August 30 Ridge Top Ramble (Subtitled Stroud’s Shoddy Stiles)

A chance for a long walk before the Summer really does finish.

After much deliberation we settled on a series of 24 (plus a bonus) called Ridge Top Ramble set by MrCryptic and two other caches, one of which was Stroud’s Church Micro. (This is Stroud in Hampshire, near Petersfield.)

Stroud Mission Church

Stroud Mission Church

MrCryptic had set the sequence starting at #1 and finishing at #24. Along the way 8 caches would contain letters which would help derive a set of coordinates for the bonus cache. (Logic and Fair play suggested the bonus would complete the series i.e it would be between #24 and #1…reading the logs of previous finders this was indeed the case).

We decided NOT to park the car near to #1 as it was limited to a single space in a poorly tarmacked road. Instead we parked at #17 and walked the loop THE WRONG WAY! i.e we went #17,#16…etc with the hope that when we arrived at #1/#24 we would be able to have most of the co-ordinates to find the bonus.

Our start point was next to a stile, the first of at least 22 (yes, TWENTY TWO) on this 5 mile circuit. Stiles are great when then are firmly fixed, but many of these stiles rocked either left to right, up and down, or both, or had a piece of plank missing, or were broken. Much care was taken going over/through these stiles which also acted as Ground Zeros for at least 4 of MrCryptic’s caches. This was no mean feat as all but one of his containers were 1 litre jars or plastic boxes.. in fact only one of his caches was a 35mm film canister.

One of the stiles... but is there a cache here ?

One of the stiles… but is there a cache here ?

One of many broken stiles... but is there a cache here ?

One of many broken stiles… but is there a cache here ?

Many of the fields contained sheep with this year’s lambs – now almost as big as their mothers ! Many of the fields were surrounded by electric fences which had to be crossed on at least 2 occasions.

Do Ewe know where the cache is ?

Do Ewe know where the cache is ?

The route was called Ridge Top Ramble, but the top part of the route – a minor road – was so well tree-covered it was impossible to see a view. The best view came near #7 where most of the South Downs Ridge was visible. We’ve remarked we walked the route back in 2011, and we could pick out Butser Hill, Chanctonbury Ring and Devils Dyke. (It helped we were there recently!)

Beyond the sheep are the South Downs

Beyond the sheep are the South Downs

Many of the caches were oak roots, beech roots, mossy roots as well a collection of stumps (one of which we made an absolute pigs-ear of finding). We felt obliged to REALLY,REALLY try to find all the caches between #17 and #1 as we needed to maximise our chances of finding the bonus cache. This meant we didn’t give up at any even after 20+ minutes searching. One cache must have taken at least 30 minutes as first we were interrupted by a muggle father, his daughter and dog and then by the local Rambling Group who proceeded to wait for 10 minutes at OUR Ground Zero as they had lost one of their group!

What a great location for a cache !

What a great location for a cache !

Arriving at #1 we had just enough bonus letters to make some good guesses to try for the bonus. After 20 minutes trying various combinations we settled on a shortish stretch of road… sadly as Mr HG137 found the bonus… Mrs HG137 was a quarter of a mile way! (Whoops!)

Caches #24 to #18 were a little easier and of course with no pressure to find them, were that much easier!

A very pleasant day’s walking, some great cache hides… some really lousy stiles!

PS The 27 caches we found during the day was our second best day’s haul ever!


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