Pirates navigated by the stars and maps marked with an X to find treasure. Now, the Isle of Wight Geocaching Project, which is part of Isle of Wight Council’s Parks and Countryside section, is embracing 21st century technology to do the same.
Geocaching is an innovative and interactive way of getting people to enjoy and explore the countryside. Using hand-held Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers similar to the technology used in satellite navigation devices now common in vehicles, ‘geocachers’ can explore the Island and discover its nature and heritage by following trails to hidden treasure, or ‘caches’.
The Isle of Wight Geocaching Project held an event at Havenstreet Steam Railway as part of the Big Day Out on 7 October. Two caches filled with goodies were hidden within the grounds of the railway and participants were invited to find them. Eager young geocachers were each lent the latest hi-tech equipment, given a set of clues and, following some quick instructions, they dispersed in the hunt for the caches. All participants successfully found both caches and received a toy, along with information about how they can go on to play the geocaching game themselves.
Cat James, Project Support Officer with the Isle of Wight Council’s Parks and Countryside section said, “Each event the Isle of Wight Geocaching Project has held has been extremely popular. Children in particular love getting involved with geocaching, probably because it involves gadgets, and it is also enjoyed by adults. The equipment is really easy to use; if you can use a mobile phone, you won’t have any trouble using a GPS receiver. We use this game as a novel way to persuade people of all ages that it can be fun to get out and about in the countryside whilst keeping fit”.
Isle of Wight Council Leader and Cabinet member for Leisure David Pugh said “Geocaching is a relatively new activity that re-invents a favourite pastime using modern technology and is great fun for all the family. It also encourages people to explore parts of the Island’s countryside they may not have visited before.”
Regular geocaching events are held across the Isle of Wight and all are welcome. The Isle of Wight Geocaching Project is part of Isle of Wight Council’s Parks and Countryside section and is also supported by the Isle of Wight Economic Partnership Leader+ scheme. Anyone interested should get in touch with Isle of Wight Council’s Parks and Countryside section on (01983) 823893 or by emailing [email protected]