Geocaching in London with the children

Geocaching is a real life outdoor treasure hunt. A hunt that you need to use GPS to track down a geocache (container), following specific coordinates to find the cache hidden in a location. A geocache is a container that will contain a log book and sometimes little trinkets for you to swap with, if you take one you must replace it with something else. Geocaches are located all over the world, hidden in locations that are of interest or beauty. Locations are quite diverse, they could be under water, in a city centre or in the middle of a field.

We have found caches on street signs, in church grounds, under park benches and even abroad whilst we was in holiday to Malta.

Using an app that I have downloaded to my phone, we search for caches that are local to where we are. The only rules are to replace the cache back to where you found it and to have enjoy and have fun.

Living so close to London, made me think of having an adventure with the children. Searching for geocaches and looking at the sights that the Big City has to offer. I did a little research the night before, looking for an area that contains a few caches to find. Along the Thames looked like a good spot. I didn’t want to walk too far between caches as I didn’t want the children to tire too quickly and I wanted to keep them entertained as much as possible.

We made our way to Embankment station, which only took us 40 minutes by tube. We had packed some food and drink in a bag, made sure that my phone had a full battery and we was ready for our little London treasure hunt.

The children were excited and couldn’t wait to find the first cache. It was located very close to the station but as we neared the spot we noticed a homeless person sleeping, We decided to halt our search and waked away, we didn’t want to disturb them in any way.

Victoria gardens runs along side the Thames in between Embankment and Temple station. It’s a lovely place to escape the hustle and bustle, beautiful flower beds and statues to look at. The eldest boys brought along their scooters, so the children enjoyed scooting around whilst us adults topped up on some caffeine intake from the nearest coffee shop. We knew that there were a couple of table tennis tables spotted in the gardens so we had gone prepared and had packed our paddles for a game.

Scooting around
Scooting around

victoria geo

After a short break we made our way to the second Geocache which was located near Temple station, just a short walk away. We walked through the gardens and along the Thames and was soon with GPS mobile device in hand searching for our find. Lots of people were around looking at us but we didn’t care. Along with the details to follow, there was also a hint which was to un-scramble some letters to form a word. It wasn’t long before we had found what we was looking for, all we had to do was hunt down the cache. The children had a feel around and soon found it inside the sand bin.

DSC_3978-opt

With one geocache logged the children couldn’t wait to find the next one. We headed on over Waterloo Bridge towards the Southbank.

Here we found the next one. We had to climb a few steps to get to this one.

DSC_3981-opt

The children were excited now and couldn’t wait to find more. The eldest boys wanted to visit the Southbank Skatepark, so we made our way to it to have a look about and watch some other skaters do some jumps. It was a pretty cool place with lots of street art to look at and it was under cover, which was ideal as the weather had taken a turn and the hail stones began to come down. _20160330_141350

As the sun was beginning to fight through the fast-moving clouds we headed on down the Southbank towards the London Eye. This was where we found our next find

DSC_3988-opt

Knowing that the cache is magnetic helps you know where to look.

The hidden cache
The hidden cache

It was time for a quick spot of lunch. The children enjoyed a play in the park and the eldest watched a magic show that a street performer was doing along the Southbank.

IMG_20160329_180837

We had heard about a street that was near by to Jubilee Gardens where there was lots of street art and wall graffiti. After we had refueled with food and drink we headed on over. It wasn’t far. We knew we was in the right spot as we could smell the fumes from the spray cans before we could see the graffiti. There were a few artists in there, adding their tags and art to the walls. It wasn’t quite a street as such, but a tunnel that went beneath the tracks of Waterloo station.

I'm so cool
I’m so cool
DSC_4003-opt
On the ceiling of the tunnel

We had one more cache to find before it was time to head on home.

Passing over the GPS device to the children, they navigated us to the last one. We was all looking up and down the street, but knowing that it was a magnetic cache meant that we had to look for something that was metal.

DSC_4004-opt

Looking behind the street sign, we soon had found our fourth find of the day.

We had a wonderful time in London and found four caches located along the southbank and embankment area. The children felt like real life explorers. But after being on our feet for 5 hours we was all ready to head on home. It was an eventful day and we can not wait to add some more logs to our Geocache account

Do you enjoy geocaching? Where have you found your treasures?

Share

An active chilly morning at Junior Parkrun

Every Sunday at 9am a group of children and volunteers gather together in the park to participate in a free, timed 2k run. They are safe and easy to take part in, all you have to do is register online and then print out your bar code in order to receive a time. Winter or Summer, rain or shine, wind or snow this activity happens no matter what and it’s all thanks to the volunteers that give up their Sunday morning lay in. They are amazing!

It’s a struggle foe me to get the youngest up and out of the house during the week for school so when it comes to the weekend, he is not having none of it. On the odd occasion he IS up and moving around the house, we take the opportunity of having to be able to go the park and join in.

This morning was a good morning. We managed to be up, fed, dressed and out of the front door by 8.30. Good eh!

We arrived at the park a little early, which was convenient as I had noticed a few weeks back that their was a geocache located in the park. Using the Geocache app on my phone we navigated our way to the cache. We did cheat a little by reading the hint, which was to ‘take a pew on the left hand side and have feel about’ As we neared the cache we spotted a bench

geo running

The boys ran off ahead to search for it, after a little feel about under the bench we found it

geo find

 

Didn’t take us long so we had some time to try out the fabulous swing and rope frame to climb

park fun

 

We only had a short play and it was time to head on over to the start ready for warm up before the race began. The youngest one doesn’t like to participate, not because he doesn’t enjoy it but he lacks confidence and is not happy when people show him attention. So I wasn’t going to push him into running, although I did dress him ready for it just in case he had a change of heart. As we was walking over to the Junior Parkrun Flag, he said that he would take part. He must have been in a good mood. I promised him a hot chocolate in the den at home if he ran and offered him a tic tac, which we said was a speed sweet and it would help him find the energy to run. With sweet in the mouth he was ready for the warm up. It took a lot for him to walk over to a bunch of strangers and join in, I didn’t want to give him too much attention otherwise it may have caused him to not join in. He had a big smile on his face when the countdown began and off he went along with his older brothers following the orange cones that was set out so that the children ran on the correct course. There were volunteers on every corner, supporting the children and pointing them in the right direction as they went past. They had to run round the course twice. It wasn’t long before the eldest passed by, with the middle boy following shortly behind. I waited by the start for the youngest to pass, as he neared he asked if I would join him. He told me that he was cold and needed my hand to warm him up. We ran the rest of the course hand in hand.

park run

As we neared the finish line i let go of his hand for him to finish by himself. His brothers came to join him, followed by other children that had already finished. They were running along side him, encouraging and cheering him on. The support that the children receive from the adults and other young children is immense, it really does help them along the way.

He finished the 2k run in 14:07. He done so well and was very proud of the token that he received at the end. You need to get your bar code scanned along with the token in order to get a time and place on the website.

 

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Share

Urban Geocaching..Our first hunt

What is Geocaching I hear you ask?

Well it’s a bit like a treasure hunt using GPS co-ordinates to find the location of the cache (container). Only there is no real treasure at the end to find, but instead a container and inside you will find a log which you place your name and date you found it on and place it back in exactly the same place that you found it.

I had seen plenty of pictures on instagram and twitter of other people on their geocaching outings to the middle of nowhere, stunning locations or pretty little picnics areas but as we live on the outskirts of London, I thought I would have a look online and see if there was any little hides near where we live. I was expecting to travel a few miles out, further into Essex but was shocked to find that there are hundreds of geocaches hidden in and around London.

I signed up with Geocaching online and put in my postcode, up popped a few pages of cache locations, with one particularly on out doorstep!

I asked the boys if they wanted to go out on a treasure hunt, they were quickly running to the front door with shoes in hand. We got our bikes and with phone in hand, a pen and a few little snacks off we went on our first Geocache hunt.

The first one that was just a few hundred metres away from us, we couldn’t find! We searched and searched, we decoded the special hint that was given and even cheated by looking at some of the pictures that others had uploaded but still no luck. It was hidden on some green in the middle of a road, so it wasn’t very safe. I didn’t want the boys to run off and search as I was a bit worried that the youngest one would wonder into the road, so we gave up.

We went on to the next one on our list. I was using the Geocaching app on my phone and it shows all the local caches on a map, so easy to follow.

The next one was a disappointment too! Sadly after searching on quiet green area for 20 minutes we couldn’t find the homemade cache that was hidden there. The only thing we came away with was wet feet! The grass was over grown and it was obviously a local dog walkers paradise as it was full of mess. The children were having fun running around and searching for it, I sat down on the bench for a short while whilst the boys ran around on the pavement. I got out my phone and searched for the next cache.

Searching around
Searching around

The next one was in a park, so off we went….would this one be a disappointment too?

The park was quite big and from the clue that was given it said it was on a bench, as we entered the park and looked around we saw lots of benches…eeek! We followed the GPS to the coordinates given and was soon ontop of a metal bench, lucky for us no one was having a rest on it 🙂 We knew that it was a metallic micro containing only a logsheet so we got searching. It wasn’t long before Joseph was shouting out that he had found something that was stuck underneath the bench, he pulled it off and we all sat down to open it.

IMG_20141012_125935

The Cahche
The Cahche

The boys were so excited as wrote our name on the log sheet

“Is that all!???” Joseph said

“Yes! That’s what we have been searching for”

“Great! Can we look for more please?”

I was so glad that the disappointment of not finding the first two hadn’t put them off.

It was getting late and we had to get home for tea so I said that there was one more that we could search for on the way home, but not before having a little play first

The last cache was hidden by our local church, as soon as we arrived the boys beagan searching the church grounds. The clue was ‘It must be a sign’ so they looked around all the signs but didn’t find anything.

IMG_20141012_191742

IMG_20141012_134815

The grounds had just been cut down and the hedges trimmed so it was easy to look around but it was looking like it may well be disappointment again, but as we was closing the gate to leave we noticed one more sign to look on. The road sign. Sure enough there it was hidden, crammed behind the sign up against the railing. This was bigger box than the last one so we left a little gift inside it.

DSC_0285

I think we had rather a successful day of geocaching and we are looking forward to finding more caches, maybe the next time we get the map out and look for some further out in the countryside.
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
 

Share