June 8 – A day geocaching around Albourne

31 caches found around a 6 mile walk and our 4000th find!

Hi from Gillian and Michael

Nearby to Burgess Hill, we had noticed a trail of 32 geocaches in the fields around Albourne so we decided to go to do it and a few others on the way. Our first cache for the day was one of the “Off the Trolley” series. These are placed in supermarket car parks and are usually quite difficult to find as supermarkets are busy places most of the time. This one at Burgess Hill was easy to find.

Next, we went to St Bartholomew’s church in Albourne. We could not find the church micro anywhere. The church was closed but was built of flint with stone dressing. The chancel walls were built in the late 11th- or early 12th century but most of the existing church was rebuilt in the 19th century.

We parked the car here while we set off on 6 miles walk on the Out and About trail. We did the caches backwards starting from 32 and back to 1. It was wonderful to be out in the countryside. For some strange reason I expected England to be more full of housing but there is so much green to enjoy. We saw our first squirrel which was wonderful to watch scampering around and running up trees. We passed a pond where someone was contentedly fishing and stopped to say hello to a horse.

We were not able to find two caches of the series, one because a man had lit a fire in full view of the cache and seemed to be keeping an eye on us. We passed through Woodmancote which is a lovely quaint village. Here we noticed one of the main differences between now and 1979 when we were here before was that many of the villages have lost their local shops and many have also lost some or all of their pubs.

At one stage the track became quite overgrown with nettles which are at their full height at this time of the year which is often as high as your shoulders. Right about then, my hayfever decided to kick in and I was soon sneezing my head off. The joys of the countryside – I must make sure I carry some Claratyne with me for such times.

Now not being used to distances in miles we had incorrectly thought of 6 miles as 6 km. The sun came out with a vengeance and we had no hats and no water which is just slightly crazy. We would have taken a short cut back to the car we could have done. But there was no short cut so continued on the way we needed to go passing Bilsborough House on the way.

One of the clues for a cache mentioned West. Our bearings were out for the whole three years. The only time we knew which was North, South East or West was when we were could see the sea. Weird that! I guess in the south island you always have mountains to give you your bearings.

Further along our route, we started finding stiles we had to go over as if we were not tired enough already. We walked near a house at one stage which had a wonderful horse sculpture made of driftwood. It was fantastic and from a distance looked real. Only when it doesn’t move for ages do you take a closer look. I think it may have been made by Heather Jansch who certainly makes very similar art from driftwood.

Finally, after 6 hours of walking, we found ourselves back at the car having completed 31 caches for the day including the milestone of finding our 4000th geocache and giving the series a favourite point.

We learned a few things today. Always take a backpack with water, some food and hayfever tablets and 6 miles equal 10 km. That is a long way! In England there are fewer places to park for “park and grab” caches so trails are often circular, starting and finishing in the same place which is great for the exercise but sometimes not for the faint-hearted. We have seen some trails which are 34 miles around!

We had a great day and slept like logs. LOL