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New stashes left by visiting geocachers

Alderney | Published:

THIRTEEN of the country’s keenest GPS treasure hunters converged on Alderney this month – and left a horde of new stashes for treasure seekers to find.

Geocachers from as far away as Edinburgh and Germany enjoy Alderney’s hospitality.

The group came from as far afield as Edinburgh and Germany, answering an open invitation to geocachers on Facebook to come on a scavenger hunt in Alderney.

The group, which ranged in age between their 20s and 60s, stayed at Fort Clonque.

Some of them had sought out more than 10,000 geocaches around the world and they spoke enthusiastically of Alderney’s unique offering.

Organiser Paul Smith first came to Alderney as a day tripper from Guernsey and always planned to return. ‘The appeal of Alderney is that there is a reasonable density of geocaches and the number of them is finite, which is attractive to UK geocachers, as there are 300,000 there so there are always more to do. Here someone can visit with the ambition to do them all.’

Alderney has 56 geocaches – hidden boxes with trinkets inside and a notebook – tucked away in public spaces. Treasure seekers are given global positioning satellite co-ordinates, clues and a map and navigate their way towards it using a phone with 3G.

Alderney’s haul is spread out across the town and out to the more remote points of the island, from Victoria Street’s Memorial Garden to forts reached only by a causeway.

The hobby is catching on fast. There are 3m. in 190 countries worldwide.

Nina, from Germany, has geocached in 42 cities. She finds geocaching takes her to corners of a new city that she wouldn’t ordinarily visit.

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‘I like to visit cities so for me it’s a holiday with a bonus.’

Visitor Carolynn has bagged 13,780 caches.

‘Here you get a much different range than in the UK – you get to explore bunkers and forts, which you wouldn’t there. I loved it.’

Campsite manager Zoe Sowden has been a keen geocacher for several years.

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‘I think geocaching is a huge tourist market that we haven’t yet really got into. There are millions of geocaches worldwide.’

The group has added to Alderney’s geocache appeal with five new stashes, including one or two rare ones. They include a coastal path hike virtual cache which involves treasure seekers having to email answers to a string of questions – only 4,000 of them can be set each year.

Helene Turner, Director of Tourism, said geocaching was an activity they planned to take advantage of.

‘Although we have done some marketing based around this activity we will now look into other ways to encourage more groups like this to Alderney. There is an option to set up a GeoTour with Geocaching which interestingly hasn’t yet been done in the Channel Islands. The team will look into the possibilities and see what is possible to inspire visitors to discover Alderney through Geocaching.’

n Visit www.geocaching.com to get started.

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