Friday, April 13, 2012

Geocaching for beginners

I've already covered this topic.....  but for the benefit of anyone who might have missed it.....

Imagine if you will, as I often do, that you are going out for a walk.  A perfectly normal thing to do, and even more normal if you're accompanied by a dog.

Now imagine if you will, that you are taking the same walk that you took yesterday, or the week before, or a month ago, and you could magically turn this walk into something slightly different to the last time you did it.... in the same way that mixing up your walks benefits any canine companion you might have, it would also have similar beneficial properties for your good self.

The answer to this and many other situations is simply.... Let's hunt for treasure.

Now "treasure" as everyone knows is relative.... one man's meat is another man's poison and all that.... what's good for a goose is often good for a gander..... so my idea of treasure may differ slightly to your idea of treasure if you see what I mean?  So let's all agree to disagree and reach the conclusion that every young boy already knows..... that the hunt for the treasure is usually much more fun than the actual "treasure" you may find at the end of it.

So we're all clear now.... this bloody dog is going to get walked whether he/she likes it or not..... and we WILL look for "treasure" and you WILL bloody well enjoy it, or at least look like you're enjoying it.

So, you get your treasure map (incorporating all the "treasure" locations that are in and around your chosen walk) and you head out armed with a pencil, some tacky but small plastic toys (badges, keyrings, erasers, little soldiers and toy figures) and and a dog (optional).

Reaching the first location (remembering not to pull drystone walling apart) you scout around a bit looking for obvious piles of stones (less obvious than a pile of stone in the shape of a drystone wall) and without looking too suspicious you lift a few stones, move a few branches and seek out the glistening hues of a tupperware container.  Just like rockpooling, it's best to remember that you should put EVERYTHING back EXACTLY as you found it or the sea creatures will die.... and a useful but sometimes troubling geocaching rule of thumb is "try to leave the place tidier than when you arrived".

So you found the right spot, you've turned over a few stones, moved a few branches, had a wee behind a tree and tried to not look like you're "dogging" or "piking" to all passers-by.... you find the tupperware "treasure" and open it up to find (mostly but not exclusively)......

1) Soggy notebook or piece of paper with all previously successful treasure hunters dates and signatures.
2) An Ikea pencil which is usually blunt - I carry a penknife to sharpen said pencil or my own pencil!
3) Some useless items of no financial value that you may exchange for one of your own pieces of junk.

So, you sign the soggy paper trying not to punch your newly sharpened pencil straight through it, swap a piece of plastic, reseal the leaking tupperware box, and put it back where you found it for the next lucky contestant to find.

Sound like fun to you?


  1. Yes but you haven't said HOW you arrive at these sad little tupperware boxes! Are you instructed by God or do you need one of those new-fangled cordless phone things? Does your phone act like a homing device and is there a little flashing radar beacon on top of the plastic box?

  2. you need some sort of GPS device - i have one that does ordnance survey maps that I use for walking and I just use my phone's inbuilt gps to find the treasure - it DOES have a little "blip" on it radar-style and you home in on it - the phone isn't the most accurate GPS device in the world and I reckon mostly I get to within five yards of the required spot - thankfully there are a few clues on the website to give an intimation as to what you might be looking for! Occasionally the GPS will land me right on the money (as it were) - depends on tree cover, the accuracy of the original coordinates provided and whether I've had to unpuzzle a location as is sometimes the case - i.e. find these four and they will contain clues to find the fifth!!