2 Jul 2011

Low Numbers, New Faces, New Coins and A Race

Low Numbers


After reaching last weeks milestone of 800 and doing a lot of caching, this week has been really low. Three in total. Things started to look promising and we planned to do a lot more, but as usual, work got in the way.

Bricks http://coord.info/GC29BAW was the first of the three this week. One of the most local caches not ticked off our list, Bricks is a nice simple puzzle cache that can be worked out at home by doing some checking on Google. By local cacher svk616g. We have found a few of his caches over the last few months but still have a fair few to do.

A few days ago, we packed the bikes in the Jeep again and headed off to do a series of caches on the Bilsthorpe Southwell Trail . After parking up we left the dogs and the bikes in the car while we searching for Number 1 http://coord.info/GC2Q9J1 This took us a few minutes longer than it should. We blame tree cover and the GPS (it really couldn't have been cacher error) We had looked in the right place a couple of times, then suddenly, realisation came and the cache was ours.

So on to number two. http://coord.info/GC2Q9JD A nifty hide, a slightly different take on an old idea. We were by now looking forward to doing the rest of the series, but then................Number 3 http://coord.info/GC2Q9JJ Having read previous logs we realised that we weren't in for an easy time with this one. We were right. Luckily the dogs are quite happy to entertain themselves. We spent a good 50+ minutes on this one with no luck. We had to admit defeat and give up. Sadly we didn't have time to continue with the rest of the series as we had baking to get back to for the market. Knowing some of the cachers who had found it, I decided to do a PAF to one of them. It turns out we had been looking at the cache all along. Our cachers eyes certainly weren't with us. We will be back soon to complete this entertaining series by Paneke sooner rather than later.

New Faces

Earlier this week we had a Notts Geocachers getogether. These used to happen regularly but for one reason and another, including falling numbers, they hadn't run in a while.  Months down the line and a few of us had been talking about trying to resurrect them. I decided to go through my cache logs and see what new cachers were about and contact them to guage interest.

The good news was that on the evening we had a lot of new faces. I won't call them newbies, it sounds so condescending. So we took over a large length of the pub and had a good natter.

We met, Coopernets, AmadeusVersailles, DingDongMerilly, Noords and many more. It looks like Notts Geocachers are going to go from strength to strength. We have vowed to keep the getogethers going on a more regular basis now.

New Coins

Due to the lack of caches this week, I have dotted some photos around the blog of coins that I have now added to my collection. There are now 20 in total, most of them have been pictured on here before so I have only added the new ones.

A Race

It has been in the back of my mind for some time to try and organise a TB race. This has been somewhat inspired by Slightly Tall Pauls Travel Bug Knock Out Race http://travelbugknockout.blogspot.com/ which proved (and still continues to do so) to be very popular.
Not wanting to tread on his toes I decided to do something a little different from that.

I got in contact with a geocacher from Nottingham, New Hampshire in the US  (Balrgn) to run some ideas by him. After some discussion we came up with the idea of a Nottingham UK to Nottingham US TB race. The premise being that he will set up a cache over there and I will do the same here. We will have a launch of the caches on the same day and bugs that have been entered in to the race will set off from both caches on that day. Details of the competition can be found here http://www.usuktbrace.blogspot.com/  Going on from this we came up with the idea that we should do event caches as well to launch the race. So from little acorns the idea has really moved on.

Just because people don't live in either of the Nottinghams doesn't preclude them from entering the race. As long as bugs are with either of us before launch date of September 10th they will be able to enter. The details of the two launch events can be found here. http://coord.info/GC2Z53W & http://coord.info/GC2Z51J

If you are interested in joining in, get in touch with me and I can give you our addresses so that you can post, or drop off bugs to us.

I am going to finish this blog with a moan and a couple of name and shames.

How many of you spend a lot of time, effort and money in setting up caches for others to enjoy? Quite a lot of you I would guess. How many of you get more than a little peed off when all you get in return when someone has found it is a log like this. Found, or TFTC, or                          or Got it. Yes, the space between TFTC and Got it was meant to be there. I have had a few blank logs come through lately.
I know that Groundspeak have an opinion that logs shouldn' be deleted, however I have now got to the stage where I will email such loggers and ask them for just a little bit more, or in the case of a blank log, I just delete it.
I don't expect essays on a log, but something that just shows that it actually has been found helps. I often read previous logs when I am out in the field as this is often a prelude to having to resort to a hint. I would love you to add a comment in the comments box below about what you think.

Now for the name and shames, one affects me directly, one doesn't.

There is a cacher called ChibiDragon she hails from Braintree in Essex. She is an occasional cacher but still logs on to GC regularly. She has had one of my geocoins in her possession for exactly one year now. I have emailed her during the last few months to ask her to get in contact with me to either move the coin on or get it back to me. She hasn't bothered to get in touch at all. It is this type of cacher who brings the game in to disrepute sadly.

The second name and shame is Pirates of Penzance they take pleasure in taking geocoins from a TB hotel in Portsmouth, contacting the coin owners and telling them that they are keeping them.
They now have over 20 coins that they have kept. I have no personal experience of these people, but it does wrankle that it is happening and even though they have been reported to GC nothing, as yet, has happened. I do know that a few of the coin owners are thinking about contacting the police regarding this. Especially as they have stated in coin logs that they are keeping them. It does go to prove however, that coin owners do need to state on a coins page that their item is NOT COLLECTABLE. I wrote in a previous blog about this. If you aren't sure have a look through old blogs to read it.


This was brought to my attention last night. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-13993411 The actual cache can be found here http://coord.info/GC2H9A2 

Comments on this have been flying back and forth on different forums. What do you think?

That's it until next week. We have an event next weekend, a barbeque in a local country park. Fingers crossed for decent weather.


Anonymous said...

I was the cache owner. As soon as I became aware of the suspect package, I phoned the police to identify myself as the owner and the cache as innocuous.

Today the police came to visit me. I have got off lightly but less so than the poor Geocacher who visited the cache yesterday and was arrested. When I asked as to his fate, the policeman said it would be wrong to tell me what had happened to him but that he had been dealt with without going to court, but it would likely affect his future career. Read into that what you will.

This was the first that this particular set of police had heard of geocaching.

The police also got me to show all other geocaches in the area. They then instructed me to pass on the following message to everybody in the area with caches on or near the A1:

"Sergeant Bilton - The device in Wetherby caused massive disruption for a period of about 4 hours. An estimated emergency services bill is around £35,000, not including loss of revenue for businesses who had to shut for most of the day. I can see from the website there are several next to or close to the A1. These need to be removed ASAP. If you wish to discuss it with me by all means please contact me at Wetherby police station on 0113 2855374."

I am terribly upset at the disruption and ramifications my cache has caused. I'm upset on many levels: the stress caused to locals, the use of resources, the effect on local businesses etc. and on the caching community.

I would ask those who know my identity please treat it as confidential to avoid potential repercussions should the local media identify me as being responsible for the whole thing.

Jeff said...

As a retired Police Officer I am concerned that the actions of the Police in Wetherby will cause people to stop Geocaching. I would like to point out the following :

1. Geocaching is not illegal
2. Placing geocaches is not illegal
3. When questioned by the Police you should be open about your activities.
4. When placing an urban cache, think about the location and the size of the cache - a nano/micro sized cache is unlikely to be described or viewed as a suspect package.
5. Label the cache (although this obviously has limitations).
6. Leave your contact details in the cache.
7. Geocaching is not an underground movement, retrieving and replacing a cache is not a criminal act.
8. Had I been the Geocacher arrested in the Wetherby incident I would have explained my presence, my actions and then asked the Police what exactly was the charge.
9. If the above comment is accurate then I surmise that the innocent finder was talked into accepting a Police Caution/Fixed Penalty Notice so as to avoid a Court appearance. I repeat, Geocaching is not a criminal offence. If the Crown Prosecution Service had been consulted in this case I wonder what their advice would have been.
Consider this, someone - not a Geocacher was walking along the road, they spot a box under a planter and, not wanting to be too conspicuous they circle it a couple of times and then being nosey, bend down to retrieve it. They are being watched by CCTV/a third person who thinks their actions are suspicious and the Police attend - what crime has the inquisitive passer by committed?
If I was the inquisitive passer by and told the Police that I thought that the box might have been a Geocache does that mean I have committed an offence?
This is an unfortunate incident, I do feel for the Cache Owner and the innocent finder.

I feel that something like this was likely to happen, especially with the large number of new caches, new Geocachers and the new smartphone apps that allow 'casual cachers' to take part in the hobby.

For my part I have temporarily disabled 16 of my urban caches until I can re-visit them and comply with my earlier advice, or remove the cache completely. The Wetherby incident has been the catalyst for me doing this, but I was also getting very tired of receiving blank, or 'found' or 'tftc' logs.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the mention.

I am shocked and concerned at the manner this has been dealt with, particularly given my career path. I was hoping this would have just been seen as the misunderstanding it was. The advice above from Jeff is very helpful. Without knowing exactly what the poor man was charged with, I can't say with any certainty what I would have done in his situation, but theoretically I would have chosen a court appearance in the hope of an acquittal. I do hope it never comes to a time where we need such a "test case" before guidance on urban caching is given. Certainly enough to make me stick to countryside caching for now.

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