Saturday, 9 January 2016

The one where we go Geocaching

As we approached the end of the holidays and after the excitement of Christmas and New Year, the boys were getting restless and I was running out of ideas to amuse them. The last few days were dragging as I was eager to get 'doing' and get on with the new year, I wanted to do something and to get them away from the tv and games consoles but with very little cash (and patience when it comes to arts, crafts or baking with kids) I was stumped.

I turned to facebook, as you do for a moan inspiration and a friend of mine suggested geocaching. Initially I dismissed it, it sounded like hard work, and well, we'd have to leave the house!

In case you are wondering, here's a quick explanation of geocaching... (taken from www.geocaching.com)

Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.
At its simplest level, geocaching requires these 8 steps:
  1. Register for a free Basic Membership at www.geocaching.com 
  2. Visit the "Hide & Seek a Cache" page.
  3. Enter your postal code and click "search."
  4. Choose any geocache from the list and click on its name.
  5. Enter the coordinates of the geocache into your GPS Device.
  6. Use your GPS device to assist you in finding the hidden geocache.
  7. Sign the logbook and return the geocache to its original location.
  8. Share your geocaching stories and photos online.
I had read about geocaching years ago but I'd never really looked into it, but the boredom was high and so was my curiosity so I googled it and soon discovered that our nearest cache was just a couple of streets away from us.

It was a very cold but lovely sunny day so we wrapped up warm and went in search of treasure!

I wasn't that worried about the GPS on my phone (I'd always assumed it needed to be in wifi range to work) as I knew the location and after reading the hint I thought we wouldn't need it.  I was surprised to find that in fact it doesn't need wifi as I found out when my phone bleeped to tell me we were very close, much to Leo's complete amazement!

Of course, we has no idea what we were actually looking for and I was not convinced we would actually find anything, as the cache had apparently been there for years. There was a clue on the listing, but it didn't narrow it down much.

Thanks to the beeping phone, we narrowed the area right down and I wandered up and down looking at bits of rubbish feeling confused, but just as we were about to give up I spotted it!



I'm not going to go into detail as I don't want to spoil it if you are going to go and give it a try but it was a great little find! As the listing has said it was a small cache with no SWAG ('stuff we all get' - many caches have small treasures inside which you can take, leaving something of equal or greater value)  we hadn't brought anything to swap, but on opening we discovered there were in fact a couple of items along with the log book.


Leo was understandably excited about the treasure so he chose one and returned later to replace it with something else.

We then signed the log, and replaced the cache for the next person.



Having realised that the GPS was working I realised that there was another cache close by, but this one was a virtual cache, meaning that its about discovering a location rather than a container. It may be that you have to answer a question, or take a picture to 'discover' the cache.

The task was to discover the letters and numbers painted on a building just over the green line, knowing the area quite well I was fairly sure I knew the building it mentioned, it was just a case of getting high enough to check the numbers.

Despite the visitor centre being closed I knew the steps to the roof are on the outside so we climbed up for a look,  it was no good, we were just too far away to be able to make them out.   We jumped back in the car and got a bit closer though and managed to figure them out!

Not bad for our first geocaching adventure at all - 2 finds to start us off!



Linking up to #CountryKids
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
 

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