We've recently taken up a new family hobby. Making the most of the longer evenings and (sometimes) nicer weather, we have embarked on Geocaching.
What is Geocaching you ask? To put it simply, people have hidden caches and you use your GPS to find them! Well, there's more to it than that obviously but it's best explained if you watch the following videos.
Geocaching is a worldwide phenomenon with millions of participants and it's growing in popularity everyday!
After our friends over at "Here Come the Hoopers" suggested for us to try it I started looking into Geocaching in our local area. A quick Google search soon found me at the Geocaching official website and by following a few simple steps I was registered. Next I needed to download the mobile app. This opens up a whole world to you that you never knew was happening!
With the app you are able to log in and find Caches nearby, then using the GPS follow the route and read the clues. Once you have found your Cache you can log your find. Simple!
Geocaching is free to use at a Beginners Level, if you wish to go to the Advanced level (which gives you access to everything) then there is a yearly fee of £22.99 (£7.99 for 3 months)
Our first find was just round the corner from our house and it took a few evenings of dog walking through the grounds and trials whilst getting used to the app till we found it. Pretty soon we were hooked and popping out after school or before bedtime to find a couple more each day.
This shot shows you the app map, the dots represent where caches are hidden and the smiley faces indicate your finds! It's pretty satisfying filling the map with happy faces.
Once we had found half a dozen or so, Chris was contacted by a friend of his who hides Caches. We got a sneaky heads up to two new ones he had placed. And early the next morning we headed out to find them, unfortunately we weren't FTF (First to Find) but we were still excited to have located them, even the one down the drain!!!!
These were Chris' first Caches and now he was hooked too.
Most Caches we have found so far have been "micros" and might be disguised as a nut and bolt, a small cap, fake plants or small bottles. The people who have hidden them have got crafty and clever in where they chose and this adds to the fun.
Some have been big enough for people to leave trinkets in, from coins to odd earrings, bouncy balls to small toys. The girls have enjoyed swapping items at these Caches.
So far we have been taken into industrial areas, the countryside, main shopping areas and residential areas. We have been looking into a couple of areas where people have taken the time to lay a trail around a countryside walk and are planning to have a few hours ramble and introduce friends to Geocaching to.
This Geocache was sneakily hidden and we enjoyed learning a little about a local green area whilst we searched.
I've deliberately not given specific locations as it would spoil the fun for any of you who decide to give it a try.
Once you have the app and are registered you can also add fellow Geocaches to your "friends" list, with whom you can share new caches and hints.
On the plus side, we are getting out and about, spending time together,the girls are learning how to use GPS and maps and we are having fun!
The downside..... it's pretty addictive!
We are looking forward to finding more Geocaches locally and on our travels.
Go on, why not give it a go.