ESU Treasure Hunt

Mme Dorothy Morison

On the 9th September, forty-two members and friends gathered in the car park of the restaurant “La Gabelle” on a pleasant, slightly autumnal Saturday afternoon, in anticipation of a challenging and intriguing Treasure Hunt, organised again this year by member Terence O’Hara.

Ten teams sallied forth within the limits of the “Parc Naturel Loire-Amjou-Touraine” to solve twenty-five clues in the communes of Fontevraud, Montsoreau, Parnay and Turquant, before returning to the starting point at “La Gabelle” within a three hour deadline.

Most crews seemed to head off in the same direction towards Fontevraud, which was furthest away and also the location that held the most clues. Although we often met up with other participants there was plenty of space so discussions between team members couldn’t be overheard. Being somewhat familiar with Fontevraud I felt confident. However Terence’s questions were challenging and the information panel in the car park required really close investigation. The views from the car park across Fontevraud were amazing.

Having completed the answer sheet in Fontevraud, we moved on to Montsoreau, where again Terence introduced us to some clearly well-known historical information that my team was ignorant of, despite thinking we knew the area quite well. Montsoreau is another lovely village and quite different from Fontevraud due to its proximity to the river. It is another place I would like to revisit and get to know more closely in order to give our summer visitors a wider experience of the great variety of locations here in the Loire valley.

Our next destination was Turquant, a village abounding with charm. The troglodyte dwellings are not simply historical sites but are currently a way of life for many present-day inhabitants. The clues here were varied and required visits to the church, to the war memorial, and to a windmill. Careful scrutiny of the signs for the vineyard names was required in order to fathom a couple of Terence’s more cryptic clues.

The final clue was back at our starting point in Parnay and we had allowed plenty of time to search for this answer. Other teams were returning and we were able to enjoy a convivial drink together whilst swapping stories of our challenging afternoon. We were joined by other members who had not taken part in the Treasure Hunt. Terence, meanwhile was marking our papers with his usual precision

Thirty-nine of us enjoyed an excellent meal and great fun was had by all. When Terence declared the results there was very little difference between the scores of the first and last teams and every half point and bonus point contributed to the highest marks. The winning team was made up of Jane and Andrew, Colin and myself, who each received a bottle of “bulles” as a prize.

Sadly before leaving we had to say goodbye to one of our members, David Jones, who is moving to Australia later this month.

Thank you to my team mates, and many, many, thanks to Terence for once again organising such an enjoyable and challenging event. And, good luck, David, in your new life Down Under.