Written by Sarah Murphy aka The Geocaching Junkie
If you’ve ever gone geocaching in Great Britain, you’ve probably come across a Church Micro cache. Church Micros are geocaches near interesting churches, church ruins, or chapels to highlight beautiful architecture or fascinating history. Contrary to the name, the container itself does not need to be a micro; in fact, it can be any size or even a Virtual Cache. While the series is predominated by Traditional and Multi-Caches, there are also Mysteries, EarthCaches, Wherigos, and Letterbox Hybrids. Even some of the new Virtual Rewards are Church Micros.
The series was created 10 years ago by sadexploration (Steve) and exploded in popularity since then. There are now more than 11,000 Church Micros, making it the largest cache series anywhere in the world.
Steve placed the first 50 Church Micros himself, but he always intended to get other cachers to add their own. He could not have foreseen how popular the series would eventually become.
As the popularity grew, Steve held back the milestone numbers of 1,000 and 2,000 to place something a special himself. It soon became difficult for him to place interesting milestones close to home, so he gave other cachers the chance to hide a special “thousandth” cache. The awe-inspiring ruin of Tintern Abbey in Wales hosts the 10,000th Church Micro and is a testament to how special a church must be for consideration as a milestone.
Equally as beloved as the series itself are the Church Micros statistics, created by the geocacher, BaSHful. He has created achievement awards that are virtual badges for your geocaching profile, and geocachers can work their way up the award rankings by finding more Church Micros. The stats and awards fuel the competitive spirit many geocachers have.
The series now has its own special “holiday”. On November 7th, geocachers around the UK will host and attend events to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the first Church Micro ever placed. Over 40 Church Micros events are scheduled on or around Church Micro day. All events contain the same Church Micro number in their title – 10010 – an idea Steve had to give more geocachers a chance to find the special number.
So what makes a good Church Micro cache according to Steve? “Any old church in the countryside, especially when you spot the spire a while before you get there.” He also says an interesting cache description with a photograph and a good hide placement are important.