How many of you remember the adventure books from the 1980’s/1990’s? You know the ones… at the end of a chapter you had to make a choice, a or b, one choice would almost certainly lead you to your doom and the other may get you closer to the end of the adventure or just prolong the agony of failure!
If you do remember then you’re showing your age, just as I am, but that is not the point. A while back someone pointed me in the direction of a puzzle geocache in Deal, Kent that had the theme of those adventure books. Well, not just the theme, the whole geocache was written and presented in the same style as the adventure books.
The Knights Quest by seamanrob (rob & royst), rated a D3/T3.5, with the potential to cover between 6 & 8 miles depending on how you “play” the story looked incredibly interesting and very different.
The introduction reads “As the legend foretold, the hero would come with technology beyond our understanding – an ability to seek far and wide, to communicate with many and the ability to battle with heart and mind. It seems the legend may well have come to pass. Are you the brave soul who desires to take up our noble struggle?” The Phantom Knight hovered ahead, awaiting your response. It was a long time since he last set eyes on a traveller with the potential to solve the mystery that had vexed him for all of his life and still now, more than 1000 years after his death.’
With our interest piqued we knew we had to go and give this a good go, so as a family we went out during the summer break, laden with supplies and with a couple of extra “knights”, kallescrew & nick the trucker. We arrived at the start early on a Sunday morning and began the story, choosing our first weapons and the first route we headed out into the unknown, confident that we would complete the quest!
I had to learn very quickly how to use the crib sheet and deocder as everyone seemed to be relying on me to give them accurate co-ordinates for each stage.
Although we all chose to stay together on the quest, we did all choose different weapons which made the day a little more interesting. Unfortunately at the 4th stage of the quest I died along with kallescrew and Jellybeans, but the lads and CadencetheGeokid were safe and able to carry on. However their route went down the hill then back up the hill and a few times we found we had crossed the same path several times.
A little further on Cadence also succumbed to death and the boys were on their own… their victory didn’t last long however, as they were unable to find one of the stages which was vital for their completion and the quest had to be abandoned after having walked the best of part of 6 miles in over 5 hours.
But my tale doesn’t end there. Smif247 had been in touch with seamanrob and it wasn’t long before he gave us the heads up that the quest was back on and all stages were back in play, with the story re-written in places. A quick post on Facebook inviting other Kent “Knights” to join us on the quest and a new plan of action evolved.
15 September we met up at 10 am at the parking co-ordinates with fellow “knights”, LisaSullivan, Sueatsea, Addict1, Manky Badger, Tia67uk, Martinwalks, Winter-smith, earle140465 and geodog Fudge. We decided to stick together as a team, however again we all chose different weapons at the the first stage, so we could help each other out where possible.
As you will read in our logs on the cache listing we came up against a 40 minute issue quite early on in our quest, but that didn’t deter us in the least, we just reversed up to the previous stage and took the other alternative. The bonus was that smif247 and I had been out before, so when we knew we were walking past a stage, we stopped off and grabbed the relevant clues so that we wouldn’t have to do all the back & forth like last time. I mean, there’s almost a mile between most of the stages with the exception of one that is only 90 ft away but very cleverly hidden.
Along the way we did manage to loose a couple of “knights” however we do believe in not leaving a man behind, so we “carried their bodies with us” to the end.
The end, well now there’s a story, we read the details in the last container only to find we were missing a vital piece of the puzzle. This meant we had to back track to the area we spent a long time looking at earlier in the day. Supplies were running low and so were our energy levels, but back track is what we did.
An extra hour of hunting, with 10 pairs of eyes, back and forth over the same piece of ground, emails back and forth to the cache owner because this last tub was eluding all of us completely. By this point several of us began rechecking clues and numbers to see if we had made a mistake, while smif247 decided to widen the search, 150 ft up the path he went (he doesn’t like to be beaten), and a further 10 minutes or more passed before we heard him yell “I’ve got it.”
At last the final little piece of information was in our hands and the final stage was now within in reach. Relief on all our faces as we punched in the final set of co-ordinates and began the last leg of the quest to the resting place of the log book.
By the end of the day we had covered almost 9 miles in six and a half hours and all for one smilie on the map. But I have to say this is one of the best geocache’s I have ever completed. It was well written and well executed and it must have taken the cache owner months to plan and set. To support your journey, seamanrob has created crib sheets, help guides, decoders and even mp3 audio files for each stage, and finally there were bonus questions to answer so that you can claim a certificate. I also know that during the re-write he has added two bonus caches which will be available soon, needless to say I grabbed the relevant details for them so that when they become available we can run out and claim the finds for those.
So if you are beginning to get tired or bored of the same old 35 mm film canisters at the base of an ivy covered tree and you are looking for something a little different and more challenging then I can highly recommend this adventure. It’s not all about the numbers…