My first geocaching experience

Many readers will know that i enjoy geohashing (geohashing.org): locating a geographic point detemined daily by randomly generated coordinates. For a long time i’ve been wanting to try the sport that inspired geohashing, which is geocaching.

Geocaching (geocaching.com) is another GPS game where you have to find a ‘cache’ which has been hidden by someone else. The cache stays there indefinitely and over the course of time several people will follow clues to find it. The cache may be large or small, and may contain various items. People sometimes take an item out and replace it with another item for the next visitor to find.

Today i got my chance to go geocaching for the first time. All the geohash locations were uninteresting or hard to reach this weekend, so my geohashing friend Mike came to Winchester for the afternoon. We initially planned to spend an afternoon juggling, but it was a bit wet and the ground too dirty for that. We went for lunch in the Bridge Patisserie and then decided to look whether there were any geocaches nearby.

It turned out there was one just around the corner! GC1N2M9 – Winchester Chesil Station which is part of a series of geocaches along the route of the former Didcot, Newbury and Southampton Railway. I became interested in this railway line since my geohash in Bar End where i noticed the railway line going past St Catherine’s Hill on a map from 50 years ago. So i was curious to go anyway, to see whether i could spot any clues of the former railway and the station.

The first clue made me laugh to myself that i’d never noticed it before!

Old Station Approach

Old Station Approach. The clue is in the name!

The second clue is even bigger! This is the entrance to the tunnel that went straight through St Giles’ Hill and out the other side in Winnall before it carried on towards Kings Worthy. I wonder whether the tunnel is still intact?

Where in Winchester?

This is a contribution to the Flickr group Guess Where Winchester? so [shhh] on the location! ;)

The footbridge near the multi-storey car park has a definite ‘railway feel’ about it, don’t you think?

the bridge and the car park

That car park is built exactly where the old station used to be. It was called Winchester Cheesehill, the old name for the area we now call Chesil.

The view from the bridge:

view from the bridge

The silver car driving away is following the route of the old railway line. There is no sign of it now, but a photo on wikipedia proves the history. Winchester Chesil Station

We looked for a long time before we found the geocache. It was very small and very well hidden. I don’t believe anyone would find it unless they were specifically looking for it. Eventually Mike pulled it up. It was really nicely labelled:

found the geocache!

The barrel reads: GEOCACHE – CONTENTS SAFE – DO NOT MOVE – GEOCACHING.ORG

Look what was inside!

opening up the tiny geocache

list of previous visitors to the geocache

A list of people and dates when they have found the cache. The list was actually full: somebody needs to go back and put in a new sheet of paper.

I really enjoyed my first geocaching experience. There are loads of geocaches all over Winchester so i’ll definitely be going to find more. There are another 4 in this series on the Didcot, Newbury and Southampton Railway which i am keen to find, whilst learning more about the old railway line.

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18 comments on “My first geocaching experience

  1. Great blog. All posts have something to learn. Your work is very good and i appreciate you and hopping for some more informative posts.

  2. Mm, this seems so much more civilised than old fashioned flash mobbing. I do like the idea of a constant change of what you find though if possible, so each individual can leave their own little stamp of personaltiy on the geocache for the next person to find – it seems like a reward for the effort.I guess however you can't leave a large tin or something similar as it will be stolen. A shame.

  3. Really interesting activity which I didn't know about before. Thanks for this insightful post – off to find out more! :)

  4. I have been DYING to find out the name of this and now I know! i did it WAAAY back in 98 two or three times with my dad in Sweden but there isn't much of it where I am in the city. I want to go to winchester solely to geocache

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