Cache in on the Manx Countryside
Alan is a freelance website designer who lives in Wales, he often makes trips to the Isle of Man with his family where they love to explore the Manx countryside whilst hunting for treasure.
You will need a GPS
Since meeting my wife who hails from the Isle of Man I’ve been visiting family on the island for several years. As someone who enjoys the outdoors I always look forward to my visits and it is also the place where we first experienced geocaching.
Geocaching is a worldwide game dedicated to GPS (Global Positioning System) users. In its most basic form it is a high-tech treasure hunt. Geocachers hide a container and then publish its GPS co-ordinates on a website such as geocaching.com. Other geocachers then use their GPS receivers to home-in on the container and find it. When they do so they sign a log book to say they were there, return the container to its hiding place and log their visit online.
Our first experience of geocaching was in the woods of the South Barrule plantation on the Isle of Man. It gave us a good excuse for a family walk and after that we were hooked. Back in Wales I set up a website for local geocachers and whenever we travel we use geocaching as a way of exploring our surroundings.
On a recent flying visit to the Isle of Man I took my trusty GPS receiver and was able to find a number of caches. The Assume Nothing series by happy Humphrey kept us busy as did a few other puzzle caches. El Presidente involved a lovely walk from the sound to a nice big cache with some gorgeous sea views. The Long Way Round was an interesting multi-stage cache which took me from one end of the island to the other.
I also spent a few hours walking from Douglas to Peel along the Heritage Trail and found all 15 caches of the Heritage Trail Series in the process. Despite getting a little wet at one stage I had an enjoyable time and walked along a trail that I previously knew nothing about. We did a few other caches as well and as always geocaching took us to places we’d never been before, gave us some interesting information that we didn't know and provided us with reasons to go to areas we just wouldn't otherwise have gone to.
The Isle of Man is a great location for geocaching holidays as it has a very high cache density we were rarely (if ever) more than 2 miles from a cache. It also has caches to suit all tastes, from really easy roadside caches such as the one we found at Derby Haven, multi stage caches with a fair bit of walking involved, plenty of cache series to get stuck into and some devilish puzzle caches if that’s your thing. All geocaches are graded according to their difficulty allowing you to pick and choose those that most appeal to you.
The fact that you are on an island also means that you could, if you have the time, set yourself the goal of finding all the caches on the Isle of Man… I’m not sure how many there are and the number is growing all the time, but it would be a challenge, and what better way to see the island and learn about its history?
For more information on geocaching go to the official geocaching website http://www.geocaching.com and to read more about our personal geocaching adventures on the Isle of Man and elsewhere read our web log at http://www.alananna.co.uk
last updated: 14/08/2008 at 10:53
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