find at least 4 others to make 40 in a day. There’s a zodiac series and various others, and between us we managed to get a pot of about 50 solved, which we thought would be enough contingency to get us through.

HHHP20 also thought it might be a good idea to try to qualify for a nearby challenge that requires the finding of 10 challenges in a day, so we picked out a whole pile of nearby ones (some down towards Havant) that meant we should have a big enough stock of those too.

Ami wanted to come, so there were three of us, once we’d picked up HHHP20 and done the cache outside his house, of course. Because we’d started early we had to stop for breakfast at the Chieveley Services, where the M4 meets the A34. It had taken us a while to get there, and it took us another while to get to where we wanted to be. It was late morning by the time we got there.

Thankfully the walk around the 101 Series was quite quick aside from one cache, that we eventually gave up on, so we’d found 35 puzzles on that stretch as well as a random trad and a church micro at Langrish, which we did on the way in. We made up to our 40 puzzles by doing a handful of drive-bys from the other ones we’d solved.

From there we headed south a bit to try to do the challenges challenge. We started well by finding the challenges challenge itself and one based around a pack of cards, but it soon went a bit pear-shaped after that. It was getting quite late in the afternoon by this point and although we’d found an area with seven very easy looking challenges, we started missing them. I think maybe we were getting a bit tired, after not really having a lunch break.

Anyway, we drove up the A3 to Guildfordish and then towards Woking, so we could grab the Forty Sortie Challenge. When we had done this we drove back into Woking for some much-needed dinner in a local pub. It was good.

By the time Ami and me got home (at about midnight) we’d been out of the house for the best part of 18 hours, and we’d had enough. We’d managed 49 finds, the vast majority of which were of the “Mystery” type, being either puzzles or challenges.

The caches we found were :

CacheAthon Part 3

CacheAthon Part 3

Ah ! My final bash at the Cambridge CacheAthon series after previous previously doing two loops in April and two more in June.

This time I had the final loop to do, running from Comberton around to Coton and back. This section goes really close to the city of Cambridge and over the other side of the M11 for a little way.

On Part 2 I’d left the CM for the Baptist Church in Comberton because it was a multi that took me in the wrong direction (for that day). On this day I parked right next to the little Herbert, so it was the first one I collected on the walking part (after a couple of easy drive-bys on the way in).

Because of the way I’d cached on Part 2 I then had some way to walk to start the loop (about 1km, in fact). But once I got going it was like shooting fish in a barrel all the way around until I crossed the M11 and then came back again. I completed 35 caches in under 3 hours on this stretch and had barely broken sweat in doing so. Once I got up into Coton it got a bit more tricky though. There were a number of puzzles here that I’d solved, but for one of them I’d failed to write down the correct instructions and I ended up having to phone Kas at home and get her to mail me a photo of some working notes from one of my notebooks. Thankfully she was in and the deed was done, but I could have missed it completely. The cache required some complex maths and you had to remember a part of that to be able to get the combination for a lock on a box fastened to the bottom of a fencepost. Quite a clever cache if you actually read the instructions properly.

There was little incident on the way back to Comberton, although because of the nature of the walk there was another long barren section to walk again before reaching the car, but I ended up back at my car after less than 5 hours having done 57 caches on the walk.

I had a couple of hours left so I drove in the direction of Kingston to have a crack at the Quizzical Smile series and other outlying caches. On this stretch I completed another 22 caches to bring my total for the day up to 82. Marvellous.

The caches I found were :