Having met the Ridds, I was keen to try out a Treasure Trail. According to the instructions, one of the locations on the map contains hidden treasure. To find out which location, you have to solve the clues, and the answers are names you will find as you follow the Trail. When you have solved all the clues you will be left with the location that hides the treasure.
So one sunny morning my dog Mollie and I picked up a friend to indulge in a bit of treasure hunting. As we neared St Austell, the clouds gathered, but undeterred, we turned right at the roundabout outside St Austell on the A390 and headed for Mevagissey. We parked the van in the Willows car park on the outskirts of town, and set off for the start of the Trail. We were distracted by five Yorkshire Terriers, emitting the sound of a whole kennel’s worth, but we traced the first clue with ease and, hopes rising, set off on the second clue.
Childishly pleased with our progress, we followed the map through a maze of narrow unspoilt streets, past the 15th century Fountain Inn (well worth a visit), along the harbour wall – and here we got stuck. Not only was it raining in earnest, but we could not find the clue about the seahorse. We walked up and down, searching street names, house names, backs of benches, even manhole covers (one clue is on a manhole cover) and had to give up on that one as even Mollie was shivering.
Our clues led us past the free aquarium, along the other arm of the harbour, past fishing boats, lobster pots and fishing nets; all reassuring signs that Mevagissey is still very much a working port. Deep sea angling and shark fishing is available for visitors, as are mackerel fishing trips, and moorings are available for visiting boats.
From the end of the pier our next clue led us up an incredibly steep cliff path - not good for my vertigo – to a park with a breathtaking view over the whole of Mevagissey, with its cluster of cottages hugging the hills, out into the wide waters of St Austell Bay.
By this time we were getting the hang of the Trail and found that clues are interspersed with nuggets of local history, such as that the two hamlets of Porthilly and Lamoreck, dating back to 1313, formed one town in the 15th century, which was named after their patron saints, Meva and Issey.
The joy of these Trails is that they made us look above and below eye level, to seek out things we would otherwise have missed. We noted wonderful house names – Foam Edge and Overhang Cottage – passed a house with green grapes growing outside – and eventually were led down to the Railway Museum where we were greeted by a cheery fellow well used to people doing the Treasure Trail.
He couldn’t help us with the seahorse clue though, and having finished, we congratulated ourselves on solving all the clues – except one. We retraced our steps, searched further along the harbour wall – and finally we found the answer.
We celebrated with pasties and coffee, sitting outside a café because of Mollie, and by this time the rain had stopped and the sun made a brief appearance. We looked out over the little town which felt as if it had heaved a sigh; the last of the tourists had gone, and there was a quiet sense that this was the real Mevagissey, unnoticed in the summer.
Thanks to Treasure Trails, we spent a couple of hours learning and seeing more of the town than we ever would have done otherwise. And we had fun. I can’t wait for the next one now…