New to letterboxing

General letterboxing discussion.

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GoblinFeet
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New to letterboxing

#1 Post by GoblinFeet » Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:49 pm

Hi everybody,
I've just got back from a family holiday in Dartmoor and whilst we were there we decided to try our hand at letterboxing. We found a few but they were all kids ones and a few geocaching. I found one in a car park just outside of Widecombe and the disappointment on my face was a picture when I realised it was a geocache :lol:
Im just after a bit of advice really. Is it just a case of roaming the moors looking in crevices and under rocks until I've found 100 and can purchase the book of clues? I've read a bit on charity walks. Are they the best course of action and do they count towards the 100?
Last question, what kind of compass do I need? Is a sighting compass necessary or will a standard Silva do the job? Not that I know how to use one but I've got a year until I return so I've got time to learn.
Thanks in advance.

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Re: New to letterboxing

#2 Post by Dartymoor » Tue Oct 31, 2017 6:39 am

Hi and welcome!

Buying the book is certainly a good start, but more and more letterboxes are now "Word of mouth" which does make it harder to get into than it used to be.

You certainly can just start looking anywhere under rocks, and in some areas (Hound Tor, Saddle and Haytor especially) this will get you a lot of low quality 'kids boxes'.

Sadly you've just missed the bi-annual meet, where charity walk lists are sold - some on here occasionally advertise them too. they're a good way to find boxes.

And don't be too hard on geocaches - many of us do both and they get you out into the beautiful moor as well!

GoblinFeet
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Re: New to letterboxing

#3 Post by GoblinFeet » Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:26 am

Thank you for reply. Sadly we came home on Saturday so missed the meet but we do plan on coming back next year to do nothing but letterboxing for the week. I think we will take up geocaching in the meantime as they are more widespread. I just liked the idea of using a map and compass rather than a GPS device but there seems to be a big argument on geocaching forums as to whether you can use a compass for geocaching. Is the book available to non 100 club members? If not we'll happily try a few charity walks when we return next year.

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Re: New to letterboxing

#4 Post by Dartymoor » Wed Nov 01, 2017 5:12 am

I believe the book is available to non 100 club members, the contact details are below.

You certainly can geocache with just a map, I know several who started like that and one who does it. There is an addon (Geocaching map enhancements) for the caching map web page that overlays OS 25k maps and showing where the caches are on them. Print that out and you can navigate to that spot however you like. Although caches also exist that have letterbox style directions (x paces on bearing y), they are very rare and I'm not aware of any on Dartmoor.

Cost for catalogue and 1st class p&p is £9.71, £9.54 for second
Cheques made payable to Sylvia Moore and sent to :-
25 Sanderspool Cross, South Brent, South Devon, TQ10 9LR

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Re: New to letterboxing

#5 Post by Box Hunter » Wed Nov 01, 2017 8:31 pm

Hi GoblinFeet, you asked about compasses.

When I restarted boxing a few years ago I tried to use a standard Silva compass (the current version would be the Explorer 203). While that is fine for general navigation and for walking x paces on y bearing from a known point, it is not good for doing cross-bearings to more distant features. Picture the scene: you're on the western slope of Roos Tor (as I was today), with scattered rocks and ribbons of clitter for hundreds of metres in all directions, and you're trying to find an eight-inch long plastic tub under one particular rock. The bearings to get you in the right area are to features half a mile or more away, and you need to be exactly at the point they intersect, or within a few metres so that you can spot the local clue (there are lots of "tent-shaped rocks" and "finger rocks" on that hillside!).

Perhaps that's a particularly tough example, but it's the reason why most long-term letterboxers use a Silva Expedition 54 or similar. They're quite expensive though, so you may want to make sure you're keen on letterboxing before you invest. All the charity walks give ten-figure grids, so you can take a GPS with you to help you out if your basic compass does not get you to the site while you experiment. Good luck!
Patience helps....

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