29 October 2012 (Monday) - The Gypsum Gyratory (Part II)
Up earlier than I would normally have been, and after a swift spot of brekkie I got my bits together. And then I got my dog together. Lisa arrived, and we set off to Ham Street to collect Steve,
With the team assembled we took the short cut to Robertsbridge. Regular readers of this drivel might recall that three weeks ago Steve and I went geocaching on the first half of the Gypsum Gyratory. Today we went back to do the second half. The Gypsum Gyratory is a series of one hundred geocaches laid out in two loops across the Sussex countryside. Going along lanes and paths, through fields and woodlands, up hills and down dales. The Gypsum Gyratory in its entirety covers twenty three miles. Having survived (just) the first loop we thought that we'd have a go at the second loop today.
We started walking shortly after 10am. the first cache of the day (G.G.#51) was actually my six hundredth geocache. There are those who say that finding six hundred in three months is somewhat obsessive, but what do they know? The second and third caches were both good; it was at this point that the geo-hound was allowed off the lead.
We then had a moment's panic. With the clue to the next cache being "base of tree" we found a major area where forest clearance had been taking place.
We failed to find the sixth cache of the day, and possibly spent too long searching. From there we found one of the hills that we'd been warned about. And some of the mud. When we did the first half of the Gypsum Gyratory we'd got seriously muddy. But that was absolutely nothing compared with today. The mud was chest deep on poor Fudge.
Last time we'd been gyratory the weather had been against us. The weather (pretty much) held out today. Once a third of the way round we stopped for lunch and had a rather pleasant pic-nic in the sun by G.G.#66. Mind you, just before G.G.#72 the rain did start. Fortunately we could see a pub, and so stopped for a crafty pint. In Sussex one drinks Harvey's, and it slipped down very nicely. The barman was very friendly, and plied Fudge with dog biscuits (which he enjoyed).
After fifteen minutes the rain stopped so we ploughed onwards. The next cache (G.G.#72) was.... well I won't spoil the surprise, but let's just say that I've given it a favourite point.
When we walked the first half of the Gypsum Gyratory three weeks ago there were two points where we got seriously lost and wasted hours. That never happened today, but there's no denying that we think we may have gone a bit awry at G.G.#80. We never actually found anything resembling the description in the clue.
It was shortly after this that Fudge went missing. He was only gone for maybe two minutes, but that two minutes seemed like an eternity. And when he did appear, charging through the forest, there's no denying that you could see the panic on his face.
As we went on so the terrain got more and more muddy. And the sky got darker and darker. We'd forgotten that the clocks had gone back. It was getting noticeably dark at 3.30pm. Perhaps if we'd had more time we might have found G.G.#85 and G.G.#86, but time was pushing.
A word of warning to any potential gyrators. For all that I can't recommend this series of geocaches highly enough, caches 91 to 98 are spaced out along a sea of mud. Rather deep mud as well. By the time we'd traversed the mile of quagmire the light had failed entirely. We were grateful for the light from the fires of the charcoal burners. In fact that gave us an idea for a geocaching challenge.
We didn't find cache 99. From the description it sounded straight-forward. But it was dark. Mind you we did find G.G.#100. We found it with quite a sense of achievement.
So we have survived the Gypsum Gyratory. In its entirety. However of the one hundred caches we have only found ninety. Ten have eluded us. We will have to return...