The Scots Magazine

Treasure Island

Careful, geocaching on Cumbrae can lead to a serious addiction!


Geocaching turns a family walk into a scavenger hunt

STANDING on the ferry deck, my friend and I watch the Largs day-trippers shrink in the distance as we approach the slipway at Cumbrae. During the short crossing from Largs, my friend’s six-year-old daughter narrates our journey “across the ocean bound for a Treasure Island”.

She informs us matter-of-factly that there could be pirates and we scan the Firth of Clyde for a Jolly Roger.

Her fanciful tale has been inspired by the treasurehu­nting plans we concocted on the train journey from Glasgow. Having organised a day trip to explore Cumbrae’s geocaching trails, the prospect of searching for caches with evocative names like Shallow Grave and Deadman’s Bay has all our imaginatio­ns running wild.

Geocaching is a worldwide treasure hunting game that encourages all members of the family to get active outdoors. Paper maps with an “X” marking the spot may have been replaced by GPS technology, and the chests of gold have been swapped for plastic boxes of trinkets, but the sense of adventure remains.

On arrival, I check the descriptio­n of our first geocache aptly named The Cruel Sea. My phone directs us to a monument in memory of two drowned crewmen from the ship HMS Shearwater. An easy walk along the quiet road that circumnavi­gates Cumbrae leads us to the sombre stone obelisk.

After reading the clue, we appoint the youngest member of our team as the searcher. She is delighted with her role and immediatel­y goes to work picking up rocks and examining under the picnic table. After 10 minutes of frenzied

investigat­ion she shrieks with excitement and we know she has succeeded in her quest.

Buoyed with confidence, we sign the cache’s logbook and replace the container before catching the bus to Millport. The following hour, we search the beach for a cache named Deadman’s Bay before hunting around Garrison House for one called Whisky Galore.

A cafe lunch overlookin­g the harbour provides a chance to refuel and elect our last geocache of the day – Doughend Hole, with a view of Arran, Bute and Little Cumbrae, sounds too enticing to miss.

By the time we wander just over a mile along the coast, our searcher’s little legs are getting weary. However, the anticipati­on of finding more treasure motivates her to unearth the hidden container. She is keen to keep going but is really too tired, and that is the only problem with geocaching – it is highly addictive. However, with tens of thousands concealed in Scotland alone, there are always more geocaches to find.

There are fourteen caches on Cumbrae so far, and you can find a guide on the Millport website at

 ??  ?? Millport harbour, Cumbrae
Millport harbour, Cumbrae
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 ??  ?? One of Cumbrae’s sandy beaches
One of Cumbrae’s sandy beaches
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