Disclaimer: This post has pretty much nothing to do with security, unless you count receiving unknown packages from people claiming to be Tony Hawk, the world famous skateboarding legend as a security issue. Oh, and opening pictures and word documents emailed from random strangers. Yep, I’ve broken pretty much all of the security things I preached about at the Chineham Village hall on Sept 21st.


“The Seekers Story”

Emailed to me by @Steven_Gill, the guy who found the #THTH prize in Chineham, Basingstoke, UK.   These are his words (minor edits), detailing his experience on the hunt for the schwag.  I added some pictures and comments.  Enjoy!

For my side of the story (as a hider) click here...

http://www.securityg33k.com/?p=22

PS. I want to thank @Steven_Gill for being such a good sport / “mad for it” fan and also for taking the time to write and send me this and the photo’s he took.  His passion for the entire #THTH event made me ‘laugh out loud’ at times.  I don’t think the prize could have gone to anyone more deserving here in the UK.  I hope that one day Tony fly’s this guy out to the US to watch a demo out there.

I’ve still got to meet @Steven_Gill, but hope to have a pint with him one day, but for now, I have some other packages to worry about :-)  Until then, thanks for the chuckle @Steve_Gill.


@Steven_Gills account….

“I’ve been following Tony Hawk on Twitter since I first signed up for it. Most of the people I follow, I have come across by accident, but not with Tony, I’ve been a big fan for longer than I care to remember, so hunted him down on there

I’d noticed a few times that he would stash some of his old decks (and even some bikes) around his home town and leave a clue as to where they were on twitter… even been known to hide in a bush nearby and jump out on the lucky finder, double scoop for the finder getting to meet the legend too!

So when a couple of weeks ago when he tweeted he was taking this global, I thought “wow this could be my chance to get involved”. Tweets started coming thick and fast from Tony going on to say that clues will be left not only for the Tony Hawk Twitter Hunt (#THTH) but also for a major “Event” he has planned to finish the week’s fun off with

The build up to the #THTH was intense with the odd clue to the event, half a coordinate here and there, a cryptic date then the hunt itself started. Kicking off in Australia the clue wasn’t much good for me as it relied a lot on local knowledge I couldn’t help out in anyway there

A couple of more hunts in the US soon got posted; I did my best to crack the clues and posted them to help fellow ‘tweebs’. Late afternoon on the first day of the #THTH it happened! It was going off in the UK, Glasgow to be precise, easy clue pointing to the corner of Sauchiehall Street and Kelvin Way in a bush near the bridge! A little too far for me to get there but what the hell, I posted a link to a map where the box could be found to help out anyone closer. Not long after that a clue popped up for Holborn London, an hour and half away from me…. I decide not to go for it myself, after all the guy has over 1.75 million followers I’m sure a few of them are in London, I work out the clue and post my thoughts – ‘Lincoln Inn’, Holborn. To my surprise the boxes aren’t being claimed that quickly, a good couple of hours before the Glasgow one and no news at all on London, I’m now thinking “jump on the bike and I could be there in 70 – 75 minutes??”.

“@tonyhawk any news on London #THTH it’s two hours away from me but I’m thinking about doing it as I know where it is!?!”

Again I carry on with my armchair hunting until late into the evening and first reports form Holborn seem to indicate it’s MIA, possibly picked up random by someone not even on the hunt (shame) the day finished with all but one box (London) going to lucky ‘tweebs’. Went to bed thinking ‘oh well, the UK has had it glory’ and I’ll try to figure out the international clues for others to find the loot

A link to the fabulous Its Basingstoke, NOT Boringstoke web site

A link to the fabulous 'It's Basingstoke, NOT Boringstoke' web site

Tuesday morning I awake to some strange rumours… could be another UK box in Basingstoke! Basingstoke!! Just 30 minutes away from me.

“@TheSuggmeister don’t tease me, I can be in Basingstoke in 1/2 hour!”

The hunt starts mid afternoon in the US, I’m Googling like mad the clues for Boston, New York and posting my results, I’m even starting to get messages from the Boston hunters asking for more help in finding something 3000 miles away from me!

More good news is that the rumours of a Basingstoke box seem founded, held up in customs or by the post office or some such thing, there’s hope left for the UK after all. Do my best for the US hunters and all boxes get claimed bar on in Central Park NY (glad it’s not just the UK that loses them)

“@TheSuggmeister I’m heading Basingstoke way tomorrow, I’m more excited about this than the Lotto…”

A #THTH Box Arrives in Basingstoke

A #THTH Box Arrives in Basingstoke

Wednesday morning one of the first posts I see is a photo of a box, a box that’s going to be hidden in Basingstoke UK that day, that’s it, my mind is already made up I’m going to be in Basingstoke ready before the first clue is posted… if it’s posted today that is!?!

“@TheSuggmeister made it to Basingstoke… now waiting for the game to begin!”

“@TheSuggmeister …. I’ve bought a flask with me!”

Armed with an A to Z of Basingstoke and my twitter enabled phone I wait in the middle of Basingstoke waiting for the first clue, soon after 3pm it’s on!

@Steven_Gill with his Basingstoke AtoZ.  Thanks to Steve for taking and that sending me photos.

@Steven_Gill with his Basingstoke AtoZ. Thanks to Steve for taking and that sending me photos.

“@tonyhawk UK Basingstoke: Guarded by a fearsome troll, NW from a house where you might have to pay money to pass & a sk8park #THTH”

– comes through to my phone, not as easy as a lot of the clues have been I try for one of the main clues, Google skatepark Basingstoke and get more than a few hits; War Memorial park, Chineham and one near Hook.

I’m not local so have no idea if there is a statue of a Troll near any of these. I Google “Basingstoke Troll” and not much help there, but the time is ticking I need to get moving. Just to feel I’m doing something, I head for the War Memorial park first as its closest. All the time I’m thinking “Troll, Troll, Troll??? Rivers? Trolls live by rivers right? “

I really should have left some of these with the package, perhaps with another clue, leading to another troll and so on

I really should have left some of these with the package, perhaps with another clue, leading to another troll and so on

I check the map for a river near the skate park, park the car on the roundabout by the War Memorial and have a quick look. I just don’t have a good feeling about this one, nothing Troll like and I don’t seem to be NW of any houses I’d have to pay to pass?

I grab the map and plan my route to Hook (another skatepark). As I’m looking I see ‘Old Basing House’… a house you may have to pay to pass?  “National trust houses!”, you have to pay to see them don’t you?? and there’s a mill and river nearby, Troll country!

I set straight off checking twitter to see if anyone has claimed it yet, to my horror all I can see one the application is ‘Communications Error!’ Nooooooo!! Not now of all times, as I’m driving I restart the application fingers crossed it’s going to work which it does but seems so slow the timeline just isn’t catching up fast enough, at least no tweets on anyone finding it yet.

I get to Basing House and Barton’s Mill which has a bridge. I’ve got to be close now have a good look around and under the bridge, nothing!!!.

A lovely riverside pub to the east of Basingstoke.A country pub haven, yet only 5 minutes away from the hustle and bustle of Basingstoke town centre. Enjoy a beer and good homemade food by the calming waters of the River Loddon. Within the Mill Field conservation area and close by is the historical Basing house ruins, the pub is both child and dog friendly.  I didnt put the box anywhere near here.

A lovely riverside pub to the east of Basingstoke.A country pub haven, yet only 5 minutes away from the hustle and bustle of Basingstoke town centre. Enjoy a beer and good homemade food by the calming waters of the River Loddon. Within the Mill Field conservation area and close by is the historical Basing house ruins, the pub is both child and dog friendly. I didn't put the box anywhere near here.

“@TheSuggmeister still looking!”

Back in the car to check the map and clue again…

‘NW of a house where you might have to pay money to pass & a sk8park’

…well I’m so wrong here, I’m SE of Old Basing House and there’s no stake park,

‘House where you might have to pay’?….

TOLL ROAD!!!! Grab the A to Z and check for toll road or toll in the name, three of them

Tollgate Close in Oakley,

Tollgate Rd in Andover and

Tollway in Chineham

…why do I know the name Chineham? Because I’d Googled “skate parks” almost an hour and a quarter ago and “there is one there you idiot!”.  That’s where I’m heading now, as I cross the main road into Chineham I’m still thinking about being NW of this house you have to pay to pass, toll house? TOLL HOUSE!! I pull into a bus stop check twitter ‘Communications Error’ again, not got time for this and open Google and try “Toll House Basingstoke”…  RESULT!!!   it’s on the road I’ve just crossed and NW of it is Tollway, where I’m heading now!

The Old Toll House on the left of this picture is a 17th century Grade II listed building which was originally used to collect money from travellers on the road between Basingstoke and Reading. It was restored in the 1980s and was sold as a residential property. However, the building is now uninhabitable as it is infested with Aspergillus mould which produces aspergillosis in humans, a serious and potentially fatal condition.

The Old Toll House on the left of this picture is a 17th century Grade II listed building which was originally used to collect money from travellers on the road between Basingstoke and Reading. It was restored in the 1980s and was sold as a residential property. However, the building is now uninhabitable as it is infested with Aspergillus mould which produces aspergillosis in humans, a serious and potentially fatal condition.

As I reach Tollway see  a bridge in front of me, I’m still thinking this Troll lives under a bridge and head to it.   As I park up I see  the skate park and follow the path heading SE towards the Toll house, looking in every bush along the little brook that runs along there.

I then see a small bridge and have a good hunt around it. Nothing!!!  I fired up the twitter app again and there was still no claim from the UK. The clue still ringing in my head NW of the house and stake park, “past the skate park”??

From the Toll house I’m going in the wrong direction!

Turning back on myself I spot something under a tree, is this it?, is this my moment?

No, it’s an abandoned men at work sign.

Still following the path back towards the road and still checking all the bushes, far to overgrown at the road bridge, if anything is hidden in there it’s never going to be found again! I cross the road and follow the path, checking and checking again along the brook then I see a bridge a Troll would live under.

My heart is beating faster as I reach the bridge, it’s been almost two hours since the first post and dusk is starting to set in.  Much longer and I’ll need a torch!  Another look at twitter and still not found. I drop to my knees and look under the bridge can’t see anything, I look to the other side and again nothing. In the darkness that is setting in, I try some of the bushes to no avail., This has to be the place!!! – ‘Guarded by a fearsome troll’ has to be a bridge, ‘NW from a house where you might have to pay money to pass & a sk8park’ the Toll house and skate park… should I carry on walking along the brook?

I post a quick “Has the UK been claimed?”….

“@TheSuggmeister has it been found yet?”

… and a quick response from the hider “Nope”

I cross the bridge to have a good look on that side, all I see is the brick of the bridge and again back to the side I started on. I can’t see the brick on this side just some ivy, it must have been found and not posted yet.

I’m just about to get up and  notice that something looks odd?  Wait a second, that isn’t ivy at all! It’s a camouflage net!!

“@TheSuggmeister camo net! you’re a bad man!! photo to follow”

@TheSuggmeister camo net! youre a bad man!! photo to follow

@TheSuggmeister camo net! you're a bad man!! photo to follow

As I reach under I can feel the solid box and now I know. I feel so excited it’s almost like I shouldn’t be doing this, so I look around to see if anyone is watching.  I remember my camera and think I want every moment and take a photo of the box still hidden then pull it from under the bridge.

it’s huge!

And it’s been well wrapped in camouflage net and a black bin bag to keep it dry.

with the failing light and fact I’ve been looking for a light brown box it’s no wonder I almost walked away.

I rip off the bin liner like a child at Christmas and see the #THTH in bright orange paint stenciled on the side.

it’s mine! I found one!!

He Found One

He Found One

A couple more photos and I take it back to the car to open; I don’t want to lose anything that maybe in there and don’t want to bump into anymore ‘tweebs’ that may have figured out the clue too.

And one snap with the hidden flag to put Blighty on the Tony Hawk map

And one snap with the hidden flag to put Blighty on the Tony Hawk map

Once back at the car, I open the box and get my first view of the swag,

a skateboard deck signed by the man himself, backpack rammed with goodies, t shirts, hat, tech-deck, stickers and a USB stick shaped like a skateboard (more on that later), there is also a note congratulating me on the find and who to post a reply to so they can let the world know it’s been found.

I took a quick photo of me and the box on my phone and posted to the #THTH topics and headed home… in rush hour traffic and didn’t give a hoot!

@Steven_Gill with his prize

@Steven_Gill with his prize

When I get home I can fully appreciate the loot I’ve found and take some photos to post to Tony and his followers to get others worked up enough to get out there and find the ones in their cities

@Steven_Gill safely home and check out his prize. I was as eager as anyone to see this little lot on twitter. Awesome schwag!

@Steven_Gill safely home and check out his prize. I was as eager as anyone to see this little lot on twitter. Awesome schwag!

Is the #THTH over for me? not by a long shot. On the USB stick there was a video clue to find the secret event Tony has planned for the end of the #THTH.  I posted the clue straight away for people to help me crack and got straight back into my international code breaking skills for the others ‘tweeb’s out there.   I just know how boring my life is going to be next week with no #THTH to keep me busy

….  oh and my video clue was Tony typing a Zip Code message on his Sidekick (and man! his fingers are like lighting on that thing!.) I’ve worked this out to be 65202, Columbia Missouri, so if you’re anywhere near there this Saturday…..”

Update: You can find out more about the weekend event put on my Tony Hawk and his friends on this “Columbia Missourian” post.

http://www.columbiamissourian.com/stories/2009/10/17/tony-hawk-brings-tour-columbia/