Do you still enjoy getting out and about, going for walks in the countryside? Or maybe it is something you would like to start? Well, if like me, “going for a walk” needs to have more of a purpose to it, maybe Geocaching could be what you are looking for.
Geocaching started in the year 2000 in the USA but has now spread across the world and is played on all seven continents. If you have not come across it before, 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 (or cache for short) hidden at that location by another player.
To get started go to www.geocaching.com where you will find all the details you need.
It is an activity that can be enjoyed on your own or with friends and family. It has a very broad appeal with a variety of benefits for the players.
Clearly there are physical benefits from becoming actively involved in the search for the cache (usually a physical container).
There are social benefits if you take part with friends or family or attend the social events hosted by fellow cachers up and down the country. Also, the sense of achievement when you make your first find is very real and is great for building self-esteem.
The descriptions linked to caches can be educational, giving historical or geographical details of the surrounding area for example. Or they might be linked by a theme such as characters from Doctor Who.
But most of all, it’s fun! I have been playing for about 7 years now and it has taken me to places I would not have visited otherwise. If I am away somewhere I can take my sport with me as there is sure to be a cache somewhere nearby.
Don’t be put off by the technology either. You can buy a GPS device from most good outdoor shops but there is also a Geocaching app available for smartphones if you want to try it for little or no extra cost.
There are lots of easy caches for beginners, right up to very difficult ones for veterans of the sport. You will quickly find your own level. My favourite caches tend to be those that are linked to a puzzle. Solving the puzzle gives you the co-ordinates of the final hiding place. Either that, or it’s the thrill of finding an unusual container. Maybe it’s a converted bird nesting box, or a hollowed out log, or even a purpose built contraption. There are some very clever hides out there and many of them are hidden in plain sight.
So who knows, the next time you go for a walk in the country or even in a City Centre, you might just be within touching distance of a bit of treasure. There are over 800 caches within 10 miles of Southport Town Centre alone, so off you go and find them