Attending the Geolympix was very much a last-minute decision. I had a ridiculously over-long walk the previous day, for which I can only blame GCC (no, it isn’t possible to walk to work in any reasonable timescale, but I got as far as Wolverhampton before giving up) and wanted an easy day out. So, Geolympix it was. Didn’t have time to do the “Big G” puzzles, but there looked to be plenty to go at without them, throw in some lab caches and the mega itself and there’s the makings of a decent day out.
And, indeed, it was a very good day out. Lovely parkland location, interesting monument. Event HQ was a roped-off area in the field with some tables and turdises (well, they usually look like the tardis, and they’re full of …), nothing fancy but it did perfectly Ok for the size of the event. The organisers had helpfully spread some of the lab caches out a bit – one was a fair walk away, and took me quite a while to get there because I kept stopping to browse interesting caches along the way. Lots of people out, but the size of the area relative to the size of the event meant we never really got the “join the queue for the cache” thing going on. The National Geocaching Awards made a good way to wrap up the day (not sure I agreed with some of the results, but these things are always a matter of opinion), and the pig roast was pretty good too. I can think of far worse ways to spend a Sunday.
And then, a week later, I went to the official Wales Mega in Llangollen.
First impressions: Loud. Busy. Lots of bouncy castles. Lots of people selling stuff.
Queued for and went round the GPS Adventures maze. Nice to get the icon (and I have to admit the obsessive nerd side of my brain was leaping around cheering), very polished and professional display, staffed by friendly and helpful people … and a great exercise in telling people things they should already know. If you have been caching long enough to realise that the maze is an unusual, sought-after tick, then you have probably been caching long enough to realise that, for example, you sometimes get caches in fake fir-cones, that morse code is A Thing, and that if the cache is described as “nightcache, follow the reflectors”, it’s probably going to help if you take a torch. In other words, it’s the sort of resource that would be absolutely fantastic for educating complete beginners, but how many complete beginners do you usually get at a mega?
Back out into the hordes in search of lunch and caches. Various options for the former (including someone who has worked out that you can transform cheese into more expensive cheese by serving it on old vinyl records, and who deserves to be introduced to the “we want plates” people, who will doubtless Have Views on what he can do with his vinyl), and not really enough options for the latter. There’s a big series of puzzles set for the mega, and they’re all drive-bys, which isn’t really something I’d go for on a warm sunny day (and especially not with a bazillion others trying to do the same thing), there’s another series several miles from the event with parking for a whole eight cars (so not on mega day, then), and there’s a very long series along the canal which really needs a whole day to itself.
I wandered off up a hill instead. Not many caches, but on the other hand I did get a reasonable walk out of it.
So, Wales was Ok, but, for me, the Geolympix was the little mega that could.