Getting a bit fed up with the usual walks? Want to learn something new, wherever you go? The global treasure hunt game called geocaching ticks all those boxes.
If you haven’t heard of ‘geocaching’ before, it started in 2000 when the signals from the Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) network were made accessible to anyone with a suitable receiver. These are the signals used by your car satnav and your smartphone to tell you where you are. The ability to find your position within a few feet means that you can be led to a geocache site.
Now, as more of us find the time to get out and about on local walks – observing social distancing, perhaps geocaching would add an extra twist.
Most caches consist of a small container. Some are very small, some are the size of a lunchbox and some have no physical existence at all. The physical caches will contain a logbook to record your visit, and sometimes a piece of ‘treasure’. The idea of the game is ‘take something, leave something’. It’s a lot of fun for kids, and for grown-up kids too. Caches have to be retrieved with discretion and put back where they were found. This protects them from disturbance by non-geocachers, now known as ‘muggles’.
The caches are hidden by people to provide fun for others, or to draw attention to a local landmark. To find caches, all you need is a smartphone, a satnav or a GPS device. A smartphone is the simplest way – just download the free geocaching app. Most of the caches are also free to find. A ‘premium’ upgrade option funds the geocaching website and unlocks more caches, but it isn’t essential. Some caches are set to give you a trail to follow or a series of clues to work out, others are simpler finds.
There are about three million geocaches around the world, hidden on all the continents and even on the International Space Station. You don’t have to go that far – there are at least a dozen geocaches in Pant (including a very central one…) and many more within a few miles radius. Before your next outing, have a look at https://geocaching.com and see what’s out there.
And for inspiration of other walks in and around Pant, click on https://pant.today/what-to-do-pant-shropshire/walks-in-and-near-to-pant