Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.
On the second walking day of our mini-break in the South Downs National Park in Sussex, we were heading west, to the Trundle, for glorious views (we hoped) over Chichester and the Isle of Wight, then downhill to West Dean with maybe time for a look round the gardens there. And possibly a few caches too, after lunch. We were with a party of muggles, but had said to the walk leader – Lonica Vanclay (now, there’s an unusual name!) (she’s originally from Australia but came here, and stayed, some while since) – that we would not hold up the rest of the party with our caching efforts; and we did not.
We started with a walk across fields, woods and rolling hills to Singleton, where we stopped for a picnic lunch at the nicely appointed, well-kept village cricket ground (lots of seats / tables!) About this time Mr Hg137 started to explain the rules of cricket to a German lady in the party; he wasn’t too successful; I think he cut straight to the more esoteric points of field placement before explaining the basics …
(Editor’s note: apart from the pretty village, Singleton is also the home of the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum http://www.wealddown.co.uk – we’ve visited and it’s a fascinating place – many parts of it have appeared on film/TV and are very recognisable.)
Walking through the village, we passed by the Anglo-Saxon church, pausing for a moment, though not quite long enough to try for the Church Micro here (another time …). Then we were out in the country again and climbing steeply upwards, through fields of maize and sunflowers and up towards the grassy top of the ridge.
The Trundle is an ancient hillfort atop the ridge, with panoramic views over Chichester and its cathedral, and further to the sea and to the distant Isle of Wight. While we gazed, a single Spitfire climbed away from the airfield at Goodwood and sped away to the east (the shape and the sound were the giveaway). Much closer was Goodwood racecourse, looking clean and neat after the race meeting over the Bank Holiday. Here, too, our caching for the day started: a virtual cache, Trundle One (West Sussex), a very old cache, placed in 2002.
After a final look round over those expansive views, we turned away downhill, joining the Monarch’s Way to walk down into West Dean. This long distance path https://www.ldwa.org.uk/ldp/members/show_path.php?path_name=Monarch%27s+Way is said to follow the escape route of Charles II after his defeat by Cromwell in the Civil War. Along this part of the cache is the geocache series ‘7 Points Ramble – Welcome to Westside’. We reckoned that we could get at least some of these caches as we walked downhill with our walking group. And so it was, though it was quite hard work (for us) at times, especially as the pace was increasing so that we would get to the gardens with some time to spare. As the group walked down the hill, we yomped along, pausing to collect a cache wherever possible, before rushing on to overtake some of the group and then to repeat the process (wow! Speed caching!). If we were falling behind the group we simply omitted the next cache and rushed on, and we eventually got 4 out of the 6 caches we passed. At one point we joined the walk leader, and most of the group, then dived into the undergrowth to retrieve a cache. We were asked ‘how do you know it’s there? I’ve wondered how you know?’, and we replied, after catching our breath, that the GPS coordinates were right, the location matched a hint, that there was a large and incongruous chunk of flint covering the cache, and you just sort of get an instinct as to where caches might be!
Once out on the road through the village, the caching was over, and we followed the road to West Dean Gardens (https://www.westdean.org.uk/gardens ), and spent a pleasant hour there before catching the coach back to our hotel. (OK, I’m lying slightly there – we spent another high-octane hour trying to see as much of the gardens as humanly possible in the time … )
Phew! Caching and garden visits at speed – ‘trundling’ we were not !!!