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?
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”.
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.