Another Geocaching Convert?

Found It!

You know those moments when someone thinks they’re telling you about some really great secret, but you, and a load of other people already know? Various of us at St James had that experience this morning listening to Rev Richard’s sermon.

On his day off, he and Penny his wife had headed off to the Bramshill Plantation, a large area of Forestry Commission land just over the border into Hampshire on the other side of Eversley. They went walking off into the forest, Rev Richard armed with a map and compass, and managed to get them thoroughly lost.

Luckily for them, they met someone else walking through the forest, and asked him if he knew where they were, he pulled out a handheld GPS unit – something Rev Richard hadn’t seen – and read off the co-ordinates. They then got talking about precisely why this man was wandering around the forest, and he said he was a Geocacher, and that he’d just done one of the caches that are hidden in the plantation.

At this point in telling the story, Rev Richard asked whether anybody knew about Geocaching, and I guess was slightly surprised at the people who knew. The reason of course that a lot of people around the Church know becomes clear when you watch our Geocaching video in which our segment is filmed around St James. Various people know about the game having seen us on the programme when it was originally shown, and various others, generally those involved with grounds maintenance know about the game having inadvertently found the cache – indeed the cache has moved twice following occasions when the regular maintenance rendered the previous location unsuitable. The interesting thing is that despite having been here several years, nobody had actually told Rev Richard about the cache. Not surprising really as it’s not usually the kind of thing that comes up in conversation…

Anyway, Rev Richard carried on, telling how the Geocacher had taken him back to the cache he had just found, and the story was used as an analogy – searching for treasure with the Christian search for ‘treasure’.

St Swithun's Nately Scures

After the service I told Richard quite how close he’s been to a geocache (our Queens Oak cache mentioned in the film) for the past few years, indeed the fact he’s walked past it every day. I also mentioned myself and Beth’s involvement, including us being one of the seven founder teams behind the Geocaching Association of Great Britain, and have since sent him the link to the video. I’ve also taken the opportunity to upload some of the older Geocaching snapshots I have on iPhoto – these ones are from back in 2003, including some shots of the preserved planes a Lasham Aerodrome which figure as clues in a cache, and another church with a cache close by, the almost totally unaltered St Swithun’s Nately Scures, which gives you an idea of what St James must once have looked like before the subsequent generations started knocking through bigger windows and adding bits.

So I guess the question is, has Rev Richard now got the Geocaching bug?

4 thoughts on “Another Geocaching Convert?”

  1. I’ve heard about this before, but never paid much attention to it. But it seems that lately I’m hearing about it more and more. Your blog post is the last straw, I’ve finally caved and created an account on – and what do you know… there’s a bunch of caches right in my city. 🙂 Now I just need a GPS unit and I’m off!

  2. GPS wise I’d highly recommend going for a Garmin eTrex unit as a nice little and relatively cheap way to get started. Range goes from the basic yellow eTrex, up to the eTrex Vista which has mapping support, a barometric altimeter and an electronic compass. You can probably guess which end of the scale I’m at. 🙂

  3. Thanks for the tip. If you’re as gadget crazy as I am, I can well imagine which one you’ve got. Now it’s just a matter of convincing my wife that we need one… 🙂

  4. To be honest we have both – and for rather the same reason…

    Failed to convince Beth at the first go, so I got the basic eTrex, which is under £100. After a couple of Geocaching expeditions, Beth wanted her own GPS so I got an eTrex Vista too. Subsequent to that I’ve also upgraded my Vista again to one of the newer colour screen models with a microSD slot. That allows it to hold the whole of the UK topographic mapping, or a large chunk of Canadian topographic mapping depending on which country we’re caching in.

    Not sure about Ontario area, but Alberta wise there is a good GPS specialist in Calgary, who have an online store which has a lot of detail about the various GPS units, and pages specifically targeted at Geocachers. I’ve used them a couple of times for picking up the Canadian Metroguide and Topographic maps for the eTrex that were a little difficult to get hold of over here, and we also used them when Beth’s Dad wanted a GPS.

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