Suggest to your kids that you’re going to go for a walk in the country and you’ll most likely be met with a whining: “But do we have to?!” Tell them that they are going out for a day of treasure hunting, aka Geocaching, and you’ll find they are suddenly much keener to pull on their walking boots and waterproof jackets.
What is geocaching?
Geocaching is an outdoor adventure for all the family. It’s based on a treasure hunt format but also utilises a digital GPS gadget. The aim is to get outside, discover new places and finding treasure.
A geocache or “cache” is a small waterproof treasure box hidden outdoors. Geocachers go I search of these hidden goodies guided by GPS, which uses coordinates or “waypoints” that can be sent directly to a GPS device from website, opencaching.com or geocaching.com
The way you do this is to choose a geocache to find and click “send to GPS”.
There are a wealth of geocaches hidden in countryside across the UK, and a good place to start with this fun pursuit is the National Trust Geocaching initiative.
The National Trust has partnered with GPS experts Garmin to create a family friendly digital treasure hunt at more than 40 National Trust places. Most geocaches have been set up by keen Geocaching members of the public with the National Trust’s permission. But some, organised by staff, also mark out a trail where your goal is to seek out more than one cache as part of a walking route.
And once you’ve found the treasure box, you’ll be keen to discover what’s inside. Most caches have a log book for you to leave a message in and many contain an array of trinkets that people have left to swap. These can be a keyring, a small toy, a pine cone or a pebble. It’s important to remember that if you take a treasure out of the box, you should leave another trinket in its place. So come prepared! Sometimes there may even be a clue leading you on to more hidden treasure nearby.
You must always leave the cache in the same place and in the same condition as it was found for the next visitor.
Getting started with geocaching:
- You will need a GPS device
- Then visit , opencaching.com or geocaching.com and sign up for a free account.
- Now you can search for geocaches by postcode, town or landmark.
- Choose a cache and “send to GPS”
- Select the geocache that you want to find first, then follow your GPS towards the spot.
- Once found, choose a treasure from the cache (if available) and leave something else in its place
- Fill out the log book and return the cache to its hiding place
- Log details of your discovery.
- Then choose your next geocaching adventure.
A spokesperson for Garmin, said: “Geocaching is a great way for families and people of all ages to get outdoors and discover hidden places using a Garmin GPS and opencaching.com.
“At National Trust places this summer, you can have fun and get rewards, but also learn useful techniques such as how to read maps and co-ordinates.”
Tell us about your geocache finds this summer.