Geocaching – treasure hunting in The Lakes

Hands up who’s heard of Geocaching before? I hadn’t, until I went to visit Mrs Batten in the Lakes. I’d brought along my trusty hiking boots and stepped off the train into the fresh (albeit slightly manure smelling) air, took a deep breath and sighed with a smile on my face. Rolling green hills, dry-stone walls – what wasn’t to love?

We’d planned to go walking the next day and that’s when I learned about Geocaching. If you’ve never heard it before, the premise is pretty simple. You sign up online and then download the app. Once you’ve done this, you can see the multitudes, and I mean MULTITUDES of sites with boxes of various sizes, filled with goodies. You hunt them down, take something out or put something in, or both, and sign a little piece of paper to say you visited. Think of it a bit like a treasure hunt.

So, on the Saturday, we headed up White Pike (which had surprisingly good mobile phone signal – weird) and Mrs B pulled up the app. There were something like 4 in the near-immediate vicinity and so it begun. They located the first box (I was too scared of the death defying drop next to where it was located to go close) and deposited a small bag of sweets. Imagine, you’ve walked up a great big peak, you find a box and inside, there are sweets! How cool is that? Mrs B told me the box had some foreign currency in it, along with other bits and pieces – it can be very random. Fridge magnets, coins, sweets, whatever. The next box we found wasn’t particularly impressive – I can’t even remember what was in it, but it looked like nobody had been there in a while.

What I loved about it was, it was half time-capsule, half treasure hunt. If you’ve got kids, going for a walk can get a bit testing (I imagine), so having a goal and something fun to do would clearly make it more interesting. And before you start thinking that it’s a rural activity, think again. I had thought the same. People are more active in the countryside, of course this would be in the Lake District, the Peak District etc etc. But in a city? Like, say … London? Don’t be silly.

Turned out I was wrong. Mrs B checked the app and there are plenty around the capital. In fact, there’s one two streets away from me, and a multitude on Clapham Common, let alone the rest of London. I’m going to sign up to it this weekend and hopefully get out and about to see for myself. I reckon it could be a fun thing to do to break up a day at the park or something. I’m intrigued about what I can find and I’ve decided to make some little postcards to leave behind.

Where would you hide a Geocache? What would you put in it? I want to know!

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8 Comments

  1. Tried geocaching in Kendal today. It turns out, urban hunts are (a) much harder as they have to be cunningly hidden so passers by don’t just find them and (b) make you look a bit weird what with following your phone and scrambling under bushes.

  2. Cool. Always love reading about how people get into geocaching. Just so you know, u shouldn’t put food in caches as it can attract animals and they might damage the cache to get to the yummis. Great idea about the postcards 🙂

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