Introduction to Geocaching – Sat-Sun 20-21st July

Text contributed by Angela, Pics by Pete E.

This was planned as a two day event – starting with a half day in central Ipswich and then, on day two, a longer session exploring Redgrave and Lopham Fen near Diss. This gave us the opportunity to experience geocaching in both urban and rural locations. On the first day we were introduced to the basics of geocaching including the technology (either a smartphone app such as c.geo or a hand-held GPS device such as a Garmin) before venturing out as a group to see what we could find.

For those new to geocaching, this is a treasure hunt where you look for ‘caches’ of varying sizes carefully hidden from sight. Caches can range from nano (the size of a nail) and micro (a little larger) upwards. Using a geocaching phone app, users can navigate with a built in compass to within a couple of metres of the cache. A hint such as ‘magnetic’ or ‘look upwards’ can help identify a likely location. Once the cache has been located the geocacher removes the paper log from inside the container, adds their initials and date and then marks it as ‘found’ on the app, before replacing it exactly where found and moving on to the next target.

Our main focus on Saturday was a series of caches close to Ipswich waterfront (Quay Place trail) and the area around Rope Walk and east Ipswich. On the Sunday we drove out to Redgrave and the site of special scientific interest (SSI) at Lopham Fen. Here we had the opportunity to tackle a much longer series of caches of differing sizes and types (including a set of 27 at intervals of around 200 metres) whilst enjoying the natural spaces. Diving into bushes, trying to avoid nettles, peering into tree trunks, examining road signs and street furniture in forensic detail (!) there was no stopping us now and we were able to locate all but one of the caches on the second day. This left just enough time for a quick cup of coffee from the mobile van at the Fen followed by a drink at the local pub in Redgrave, before setting off home.

Thanks to Peter for planning this event and to his friends Nick and Nic from Stowmarket who shared their geocaching expertise with us. If you missed this event and would like to try geocaching then keep an eye out on the IOG programme in future, as we hope to repeat it.