What's a Fox Hunt? And aren't they banned?
Don't worry, no animals are involved in the Geocaching version of a fox hunt, except the geohounds which might be along for the ride.
Put simply, the "Fox" (i.e. me) sets off with a Tracking device, and everyone sets off to catch it.
Anyone who's done a "Hunt & Munch" event might know what to expect.
There will be two parts to this event :-
- The start meet at the picnic tables in the main Swinsty Reservoir Car Park - an open to all gathering of 30 minutes, where everyone is welcome to come and have a natter and receive the final details of the hunt. It's a beautiful location, about half an hour from the Mega Campsite.
- The hunt itself, purely optional - anyone who attends the start meet can log the event. Anyone who doesn't come on the hunt may wish to explore the area, as there are a few caches nearby.
How the Hunt Works
You send a blank SMS message from your mobile phone to the Fox's number, and it replies back with it's current position.
The Hunt part of the event will involve the use of a car with a working Radio and a mobile phone, and will be best done in teams of a minimum of two (one to drive, one to txt and direct).
The texts will be at your standard rate. As we don't want to make it too expensive for those who want to take part (and the fact that each reply costs us money too) we are looking at making the hunt work with as few txts as possible.
If possible, get someone in your team who either has a "free texts" call plan, or is on the "Colourful Fruit" mobile network, as this is what the Tracker is on.
The Fox will be moving between set locations, the details of which are below. Therefore you should be able to work out which roads it will be traveling on.
The fox will be driving below the legal speed limits, and you are all expected to obey the highway code.
There are Twelve temporary caches hidden around the "playarea, and where you "catch" the fox determines which coords you get.
Inside the boxes are tokens. Whoever is FTF on each stage will get the chance to grab the highest value token.
The tokens are marked, so we'll know if you try to swipe more than one token from each stage.
The maximum points a team could get is 150.
The Fox's final stop will be at the Mega Camping Event site, well in time for the Hog Roast, where the points will be tallied and a few modest prizes awarded.
The whole purpose of the event is to have fun, and to be taken around the wonderful parts of this area of North Yorkshire. You never know, the fox may pass a few caches along the way.
The event will take place in the afternoon, giving you a chance to arrive earlier in the day to explore the caches in the area beforehand, and will finish in time for the Hog Roast Event at the Ripon campsite.
The pre-hunt meeting at the posted coords will take place at 2pm, lasting half an hour.
It is quite a spacious car park, but you are advised to arrive early, as it's a very popular spot for muggles out for a walk. If you should find that car park full, there is another one at the South end of Swinsty.
Check out the map of locations that the Fox will visit, and it's overall playarea.
Somewhere near each of the markers on the map, the Fox will stop for a rest, giving the hunters a chance to catch up.
To visit all of the locations once, will probably involve up to 30 miles driving.
How to catch the Fox
If all goes well, you will be able to "catch" the fox without stopping your car (though of course you can catch it when it's having a rest stop).
The fox will be broadcasting the coords of the stages over radio waves (all perfectly legal; anyone who's done the Covert Ops series might be at an advantage). The frequency to use will be announced at the start meet.
The coords that are broadcast whilst the Fox is moving will lead to stages with more points in that those broadcast when the fox is resting.
In tests we've had the signal working over several car lengths, so you shouldn't need to tail the fox too closely.
I've designed the game so that you can follow the fox using as little SMS messages as possible.
Ideally you should be able to do the following :-
- 1 ping to determine the fox's current position.
- 1 ping a few minutes later, from which you'll be able to work out which direction it's travelling in - and therefore which Marker it's heading for, and hopefully you'll also end up on the same road.
Each stage is within a short walk of one of the markers, so once you've got the coords, please move on to allow another team to get close to the fox.
The terrain at each of the stages is mainly flat, except stages Seven and Eight, which involve scrabbling around Rocks.
How to read the postion reports
2008/07/16 13:47:52 (time in GMT)
53.98884,-001.54075 (see below)
GPS fixed (uses last known position if no GPS fix)
The Lat/Long format the Tracker uses is hddd.ddddd - which is different to what we are used to on this website. You will need to alter your GPS settings to use this format (ask at the Start Meet if you are unsure).
For ease of compatibility, the coords broadcast by the fox for the stages will be in the same format.
Be wary of the minus sign in the position report. "-001.xxxxx" means W001.xxxxx - get that wrong and you'll be heading the wrong side of the Meridian!!!
You can finish the hunt at any time you like, depended on whether you are playing for points. At 5pm the Fox will end his trips between the marked points, and will make a dash for the Mega Event Campsite, which is where we shall meet to compare scores (assuming the majority will be attending the Hog Roast event later on that evening).
A few words of warning
The tracking device can only process so many requests at once. In tests it seems to handle two requests per minute OK, but no more than that. Please keep your pings at infrequent as possible. If you are unlucky enough to put a ping in at the same time as another team you will know if you don't receive a reply within a minute.
Please do not spam the fox with multiple pings, as this will only cause the game to grind to a halt for everyone
To the North of the play area, and near to the start location, is RAF Menwith Hill (google it to learn what happens there). The fox will not purposely drive near the base, but please be warned that the military police take a very dim view of drivers who stop on the roads surrounding the base.
For the moment, please form yourself into teams - the more people to a car the better - and log your intentions here.