Pablo's Armchair Treasure Hunt

Armchair Treasure Hunt 1993

Title: Armchair Treasure Hunt 1993
Setter: Steve Hames
Themes: The London Underground

Hunters' Tales

It appeared obvious that the pictures represent a journey from Stephenson House, via Euston Square station, to the treasure location. But where?

I had immediately seen the U2 song titles when I first saw the Treasure Hunt. I decoded the two "from ... to... " messages fairly quickly. However, it was late on Saturday 11th December when the penny dropped, and I remembered that U2 was one of the stations on one of the maps. It represents Chalfont and Latimer. Euston Square is represented by "Psycho" (Anthony Perkins) on the Metropolitan Line map, and by "Dacron" on the Hammersmith and City line map. So the journey was from Euston Square to Chalfont and Latimer! It seemed to be all too easy. I'd go and look : I live in St Albans, so it's just a few minutes drive.

At 0930 on Sunday 12th December, my wife Nancy and I unearthed the box at the location illustrated to find (a) that we were number 7 (b) that the box was black and white not red and yellow (c) that your note said "Doesn't it all seem too easy?". This was exactly what I had been feeling.

We drove away with your "Have another look" bothering me. I couldn't help feeling we were driving away from something important and that we'd been very close.

On the Monday, we found quite a few more of the answers and in the evening we were able to start putting the detailed instructions together. With some guesswork to fill in the gaps, we were able to work out the start of the sentence - "from one go fifty at eighty line up tree in front ho____ with right tree in back". We also worked out that the last part probably involved a short stump and that the second was under a something-shaped log.

At first I thought that "from one" referred to question 1 (Colindale) and that Chalfont was a false trail, but then I realised that "go fifty at eighty" was an orienteering-type instruction. Next I realised that what I thought was the Logica logo on the second to last illustration could equally well be a figure "1" (it wasn't! - Steve). Now it was getting very exciting! A little more thought and the six letter word starting "ho...." could very well be hollow, not houses as I originally thought.

So the sun came up on Tuesday 14 December, I was back at Little Chalfont Golf Club, with my rain suit on over my business suit (I had to go to work after all). Change the shoes, out with the compass, and off I went to the first box.

Fifty yards from there on heading 80 took me to a big depression - the hollow I'd been looking for! I knew I had to line up the tree in the front (which was obvious) with one at the back. But which one? I had not worked out the middle section of the instructions. I knew it would take me off somewhere else, but where? To come so far, to know that I was on the right track and then to have given up : that would have been devastating.

You've led me to the edge of a big hollow. Where would you have me go next? The obvious thing was into the hollow and have a wander around. There appeared to be another compass bearing - at the time we thought (wrongly) that it could have been one one six, but that would have taken me off to the right of the heading I'd been on.

Whilst scrabbling around, I came across a small Y shaped branch on the ground - not my idea of a log, but I thought I'd look anyway. Moved it a little - yuk, the underside's covered in slime and muck - this can't be it. Hang on, have another look - move the other end. And there it was the red and yellow box. Opened it up and was amazed to find that I was first!

Garry Smith