Do you know what a 'Geocache' is?
05 January 2014
HIGH-TECH LETTERBOXING ON YOUR DOOR STEP
Most people have heard of letterboxing probably on Dartmoor but how many people have heard of geocaching? This is something we had never heard of until our teenage son was introduced to it at Scouts.
Basically geocaching is very similar to letterboxing. The co-ordinates of each geocache can be found on the Geocaching website and transferred to a hand-held GPS device or mobile phone and then the fun starts! Once your details are put onto the website a map shows all the geocaches in your area and would you believe there are currently 6 in the Launcells Parish! Some are easy to locate thanks to the map on the web site and others need the clues and hints given or comments left by others who have looked for the geocache. The GPS device will also show you how far you are from the geocache and in what direction you need to walk. Some are located along main roads (there are a number on the B3254 to Launceston), some on footpaths (there are currently 9 around the Upper and Lower Tamar Lakes), there is even one in a book in Bude Library (and now Holsworthy library too!) and others are a little trickier to find.
Once you’ve found “ground zero” (where your GPS or phone says you are at the geocache) what do you look for? Well, geocaches can be hidden anywhere – under a stone, behind a tree trunk, in a hedge or anywhere really.
Some geocaches are very small and only have enough room for a roll of paper where you write your name and the date, to prove you’ve found it. Some are even made to look like rocks or wood or like bolts on a metal gate. Others are larger and may contain small “swap” items or trackable items, which can be logged on the computer when you get home and are moved on to other geocaches as soon as possible. These are really interesting as can have originated from all over the world. The largest one we found was in Littledean, Gloucestershire, which was located in a front garden and was the size of a trunk. It contained many trackable items, 3 of which we brought home with us and moved on to geocaches in the Bude area.
Once you get home you transfer the information from your geocaching trip on to the computer. You log the date you found the geocache (or perhaps you didn’t in which case you log “DNF” meaning did not find) and also any comments you want to make such as “nice easy find” or “higher than you would expect it to be” which would be useful to the next person who looks for that particular geocache. You can also log any trackable items you have found. When you look on the map all the geocaches you have found have smiley faces on them so you can see at a glance which ones you have found and which ones you need to look for next time. Sometimes you think you have found them all in your area only to find someone has put down some more!
So, if you fancy trying a new hobby which gets you out and about, why not give geocaching a try. To get started you need to go to www.geocaching.com. This web site gives you all the information you will need.