Feb 252016

With thanks to Ian McLaren, PR account manager, Innes Associates

Geocaching at Drum Castle, Aberdeenshire

A family at Drum Castle tracking down a cache on the Explore Royal Deeside GeoTour.

A high-tech, pirate-themed treasure hunting weekend on Royal Deeside next month will herald the start of meteorological spring and illustrate that the area is open for business. Organised by Visit Royal Deeside, the area’s first geocaching weekend will take place from Friday, 04 to Sunday, 06 March and will be based around the award winning Explore Royal Deeside GeoTour.

Titled Going for Gold, the family-friendly event aims to encourage locals and visitors to explore the area’s scenery and attractions by way of the high-tech treasure hunt.

Launched nine months ago, the Explore Royal Deeside GeoTour is Scotland’s only official GeoTour – a modern day version of a traditional treasure hunt. The initiative features 20 cache boxes hidden along the Dee valley that can be tracked down using GPS coordinates and a series of clues downloaded onto a mobile phone.

The Going for Gold weekend will have a pirate theme and feature special traditional treasure hunts, children’s competitions, storytelling and face painting. Saturday’s events will take place at Deeside Activity Park, while World Horse Welfare’s Belwade Farm is the venue for Sunday’s activities. Events on both days will take place between 10am and 2pm, and fancy dress is optional.

Alongside the activities, golden tickets will be hidden in three of the cache boxes, with prizes on offer for the first three people to discover the tickets and register their finds on the Explore Royal Deeside Facebook page.

Bonus stamps will be on offer over the weekend to help geocachers fill their Deeside passport which supports the GeoTour. The passport allows geocachers to collect stamps to potentially win limited edition silver or gold geocoins. Passport stamps can be collected at each of the 20 caches and from any of the 27 participating businesses, with one stamp being given for every £10 spent.

Local tourism body Visit Royal Deeside has created the event to encourage individuals and families to visit Deeside’s many attractions and local businesses, giving the area’s tourism industry a boost before the season starts in earnest in late March.

Moira Gash, Visit Royal Deeside project co-ordinator, said:

“The GeoTour has proven to be very popular since it was established last year and it has inspired many families to take up geocaching as a way of exploring the local area. Royal Deeside is a stunning place at any time of the year with lots of sights to see and the GeoTour lets visitors explore some fantastic places that they may not normally experience.

“The weekend is set to be fun filled, with lots of activities to keep all of the family entertained. That is the beauty of geocaching, it is something that people of all ages can enjoy. Going for Gold is designed to spur geocachers on to tracking down as many caches as possible with the aim of collecting enough passport stamps to secure a gold geocoin. 

“Geocaching continues to grow in popularity around the world. For those who have never been geocaching and are thinking about taking it up, experienced geocachers will be on hand at the two weekend events to teach the basics.

“With the days lengthening and people eager to get out and explore as spring arrives, it really is an ideal time to visit Royal Deeside and give the area’s economy a boost by supporting some of the local businesses.”

There are over 2.5million active geocachers around the world. The Royal Deeside GeoTour aims to attract visitors from throughout the UK and overseas to the area.  Throughout Deeside there are a number of smaller trails that are linked into the official Deeside GeoTour, including ones at Braemar Castle, Belwade Farm and Scolty Hill.

Visit Royal Deeside is the destination management organisation established in 2005 to promote Royal Deeside, Donside and the eastern Cairngorms. The organisation works with over 100 locals businesses to enhance the quality and variety of visitor products and services, providing effective training and support where necessary. It aims to grow tourism in the area for the benefit of locals and ensure visitors have the best possible experience to encourage return visits and recommendations to family and friends.

More information is available at www.visitroyaldeeside.com or at www.facebook.com/ExploreRoyalDeeideGeocaching.