They other day I was browsing the Play store wondering what app I could install and I came across Geocachings app. I had heard of Geocaching before, but I had no idea it was so easy to get involved with. So I downloaded the app and had a go at finding a Geocache.
Geocaching is like a big treasure hunt. All around the world, there are little containers hidden in interesting places. If you find one, you simply sign your name in the log book, put it back and move on to the next one. Some can be found with simple co-ordinates, some require a puzzle to be found. In any case, they are usually quite tricky to find as they have to not be accidentally found by an unsuspecting member of the public.
The good thing about the app, is that you can see comments of people who have found it recently so you know if it is still there and there are hints about where it can be hidden.
So my plan was to go during my lunch break. I was surprised by just how many there were in the surrounding area. I picked the nearest one that was at the top of Pitfield street.
At the co-ordinates is the 'street art' pictured below
It is quite a unique piece but quite exposed, so I wasn't sure where there could be anything hidden! The hint said 'the wall behind Mickey'. The boy in the statue is wearing a Mickey Mouse bag and there was indeed a wall behind him.
I tried to subtly rummage, but there were people cutting the grass and a lot of cars going past. I realised how weird it must look for someone to be hanging around and then rummaging in the most random place - it felt like I was looking for hidden drugs or something! I later found out that members of the public - non-geocachers - are referred to as 'Muggles' in the circles.
In the end, I decided to come back to this one another time and try my luck at another one. This second one was at the Geffre museum. It was beautiful day and it really brought out beautiful grounds of the museum and nice looking building. If I wasn't on a lunch break, I would have had a look around. For me, this is the essence of geocaching - taking you to places you wouldn't normally know about. The location itself is often the 'treasure' being hunted.
Again I had to look at the hint. I already knew it was magnetic meaning it would be attached to metal somewhere. The clue said it was behind the poster near the lamp-post. This was just outside the entrance.
Again, a lot of 'muggles' walking around and inside. Looking very suspicious as I reach my arm behind the poster and feel the railing. I had to try a few times until...success! I found it! A small film canister wrapped in duct tape with a magnet.
I took it into the park and opened it up (and hoped it didn't contain drugs) and there was the log book. I signed it and put it back. I was surprised to see the large number of people who had previously signed it and how recently the last person had.
So there we go: my first geocache! The next day, I did hunt out 2 more geocaches which were, again, in very cool places. Sadly, I did not find (too many muggles!) (but did end up with a horrible looking spider on me!). I will go back and continue to look. I did have some success this weekend near wear I live hidden near a tree on a country footpath.