Geocaching and locks

With Geocachers looking for ever more ways to make their caches challenging and individual, having a lock to open without a key is gaining popularity. This isn’t without controversy, even owning a set of Lock picking tools in some countries is illegal, however, in most countries this isn’t the case. ‘Lock-picking’ has an image problem in the general public’s mind, which is largely unfounded. Before we start, a large caveat, if it can be shown that the tools in your possession are intended for illegal purposes, then expect the full weight of the law. Being able to demonstrate permission to open a lock is everything here. All caches of this type should have the fact that “there is a lock to defeat (Pick, bump etc)” stated very clearly in the Geocache description, or else the act of opening it would stray into the grey area as to the legality of opening the lock (see lock sport rules at the end of this piece). There’s far more legal complexity that I can cover in this short article and.. I’m not a lawyer.

Given that defeating locks is a life skill that few of us possess, there is a hobby called Locksport where you can learn. Locksport is based around defeating locking system using a variety of skills traditionally known to a small group of people in the associated professions. Locksport has its roots in the broader field of lock defeating or picking, a skill that has been practiced since the very first lock was made. However, the organised and recreational aspect of lock picking, known as locksport, did not appear until the latter part of the 20th century.
The origins of locksport can be traced back to the hacker and computer security communities who regarded any closed system as a challenge. As computer enthusiasts explored the digital realm, many found a parallel interest in physical security, including the mechanisms that safeguarded valuable information. Lock picking became a hands-on extension of the broader ethos of exploring and understanding systems.

In the 1990s, groups like the MIT Lockpicking Club and the Open Organisation of Lockpickers (TOOOL) started formalising and popularising the recreational side of lock picking. TOOOL, an organisation from the Netherlands founded by Barry Wels and Deviant Ollam in 2002, played a significant role in promoting locksport globally. The organisation aimed to advance the public’s understanding of locks and security through educational initiatives, training, and organised events, constantly working with the public and manufacturers to highlight lock vulnerabilities.

Locksport events, often referred to as “lockpicking villages,” became a staple at hacker conferences and conventions. These gatherings provided a platform for enthusiasts to share knowledge, exchange techniques, and engage in friendly competitions. The focus was on education, ethical behaviour, and responsible use of lock-picking skills.
Locksport has evolved into a diverse and inclusive community that welcomes individuals with varied backgrounds, from hackers and security professionals to hobbyists and locksmiths. The emphasis remains on education, skill development, and fostering a sense of responsibility in using lock-picking knowledge.
In the past two decades, the popularity of locksport has grown, with local groups forming both offline and online, bringing together like-minded individuals who share a passion for this unique skill. The community continues to promote a positive and ethical approach to lock picking, emphasising the importance of understanding security systems to enhance overall safety and awareness.

To keep lock-picking skill away from those who would abuse it, members of locksport groups have zero tolerance for illegal or immoral lock picking, bypass, or other forms of entry.

Locksporters abide by the following rules, with no exceptions:

  • Locksporters may open only locks that belong to them. For other locks, they need express consent of the owner.
  • Locksporters may not open a lock that is in use.
  • Permanently removing (or relocating) the lock may be done only when lawfully and specifically sanctioned by an appropriate authority.
  • A lock which has been effectively abandoned by its owner and placed in a public place without securing anything (i.e., not “in use”, such as a lock placed on a “lovewall”) may ethically be picked by any locksporter, provided the lock is returned to its original locked position and state.
  • The security needs of others must be preserved.
  • All activities take place within boundaries of respectability, integrity and professionalism.

Ulefone Power Armor X11 Pro Rugged Smartphone: The Ultimate Outdoor Companion

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you know the importance of having a reliable and rugged smartphone by your side. The Ulefone Power Armor X11 Pro Rugged Smartphone is designed specifically with durability and versatility in mind, making it the perfect choice for anyone who loves to spend time in the great outdoors.

Phone in bright sunlight

One of the standout features of the Ulefone Power Armor X11 Pro is its ruggedness. It’s built to withstand even the toughest conditions, with an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance. This means that it can be submerged in water up to 1.5 meters deep for up to 30 minutes without any damage. It’s also shockproof, able to withstand drops from up to 1.5 meters without any damage.

In addition to its rugged design, the Ulefone Power Armor X11 Pro is packed with features that make it perfect for outdoor activities. It has a large 5.5 inch HD display that’s perfect for viewing maps and other information, even in bright sunlight. It also has a powerful 8-core processor and 4GB of RAM, making it capable of handling even the most demanding apps and games.

Quick to obtain GPS lock and accurate

But where the Ulefone Power Armor X11 Pro really shines is in its GPS capabilities. It’s equipped with high-precision GPS, GLONASS, and BeiDou navigation systems, allowing you to track your location and movements with incredible accuracy. This is especially useful for activities like geocaching, where it’s important to get a quick lock onto your exact location and give exact readings to that elusive cache.

The Ulefone Power Armor X11 Pro also has a range of other features that make it perfect for outdoor adventures. It has a long-lasting 8150mAh battery, so you don’t have to worry about running out of power when you’re out in the wilderness, I got a day of heavy GPS usage without having to recharge the phone and never ran out of battery. It also has a 16MP rear camera and a 5MP front camera, allowing you to capture stunning photos and videos of your adventures.

Excellent camera

Overall, the Ulefone Power Armor X11 Pro is an excellent choice for anyone who loves spending time outdoors. Its rugged design, powerful specs, and advanced GPS capabilities make it a fantastic outdoor companion. Whether you’re hiking through the mountains or exploring the wilderness in search of that cache, the Ulefone Power Armor X11 Pro has you covered. The phone is priced at £155 but as can be found for less.

Postcard from Scotland

Crossing the border

Here we are in dreich, wet, cold and windy, not quite what we had hoped for, but a welcome break none the less. We are currently stopped for the night in the Kelpies’ carpark for a very reasonable £7.50.

Kelpies sculptures by Andy Scott

The Kelpies are horse-head sculptures that depict shape-shifting water spirits. They are constructed out of stainless steel on a mild steel framework being 30 metres high and weigh 300 tonnes each. These are not only a superb piece of engineering and also are stunning to look at from every angle.

GC891CY Phooning with the Kelpies by Doodlejack virtual D1.5/T1.5

Caerlaverlock castle

In-between the weather we have managed to visit some amazing places and of course find geocaches and adventure labs.

Melrose Abbey, note the umbrella at the ready.

One of our ambitions was to walk across the Forth Bridge and to grab the virtual cache in the middle, we achieved this in the teeth of a freezing wind, but it was well worth it for the views. Since the opening of the “New” Forth Road Bridge only busses and taxis are the only motorised transport allowed across the bridge, there is a pedestrian and cycleway either side of the main carriageway at the moment only the east side is open. There was no sign of anyone painting the bridge, maybe they finally finished it!

GC7B69W Fiorth of Forth (Virtual Reward) by Devious_Dwarferkev virtual D2/T2

Old Forth Road Bridge
Forth Rail Bridge from start of the old Road Bridge

One of the adventure labs in Moffat took us down a leafy cul-de-sac to where a full size Second World War fighter plane was parked on a bungalow front lawn, it beats gnomes or solar water wheels for oneupmanship!

Full size Spitfire replica

As we compose this the rain is still pattering down on the roof of the van, hopefully tomorrow will bring sunshine for a trip to the Falkirk Wheel before heading off to Lindores Abbey Distillery.