For seven years now, we have been lucky enough to have a weekend long camping 'party' in our friend's twenty two acre wood near Bury St Edmunds. The event is simply wonderful - see post 14th Jan! We always started preparing and planning for the party a long while in advance and my favourite of all the preparations each year has always been the treasure hunt.
With only a wood to play with (!) we have produced a variety of clues that each lead to a letter - about eight or nine each year. A map guided people to the site of each clue. The letters people collected could then be un-jumbled to make a word. The word then had to be whispered to me before a prize was issued. Simple as that.
Only it never was simple, because we usually put in hours of preparation! I cannot remember all the clues, but here are some of my favourites:
• The letter you want is in a wallet. We made a road called ‘Wallet Way’ cut into the grass and scattered lots of wallets from charity shops along the ‘road’. In one pocket of one wallet was a laminated letter.
• The next clue is behind a door. We made a little door in the side of a tree and a space behind it that housed a papier mache letter.
• Look through the telescope – the start letter of what you see is the letter you want. We firmly positioned a bit of drain pipe at one edge of the wood. When you looked through it you saw a church.
• On a shelf you will find a scent – its start letter is the clue. We positioned a small bottle of lavender oil on a high shelf on a tree.
• The letter you want will buzz. We used the inside from the game of Operation and some simple circuitry with a wire under the leaves to make one of the letters (in a circle of them) buzz when touched.
• Follow the arrows and walk around this circle – always looking straight ahead. Use the ‘viewfinder’. When the view you see straight ahead of you matches that in the frame of the viewfinder – the letter you want will be to your left. We made a marked circular path of about 20 m in diameter and placed different letters inside it at various points. We took a photo of the view you would see when you looked ahead from one point in the circle and fixed it into a frame. People had to match the frame and the view and at the point where both were the same, the letter was to their left.
• You can see the next letter from the path in the next 100 metres. We made and varnished a huge papier mache letter and hung it high in the trees.
• Follow the fairies to the next letter. We garrotted (!) about 40 little fairies to trees. People followed them along a route into the wood that eventually took them to a letter (positioned very close to the point where they had entered the wood from the path)
• The rope lands on the letter you want. We positioned a pole with a rope attached in the centre of many more poles with different letters on. The rope stretched exactly to only one of the lettered poles.
• The letter that is found in the name of all the objects in this cabinet is the one you want. We had eight keys to eight lockers hanging in the trees. They had to find the right key for the right locker and insider were hidden things like fish, shoe, hedgehog, (h)!
• The clue is the typo in this sign. We made a sign and put a typo in it!!
• The letter is hiding, camouflaged in this marked area. We hid a camouflaged letter in a marked area
• Answer the questions to get your next letter. We put questions with one true and one false answer. String would take you from both answers to the next questions (so you had to get the question right) to eventually end up at the correct letter.
• The clue is in a gnome’s sock. We made a washing line with lots of socks on it and a gnome house and hid the letter in one sock.
• Lift the flap. We positioned a two wooden squares that were hinged, high up in a tree. You had to use a stick to lift the unfixed 'flap' to reveal the letter.
•At the point where these three ropes meet, you will find the letter under your foot. We tied three ropes to trees and painted letters onto wood discs and scattered them on the ground.
• In the meadow, find someone who is wearing a purple star. Stick out your tongue and hop and then ask (in a whisper) what letter that person has for you.• The clue is under a trap door in this area – we disguised a box with a lift top that was buried in the ground.
• Only by matching the half of the riddle on the tree with the other half on the back of the treasure hunt sheet, will you get the complete riddle. Solve the riddle to get the letter you need. The clue was,'I am the beginning of eternity' only seeable when you put the sheet and the tree together
There were many more but these were the ones that came readily to mind.
The word answers I remember were, CHOCOLATE, BUTTERFLY. Often Chris would want to choose something really bizarre like TUPPAWARE!