I first tried Geocaching a couple of years ago, after some BookCrossing friends told me about it. At the time I had an O2 XDA Mini S phone and found a free GPS app for it, and I bought a bluetooth GPS receiver on ebay for a fiver. I thought my kids would love it – a walk in the countryside with an end goal, the modern day treasure hunt. The first cache we found was Clumping Around at Badbury Clump, on a day out with a friend. I thought it was really exciting; he humoured me but the kids just thought it was boring! I made my son come with me to find another cache, the one near Faringdon Folly (now gone), and while he seemed to enjoy himself at the time but then he said he’d never do it again. Boo. As it was, the phone packed up shortly after that and I never got round to buying a proper GPS receiver to have another go.
Until now, because I discovered the iPhone Geocaching app. OK I had to pay for this one but it’s well worth the £5.99. The app does everything my old GPS kit did and more. I can find caches close to me and see all the details that are on the website – inclding hints, photos and log reports. I can navigate to the cache, and as well as a compass there’s a map which makes it easier to not go off the wrong side of a road or field! One of the complaints I read in reviews of this app is that it isn’t very accurate but the two times I’ve used it, it has been absolutely spot on, meaning no fumbling round in the wrong clump of bushes! And better still, when I’ve found the cache I can then log the find on the website using the app. It’s not completely perfect – you need to have a strong signal to be able to log into the site and a couple of times I’ve had problems logging in – but generally I think it’s superb.
I till haven’t persuaded my kids to give it another go but my boyfriend is kind enough to come along, and the two we have found – near the Rollright Stones and on White Horse Hill – have been during phototreks on Sunday afternoons. It’s added an extra element of fun to the treks and taken us to places we’d otherwise not go. OK, one of the caches was up the side of a muddy field, not the nicest of walks, but the other was on The Ridgeway, which neither of us have walked along before. Even he had to grudgingly admit there were some benefits!
Stuff them, I will be carrying on finding caches! There’s a series of eight in a village near me, another three in the next village along and there’s still a couple in my home town to find. Pls one of my 101 in 1001 challenges is to hide my own geocache!