Week 16 of my challenge has been superb for walking.
There was a remarkable change in the weather across Fife leading to many people heading out to explore the Kingdom.
The Fife Coastal Path was the obvious choice for heading out and gaining the miles and many people thought the same. The coast was busy with walkers, runners and cyclists as everyone got out to make the best of this spell of sunshine.
On the hunt for treasure
In the coming summer months I will be hosting a free Walk Fife workshop introducing geocaching (a GPS treasure hunt game), I thought I would get out and find a couple as I walked along the coast. Geocaching is a great way to get active and explore the world around you and is easily accessible to people of all ages, ability and fitness.
As we all know, the winter has been exceptionally harsh and the impact that it has had on paths and trails in some places has been huge. This upheaval has also affected some of the many geocaches hidden throughout the Fife region. With this in mind I put together a cache repair kit so I could carry out some maintenance to any damaged geocaches that I may find.
Geocaches normally take the form of small boxes or containers and more often or not they are more suited to life in the kitchen than being hidden in the outdoors. When harsh weather hits these boxes can have a rough ride and moisture can build up inside them. Water is to be avoided within a geocache as it can result in the paper log book which is signed by the finder to be damaged or even worse destroyed.
So what is in my repair kit?
The kit is really quite simple. I include a roll of electrical insulating tape, paper towels, replacement log books in a sealable polythene bag (little notebooks), a few sachets of silica gel, some small pencils alongside some pencil sharpeners. All these elements can help bring a cache back to life and allow others to enjoy their find.
Repairing a geocache
The first thing I do when finding a damaged cache is to identify the issue. It could be that the seal has failed and has let water into the cache. To fix this I firstly empty the box and dry the contents and the cache itself with paper towels. Once everything is dry, I refill the box and seal it shut with the insulation tape. This will make the box fairly water tight and due to the nature of the tape it can be unsealed and resealed quite a number of times.
If the paper log is wet, I try to dry it out as best I can and put it in a sealable polythene bag along with a sachet of silica gel which will help absorb the moisture. If the log is just too soggy to be signed I try to remove as much moisture as I can while avoiding further damage to the paper. I then again put it in a sealable polythene bag along with a sachet of silica gel and then drop a replacement log book in the box to allow other to continue logging their find.
I also like to drop a small pencil in the box if there isn’t one present along with a pencil sharpener. There are few thing more annoying for the geocacher than spending a few hours on the hunt for a geocache only to discover that you have forgotten to bring a pen to sign the logbook.
Once I have repaired the cache I drop a note to the cache owner through the geocaching website (or app) with a quick rundown of what I have done and what they may need to do in terms of future maintenance.
This admittedly all sounds rather geeky when written down like this but it is part of being a member of the geocaching community and it helps to maintain the many thousands of geocaches around the world.
Week 16 lessons
The change in weather allowed me to see how much impact the “Beast from the East” has had on the Kingdom of Fife. The whole region really took a hard bashing during the winter storms and this was particularly evident along the coastline.
Fallen trees, collapsed pathways and damaged buildings can be seen along the entire distance of the Fife Coastal Path. As I walked along the coast this week I was happy to see many local community groups and regional authorities working together to start to clean up and repair the damage in time for the coming summer. It is good to know that the spirit to get out there and sort things out for the benefit of all is still thriving in the Kingdom.
It seems that I won’t be able hang up my waterproofs just yet as we are in for another spell of rainy weather over the course of the coming week but this won’t deter me from getting out and clocking up the miles towards my goal.
If you have any questions about this challenge or anything Walk Fife related, then please drop me a email at firstname.lastname@example.org or direct message me through my twitter account @SDMakin.
Catch up with you again next week.