FANS of the outdoor craze of geocaching have even more facilities at their fingertips in the Yorkshire Dales thanks to new computer facilities in Malham.
The fast-growing hobby involves taking the locations of the cache -a waterproof plastic box containing information about the area, a log book and goodies - from internet websites like www.geocaching.com.
The walkers then have to use a map and Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment to find the caches, which could be in cracks and crevices, behind stones, among tree roots - in fact anywhere that keeps them hidden and doesn't involve disturbing or harming the natural surroundings to find them.
The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) has created a number of groups of caches in the Malham, Upper Wharfedale, Dentdale, Hawes and Reeth areas, each based on a particular theme like geology or history.
Normally, the cache details can only be found on internet websites but the Authority has now installed a computer loaded with the information in its Malham National Park Centre, which has just undergone a £50,000 revamp.
As well as the computer, visitors who want to try the sport will also be able to borrow the GPS equipment from the Centre later this year, according Karen Griffiths, the YDNPA's Interpretation Officer.
"The idea of having the dedicated computer is to make it as easy as possible for people to download cache locations and spend the day on a treasure hunt in this spectacular countryside," she said.
"We hope to be able to offer GPS equipment for hire in Malham by the end of the year and, eventually, in all our National Park Centres.
"Geocaching has really taken off in the UK and the caches we have created within the National Park have proved to be very popular, especially because they contain information which helps the finders to understand and appreciate the beautiful scenery and features around them."
The Malham National Park Centre - which specialises in providing educational walks for visiting school groups - also uses interactive and spacious displays to tell the story of the creation of the spectacular Malham Cove and to describe how the first settlers lived there 8,000 years ago.
All of the YDNPA's National Park Centres are networked tourist information centres offering a wide range of services including a local and national accommodation booking service, sales of maps, books and souvenirs and information for visitors and locals.