Satellite powered treasure hunt boosts Royal Deeside

‘Queen Victoria’ will launch Scotland’s newest official GeoTour on Royal Deeside later this week in an innovative project that will encourage visitors to explore the area, with help from satellites and a geocaching app on their smartphones.

Created by Visit Royal Deeside, the Explore Royal Deeside GeoTour will be unveiled to the public at Drum Castle on Sunday, 12 July.

Geocaching is a modern day version of a treasure hunt – which itself has its roots in Victorian Britain.  Dozens of geocaches have been in hidden from Drum Castle to Braemar, along the Deeside Way, in forests, in castle grounds, and in some spectacular locations.

Moira Gash Project Co-ordinator with Visit Royal Deeside said: “The new GeoTour aims to inspire visitors and locals to discover the area.

“Twenty local businesses have already signed up to support the GeoTour, including accommodation providers, visitor attractions, shops and cafes, with more expected to join as the scheme is expanded.”

When it launches, organisers believe that the Explore Royal Deeside GeoTour will be the only official GeoTour currently operating on mainland Scotland.  With more than 2.5million active geocachers worldwide, the Royal Deeside project is already sparking a lot of interest globally.

It is hoped that the Explore Royal Deeside GeoTour will help to promote tourism in the area and boost visitor numbers. The official GeoTour focuses on part of the Deeside Way and will consist of 20 official cache boxes from Drum to Ballater.

Scottish Enterprise, which has helped part fund the initial set up of the project, is keen to develop industry collaboration and the visitor experience in key tourism markets.

Rachel Stewart, Project Manager at Scottish Enterprise commented: “Scottish Enterprise provides support to help develop new ideas and innovate new and improved visitor experiences around Scotland.

“We are delighted to have been able to support Visit Royal Deeside with this project. As Geocaching is a popular and growing market the Explore Royal Deeside GeoTour was seen as a good fit, especially as it is using a large part of the Deeside Way.”

As well as the GeoTour, several new mini trails have been created which will lead visitors to almost every corner of Royal Deeside. In total there will be about 150 new caches available to find over the next few months with more trails being added all the time.

VisitScotland Regional Director, Philip Smith said: “I am delighted that Royal Deeside is to be the location of this GeoTour.

“This increasingly-popular pastime can only be a welcome addition to the area as it gives us yet another opportunity to showcase this beautiful region to visitors, in order to further promote our tourism offering and boost visitor numbers.

“We would hope that whilst in Royal Deeside, GeoTour visitors would then take the opportunity to explore the wider region which, in turn, will help boost the local visitor economy. Tourism is the heartbeat of the Scottish economy – supporting communities and creating jobs in every corner of the country.”