Where: Ashridge Estate, north of Berkhamsted, Herts, UK. HP4 1LX. Approx. 30 miles/50Km Northwest of central London. As used for filming Harry Potter, Maleficent, The Descent, Hot Fuzz and more, the site is across the Bucks/Herts border & very close to Beds too.
When: Saturday October 27th 2018. Noon-10pm.
What: An International Celebration of Geocaching, inspired by a certain sporting event. While it's not a competitive game/hobby/pastime/obsession as such, we know lots of cachers like to stretch - or challenge - themselves and we're setting up caches, series and features to help you do just that around the first Winter Geolympix.
Who: Geocachers! The 5,000 acre (2,000 hectare) woodland site is GeoDog and GeoKid friendly and there are toilets, parking for those less able and various food vendors very close to the event. We pride ourselves on being very welcoming to new cachers and those new to cache events. We'll also be introducing 'muggles' (non-geocachers) to this great, family-friendly pastime.
Why: The original 2012 Geolympix was never intended to be a one-off, and summer 2016's follow-up meet at Ashridge was a big success. Now it's back, but with a twist! The summer caching calendar is well covered for events, but since the Halloween Mega (2012-2014) retired there's been a gap in the year, at the end of the caching season... Ashridge is the perfect venue for Night Caching! Any excess funds to The National Trust & Geolympix Legacy fund, to support future projects ("Geolympix 2020: The Perfect Vision", TBC).
How: Getting to the Winter Geolympix is easy. It's close to the M1 (J8-11) or M25 (J20, A41) and is a two mile/3Km walk from Tring railway station. There's ample free parking and it's on a bus route. London Luton International airport is close-by too.
Caches: These woods are home to GC177, Europe's 9th oldest cache. It's also England's 2nd oldest (after GC171, set the same day at Coombe Hill, approx 8m/13Km away) and Britain/UK's 3rd oldest. (GCF0 - Scotland's First is the UK's oldest) There's also GC18BC, the oldest Puzzle/Mystery/Unknown in the whole of the UK!
Challenges: Our 11-in-11 icon challenge (find 11 different cache types in 11 hours) was a huge feature in 2012. This year, we're setting a different challenge; The Letter/Box Challenge. There will be nearly 40 Letterbox/Hybrid caches on site - A-Z, 1-10 and others - and the centre pages of the Show Guide will have a grid for you to collect stamps on. Can you find them all?
We're also running the National Series Challenge! Find an example of as many National Series Caches (such as Church Micro, Really/SideTracked, Fine Pair, Little Bridges, LQ, Village Signs - No.1 is close by - A-Road Anarchy, and more) as you can on the day, or whenever you prefer. Other Geolympix challenges include finding every cache size in a day, the return of the Icon Challenge (unofficially!) or just spell your caching name with caches. These are optional tasks for any cachers willing to "Accept the Challenge!" Also, don't miss the 20 brilliant Winter Geolympix Lab Caches, going live at noon (10 All/Day) and batch two (10 Night) at 6pm on the day.
More Goodies: As well inviting you to get lost in our 'treemendous' Woodland Labyrinth again, once more we're giving you a chance to find some memorable, quirky photo-opportunity caches, so bring your camera/phone. There's also a Vendor Village for all your caching needs (caches, coins, other trackables) and so on. On the evening before the Mega (Fri Oct. 26th) there's a torchlight procession up to Ivinghoe Beacon: GC7WYDB and the day after the Mega (Sunday Oct. 28th) there's a CITO Event on site: GC7X3NX.
Additional Features: We can offer visitors to the area a lot more than just (just?!) caching. Landmarks and tourist attractions for the non-cachers in the family may enjoy near by free-to-visit joys such as Berkhamsted Castle, picturesque Aldbury (as seen in Midsomer Murders & various films), Tring's outstanding Natural History Museum and/or Pitstone Windmill - said to be the oldest Post Mill in the country. For cachers, don't miss the Geolympix Marathon, Big G and Valley of Gold legacy series. Others have been/will be set for the 2018 Geolympix - as stand-alone caches and series, plus puzzles, etc.
THE 2018 WINTER GEOLYMPIX EVENT TIMETABLE (subject to change)
8am: Brownlow Cafe opens on site for the keen and breakfasts.
10am: The Ashridge venue opens for exhibitors & team for setting up.
12noon: The 2018 Winter Geolympix opens to the caching public! There will be a log book (of sorts) to sign. 10 All/Day Lab Caches go live.
1pm: FTFrenzy Caches info released. New for 2018: Cash Caches!
4.30pm: The Cache of Dreams awarded to one registered Attendee (no entry fee)
6pm: 10 Night Lab Caches released & Night Caching begins. On-site toilets shut! Others in the area highlighted by waypoints.
8pm: On-site Cafe closes. (Time TBC - Still in negotiations!)
10pm: The 2018 Winter Geolympix officially closes. (Please be quiet and leave the Ashridge Estate in orderly fashion.)
11pm: Everyone off-site please. People will be tired and will want to go home :)
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE GEOLYMPIX
Geolympix.org/aands for info on Geolympix AANDs. New for 2018: Trackable AANDs: The Caching Pub Series of 10 tags.
Official Facebook group: facebook.com/groups/wintergeolympix*
Local Facebook group: facebook.com/groups/BedsBucksHerts*
National Trust's Ashridge page
Brownlow Cafe page
* As the geocache owner, I ensure that this links to a local geocaching group that is active in the community and contributing to geocaching in positive ways. This link has not been checked by Geocaching HQ or by the reviewer.
Or at Pre-Geolympix Events:
GC7546Y - Join in! Winter Geolympix 2018 Discussion Meet /CD - July 1st 2017
GC75FQN - Option B: Winter Geolympix 2018 Discussion Meet #2 - July 2nd 2017
GC7MEBT - Winter Geolympix Countdown 6: Surrey seems to be... - April 21st 2018
GC7PD2M - Winter Geolympix Countdown 5: OxFord Fiesta - May 30th 2018
GC7PHKE - Winter Geolympix Countdown 4: Young Bucks - June 30th 2018
GC7PK5E - Roundabout MK Meets#23/Winter Geolympix Countdown3 - July 24th 2018
GC7Q6GC - SP's 2nd Temple Run: Stowe Gardens NT Open Day/Winter Geolympix Countdown 2 - September 8th 2018
GC7YG4C - BBH #130 Bordering on the Winter Geolympix - October 18th 2018
Satellite Events for the Winter Geolympix Weekend Programme:
GC7WYDB - Beacon Sandwich? Winter Geolympix Torch Procession - 7.30pm-9pm (Official meet 8-8.30pm) - October 26th 2018.
GC7X3NX - Can I Take Over - CITO Event on site - 11am-1pm - October 28th 2018.
Praise for the 2016 Ashridge & 2012 Oxford Geolympix events: Please read visitors' logs!
** Optional request: When logging your Will Attend - please do if you intend to come - please include an appropriate poem, joke or other little bit of creativity. The best will get a Thank You prize! **
Bring your bike. The Ashridge Estate is huge and the Chilterns Cycleway passes through & around it.