If your kids groan at the mention of ‘a nice walk’, try introducing them to geocache-ing – a treasure hunt using a GPS (Global Positioning System).
There’s a whole online community of people stashing ‘caches’ for others to find. The way it works is, somebody hides a ‘cache’ and posts its co-ordinates on the website. You take the co-ordinates and use a GPS unit to find it. (We found used GPS units on Amazon.com for £45 but you can geocache without a GPS; simply download maps and research clues before you leave the house)
You’ll find a logbook in the cache, with notes from the cacher and from every person that finds it (you cover it up again afterwards). Sometimes there’ll be a wee gift in there as well; the etiquette being if you take something you leave something: take a shell and leave a badge, perhaps, and leave a note in the logbook which stays at the location.
You can leave a cache for others once you’ve got the hang of it. A unique location to stash a cache is a gift in itself – a fantastic camping spot, a great vista for a sunset, or a wildlife haven, for example. There’s a code of conduct for cachers, which includes caching with respect for the countryside.
Make a comment here
The Official Global GPS Cache Hunt Site: www.geocaching.com
The Geocaching Association of Great Britain: www.gagb.org.uk
First published issue 44 (Spring 2006)
Written by Beccy Golding
Disclaimer – details were correct at time of going to press, but may now have changed. Please make your own checks.