The Armchair Treasure Hunt Club
The Pearl Hunts 2003

Launched in the October 2003 newsletter (issue 70), and like the Sovereign Hunts of 2001, this series of four independent regional hunts again offers members a chance to find treasure relatively locally.

The first solvers of each hunt found a single cultured pearl buried in the ground in a white container, as well as a clue to a fifth, national, master hunt. The master hunt lead to a gold pearl buried somewhere in mainland Britain.

Although the first winners of the regional hunts could help themselves to a pearl, they had to replace the clue and hide the container in the same location for the next person. In return they were also eligible to receive a crystal oyster from the club, on which to display their pearl.

Between them, Paul Harkin, Martin Dennett and Deborah Hatton were the first to crack all four regional hunts over a five month period between November 2003 and March 2004. However they kindly left two of the original pearls in place for the second finder, and additional artificial pearls were offered by the club to the second finders in the other two hunts. See below for more details.

However within hours of finding their fourth clue, Paul, Martin, et al, managed to solve the master puzzle and dug up the gold pearl on 13 March 2004.

Apart from setting regional hunts and extending the life of each hunt, the setters endeavoured to make the hunts a little easier than usual. This is always difficult to gauge, but the hunts were limited to two sides of A4 and the OS Landranger Map for each regional hunt has been noted in advance.

The Pearl Hunts were open to all members of The Armchair Treasure Hunt Club. Individual pearl hunt setters could take part in regional hunts other than their own but were not eligible to take part in The Gold Pearl Hunt. Additionally, the Master Hunt setter could only take part in Zee Zumerzet Puzzle.

Important Note: Each regional hunt was based around a single Ordnance Survey Landranger sheet. It is important that you use a contemporary edition of the relevant map at the times the hunts were set. For reference, this is given below. The images below are taken from the Ordnance Survey website and clicking the images will takes you directly to a site where the maps may be purchased online.

OS Landranger Sheet 100< Anniversary Treasure by Brian Souter is set in Yorkshire and uses OS Landranger sheet 100: Malton & Pickering, Helmsley & Easingwold. Edition C2 Copyright 2003. Click here for more details.

Martin Dennett, Paul Harkin and Deborah Hatton replete with family members, completed the set, digging up the Anniversary Treasure on 13 March 2004. However, like Necramance which they solved a month before, they kindly replaced the cultured pearl in the ground. This was uncovered on 21May 2005 by Rob & Diane Farmer and Jaci & Dave Blakeway.

OS Landranger Sheet 128< Nacremancer by Mike Smith is set in central England around OS Landranger sheet 128: Derby and Burton upon Trent. Edition D1 Copyright 2002. Click here for more details.

Martin Dennett, Paul Harkin and Deborah Hatton claimed their third success, digging up the Nacremancer casket on 14 February 2004. However they kindly replaced the cultured pearl in the ground which was claimed by Milly Dudley on 17 April 2004.

OS Landranger Sheet 179< Charlie's Summer Spell by Sandra Young is set in the South East, OS Landranger sheet 179: Canterbury & East Kent, Dover & Margate. Edition D1 Copyright 2003. Click here for more details.

After discussing and adapting Paul Harkin's proposed solution to this hunt, Martin Dennett found the pearl on 2 November 2003. Matt Edwards also found the spot on 22 February 2004 and won an artificial pearl and crystal oyster for his efforts.

OS Landranger Sheet 182< Zee Zumerzet Puzzle by Charles Affleck & Steven Shipp is, unsurprisingly, set in the West of England - specifically OS Landranger sheet 182: Weston-super-Mare. Edition C1 Copyright 2002. Click here for more details.

Amazingly, club superbrain Martin Dennett cracked this one and found the pearl at 10:10am on 1 November 2003. The next member to find the location (and who won an artificial pearl and crystal oyster) was Ann Hughes on 15 November, closely followed by Harry Hazell.

Great BritainThe Gold Pearl Hunt by Brian Souter is the master hunt and has no specific sheet associated with it. The hunt led to a single location somewhere in mainland Britain, at which was buried a gold pearl. Clues to the master hunt could be found buried at each of the four regional locations. Click here for more details.

The master hunt was solved by Martin Dennett, Paul Harkin and Deborah Hatton shortly after they claimed their fourth regional clue on 13 March 2004. They raced 80 miles to dig up the gold pearl from a village green in the North of England.

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