Britain’s highest Geocache — Geocache of the Week

by Jurassic Parkinsons
Northern Scotland
N 56° 47.797′ W 005° 00.107′

“The mountains are calling & I must go.” – John Muir 

Although there are now over three million active geocaches, only a select few stand above the rest and can claim they’re hidden at the highest possible point in a given country. In May of 2003, such a cache was placed in the northern reaches of the United Kingdom and has since been logged by over 2,400 brave adventurers. So pack your climbing gear and join us as we travel to the summit of Ben Nevis in Scotland for GCG6XD – Britain’s highest Geocache!

Climbing any mountain is an arduous task, and the mighty Ben Nevis is no exception—GCG6XD truly packs an adventurous punch with its 4.5/5 D/T rating. With that said, climbing always feels a bit easier when there’s a historic ammo can waiting for you at the top! One way or the other, you’ll want to make sure you’re well-equipped before ever setting foot on Ben Nevis. 

Image by Triibez.

You’ll require lots of water, a sturdy pair of hiking boots, and reliable clothing that can handle the cold and windy conditions that await you at the peak. With monstrous hikes like these, it’s always best to get started in the morning to ensure you have enough daylight to make it back home. Don’t forget to bring along some fun geocaching SWAG items, either!

Image by sunflowerbee.

Once you’re all packed and ready, there’s only one place to go—up! As tempting as it might be to race up the mountain and ink your name in the logbook, it’s always good practice to pace yourself and take breaks whenever necessary. It can take up to four hours to reach the summit of Ben Nevis, meaning patience and endurance are key here. Luckily, we’re in the heart of the Scottish Highlands, where idyllic lochs are aplenty and make for good spots to rest along the way. As you make your way up the Ben Nevis ridgeline, bouncing from loch to loch, the clouds above appear closer and closer.

Image by MrsMBaker.

Unless you visit on a mild day, the chilling winds will be the first indication that you’ve almost made it to the top of Ben Nevis. Thankfully, a shelter was erected at the peak that offers hikers and geocachers alike refuge from the elements. You can take this opportunity to rest up once more and bust out your Geocaching® app or GPS device—it’s time to start hunting! An ammo can is hidden in one of the many rocky crevices on top of Ben Nevis. Since there’s no shortage of potential hiding spots, you’ll want to rely heavily on the posted coordinates (and your best geosense!) for guidance. Out there somewhere is a shiny metal ammo can just waiting for you to open. Only found through a combination of brains and brawn, a smiley like this one truly defines ‘hard-earned.’

Image by Finlay & His Drudge.

Now that the heavy-lifting is done, take some time to soak in your surroundings. Not only are you standing at the highest point in all the UK at 4,413 feet (1,345 meters) of elevation, you’re also on the tallest piece of land for 459 mi (738 km) in any direction. The view Ben Nevis provides is truly one of a kind—just like the geocache that resides there! Once you’ve taken in the stunning beauty of the landscape, all that’s left is to start your descent, and it’s onto the next find.

Image by mely333.

Continue to explore some of the most amazing geocaches around the world. Check out all of the Geocaches of the Week on the Geocaching blog. If you would like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, fill out this form.

Eric is a Community Coordinator at Geocaching HQ. Among other things, he's passionate about animals, the outdoors, and reading.