What is Geocaching

Geocaching is one of the best-known, and engaged-in, treasure-hunting outdoor activities, and currently the fastest-growing leisure pursuit in the UK. Basically you use a GPS (Global Positioning System) device or a smartphone with GPS to locate a ‘geocache’, usually shortened to ‘cache’

A ‘cache’ is a waterproof container of some kind, often disguised and hidden in the landscape. The box, or Tupperware container, has within it a log book and pencil/pen to record the geocacher’s visit and the date they found it, signing the log book with their geocaching name (chosen when first registering on the Geocaching.com host website).

The container often has some form of swapable content, a toy, small tokens…anything, except foodstuffs. The practice is that if you take something out, you put something of equal or greater value of yours in. You may also find other objects like ‘Travel Bugs’ and ‘geocoins’, commonly known as ‘travellers’. These objects are movable and normally have a set purpose, which will be described in more detail in the ‘Getting Started’ part of the website.

After signing the log, the cache must be placed back exactly where you found it. Care must be taken not to let others see where you are placing it, in order not to alert ‘Muggles’ or other geocachers to its location. As in all hobbies and cults, nicknames and ‘code speak’ occurs. A ‘Muggle’ is a name borrowed from Harry Potter, and is a nickname for non-cachers, i.e. the general public.

I personally am quite new to geocaching and have become interested as so many visitors to my own self-catering properties in Tobermory have told me about their engagement in this pursuit. The visitors tended to be outdoor enthusiasts, and interested in the environment of the Island. They warn me that geocaching is addictive, and certainly I have become extremely interested in placing some geocaches, and following the subsequent comments both about the caches and the island.

This is harmless fun and a challenging activity for all the family, for groups of friends and for individuals. Presently, there are 2.3 million geocaches worldwide:, of which more than 161,000 are in the UK.