Pablo's Armchair Treasure Hunt

Armchair Treasure Hunt 1996

Title: Armchair Treasure Hunt 1996
Setter: Dave Kee
Themes: Fibonacci Series

Hunters' Tales

We all eagerly awaited the additional clue page for the ATH last Friday (in the vain hope that it would be easier than the actual quiz had been.) This of course was not so, but anyway we got together and went through our thoughts on the additional clues. We were pretty sure that the treasure was on the Chilterns Hills North map and probably had something to do with canals. Various team members went off to work on the maths, Chinese symbol and the infamous code.

This left the rest of us scouring the map for a canal, bridge and road intersection from which to start out to find the Treasure. Whilst I was perusing the map my eye caught on "Moneybury Hill"; "that's the sort of place Dave would think of burying the treasure, it's a good name and it's by the Bridgewater Monument, which was erected to the Duke of Bridgewater, who built canals, so it could be the ancient monument from where we are supposed to start" I said.

Later on that afternoon I tried to get hold of another copy of the map (as we only had one and this was needed for mathematical purposes), but neither Dillons or Books Etc. had a copy. So I went to the Logica Finance Ball and decided to wait to see if the others could come up with something else which would support my theory.

In the meantime we worked out where the start location was and the team got working on the maths to determine the treasure location.

Later on the next week I was in British Airways so decided to have a look another look at the map. I then noticed that there was a footbridge (FB) just to the south of Moneybury Hill, roughly like on the additional clue sheet. I felt sure that this was the place and e-mailed my fellow team members to say that I intended to go to Moneybury Hill this weekend just so that I felt I had given it a shot and therefore would not be absolutely livid when I found out that the treasure was where I thought it was! As we all know I didn't go and the rest is history...

Oh, well I suppose the moral of this sad tale is always stick to your hunches and that maths always gets in the way.


1. Chicken Pox

The hunt was started, as is traditional, with a team gathering at Hunt Base G the first weekend after the clues came out. With much to eat and drink the time devoted to hunting was fairly limited but these things usually get off to a slow start. Early progress was further disrupted by a bout of chicken pox which required team members to be divided into two groups - those who have/have had or want to have chicken pox and those who haven't had it and don't want it.

2. A Sign

We keep answers to questions and codes in a spreadsheet. This makes it easier to keep all the team up to date and also gives the computer a chance to chip in with answers if it feels like it. This doesn't often happen but against the "8:5/=*(6)4" code we found it had written "Gold Bug". At least no one in the team would admit to having typed it in. And the PC was glowing in a strange, ghostly fashion. A sign! It must be a sign!

3. Deluge

Migrating to Hunt Base S for the New Year celebration, we arrived to discover a large hole in the ceiling with water pouring through and a rather sad looking Christmas tree floating towards the video. With lounge knee-deep in water we had to re-establish Hunt mission control in the study where, crammed round a hastily constructed LAN we searched for lottery numbers on the net.

4. Another Sign

Risking life and limb to wade across the lounge and retrieve another reference book from the bookcase, Sarah tripped on a submerged Christmas pudding and the book fell open on a page with David Livingstone staring up at us. And if by magic the floodwater began to subside.

5. Chiltern Hills North

With enthusiasm renewed following the issue of the additional clues, we reconvened at Hunt Base W armed with a copy of the recently discovered "Chiltern Hills North" OS map. Fitting page 8 upside down onto this map at 1:27118 scale gave us a point for the treasure near the Bridgewater Monument in Ashridge Park. "FB" and Moneybury Hill on the map seemed to be good further clues, but we couldn't make much sense of "David Gordon" and didn't think we had enough information to pinpoint the treasure. Nevertheless, since it was dark and foggy and hence traditional weather for treasure hunting, we decided to take a look anyway. The map seemed to suggest that the treasure was somewhere between the footbridge and a tumulus but an hour of searching with a dimming torch failed to turn up anything.

6. Angela's Map

After an exhaustive search of road/rail/canal crossings in West London, eventually found a map (at Hunt Base H) naming such a combination as "Three Bridges", near Southall - suspiciously close to Dave Kee's home. So with enthusiasm renewed again, recalculated the treasure location from this starting point, which provided more reliable confirmation that the Moneybury Hill area was the right place, and decided to take a further look, this time in daylight.

On Sunday then, the last possible day for hunting, we set out to scour the area we'd already covered. It was a bit difficult to cope with the concept of treasure hunting with the sun shining.

The place was absolutely swarming with Hertfordshire Man (similar in most respects to Essex Man) out exercising with brood in tow. The inscription on the Bridgewater Monument is quite obvious when it's not foggy - it says all sorts of naff stuff about Francis Bridgewater: FB - aargh is this another red herring?

And so we came to said footbridge and discovered a plaque on it - "In memory of David Gordon - Engineer (1944-1994)". How did we miss that?

So a more thorough search underneath the bridge was clearly in order. Quite quickly found Logica L made out of staples on one of the beams. "The treasure is underneath"? No obvious sign in the dirt below, but instead found it hidden between the cross-pieces just next to the L.

Brian Mills

Doubtless you were relieved to hear of our success yesterday. We are now proud holders of ticket No. 1 and an Egyptian banknote (not acceptable in The Greyhound Inn nearby, as we discovered). ("... box contains £s, not quite the treasure of the Pharaohs but double figures nevertheless." The box actually contained a £10 Egyptian banknote.)

There are still many things we don't understand - doubtless we will have to wait for the answers. What intrigues us most at present is the order in which you did things. Assuming that you spotted the Three Bridges as a good starting point you were then limited to places a certain x,y ratio away, as determined by the Fibonacci spiral. So was it then a coincidence that you found Moneybury Hill? Or did you do it the other way round?

Anyway, I'm glad it's all over. If that's how difficult you think ATHs should be then you've had a easy time of it so far - and will do again this year.

The Golden Oldies