Charity Treasure Hunt
Well here it goes my first ever blog! A phrase I thought I’d never say, as anyone who knows me knows I’m a bit of a technophobe (and also terrible at grammar.) This account details the charity treasure hunt that I organised yesterday.
17 intrepid people had solved Clue 1 and turned up at the start point which was the Abraham Lincoln Statue just off Parliament Square shortly after 3 o’clock. The 4 teams were raring to go and on receiving their clues they were off with a mixture of competitiveness and apprehension. And I was off as well to find a bench in the sun where I was hoping to see the teams in about 90 minutes.
Clue 2 involved a series of puzzles from Eurovision to Roald Dahl and directed the teams to St James Park and across the blue bridge. The teams squeezed past all the tourists and overly friendly squirrels to find the wildlife board they were looking for.
Clue 3 took the form of a word search with a hidden message within once all words were found. It also laid out a bonus challenge to get a selfie with a pelican. All the teams seemed to race through this clue and were on their way up the Mall and to the Victoria Memorial, with the only real challenge being to navigate around the quite simply ridiculous fencing and confusing crossing systems to actually get onto the memorial. Unfortunately the pelicans seemed to have gone for afternoon tea at the palace so were not available but one team found a neat way around this as can be seen in photos.
Clue 4 involved a Mexican cipher wheel, something that sounds more exotic and complex than it is. This was the first time a team had any issues not because they couldn’t solve the clue but in fact because they couldn’t empty an envelope properly. They got out the clue but somehow didn’t notice the cipher wheel, so were trying to solve the clue essentially blind. What is impressive is that they actually managed to work out the answer without it, which I still can’t work out how they did it. All teams were still on track, heading up Constitution Hill to the New Zealand War Memorial next to the Wellington Arch. The main challenge being to dodge all the horse dung left by the Horse Guards.
Clue 5 was a hunt classic and involved finding a message in a seemingly random jumble of letters. All the teams seemed to race through this finding that the location was a memorial to the lady whom the serpentine was made for. The teams headed over to Hyde Park and through the various gardens to the east end of the Serpentine. This was the first location that some teams struggled to find as it is a fairly small memorial in a non-descript area at the east end of the serpentine. Throughout the day we were lucky to have good weather apart from about 10 minutes during this stage of the hunt where there was light rain.
Clue 6! Well this seemed to be the one that stumped teams for a while. I was getting a little worried on my bench as there had been significant radio silence from all teams as they struggled to solve this clue. The clue involved a maze and adding the letters from the memorial to then work out a word based on specific step numbers, sounds easy doesn’t it. In the end 3 teams managed to solve the clue, heading along the south side of the Serpentine, arriving only 10 minutes apart of each other at my bench. Amazingly about 90 minutes after setting of as I had hoped. One team though failed to solve the clue (you may be able to guess which team from photo below) but used the following clue to help them progress, they were about 40 minutes behind at this point.
Along with Clue 7 this was a short break, allowing me to empty the heavy backpack I had on which was essentially a mini bar with gin and tonic, pale ale, lager and soft drinks. It was a relief to not have to carry these any further! Clue 7 was a simple riddle which every team solved almost instantly and most teams had a go at the parakeet bonus challenge with one team getting a smashing shot of 3 parakeets on one of the team members. The teams headed the short distance along the Long Water to the Peter Pan statue, probably my favourite statue in London.
Clue 8 was the one I was worried about as it was a riddle that I thought people might not get. In fact all the teams solved this fairly quickly and were on their way along the tube over to Holland Park and specifically Kyoto Garden. If you haven’t been, Kyoto Garden is somewhere you definitely should visit.
Clue 9 was a ‘Japanese’ crossword and was combined with a bonus challenge to get a selfie with a peacock. Several teams managed to get a selfie with a peacock and they all solved the penultimate clue directing them to a bus stop outside the design museum.
Clue 10 firstly involved working out the amount of teeth minus wisdom teeth in the average mouth, which I can imagine got some strange looks from people walking by as people counted their teeth. This number was the bus that they had to take. And the second part had the teams looking all over the previous clues to find their final location which was the Tommy Tucker pub in Fulham Broadway.
The finale was dramatic with two teams catching the same bus, running from the stop and arriving at the same time but on bonus points Team Alpha won the free round of drinks. The other 2 teams were not too far behind around 20 minutes.
We amassed in a beautiful private room upstairs and had a lovely 3 course meal. With sharing starters of tempura avocado, buttermilk chicken wings, mackerel pate and black pudding scotch eggs. Followed by short rib for 75% of us but there were options of sardines, chicken and risotto as well. And all finished off with sharing plates of chocolate fondant, panna cotta, treacle tart and cheese. Thanks to my brother and everyone at The Tommy Tucker for making the meal so great.
By now after a good walk, good food and some drinks everyone was getting tired and after a great day people started to disperse back home. Though one member was even more tired catching forty winks in the pub before heading off.
Overall a successful day which I think everyone enjoyed and raised about £450 for my fundraising target.