Would you like to explore more of Perthshire, with an added treasure-seeking element? Do you need a great way to keep you and the kids entertained outdoors?
Geocaching is the answer! With more than 3 million geocaches hidden in over 190 countries, including hundreds in Perthshire, it’s the discovery-and-exploration craze that’s here to stay. And where better than our lovely county to try it out?
What is Geocaching? How does it work?
According to Geocaching.com, it’s an “any-day, any-time adventure that can take you to amazing and beautiful places. Or even just to a place in your town that you’ve never been before.”
In a nutshell: caches (which are usually boxes with lids) are hidden by Geocachers around towns and in the countryside and logged on a map with their approximate location. Other Geocachers use the map to find them, then log them on their phone.
Here’s how to get started:
- Download the Geocaching app at https://www.geocaching.com/play/mobile or from your usual App Store and create an account.
- Using the app, select a location (e.g. Blairgowrie) or ask it to use the location you’re in right now. The map will show you all available caches (which are usually containers) hidden in that area.
- Go and find them, using the clues and information supplied. Take a supply of treasures or trinkets with you (see photo for examples).
- Once you’ve found it, write your name in the log book, log it on your app and swap your treasure* for one in the container!
*Whatever you leave in the box must be of equal or greater value than what you take.
Some caches we’ve found in Perthshire
To show you how it happens in real life, I went in search of two caches this week. The first I found in Aberfeldy, and the second I found near Deuchny Woods. I’ll tell you just enough about them that I don’t give the exact location away!
My family and I go looking for a Geocache called “Treasure of the Secret Garden”. It’s showing on the map as being hidden in a particular street that we’ve never been down, despite having visited Aberfeldy many times. That’s one of the fantastic things about Geocaching – even when you know a place, you can still discover new things.
When we get to the street the app shows that we’re only 15 metres away from the cache – exciting! We slowly make our way towards where we think it will be. Oh, no – the number of metres is increasing, not decreasing! (The equivalent of “You’re getting colder!” in Hide & Seek.) So we change direction and it shows we’re getting closer again. But when we get to “zero” metres away, we can’t find it. Even Monty the dog’s keen nose isn’t helping. So we click on “Hint”, and bingo! That last bit of information helps us to find it. My daughter opens it up. No matter how many caches she finds, she’s always delighted to see what treasures lie within. We add our names to the log book then she takes out a 10p piece and swaps it for a 20p (remember your treasure has to be equal or better). A great result!
Deuchny Woods Geocache
My pal Claire and I take the dog to Deuchny Woods for his morning walk and decide to look for the cache called “Don’t Feed The Horses”. We get to the right area and walk along slowly, watching excitedly as the distance decreases. When we get really close (about 10 metres), my phone “pings” to let me know.
This time, Monty’s nose is right on the money, probably because there are sticks near this cache. He sniffs it out and waits patiently as we open up the cache – there are some great treasures in this one! (But no dog biscuits, sorry, Monty.) We leave the treasures where they are this time, and just write in the log book.
If you’ve never been to these lovely woods, Geocaching would be a great introduction to them. You could find many more caches besides this one!
Caching our first cache!
Our next plan is to make and hide a cache of our own – we have plenty of plastic boxes, and I kept all of our cracker toys from Christmas. I’m sure my daughter and her pals would love to help make up the box and find the right hiding place. I hope you’ll come and look for it when we do!
What you love about Geocaching in Perthshire
We spoke to these Geocachers who love roaming around Perthshire in search of treasure.
Sonia Dixon, from Perth, says: “Geocaching is an amazing thing to do in Perthshire with kids. Let’s face it, kids do NOT enjoy a long walk, so Geocaching is a great way to get them out and about without the constant moan of ‘How much further?’, ‘I’m hungry,’ and so on… My husband, our two kids (age 6 and 9) and I went Geocaching round Deuchny Woods – there are about 6 Geocache boxes to find in a 2- to 3-mile route. The app is really easy to use, and our kids loved the electronic compass that appears on your phone. Packing for a geocache day out – your phone, CHARGED; a few plastic cracker-type toys to swap with other toys in the Geocache boxes; and a pen to record the date in the Geocache log.”
Helen Gregory, also from Perth, adds: “The thing I like about geocaching in Perthshire is exploring places that are really close to home that we wouldn’t otherwise know about. We’ve walked and cycled to a few from our house and seen the very familiar through new eyes and found new paths or hidden places that we didn’t know about. I try to remember to keep a few cheap ‘treasures’ in my bag/pocket to swap in the caches.”
The Cateran Trail caches
Perthshire is also home to The Cateran Trail, which just happens to be the Geocaching capital of Scotland! The Cateran Trail GeoTrail has 20 special caches spread across the five stages. A collectable bronze Geocoin will be awarded to Geocachers who collect 25 points and an antique silver Geocoin will be awarded to Geocachers who collect 30 points.
Collect your points in the GeoTrail Passport, which you can download on the Perth & Kinross Countryside Trust website. Points can be earned by finding caches (1 point) or by stopping to eat (2 points) or sleep (3 points) at participating businesses along the Trail.
Geocaching events in Perthshire
There are always events happening in the Geocaching world. This one – May The Fourth Be With You – caught our attention! It’d be great for any Star Wars fans, or anyone who wants to socialise and find out more about this great activity.
Check out events in a 30-mile radius from Perth (you can reset the search to a different location)
You can start Geocaching today
We hope we’ve convinced you that Geocaching in Perthshire is a fantastic way to get outdoors and start exploring. (As with any exploration activity, though, be sure to stay safe and follow the countryside codes!) Why not download the app and see what’s hiding near you? Or maybe even hide your own? These maps show how many are hidden around Auchterarder and Kinross, for example. One thing’s for sure – you’ll have some great adventures.
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And if you’d like to stay over and do some Geocaching, check out our collection of fabulous places to stay in Perthshire.