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Tchotchkes in the hills

Imagine your tired and it’s stoating down with rain, and you’ve been walking for five hours. You see a marker post which tells you that you’re on the right track, which momentarily raises your spirits about three millimetres from rock bottom. And then you catch sight of the centimeter tall lettering on the post: ULTREIA

You realise this means that there is a hidden coin in a hidden box nearby. Some fiend has devised a set of commemorative coins for Scotland, and hidden them about the Southern Upland Death March. You somehow want to find them, thinking that finding one would give a ray of sunshine on the generally overcast quest.

But this isn’t like finding a hidden package in a video game – for one thing, the very act of looking above where your feet are trudging is a huge effort – it means facing the incoming rain with your eyes. For another, there is no cheat cheet – you can’t hop on t’internet and find out where they are. This means that if you want to find a specially minted coin, you have to scour the undergrowth. Every regular shaped stone gets over-turned in rage. Bracken gets beaten with sticks. Profanities are offered up into the heavens. Muddy banks are slithered down in search of lost treasure. All to no avail.

You look at the nearby peaks, thinking that they would be logical places to hide a box full of coins. You decide that you are beaten by geography and metereology once again and trudge onwards. Then you see an enormous tree stump with a box on it, and curse yourself for thinking that anyone would have been sadistic enough to make you scout around the swamp to find them. Then you realise that it was yourself. It was you that forced yourself to scour the countryside.

Then you get to the box, the cache of treasures. You take out a coin. They’re made of lead. Just what you want to be lugging about.

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