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High Peak 'treasure hunters' join online phenomenon

Matthew Corrigan

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HIgh Peaktreasure huntersGPSmoorsGlossop Mountain Rescue TeamGreg SmithTintwistleAlan PoxonGeocaching

Geocaching is one of the UK's fastest growing outdoor pursuits. Photo by Greg Smith

Geocaching - High Peak ‘treasure hunters’ are joining in an online phenomenon that’s quietly sweeping across the globe.

Geocaching is one of the fastest growing outdoor pursuits in the country with over 200,000 locations registered across the UK. No specialist equipment is required and players can get started in less than five minutes. Users visit a website to register and download a free ‘app’, which allows access to a database that can be searched by location. The game works by using the Global Positioning System (GPS) function built into mobile telephones. Geocachers select the area in which they wish to play and are given a set of GPS co-ordinates. These direct them to a location where a container has been secreted, which they must try to find by following a series of online clues. In it they will find a log book and various items. The idea is to record the visit and hide the container again.

Geocaching

It all began in America around the turn of the century when computer technicians began testing the accuracy of the newly-upgraded GPS satellite network. The idea caught on and went 'viral'; there are now thought to be in excess of two million regularly visited caches across the world. By combining the internet with the real world it's a great way to get out into the fresh air and exercise. A community of “cachers” has blossomed, leading to a thriving social scene.

A quick search on their website reveals dozens of locations around the High Peak, with the moors that surround Glossop proving particularly popular. Tintwistle’s Alan Poxon, formerly a physics teacher at Glossopdale Community College, was at one time the leading geocacher in the country.

Geocaching

Another local cacher is a member of the Glossop Mountain Rescue Team who began playing as part of a training exercise – discovering some of the more obscure locations was a useful way to familiarise himself with potential search areas.

Greg Smith was an experienced hill walker when he took up the pastime, finding it an incentive to get out and explore new locations. Greg’s experience is testament to geocaching's social aspect – he met his girlfriend as a result of playing the game. He still plays regularly, getting out with friends of all ages.

It’s an ideal activity for people of all ages and getting started is simplicity itself. Why not register at geocaching.com to see what the fuss is about and get out into the country this weekend?