Geocaching is a great way to get the kids outside, especially in lockdown, to make your local walks more interesting. There are quite a few Geocaches hidden around Harrogate & Knaresborough. The basic Geocaching app is completely free to do and makes your usual walks far more interesting. It’s basically a free treasure trail around Harrogate & Knaresborough. As a family, we’ve had fun finding geocaches on the Harrogate Ringway, in Pannal, and in the Pinewoods. There is also a lovely Geocache trail that starts on the top of Whinney lane. You can see just how many there are on the map below.
What is geocaching?
Geocaching is something exciting to do outdoors, in which you use your mobile phone to hide and seek containers, called “geocaches” or “caches”, at specific locations marked by coordinates. It’s one big treasure hunt! Great if you have a little pirate or adventurer, or if you have older children who want to do a bit of orienteering. It’s great for all ages.
The Geocache containers have been hidden by other local families and usually contain a note pad and pencil so that you can log that you have found it. There are also usually little treasures (think Christmas Cracker/ part-bag type toys,) and you can if you choose, take something out to keep and replace it with a trinket yourself (we have not removed or replaced items during the coronavirus pandemic, but we have enjoyed logging that we found it).
You can find the coordinates of the geocaches and join in, by:
downloading the official geocaching app and creating an account, the basic free version is plenty good enough to get you started, but there is a “premium” subscription version if you get really into it. The Premium version shows you even more hidden Geocaches.
The app shows you a local map with geocaches that are near you.
There are geocaches all over the world, so when it is possible to travel a bit further afield again, geocaching is something that can be enjoyed anywhere. It’s a great way to explore an area when you’re on holiday.
Use the app to navigate to a geocache nearby. Once you’re close, your phone cleverly acts as a compass & gets you within a meter or two of the “treasure.” After then, it’s up to you & your gang to seek out the little box. The app will tell you what sized Geocache you’re looking for and how difficult this one is. There is a clue for each “cache (if you need it) and you can see on the app when the ‘Cache was last found, or whether previous hunters logged it as a “DNF” (Did Not find) This sometimes happens if overgrowth has hidden the box, if someone has replaced it incorrectly, if it’s a particularly tricky one or if a “Muggle” inadvertently found it, and didn’t know what it was!
Half of the fun is being discrete when you’re seeking out a Geocache, so that passers-by (or muggles!) don’t know what you’re up to!
Don’t forget to bring a pen just in case there isn’t a pen or pencil in the geocache.
When you find it the geocache sign and date the logbook that is inside. Place the geocache back where you found it and log your experience on the app.
Once you’re experienced, you can also create your own geocache and hide it. Caroline who runs our sister site Doncaster Mumbler has done this a few times and has had great fun putting a container together and hiding it. She now gets an alert when anyone finds her Cache and logs it.
Hide your own geocache
Choose where you want to hide it…we’ve hidden them in trees, under rocks etc. They should not be easily seen.
Decide what you want to hide…
You will need:
A water tight container (tupperware or something like that)
A small note pad (which is the log book) to leave inside the container
A small pencil or pen
Some little treasures. We have used party favour toys, cracker toys, erasers etc. Little things that will fit in the container.
Once you have created your geocache:
Submit it for publication on the geocaching app.
There is a responsibility when you hide a geocache, to keep checking on it regularly.