Apollo the Geocaching Ferret

by Apollo Ferret

Geocaching is an outdoor treasure-hunting game. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using GPS-enabled devices and then share their experiences online. Web site: www.geocaching.com

My name is Apollo and I'm a polecat coloured kit and my official geocaching name is Apollo Ferret. I don't know if there are more geo-ferrets out there but I do know that there are a few geo-dogs with accounts. It all started as a bit of a laugh when ferreter38 posted on a geocaching forum about using the ferrets to find the 'Apollo Fir' geocache which started out as an April Fool joke and is located in Perth. A reviewer joked that ferreter38 should get accounts for the ferrets. However, it was decided that I would be the only one to sign up for an account.

Apollo Ferret with GPS When we were at Scone for the Scottish Game Fair I did a few geocaches, one of them being 'Apollo Fir' which was my first find. I also went with ferreter38 to find the others near Scone but, alas although I signed the logbooks in the caches I couldn't claim them as finds as they were for Premium Members only and I didn't have enough pocket money saved up to pay for full membership. Still, I mustn't complain as I've been given my very own Global Positioning System (GPS), a Garmin Etrex.

My next find was an event down in St David's; I joined the other cachers in the bar of The Old Cross Hotel and only went back to the van when the humans had their meal

After we'd done the actual event which we were booked for in St David's - The Really Wild Festival - ferreter38 loaded up the van with the help of a couple of friends and headed to Swansea for the big event of the year, The Welsh Mega 2011 at Brangwyn Hall.

Whilst we were waiting outside for the doors to open at 10am I was spotted by officials of the Hall. No animals are allowed in the hall (except assistance dogs). However, I think they were intrigued with seeing me waiting outside and I was allowed inside provided I stayed in my box. We signed in and collected our name badges; I had mine pinned to my harness. Just as an extra point of interest some scenes of the Doctor Who episodes 'Silence in the Library' and 'Forest of the Dead' were shot in Brangwyn Hall. Apollo Ferret at the Welsh Mega

During the course of the event we nipped outside to find a microcache "Who Was Here 7: Silence in the Cache'. I also met Deceangi the reviewer who had joked about the ferrets getting accounts. I ended up having my photo taken by quite a number of cachers and even met the main man Jeremy Irish, who was over here from the United States. Jeremy set up and owns Groundspeak who run the geocaching website.

My next cache was on 1st August in Gnoll Park in Neath; 'A Piece of NW England', a traditional cache followed by another event 'A Taste of NW England'. Next year's Mega event is being held in the North West and the committee had set up a stand offering folk a sample of the food from the NW: black pudding, sausage, Lancashire and Cheshire cheese and sticky toffee pudding from Cartmel. I enjoyed the sausage and I think I preferred it to the black pudding: I wasn't allowed to sample the sticky toffee pudding!

We also did some racing in Gnoll Park next to the NW stand. We weren't scheduled to do it but one of the committee members' thought it would be a good idea to do something to amuse the children. We got permission for the Ferret Mobile (Transit van) to drive to the stand. I even took part in one race with fellow kits Ianto and Captain Jack, but us kits weren't used to racing and Amber, an older jill, won the race.

The following day we went to The Big Pit at Bleanafon. Well, I myself didn't actually visit The Big Pit but stayed in the van; kits weren't allowed on the underground tour. I suppose it must have been a bit like a really, deep, black bury but without the rabbits, so no caches for me that day. I had to wait until the following day before I could sign the log for 'It's Tough at the Top', flippin 'eck that was quite a climb up that old slag heap to get that micro.

First published in NFWS News #91 September 2011