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Well we have been out with our 5 year old son on three seperate occasions trying to find three different local caches and found none. After the third one today which involved a 3 mile walk he asked me if I was pretending that there was something there!! We searched all over for whatever it is we were searching for. I dont kmow whether it's us doing something wrong or there just isnt anything there and we have had an unlucky start. Do you get more clues if you become a paid member?

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Do you get more clues if you become a paid member?

 

No, sorry.

 

Bear in mind that caches come in various sizes, denoted at the top of the cache page, from micro to large, try sticking with larger caches until you get the hang of it, larger ones are also more likely to have swaps/treasure.

 

They also come with levels of terrain and difficulty, again shown at the top of the cache page. Obviuously caches with a low difficulty should be easier to find so stick to D 1 or 1.5 to start with.

 

If there's an encrypted hint on the cache page, use it.

 

It can also be useful to read some recent logs from other cachers as there are often clues in there too, and try to go for something that's been found recently so you've some confidence that it's still there.

 

Edit to add, what are you using for a GPS? Some of the older iPhones had pretty poor GPS accuracy. If you're using a dedicated handheld GPS make sure it's set to the WGS84 datum , otherwise it will be about 100 feet out.

Edited by MartyBartfast
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All of what MartyBartfast has said +

 

Try triangulation.

 

Walk past where you think ground zero is and make a mental note of the position.

Repeat from as many directions as you can.

 

If the arrow won't deliver you to gz. Change the screen view on your GPSr until you have a dynamic coordinate display. Move around until that display matches the figures on the cache page if seeking a Trad or your calculated coordinates if a Multi or Puzzle.

 

Good luck. What area are you from? Including such detail might get you local help. :D

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The most important thing to check when you are starting out is the recent logs, to make sure that the cache is still there, if it has been found within the past week then the chances are good it's still there. Caches do go missing on a regular basis!

 

It will take time to get used to what you are looking for, "Cacher's Eye"! once you've found a few you'll figure that within the radius specified by the GPS location there can only be so many places to hide a cache, and you get used to seeing things which are out of place, I mean big flat rocks aren't normally at the bottom of fence posts ;)

 

Also don't trust the GPS location too much, you need to look within a radius of *at least* 5 metres.

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If you think your son is getting a bit disheatened with not finding anything you could go out and find the next cache on your own, so you can take as much time as you like, you could also leave something in the cache that you know he will like. Then when you know exactly where it is go look for it with him (but don't let on you know where it is), and let him find it himself by you giving him a nudge in the right direction. I reckon that will make him keen to do more :)

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Thanks for all your replies, the caches we have tried to find so far have had a difficulty rating of 1-1.5, and we have been reading the encrypted clues beforehand. My GPSr is a Garmin etrex 20, at the moment it is set to British Grid, it seems to be accurate enough though. Take yesterday for example (GC1AAFC) the clue was 'end of railings' there is also a reference to nettles, my GPS pointed us right slap bang to the end of some railings, the ground sloped up towards the railings to a point (funnily enough behind a small patch of nettles) at one point I was lying on my side next to this point rooting around and there was nothing, this was last found on the 19th of February. We also tried GC1QEH7 which is literally 5 minutes walk from us, the clues located on a path going down the side of a stream, 'in the V of an Ivy covered tree', once again the GPS took us to the path going down to the stream and right slap bang up to a tree covered in Ivy, we searched all over!

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Thanks for all your replies, the caches we have tried to find so far have had a difficulty rating of 1-1.5, and we have been reading the encrypted clues beforehand. My GPSr is a Garmin etrex 20, at the moment it is set to British Grid, it seems to be accurate enough though. Take yesterday for example (GC1AAFC) the clue was 'end of railings' there is also a reference to nettles, my GPS pointed us right slap bang to the end of some railings, the ground sloped up towards the railings to a point (funnily enough behind a small patch of nettles) at one point I was lying on my side next to this point rooting around and there was nothing, this was last found on the 19th of February. We also tried GC1QEH7 which is literally 5 minutes walk from us, the clues located on a path going down the side of a stream, 'in the V of an Ivy covered tree', once again the GPS took us to the path going down to the stream and right slap bang up to a tree covered in Ivy, we searched all over!

That is certainly one of your problems. You must use WGS84 datum NOT OSGB. The wrong datum can put you several hundred yards from the correct position. In the cases you mention you could have been at the wrong end of the right raillings or the end of the wrong railings altogether. In the other case there could be lots of Ivy covered trees with V's within a much smaller radius than the error caused by the wrong datum.

 

I have just done a search and there is an event close to you near Hazel grove on 24th April GC3BZZM. Why not go along to that and chat to other cachers in your area who will be glad to help you.

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You can not beat the dissapointment of dnf's

 

A couple of tips that may help you with getting your 1st find.

When searching on geocaching.com scroll to the bottom of the page and there is a tickbox to highlight "beginner caches" these usually have a low terrain / difficulty rating.

It will also help if you choose a large cache, I see the one you mentioned is only a step up from a micro, this makes it harder to spot and also you will not find much 'treasure' in them for your son.

Also check the logs, if there have been a lot of dnf's then do not go!

It also helps if the cache has been found recently.

 

Good luck with your cacheing!

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Both of those caches have a fairly high rate of DNFs, some by some very experienced cachers, so they could just be tricky. Check the image gallery on both caches as there are pictures of the GZ , which should at least confirm if you're in the right area, and the cache containers so you know what you're looking for. I would still recommend having the datum set ot WGS84 and the input format set to degrees, and deciman minutes (e.g. N50 51.736 , W1 36.353 ) which is what Geocaching.com uses.

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You could also try looking at the satellite view (or Google Street View for urban caches) which should give you a pretty good idea where you should be looking even if your GPS is taking you to the wrong place.

 

Of course if the owner's co-ordinates are wrong (and they'll be subject to errors just the same as you) then this won't help much.

 

If nothing else you might be able to pick out caches that have few hiding places.

 

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That's a common myth I'm afraid, you don't need to have it set to WGS84, my Etrex 20 is set to BNG and is always spot on whether I'm hiking or caching :)

I'm afraid you are getting confused. Just Roger referred to the WGS84 and OSGB datums. BNG is not a datum, it is a projection.

 

When you refer to lat/long, you need to know which datum it is referenced to, because there are 100 different datums. To the uninitiated this may seem daft, but there are good historical reasons for it. The earth is an irregular shape, and a long time ago, cartographers used a model of the earth that best fitted their locality. It didn't matter if it was a different model in the UK to the one they used in Japan, for example; it was more important that the one used here was a good fit here. The datum used in the UK when the Ordnance Survey carried out their survey was OSGB.

 

With a global system such an arrangement is unsatisfactory. GPS uses WGS84, is a less good fit in the UK than is OSGB, but which is a better compromise globally. Because the GPS uses WGS84, and geocaching uses the GPS, use of the WGS84 datum is implicit.

 

In the UK, the difference between locations having the same co-ordinates but using OSGB and WGS84 datums ranges from 0 to about 200 metres, depending on where you are. If you have a receiver that shows you the same co-ordinates using both datums at all locations in the UK it is faulty.

 

We now change to a slightly different subject. Most GPSrs allow you to enter co-ordinates in either lat/long or as an OS National Grid reference. How they handle input and display of grid refs might be device specific, but because OS grid refs implicitly are based on the OSGB datum I would hope most modern ones take that into account irrespective of the datum setting. But if you are inputting and displaying lat/long, you should have the unit set to WGS84 datum.

 

Finally, the OS grid ref conversion used by Groundspeak is a very poor one, typically 5 or 6 metres in error. I would advise setting the unit to WGS84 and using the lat/long published on the cache page.

 

Rgds, Andy

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The last ivy covered tree i had to search in the middle of turned out to be under the ivy n had to be moved carefully....also ive had a film canister hanging down from the middle of the v so make sure u search all around and change from normal eyes to geocaching eyes.....Once ur 5 year old finds one (maybe u could find one first n take him back there) he will be hooked just like my little un....." are we going catchin mummy?"

 

Good luck

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I understand what you say but was trying to keep it relatively simple for a new cacher.

The simplest thing for a new cacher is to set the datum to WGS84 and leave it there, and use lat/long not OS grid references.

 

Anything else needs a greater degree of understanding, may be device dependant and more prone to error.

 

And when they do their first multi or puzzle, any other method will end in tears :sad: .

 

Rgds, Andy

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I'm quite at home with the BNG, I have been hiking for a number of years now. The only difference between that and this is with hiking you dont often find yourself crawling around on all fours looking for a 35mm film canister :lol:

 

What we have decided to do if the bad luck continues is for us to hide one for him :)

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I'm quite at home with the BNG, I have been hiking for a number of years now. The only difference between that and this is with hiking you dont often find yourself crawling around on all fours looking for a 35mm film canister :lol:

I realise you may be at home with BNG, but when you are caching you will find it easier to use WGS84 lat/long. It's a global system, BNG isn't. You will soon be at home with using lat/long too, and you will find that things work better.

 

The lat/long figures on the cache page are more accurate than the BNG figures. There are no potential device dependent ambiguities. 99.9% of multi-cache or a puzzle caches will provide child waypoints in WGS84 lat/long but not in BNG, and will require that your workings out are in WGS84 lat/long. If you set a cache you are required to submit all waypoints in WGS84 lat/long. If you go abroad you will be working in WGS84 lat/long.

 

Rgds, Andy

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When I first started caching I'd be using the national grid references, which were easier to type into my phone. At least one of the caches I didn't find was a couple of hundred metres away from where I'd been looking for it, which I wonder if that was down to the grid reference.

When I first started I used to use OSGB too because I recognised the OS grid and felt comfortable with it, I had an experience similar to you which made me bite the bullet and switch to WGS84/decimal minutes, it only took a very short while to get familiar with it and in actual fact I find it much easier for on the ground navigation and estimating distance & direction from a set of references now.

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It's all a bit confusing though at the moment, I have a choice of....

 

hddd.ddddd

hddd mm.mmm'

hddd mm'ss.s"

 

When things start getting too complicated it sort of starts taking the fun out of things :blink:

For geocaching, always use the middle one, hddd mm.mmm'

 

It's not complicated, but as with any activity, there is a learning curve. Geocaching isn't hiking, and being an experienced hiker doesn't mean you are an experienced geocacher. But it doesn't take long to pick it up, and the learning is fun if you go about it the right way, e.g. you follow the suggestions here about tackling the larger, easier and recently found ones first.

 

And using WGS84 lat/ long is the least complicated way to approach geocaching co-ordinates, because if you use OS grid references you may be "fighting the system" to one degree or another unless you understand co-ordinate systems, datums and projections. If you just use WGS84 lat/long you don't need to understand them at all.

 

Rgds, Andy

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Graham, the problem here is that the geocaching purists/elite have their own ideas of what you and I want out of caching...

 

... Like you all my maps etc use BNG and that's what I'll continue to use. The accuracy issue really is a red herring unless, as I mentioned earlier, you're manually inputting coords, which I don't.

 

I don't know what you want, but it's clear what Graham want's out of caching right now, he wants to be able to find those illusive caches which is why he came here asking for help! Using the wrong datum is one thing that's caused LOADS of people to be in the wrong place in the past, and changing datums is going to immediately eliminate one potential problem.

 

And FWIW OS maps also use ddd mm.mmm too, although I don't know whether those markings are also based on the OSGB datum or whether they're based on WGS84.

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That's the point though. Simply changing datums eliminates nothing provided he's downloading the coords to his GPS and not trying to input them manually :)

 

As he has already pointed out, he has tried changing datums and his GPS takes him to exactly the same point, which is what it will do.

You do seem very determined not to understand!

 

This issue of how devices handle the datum in connection with OS grid refs is dependent on both the device AND how you are using it. Using WGS84 lat/long is the only way that is guaranteed to be OK across all devices and all methods of reading and writing data. As a new user it is best to simplify things, and this is one very easy way to do that by eliminating one potential problem.

 

Rgds, Andy

Edited by Amberel
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Well at least you now accept that it's only a potential problem and not a real one :)

I think you are now being deliberately obtuse!

 

The problem manifests itself depending on the device you have and how you use it. If it affects you, it is a real problem.

 

We don't know if it affects the OP or not - we think it possibly doesn't affect them all the time, but it is unlikely to be intuitive to an inexperienced user that it may behave differently if used in different ways.

 

When starting out, eliminate it as a potential problem. Once they have gained some confidence and understanding of the system, they can revisit the subject if they wish.

 

Rgds, Andy

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Hello There,

 

Back to finding a Cache. I notice this morning you've still not managed to log a find. I've had a look at the cache pages your way and I would sayGC1QEJ1 looks about the easiest. Have a look at the gallery of photos on the page as well as the hint, they'll show the size of the container and roughly where it is. Also if you can, copy and paste the cache coordinates from the cache page into Google Maps, go to street view, you can then see it must be in the narrow hedge. Satellite or Earth view points to the largest tree though that might not be exact.

 

Hope that will help you.It won't be long before you're both experts!

 

 

Regards

 

Bernard

 

 

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Hello There,

 

Back to finding a Cache. I notice this morning you've still not managed to log a find. I've had a look at the cache pages your way and I would sayGC1QEJ1 looks about the easiest. Have a look at the gallery of photos on the page as well as the hint, they'll show the size of the container and roughly where it is. Also if you can, copy and paste the cache coordinates from the cache page into Google Maps, go to street view, you can then see it must be in the narrow hedge. Satellite or Earth view points to the largest tree though that might not be exact.

 

Hope that will help you.It won't be long before you're both experts!

 

 

Regards

 

Bernard

 

 

Thanks for your help, we will go and have a look on Saturday morning, I will let you know how we got on :)

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I haven't read all the posts, but I'd definitely steer clear of any hints involving ivy, especially on an ivy-covered tree or wall at this stage. It really is one of the trickiest locations to hunt in, although that said, it's easier to hunt now when the weather's fine and you're not getting dripped all over by rain or snow!

 

Your terrain choice is fine, and I'd recommend looking for medium to large-sized containers, not least because they're more likely to contain swaps for your son. And if you have the chance to search for rural caches fitting these criteria, then it is more likely to offer you peace and quiet to hunt than something in an urban setting.

 

Best of luck.

 

B)

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I haven't read all the posts, but I'd definitely steer clear of any hints involving ivy, especially on an ivy-covered tree or wall at this stage. It really is one of the trickiest locations to hunt in, although that said, it's easier to hunt now when the weather's fine and you're not getting dripped all over by rain or snow!

 

Your terrain choice is fine, and I'd recommend looking for medium to large-sized containers, not least because they're more likely to contain swaps for your son. And if you have the chance to search for rural caches fitting these criteria, then it is more likely to offer you peace and quiet to hunt than something in an urban setting.

 

Best of luck.

 

B)

 

Thank you for your advice, we are out on the hunt tomorrow morning, I will post the results here ;)

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Whooo well done , that looks like a very happy little boy :laughing: !

 

If you want to delete a picture, go to the cache page, under your log click the "View/Edit Log/Images" link in the bottom right; then on the next page click the "Edit Image" link above the picture; then on the next page click the waste bin icon "Delete Image".

 

Now you've got the hang of it on to the next cache!

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