TITLE: Adventure Hobbie - Letterboxing (Let's Go Soon!)
DATE: 6/19/2005 10:27:00 PM
LETTERBOXING is an intriguing pastime combining navigational skills and rubber stamp artistry in a charming "treasure hunt" style outdoor quest. A wide variety of adventures can be found to suit all ages and experience levels.
Set-up your own letterbox for others to find - here's how: Click Here
Let's go do this one Sunday in Richmond...there's tons of them around and it could be fun... View List of Central Virginia Boxes
What is Letterboxing?
Letterboxing is a mix of treasure hunting, art, navigation, and exploring interesting, scenic, and sometimes remote places. It takes the ancient custom of placing a rock on a cairn upon reaching the summit of a mountain to an artform. It started when a gentleman simply left his calling card in a bottle by a remote pool on the moors of Dartmoor, in England.
Here's the basic idea: Someone hides a waterproof box somewhere (in a beautiful, interesting, or remote location) containing at least a logbook and a carved rubber stamp, and perhaps other goodies. The hider then usually writes directions to the box (called "clues" or "the map"), which can be straightforward, cryptic, or any degree in between. Often the clues involve map coordinates or compass bearings from landmarks, but they don't have to. Selecting a location and writing the clues is one aspect of the art.
Once the clues are written, hunters in possession of the clues attempt to find the box. In addition to the clue and any maps or tools needed to solve it, the hunter should carry at least a pencil, his personal rubber stamp, an inkpad, and his personal logbook. When the hunter successfully deciphers the clue and finds the box, he stamps the logbook in the box with his personal stamp, and stamps his personal logbook with the box's stamp. The box's logbook keeps a record of all its visitors, and the hunters keep a record of all the boxes they have found, in their personal logbooks.
Letter boxing history... click here
The history of Letterboxing
Letterboxing began in 1854 when a Dartmoor guide named James Perrott placed a glass bottle at Cranmere Pool, and encouraged hikers that made the considerable walk to the site to leave a calling card as a record of their achievement. By the early 1900's a tin box had replaced the bottle and a visitors book was provided.
In 1937 the Western Morning News erected a granite box at the site, and in 1938 this was followed by a second structure at Ducks pool, which was built in memorial of William Crossing by a group known as the Dobson’s Moormen.
Clues were circulated for other 'letterboxes' that had been hidden on the moor and, after a map that marked the position of several letterboxes was produced, letterboxing began to take off.
Nowadays, a rubber stamp and visitors book are hidden in a small container and a clue to its position is shared, by word of mouth or through an unofficial group known as the '100-Club'.
In the past stamps were hidden in army ammunition tins, but today they are more likely to be concealed in 'pill-pots'.
A set of letterboxing rules has been established to avoid damage to the moor, and to cause the minimum of fuss to its users. Although there are now thousands of letterboxes hidden on the moor, they are generally well hidden and unlikely to be found by the casual hiker.