We’re searching through the undergrowth and I keep glancing furtively around to see if anyone’s watching. All of a sudden I hear ‘got it!!’ and my DS holds a plastic box aloft with the biggest grin imagineable across his face.
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This is what’s known as geocaching – have you ever given it a try?
So what is it? Well, in a nutshell it is searching for hidden containers anywhere and everywhere. The website is Geocaching.com where you can search for locally hidden caches, it is free to sign up, although there is also a paid premium version too. You certainly don’t need this to start up though. Then you need a GPS device, or more likely recently an app on a smart phone is often used. The one I use is the official Groundspeak app for the iphone, and I have noticed today they have a free version that lets you try it out on 3 local caches. There are also some other free apps such as OpenCaching from Garmin which might be worth trying.
When you’ve found a cache that you want to search for you pop in the co-ordinates and go for a walk to find them. Sometimes they are straight forward and simple, sometimes they can be puzzles that you have to solve to get the right co-ordinates before you go. Sometimes it will lead you on a trail learning about the area before ending up at the end.
What will you find? Typically the cache is a small plastic tub with some small trinkets in and the etiquette is to put in something for whatever you take out. So see what little things you can find to take along before you go! Little pencils, rubbers, small cars, toys are all good to add in there. Sometimes you’ll also come across something called a Geobug or Geocoins which are trackable items, with an identifying number on it, that is designed to move around loads of caches. If you get one of these the idea is to move it to another cache whenever you can and not keep them. Don’t worry, there are normally instructions inside the cache so you don’t need to worry about getting it wrong.
Some caches are called micro and can be incredibly small, some as small as a magnet so check the size of the cache on the listing!
What I love about geocaching isn’t the prize at the end, although the kids do love the challenge of the hunt, but the fact it has helped me discover some fantastic hidden gems around me. Bits of countryside I’d probably never think to walk round all of a sudden have an appeal and I wonder why I’ve never known about it! I also love the caches that take in town trails and incorporate a bit of learning as well as we do love history in our family.
The sheer amount of caches available is amazing as well, it can follow you wherever you go in the UK or in the world! It’s an amazingly big community and so, if you enjoy it, you’ll never get bored!
We’re looking to do a few over the summer holidays, an excellent way to get everyone out, even on grey days! Why not check out the website, find out all about it and give it a go?