Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Perth hosts UK’s first GeoTour

CateranTrail

The first GeoTour to be established in the UK has been created in Perthshire by Perth & Kinross Countryside Trust, together with Perth and Kinross Council, and  Forestry Commission Scotland, and the Blairgowrie and East Perthshire Tourist Association. It is only the sixteenth to have been created so far, and has been officially launched in time for Easter.

Cateran Trail:

Follow in the footsteps of The Caterans, feared cattle thieves of the Highlands who raided the rich lands of Strathardle, Glenshee and Glen Isla at the heart of Scotland. Explore the landscape and discover legends along the Cateran Trail’s old drove roads. Collect points to win a trackable geocoin.

The organisers have laid out 20 special geocaches across five stages of the 64 mile circular trail which covers woodland and forest, moor, and farmland.

Geocaching is already known to the area, after Perthshire was host to the annual UK Mega Cache event in 2010.

As you’ll see from reading the articles referred to below, geocaching has become something of a resource to be tapped and bring tourists and their wallets (or should that be credit cards nowadays) to an area, rather than be seen as something that strange people with Global Positioning Receivers do for fun. In other words, it’s been commercialised.

According to the statistics, more than 5 million people around the World are chasing geocaches, of which more than 2 million have been placed.

I’ve no idea what those number were like back in the late 1990s or early 2000s when I started to play the game, but it was little known and there was only a handful of caches to look for in Scotland, suitably far apart, and none of the trails or other targets to be chased. AS I recall, nearest was 20 miles away from home, somewhere in the Campsies. Later, I was able to walk to them.

Such things ruined the hobby for me at least, and I gave it up. To be fair, I didn’t really have the time either, since I had taken it up in order to learn more about GPS and its operation on the ground, and I was soon using old maps to locate the remains of things like Cold War sites and relics around the country, then use GPS to locate the site on the ground, which seemed rather more productive and useful that spending my time looking for boxes of… not a lot… which other people had hidden. This is much more of a challenge, since such sites were recorded in the 1950s or so, when locations had to be fixed by surveying, so were not necessarily accurate, meaning one still has to exercise some skill in correcting errors and reaching the target… if it still exists.

The problem with geocaching now is that there is no end to it. You can set yourself the target of bagging all the caches in a given area, only to find that someone has planted one or more new caches the day after you collect the last one, and that’s frustration rather than fun. But please don’t misinterpret that as me saying no-one can have fun geocaching, I’m not.

If you do try it, then please remember to be careful as some caches can be placed in locations where a moment’s carelessness or inattention can have disastrous results if you pay too much attention to the cache, and not enough to where you are.

One friend I made through geocaching suffered a tragic demise, after a momentary lapse led to his stepping off a cliff after placing a cache. This isn’t the place to cover the details, merely alert new cachers to the need for care at all times if caches are placed in potentially hazardous locations.

GPS satellite

GPS satellite

Perthshire to launch the UK’s first geocache based tour

Geo-tour launched for Cateran Trail in Perthshire | Dundee & Tayside | News | STV

Geocache treasure hunt set for historic trail – Heritage – Scotsman.com

Geocaching – The Official Global GPS Cache Hunt Site

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March 28, 2013 - Posted by | Civilian, Maps | , , , ,

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