2009-03-28 55 -4
On what was the first Saturday with decent weather this year, I thought it best to come out of hibernation and go some place I hadn't been before. Aha! I thought: Geohashing was surely the answer. Using the wonderful little iPhone app , I checked the spot was on land and interesting, grabbed my camera, crash helmet, keys, cigarettes, and hit the road.
The hash point was at the edge of the beautiful Galloway Forest Park, on the road between Loch Bradan and Glentrool Village. The quickest and easiest way to reach the point from my house would have been to head to the village of Straiton, and then take the road South to the hash point. Where's the fun in that? No, let's take the difficult forest trail instead!
Going south from my house took me to the bonnie banks of Loch Doon, where a great trail known as the "Carrick Drive" runs down the side of the loch and then out to Stinchar bridge. From there the hash point would be a few miles to the south on paved roads. That's more like it! I'm not the most experienced trail-rider by any means, but me and the motorbike managed to get through the dirt and loose gravel without crashing, getting stuck, or falling down a cliff. Stopping for flask of tea and sandwiches at Stinchar bridge, my phone signal was darting in and out, so one last check of the directions to the hash point before I lost reception showed I was almost there...
The Critical Error
The only piece of GPS enabled technology that I own is an iPhone. Not the most reliable maps package, and much to my later disappointment, the route-finder gave the hash point coordinates as being on the road, not the actual spot. However, I was blissfully unaware of this technological shortcoming at the time, and so rode merrily on my way to what I thought would be the hash point. Right on the road. Why oh why was I not more suspicious??
The (False) Victory
Stopping finally at a passing place to where I thought must be close to the point, I checked my iphone and saw that glorious little blue dot sitting on top of the red marker. I had arrived! My second ever geohash! For the record, I took a 360º movie at the spot, and posted it to youtube . "Well, that was fun", I said to some nearby sheep. They were more interested in eating grass, and cared not for the fact that they had unwittingly become geohashers for the day.
The Bitter Reality
Back home, it was time for a review of the day's events. Comparing my screen captures of google maps at the location with the peeron maps, it suddenly hit me that I was off by about 400 metres. Oops! I still had fun, and was home in time for dinner. Here's hoping there'll be a meet-up in the future with more than me and sheep!!
Me: Basic entry-level human. Standard parts, low mileage. The Bike: Yamaha XT660Z Tenere. Great on the road. Not so good on dirt trails. but it'll get you where you want to go! The GPS: Apple iPhone. Don't trust the directions on the Google Maps App! The Camera: Olympus FE350 Wide. Silver. Takes good pictures. Cheap too.