There’s treasure in ‘them there hills’! Geocaching is becoming a global pastime so why not add treasure hunting to your list of things to do in Torquay.
What is Geocaching? It’s 21st Century Treasure Hunting!
Geocaching is an outdoor recreational activity, in which ‘Geocachers’ use GPS or an app on their mobile device to hide and seek containers called ‘geocaches’ or ‘caches’ anywhere in the world. They are hidden in town, cities and the countryside… pretty much anywhere. It really is 21st Century treasure hunting! A Geocacher will go to a location which has usually some special interest or beauty or is somewhere local to them. At the location, they will hide their geocache. Using their GPS receiver, the cacher records the coordinates of their cache and returns home to log its existence on a website. Another cacher will then see the listing on their app and go in search of it.
What do they look like?
Caches can vary in size from a small keyring sized item to a large box or even vehicles! They are typically a small waterproof container containing a logbook (with a pen or pencil) and can also contain items for trading such as toys or trinkets. If a geocache has been vandalized or stolen, it is said to have been “muggled” or has been found by a ‘muggle’ which is a geocache term for a non-player. This term is borrowed from the Harry Potter books which were popular at the same time as when geocaching was beginning to become better known.
How do I take part?
Firstly you need to download one of the apps on Android or iPhone. Once you’ve downloaded the app and created an account, the app will use your phone’s GPS to locate you. The app will then display on a map where there are geocaches. You then choose which cache you would like to find and using your device, follow the map to the geocache. After a little searching, you will find the geocache… this is the exciting part!
What do I do when I find one?
Be very pleased with yourself! All geocaches are different but they usually contain a log book to sign to say you have found the cache. They may also contain trinkets to trade so don’t forget to take some with you to swap. It is common geocache courtesy to exchange items rather than just taking something. The app will ask you to log the geocache where you can upload a photo or message to the cacher. These logs are part of the reward for anyone who hides the geocaches. Sometimes acronyms are used such as FTF (First to Find) TFTC (Thanks For The Cache) or TNLN (Took Nothing. Left Nothing). When you are finished, put the cache back exactly as you found it, even if you think you see a better spot for it.
What will I need to take part?
- A sense of adventure!
- A mobile phone with an app installed and internet access
- A form of transport – Most caches are hidden in the countryside or rural locations and away from public transport. However, if you are lucky enough to be visiting our lovely area, you will find one on Torre Abbey Meadows! Some caches are hidden in towns and cities too.
- A couple of trinkets to use as swaps if you find any caches.
- Why not make your own geocache and hide it whilst you are out finding others?
Are there different types of caches?
Most geocaches are static boxes but there are a few variations of them. Moving or travelling caches or ‘travel bugs’ are found at a listed set of coordinates. The finder hides the cache in a different location, and updates the listing, essentially becomes the hider, and the next finder continues the cycle, like a big game of hide and seek! There are also Mystery or puzzle caches which you to discover information or solve a puzzle to find the cache. Some mystery caches provide a false set of coordinates with a puzzle that must be solved to determine the final cache location. These are fantastic fun and add a real sense of treasure hunting to the day. As well as the mystery cache, there are also challenge caches. Examples of these could include finding caches in a certain area or completing a number of cache finds within a set period of time.
What are the benefits?
Firstly, it’s free! It gets you and your family out into the fresh air and introduces you to unusual, interesting and beautiful locations and gets you walking either a long or a little way. It is so much fun and you will find places in your local area where you would normally not think of going. You can incorporate geocaching with picnics, family outings and rambles, too.
There’s loads of things to do in Torquay but why not give Geocaching a go? The app is free to download and it’s great fun for everyone. Get out in the fresh air and enjoy this free activity whenever you like. Join the thousands of people in the Geocaching community. It is very easy to get started, try www.geocaching.com for a beginners guide and to download the app.
Look out for lots of other Things to do in Torquay on our next blog.