Geocaching can be described as a modern day treasure hunt with items or caches hidden all over the world.
With any GPS device (including your mobile phone), you basically download the app or save the cache locations to your handheld GPS and go and find it! There are many different cache categories, some requiring you to solve problems to unlock the coordinates for the location of the cache. Others make you follow a GPS trail, collecting hints which will give you the final address.
Anyhow, tonight my brother and I went off to find our first cache in Edinburgh. For our first cache, we decided on cache GCKTYK, titled Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.
Starting off at the entrance to the Edinburgh Castle forecourt, we wandered down the Royal Mile collecting hints to the next waypoint. A lot of interesting history in the guide for the cache along the way – was sort of like a self guided walking tour.
With a short delay in converting the GPS waypoints into a format recognisable by Google Maps (simply latitude and longitude in degrees and decimal minutes, no symbols and S and W directions indicated by “-“), it was out with the notebook and pen to jot down the clues and piece together the final waypoint to find the cache.
For this particular cache, clues to the final waypoint were in the form of numbers from various inscriptions, plaques, busts and markers along the Royal Mile.
Finally, down a narrow close, we got the final waypoint. Time to find the treasure!
For every cache profile, a difficulty rating is given. This is based on the terrain required to find the cache/solve the problems and of course the size of the cache. A cache this size is classified as a nano cache – the smallest size typically found.
Though larger caches may contain trinkets to swap, mementos etc. this nano case simply contained a log for all those who have found it.
Adding our names to the list, we placed it back in the original location for the next geocacher to find!
Whilst caches can be quite simple to follow such as this one, there are many out there with more cryptic clues, or even camouflaged in not only urban terrain but cross country as well. With over 2 million caches out there, there’s sure to be one near you! (Check out the map here) You don’t need any fancy equipment – a smartphone will do fine.
Although I probably won’t make this a full time job, I’ll keep it in mind as an activity to do in any new city or town that I visit. Who knows, you might learn something along the way as well.