GPS treasure hunt attracts bounty hunters to Finland

A new orienteering phenomenon known as ‘geocaching’ has seen more than 1,500 enthusiasts descend on a Finnish campsite in the hope of uncovering ‘buried treasure’. The event, which was held at Harmala campsite in Tampere and involves seeking out GPS-enabled containers known as geocaches, was the biggest the country has ever hosted.

All the caches, of which there are thousands in Finland and more than a million worldwide, have been concealed around Lake Pyhajarvi for this challenge, with participants coming from all over the world to take part. Each container holds specific instructions and, once the mission is completed in full, the successful competitors can share tips with other players online.

It is not necessary to be a technical whiz to enjoy geocaching, however, as some participants prefer to stick to traditional orienteering methods, using only a map and a compass to locate the spoils.

Event organiser Paivi Pyyvaara told YLE that she and her husband are from different schools of thought when it comes to geocaching techniques. “I use a traditional map search. We always have our own little competition. I think it is so much easier and faster to ‘start up’ maps than it is for my husband to get all his technical devices turned on. And, indeed, I’ve been beating him at it lately,” she said.

“A few weeks ago in Scotland we were in wonderful places because of the caches. There’s always some catch involved. Every time they can give you a surprise. Great natural and historical sites become familiar in a totally different way because of the caches,” Pyyvaara added.