Searching for hidden treasure has been a popular pastime for centuries. But the advent of new technology has brought the activity bang up to date in the form of geocaching. Now some companies are offering the chance to take learn and take part in the activity while enjoying stunning scenery.
I spoke to Peter Hewlett from Geocaching Wales who offer holidays on the beautiful Lleyn Peninsula in northwest Wales. I asked him what geocaching is. “It’s a treasure hunt where you need access to the internet and a GPS device,” explained Peter. “Ten years ago you needed to invest in special, expensive GPS equipment but now most smartphones have this. You can just download an app which will then set you up.”
Geocaching Wales are happy to get complete beginners started in the activity. “We would show you how to download the app then go onto the website and decide which caches to look at in our immediate area. Then you’d get the details and a map and you’d set off to find them.”
Peter told me you use the app and your smartphone to find the hidden caches around the landscape. These contain objects and information about the surroundings. “You learn a lot from each cache. You find out why it was put there and something about the immediate area, such as a local legend or a story from a nearby church or mill. There’s something to read when you’re exactly at the spot where it becomes relevant. You’d also find physical items that you can swap and objects that you may or may not wish to move to another cache.”
Peter says geocaching is something that kids can get involved in as much as adults. “It’s something people enjoy as a family or two families,” he told me. “And children really get involved – competing to find the cache.”
I asked him why the Lleyn Peninsula, where Geocaching Wales is bases, is so well-suited to geocaching holidays. “There are a lot of footpaths and a lot of National Trust land. That’s important because the NT encourage geocaching and readily allow items to be stored on their land. It’s also got spectacular scenery, full of legends and quirky places.”
You can find out more about geocaching and holidays on the Lleyn by visiting geocachingwales.com.