Writing Treasure Trails
We try to warn you that our Trails are highly addictive (even for parents); in fact, I write that sentence nearly every day! Yet, I hadn’t realised that I was addicted to exploring too! I felt a little lost during lockdown without a Trail adventure to look forward to.
But, being on furlough and limited to one walk around my local area each day didn’t stop me from having Trailing, Clue-cracking and puzzle-solving on my brain. It turns out that many of you felt the same!
Spotting Trailing potential
Ever since I started working at TT Towers, I wanted to introduce a Trail around my village. There is SO MUCH Clue material here, and lots of interesting tales to tell – it’s the same situation across most of the Cornish mining villages, really.
Although I gathered plenty of Clues, my mind brimming with ideas, I could never find a suitable route. In reality, a Trail here would either be the shortest one in our catalogue or the longest by visiting neighbouring villages and beauty spots too.
So, I paused that idea for nearly 18 months… then COVID-19 hit. On my daily walks around the village, I started finding new routes that could work, new stories to tell, new material to use. Everywhere I looked, I saw Trail potential… I think I was probably missing work! Not just for the day to day though – I was missing being able to go out on an adventure with a Trail.
Trail withdrawal is real!
The week after lockdown began, I was supposed to be spending time with my Grandpa in South Wales before heading on to West Yorkshire for my Dad’s wedding, then back home to enjoy the Easter weekend exploring Cornwall. I was getting far too distracted in my lunch breaks, eagerly picking out which Trails I could experience and who I could bring along with me for some new adventures.
Then, suddenly, I was stuck at home – holiday-less and Trail-less. I was okay at first; I kept busy by helping to put together TT Strange Times and was a little engrossed with researching cool adventurers, spies and detectives from history. Even when furlough hit, my daily walks and the occasional crossword or sudoku kept my body and brain active. But, it didn’t take long for the itchy feet to kick it and the desire to explore took over.
By the sounds of it, I wasn’t the only one who felt this way! So many of you awesome Trailers got in touch with us suggesting Trails in your villages (or even coming up with your own Clues!) which was so amazing to hear.
But, it wasn’t just Treasure Trail aficionados who made their own self-guided adventures! Our very own Aaron was surprised (and delighted) when he discovered that one of the Mums at his son’s school had created her very own treasure hunt around their town. She shared the hunt with other mums from the school as a way to keep their kids entertained on their daily walks. Aaron said:
It just goes to show that when people have time, and a little creativity, a treasure hunt around where they live is considered something so cool they want to share it with others – like a pride of what you have found.
Our Trail Writers have been hard at work too, keeping their puzzling brains active during lockdown. They’ve already managed to release one new Trail since lockdown eased – Wizards of Watford – and we can’t wait for more to follow!
Puzzle time: The Mystery of the Mills Magic Marbles!
Remember my local discoveries from earlier? Well the first one was in my village – St Day in Cornwall. Mills Lane is not so called because there were mills in the village. It’s named after a local man who endowed the street for the benefit of the people of St Day.
It turns out that one of his distant relatives could do with your help! The Mills Magic Marbles, a rather unique family treasure, have been locked away for some time in a rather ornate wooden treasure chest with a padlock. The family have been unable to find the code to open the lock and had given up. But during lockdown, a bit of spring cleaning revealed a secret compartment with a parchment inside. We think it holds the key to how to unlock the padlock! Download the parchment to solve the puzzle!
The competition is now CLOSED! Well done to Lynda Bedford – our chose lucky winner from everyone who got the right answer! Lynda has won a Treasure Trail Voucher!
You can download the answer to this puzzle here.
But what DON’T we tell you?
While my sharp eyes scanned around every corner on my daily walks, I couldn’t help but think about all the things we DON’T put in the Trails.
There are so many lost stories, unused plaques and amazing little finds that just don’t make it into the final Trail. This could be because they’re too close to a bunch of other Clues, too far away from the rest of the route, or just because there’s no Clue material on them.
I spotted a few cool things on my walks, and I’m certain each one of our Trail Writers has a list of quirky things they just wish they could fit into their Trails.
In fact, during lockdown, our Trail Writer Jane did find an old bridge and building just around the corner from where she lives. It would be absolutely perfect in a Trail if there were anything else around it!
But, they’re not the only things we don’t tell you. We always say that the only requirement for a Trail is daylight – otherwise, you may miss some vital Clues. So, we can’t really tell you that if you stand near Clue 02 on the St Ives Trail at night, the lights around the town glisten and you can see the lighthouse spinning in the distance, or that Clue 08 is the best spot to watch the sunset.
If I did ever write a full Trail around the village, I couldn’t say how if you peek into a certain field as the sun goes down, you may catch a glimpse of some sly foxes watching you intently from outside their den. If you’re really lucky, exploring the old churchyard on a sunny day may lead you to an introduction with its latest residents – two gorgeous baby buzzards.
And, of course, I probably wouldn’t lead you towards the awesome elderflower tree I’ve been eyeing up, but that’s for my own selfish reasons!
Share your story
Unfortunately, we can’t accept any Trail submissions – sorry! However, we’d love to hear about any treasure hunts you wrote to keep your families entertained, or to see pictures of your beautiful or quirky local discoveries. Please head over to our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages to show us what you’ve been up to!
Aaron Hutchens 17th August 2020
Posted In: Ideas