We’ve found a treasure in Tommy Morton, a modern-day adventurer with a passion for natural navigation and geocaching, a mix of mystery and orienteering. Here, Tommy explains why geocaching fits so well with camping.
“Geocaching is a treasure hunting game where co-ordinates are loaded onto a GPS receiver along with a clue to help you find the prize. Now if this sounds deceptively easy, don’t worry, although some are straightforward and may take the form of a Tupperware box crudely hidden by some twigs at the base of a tree, others are much more demanding.
Some geocaches are nothing more than a tiny sliver of paper that’s a log-book to be signed, concealed in thumbnail-sized magnetic containers. Others are placed in areas of challenging terrain – the top of mountains, on cliff faces or even in caves, which can be tricky without GPS coverage.
If you prefer a more cerebral kind of hobby, then there are devilishly difficult mystery caches that require Sherlock levels of deduction to complete the missing co-ordinate numbers before you can even venture out.
I find geocaching perfectly complements any camping trip, as you’re rarely more than a mile away from a hidden cache in the UK. It’s a global activity, so you’re not restricted to the UK either. Although the treasure you seek is fairly minimal, a few cheap toys or trinkets to be swapped, the buzz from a successful find is what really counts. Generally placed in an area of significance – a hidden viewpoint, an overgrown drover’s track or long forgotten standing stones – you’ll be taken to places that would never normally be on your camping agenda.
Sustenance can be taken in the form of a picnic en route or a stop at country pub, but this is also the ideal opportunity to test out that portable stove you’ve been meaning to try.
Geocaching is suitable for all ages and abilities, the caches are graded in difficulty of search and terrain so you know what you’re getting into. There’s more information at www.geocaching.com where you can register for free and find tutorials to get you started.
Tommy Morton is passionate about camping and the outdoors. Geocaching is one of his many outdoor and adventurist pursuits. An experienced expedition leader, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and Associate Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation, he’s also a student of the lost art of ‘natural navigation’. So whether finding his way by the sun and wind or using the most up-to-date geospatial technology, he’s happiest navigating on a hillside or sleeping under the stars.