...and so three years and eight months after its published we finally get to be "5th to find" for this puzzle.
I see from the date on my map printout that I actually solved this on the 9th May and so it was actually the first puzzle I ever solved. Tjapukai's delightful "By Sounds 3: Don't you want to go to Dorking" was the fourth cache I'd found. Its icon is a multi, but you could argue that its really a puzzle cache, and I'm sure that that was what initially got me hooked on puzzles.
I think that back in May I must've decided to start with Tjapukai's first puzzle cache (which is what this is), as in my innocence I thought that the early puzzles would be easy ones. How wrong I was. On first sight it looked impossible. In fact I recall laughingly showing it to some people at work as an example of something that would be pointless ever trying.
However for some reason I found myself going back to it for a few minutes each evening. Then after about a week I realised that I knew the identity of person B (I went via the beer clue, I later found that everybody else had used another route). Even so I thought I'd never be able to decipher the picture clues (as I find those parts of puzzles particularly difficult).
I nearly gave up but then I wondered whether I could find something that connected person B to here and when I did I realised that I'd discovered the item A. I could've kicked myself - why didn't I start with that. I was still a long way off but then I found something which linked them together even more tightly, and which could even provide me with some numbers. Then I knew I'd got it.
I had a go at finding the cache on a Sunday morning in May but after about an hour I gave up. This was really just a reconnaissance mission - I didn't have a GPS and didn't know whether my calculated coordinates were correct, the GZ seemed to be right but unfortunately it was full of possible hiding places.
A few months later I'd confirmed the co-ordinates with Tj but I decided that rather than pick it up immediately I'd save it to be a landmark find. So this afternoon I set off with my son (recently re-christened as The Bobcat) and spent nearly an hour of fruitless searching (in essentially the same places I'd been searching in the spring). I finally gave up and decided to try using a GPS (which just pointed out that we were in the right place). The Bobcat's enthusiasm was now starting to flag so now our only hope was a PAF. Tj's phone went to voicemail but fortunately Gary Honey was in, and able to remember enough from 3 years ago to enable us to discover it.
Very difficult puzzle and very difficult hide (and so its truly worthy of being our 200th find).
We took Alboys's bottle opener and left a chess piece and a bouncy ball. Do I qualify for Nanny Oggs free pint?