Walkers can now borrow GPS units to join in high-tech treasure hunts in the Yorkshire Dales.
The national park authority has set up geocaching routes to help families learn about the area by finding hidden ‘treasure boxes’ tracked down using co-ordinates and the satellite units.
A Yorkshire Dales geocache
Two national park centres, at Grassington and Hawes, have hand-held Global Positioning System receivers which the public can hire to join in a geocaching hunt. Geocaching is a world-wide pastime in which plastic boxes are secreted in natural features, containing a logbook to record your discovery and various little trinkets. The ethos is: if you take something out, put something in.
Karen Griffiths, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s interpretation officer said: “Geocaching is a great way for all the family to spend the day out in the beautiful national park and learn more about some of its hidden places that they might not normally see.
“The leaflets are aimed at complete geocaching beginners and explain how to use the GPS receivers to find the caches.
“We’ve already had some lovely feedback from families using them over the last two days so if you’d still like to come up and try one of the trails out with us we’d be delighted to see you.”
The authority advises pre-booking, because there are limited numbers of units. Cost per day is £5, with a £50 refundable deposit. There are explanatory leaflets to go with the GPS receivers, which outline the routes. Similar plans are afoot for leaflets for the national park offices at Malham, Dent, Reeth and Aysgarth.
The Grassington office is on 01756 751690 and the Hawes number is 01969 666210.