I'm visiting my family down in Midsomer Norton, Somerset. Yesterday afternoon my sister Anna, niece Lilly (aged 8) and I decided to do some Geocaching. When Lilly was about 4 years old we went before and found a few caches around Bath and even made our own cache which sadly went missing after a few years. So it's an activity we haven't done for awhile. We had a look on the Geocaching website and saw there are quite a few in the area. We decided to do a few not far from us along the Radstock cycle path and then one up on one of the residential roads near here. We bookmarked four to do and off we went equipped with my iphone, a pen (to write in the log books) and some of Lilly's little toys she didn't mind swapping into the cache.
For people who don't know what Geocaching is the best way to explain it is it's like a treasure hunt. On the website or the app which you can download you can search for cache's near you and get the GPS details and little hints as to where to find the cache. A cache is a box/container that can range in sizes - a micro is a very small one about the size of a camera film tub and then you get some which are more like lunch boxes. The best thing about geocaching for children is they get out in the fresh air searching and when they find the cache there is usually little toys in them that you can exchange for their toys. They also contain a log book which you fill in with your username that you use on the website to say you have visited. You can also sometimes find a travel bug in the box which is a little keyring with it's own unique number on that is travelling between all the boxes. You can take the travel bug and then put it in another cache somewhere else. We actually had a travel bug a few years back called Fabtastico. He was a little green frog keyring and he travelled over 7500 miles but sadly he then got lost somewhere. It was great to read where he went though and see pictures.
So off we set, we decided to go through the fields to get up to the cycle path and the start of our search....
|Lilly and Anna walking up to the start of our search.|
We thought it would a nice quick route but what we didn't realise was that there would be some rather big muddy puddles. Lilly had boots on but Anna and me just had our trainers/shoes on. We got soaked....
|Me trying to avoid the mud (no such luck)|
We eventually got up to the path and started our search for the first cache on our list. Once I got up there my iPhone GPS wasn't working so we just had to guess roughly where we thought the cache would be hidden. The clue was "in the bowl of a tree, the only tree it could be" or something along those lines. The first thing we noticed is that there was loads of trees. So we started looking around......
|Me searching around|
Going up and down banks, climbing through overgrown weeds, stinging nettles and bushes and still no sign.....
|Anna and Lilly looking but no luck|
So in the end we gave up on the first cache. We hope to go again sometime when we have some more reliable form of GPS. So we went onto the search for the second cache. This one was a little easier as we knew it was on the bridge and magnetic. We had a little search around and found the little box quite easily which we opened and filled in the log. Lilly swapped a little bracelet into the box in exchange for the only other toy in there which was a dolls little hairbrush.
|Yay! Cache 2 found|
Onto cache three which was down by the stream. The clue was that the cache was on the railing near the bridge and the same colour as the railing, up high and in the corner. We looked everywhere we could but we had no luck. So we decided to give up and look for the final one on our list which was in a residential area. We couldn't find it so we came back home to look for more information with regards to the clue which was "American Civil War General T.J. ? Jackson." We came home and searched for his name on google and his nickname was "Stonewall" so we knew the cache was going to be somewhere in the walls down the road. We went back up to the road it was on and started looking at the wall for odd bits that stuck out or looked odd. Then a man came out of his house and said "it's not on the wall we were looking at but it was on this other wall." So in a way he gave us a bit of a hint. He watched us looking and then we noticed a stone in his home brickwork was slightly cracked. We pulled at it and it moved. We pulled it out and chained onto the back of the stone was the cache. This has been the most impressive cache I have found. The man said he had put it there. I bet he has spent many a day watching people looking around trying to find it. We really didn't think it would be part of someone's home. Lilly swapped in one of her Gogo's for a bouncy ball that was in there.
|Yay! cache 4 found|
We had a great time geocaching. I highly recommend it to parents as a great and exciting way to spend a few hours out in the fresh air with the children. We hope to go back and try and find the ones we missed and visit other cache's soon.