Where’s My Anorak

08 Jun

Having poked fun at hillwalking for a number of years now I think it’s about time my geocaching friends and visitors to the blog got a bit of a roasting. Hopefully they don’t take the diatribe too seriously or I’ll either:

a) See a massive plummeting in my visitor stats.


b) See a massive rise in my visitor stats…with a corresponding rise in abusive comments.

So…it’s torches and pitchforks at the ready as we prepare to enter the sordid realms of the geocache.



Where’s my Anorak?

For one reason or another I haven’t done much geocaching lately. I’m still trying to decide whether I actually like doing it…or more correctly whether it’s good for my image to be seen doing it. There are occasions when it does tend to veer towards the anorak end of the hobby spectrum. For example I’ve noticed a tendency for geocachers to refer to normal, average sort of folk out for a walk as “muggles”. While I can just about grasp the Harry Potter analogy in this I can’t help but cringe embarrassingly at its use. Come on guys there has to be a more original collective noun than “muggles” for a bunch of wrong time – wrong place plebeians. This is your big chance to dare to be different. Change…or defend it if you dare!

Lets face it geocachers aren’t so much wizards as skulkers and given some of my own strange antics whilst trying to appear inconspicuous I do think the operation has more in common with the blundering slapstick of the Pink Panther films than the good vs evil fantasy adventures of Harry Potter et al.


…then there are “micros”. These small caches (for example a 35mm film container) have a piece of paper inside on which to write your name and date found. I almost fail to see the point. The unbridled excitement in finding one of these is akin to finding a potato…in a bag of eh…potatoes. Micros most definitely come into the category “WHY?”. A day out chasing such tiny caches would be akin to a day spent bagging the interminably dull East Mounth Munros on a grey January afternoon in a steady drizzle. On such occasions it would be quite understandable, nay reasonable, to consider chewing on one’s own entrails rather than continue with the interminable boredom of it all. I wonder how many micro-cachers are manic depressives?

The Baggers

Now we come to the ”Cache and Dash”.

It appears geocachers have found an alternative use for lay-bys and other parking areas. Some cachers frequent these more “exposed” caches during the hours of darkness, for fear of being seen by “muggles” during daylight hours. I expect there is a whole constituency of young courting couples alarmed at the increasing number of potential peeping toms loose on the public highways. Thankfully I’m unaware of the “Cache and Dash” setters having discovered yet another use for public toilets.

I suppose, in hillwalking terms, “Cache and Dash” is akin to taking the shortest route up a hill so that you can hurry back to the car and scream up the road to do the next hill by the shortest route imaginable, all in the name of the numbers game. Time is everything to the serious bagger no matter the hobby.

On the Prospect of being Struck Off

On finding a cache you sign a log book saying you’ve been. I tend to view these as a “thank you” to the person setting the cache, a few friendly words expressing your thanks for the enjoyment of the experience.

Unfortunately a number of caches are too small to contain a pencil but this is always flagged up so that you can take your own…which I almost never remember to do. I just don’t care that much I suppose as I can thank the person setting the cache on the geocaching website. Being well brought up I do however always remember to apologise for not remembering to take my pencil.

You can imagine my surprise when I received an email from a cache setter asking me to describe the location of one of my recent visits or my “find” would be “struck off”.

"Is this a face that cares?"

Don’t get me wrong it was a very friendly, almost apologetic, email…but I thought…it’s a leisure pursuit not a bloody Olympic event. I was wondering what the Munro Society takes as proof of climbing all 284 Munros…almost none I recall!

Hmm I wonder if there’s mandatory drug testing…?

Is There Hope?

The answer has to be a big resounding “YES”!

While I have spent the last few paragraphs denigrating what I see as the “excesses” of geocaching it has many good points.

It provides an interest for a vast spectrum of ages and abilities and drags people away from the danger of couch potato syndrome into the great outdoors.

It can be hugely informative (all due to some hard work on the part of those setting the caches – my thanks to them) at times providing an in depth background to the setting around the cache location.

It can be used as a local guide to places around the world to which you, as a tourist, may not have been immediately drawn. With the geocache location function available on Google Earth, you can zoom in on a cache site, pick up some useful local info and then have a good look at what’s on offer in the surrounding area. Thanks to this link-up I’ve been able to find a couple of things to go and see on holiday which I would have otherwise never known about.

And let’s face it, last but not least…

….there ain’t nothing quite like a treasure hunt!



Oh well, so ends another chapter in the annals of “Where the Fatdog Walks”.  So far I’ve managed to alienate the hillwalkers (cause I don’t climb many hills these days), the outdoorbloggers (cause I slag off their predeliction for talking about stoves) and now I reckon I’ve pissed off the geocachers to the nth degree.  Not bad for only 5 months of blogging.  So…if there’s anyone still left out there it’s goodnight from me and the Fatdog.

Now…who can we piss off next?


Hmm, Maybe I should disable the comment boxes before packing it in for tonight.


Posted by on June 8, 2009 in General Drivel


15 responses to “Where’s My Anorak

  1. backpackingbongos

    June 10, 2009 at 12:11 am

    I went geocaching a few weeks ago with a mate and his kids – great fun for them in searching for a tupperware box. But I did not get it. A box full of tat to exchange and a book of inane comments to write in. What was the point?

  2. Fenlander

    June 10, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    Keep it up Ken, we all get too engrossed in our particular ‘thing’ and sometimes it’s good to see/hear another viewpoint.

    Flame in a stove is GOOD!!!!

  3. fatdogwalks

    June 10, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    It’s the same for any pastime when you get right down to it.

    For example:

    Drove 100 miles, got out car, walked up hill, saw trig point and sod all else because of the rain, got wet, came back down hill, got into car, drove 100 miles home. Whoopee I bagged a hill! Lets face it we’ve all done it.

    See what I mean?

    Don’t get me wrong, my jury’s still out on geocaching. But like hillwalking it’s not about the result but what you do/see getting there. The stuff inside the tub is generally for the kids…though I now have a wonderful set of marbles… 😀 .

  4. fatdogwalks

    June 10, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    …and as for you Robin…you sneaked in a stove comment…don’t try to deny it! This is a stove free zone 😆 .

  5. craggy-irene

    June 11, 2009 at 12:13 am

    I agree with everything you have said Ken. I sometimes I incorporate finding a cache when out hillwalking just to make the walk more interesting.

    It is a bit geeky!!

  6. fatdogwalks

    June 11, 2009 at 12:39 am

    Hi Irene,

    Great to hear from you again 😀 …thought you’d collapsed under exam pressure! How did it go?

  7. craggy-irene

    June 11, 2009 at 11:49 pm

    Hi Ken

    Still here and happy that Uni is now over. No more studying…..ever!!!

  8. Mandy

    June 12, 2009 at 2:40 am

    Hmmmmmmmmmmmm I will see you in Northumberland Kenny, you know that Geocaching event I am holding that you are coming along too………

    Would you like to expalin to your readers about Maisie’s TB that is being released to travel the world ?

    Mandy :0)

  9. fatdogwalks

    June 12, 2009 at 8:27 am

    Ooops…looks I’m in deep doggy doo-doo! Safest bet on my part is to use my GPS to find the event. Will arrive too late for recriminations 😆 .

    Will put up a whole post on Maisie’s Travel Bug, Mandy… once the page is set up and I have figured out how I can cheat outrageously :D!

  10. JackieC

    June 15, 2009 at 10:32 am

    Love the post, you’ve summed up geocaching perfectly (and I am one!).

    The pastime has had a huge surge in cacher numbers and an even bigger surge in cache placements over the last 18 months or so. There are some corking caches out there, and some that really should be removed, if you’re unlucky enough to start your caching at one of the latter you probably won’t be back.

    Probably one of the best rated caches is ‘The Death of Power’ (GCJ3TZ), near Kinlochleven. Worth a look perhaps (while your geocaching jury is still out).

    Oh, don’t worry it takes alot more than one blog post to alienate the Scottish cachers, you need to put in a concerted effort over a long period of time for all them to turn against you! 🙂

  11. fatdogwalks

    June 15, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    Great to see you on the blog Jackie. Always a pleasure to have a visit from the Geofrees cachers 😀 . Agree with you about the variable quality of caches, though I would be very much against criticising anyone for trying. Some people have put a lot of research into their subject and before you even step out the door you’re already thinking about what you might want to see en route.

    Pleased that you enjoyed the post. Thanks for the tip on the Kinlochleven cache. I will probably be able to persuade J to have a wander after that one with a promise of a visit to the Loch Leven Seafood Cafe after.

    As for alienating people…myself Cap’n Jack and the Fatdog are already banned from one small island off the Scottish West coast…

  12. JackieC

    June 16, 2009 at 10:36 am

    I hope its not Arran, there are some cracking caches on there! Check out the Arran Industries series, took me three holidays to complete it.

    I hope I didn’t critise anyone for placing caches, I was just saying that if you do some ‘numbers/roadside/dash’ caches when you start out then you probably won’t get ‘into caching’. First impressions and all that.

    Don’t know if you’ve seen it but there is an event near you at the end of the month in Braco (27th June), there will be food too. Does fatdog like barbeque??

  13. fatdogwalks

    June 16, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    Don’t worry Jackie, you didn’t criticise anyone…I was just being careful when I responded in case I sounded if I (emphasis on I – wish I could bold it) was criticising anyone. After that fiasco at Geofrees before the Fife bash when one individual decided that I was the devil incarnate I can’t be a****d with the hassle again. Mind you as a few people who visit the blog know I do have a habit of being a wee bit “forthright” from time to time…mostly tongue in cheek I may add.

    I don’t mention the island by name as it would only be too easy for a search engine to pick it up…and I’d be back to the hate mail again 😆 . Don’t know if Irene’s reading this post but if she is she’ll be chuckling by now. She’ll remember this one well. Here’s a link to but you may have to join (don’t worry it’s free and no hassle)to reach the link).
    and a bit of subsequent fun…
    It’s all the comments you want to read!

    Irene’ll also be rolling about on the floor uncontrollably at the mere mention of Arran. Here’s the link which tells of the day The Fatdog and I met up with Air na Creagan mountaineering club from Ayrshire and our “day” trip to Arran!

    Thanks for the heads up about the event at Braco. Unfortunately for the Fatdog (who does most definitely like BBQ) we won’t be able to go that day 😦 – We are going to Mandy’s event later in July however 😀 .

  14. JackieC

    June 17, 2009 at 10:46 am

    I haven\’t laughed so much in ages at all the adventures you mentioned above. The Arran trip was certainly an adventure for you, I can symphatise about the manic busman, I think it was the same one who tried to write us off near Lagg by trying to push us (and the car) over the edge into the gorge. Nice chap! Still not sure how we survived.

    I\’ll see you at Mandys event too, I\’ll be the one doing the Haggis supper on the Friday (I\’ll make sure there is extra for Maisie!). Hope Maisie likes the company of Old english sheepdogs, as our two (and our collie X) are coming. 🙂

  15. fatdogwalks

    June 18, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    Jackie – Pleased that we’ll get a chance to meet you at Mandy’s bash 😀 . I think we’ll only manage a visit on the Saturday so I’m sorry to say it looks like we’ll be missing your Haggis Supper 😦 . Maisie is a very sociable creature so the dogs won’t be a problem.

    Glad you enjoyed the links 😀 .


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