from Horley, by Tim

*****Ride by Tim The smart thing to do when taking part in the Surrey and Sussex treasure hunt is not to win it. Or at least keep quiet if you do, something Tricia and I failed to do last year. And as Tricia was off on a walking holiday, it fell to me to organise this year's competition. I'd spied a couple of landmarks I wanted to include, so all that was needed was a theme to link them. After an extended bout of head scratching, I decided to base the whole event on war memorials, what with it being the centenary of the outbreak of World War I, and the treasure hunt itself being held on the weekend of the 70th anniversary of the D Day landings. The final version of the treasure hunt involved the teams scuttling around bits of Surrey, trying to match pictures of war memorials and churches to the real thing and answering various war memorial related questions. It’s a rather sad indictment that we could visit so many in such a small area.
As the field was a rather select bunch of four teams, plus yours truly on a solo, we set off more or less together (a) as it’s more sociable and (b) so I could correct for any route sheet errors. Counting right turns does get tricky - should tracks be included? And what of blocked-to-cars-but-passable-by-bikes roads? Suffice to say I had to chase down the bunch at least once when they’d overshot. The morning took us to Smallfield, South Nutfield, Merstham, Gatton Bottom and up Reigate Hill. On the way we discovered why the church at Merstham is the age it is (the original got destroyed by a parachute mine) and where the Rector of Gatton’s son was killed (Mesopotamia). A spot of off road to Colley Hill, past a Fort, a Flying Fortress memorial and an unknown bellicose looking building was followed by a sensible walk (for most) down a steep track and onto Pilgrims Way. Lunch at the Black Horse followed, which was excellent, even though I hadn’t actually booked. A few more churches and a musical bench, then tea and buns from the Girl Guides at Brockham. Time was whi ing on, but we had to go to Charlwood, if only to see a pair of Sea Harriers in a field. The final question was at Horley war memorial, which, cunningly, required an answer (how old do you think Henry Webber, allegedly the oldest serving soldier to die in action in WW1, was when he died) based on a Best Guess, rather than observation, thus helping reduce the chances of a dead heat. All the cafes were shut by the time we finished, so the awards ceremony took place in a car park. Phil and Verna were the winners, which was quite fitting, as it required the skills of an actuary to guess the final answer. Phil's acceptance speech, though short and gracious, summed up the joy of winning coupled with a degree of foreboding when faced with the onerous task of having to organise next year’s event. It’s reproduced below: “Bugger”**

What a superb view from the top of Colley Hill - ASCII

The memorial at the top of the Hill - ASCII

The memorial's ceiling mosaic - ASCII

Looking along the top - ASCII

Regrouping - ASCII

Even the lunch was having a good time - ASCII

Harrier at Charlwood

Memorial plaque at Merstham

The Rector's Son

Name that tune

Phil and Verna at Outwood

Tish examining the memorial at Buckland

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