May 5 2014 Chalk Balls on the South Downs

Back in 2011 we had walked the South Downs Way from Winchester to Eastbourne over a period of 6 months (indeed Mr Hg137 now gets paid (!) for doing a presentation on the South Downs Way). We decided to revisit this area for our caching expedition as not only had we enjoyed the area before, but it gave Mr Hg137 a chance to refresh his slides.

The South Downs is a chalk landscape and underneath most of the footpaths are chalk or flint. In bright sunshine this is very glaring on the eyes!

The route today followed a series of 13 Chalk Balls placed by environmental artist/sculptor Andy Goldsworthy from the South Down ridge to the village of West Dean. This was about 4-5 miles and 2-3 miles back via straighter path.

Most of the caches were small camouflaged containers placed under flint, attached to branches or at the base of trees. None we were told were in the stone balls, but many of the caches were in the vicinity of the balls.
(Our only DNF of the day came because the cache had been moved under a ball by a previous cacher as the tree it was on, had been severely cut/broken by Winter storms).

One of the caches, South Downs in background

One of the caches, South Downs in background

Many of the ‘balls series’ caches contained a number, which had to be used to derive the co-ordinates of the final bonus cache. Seems simple enough but with one cache DNFed, we guesstimated what the number should be and found the bonus cache!

Of course we included a couple of extra caches too – one of which was called Sebastian (Brian’s Friend) (we never did work out the meaning of this) – but it was so unusual it will make our ‘caches of the year’ blog… so sorry no photo here!

One of the stones..

One of the stones..

... another ...

… another …

... and a third

… and a third

A brilliant day out, fine weather, great views and 20 caches to our total (including cache 600!).

Cache 600

Cache 600

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