Header Photo:

Travel-ted on the summit of Burnswark Hill, Dumfriesshire. 2015 © Lucy Gibbon

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Travel-ted and the Secret of the Gloup

One day Ethie and Travel-ted visit the Gloup at Mull Head in the East Mainland of Orkney.
A gloup is an opening in the roof of a sea cave. They walk along the path until they come to a walkway that overlooks the gloup.

Travel-ted leans on the fence and looks down into the chasm. He throws a stone and it takes a long time to splash into the water below.

"That is very deep." thinks Travel-ted
"Hang on", said Ethie, "I'll take a photo of you."

Ethie walks back down the path and turns around to take the picture. Travel-ted is now balancing on the top rung of the fence by himself.

He looks a bit vulnerable, so Ethie shouts, "Be careful T-T!"
            "I'm fine" said Travel-ted. But then he spots something down in the chasm.
                               "Ooh, I wonder what that is?" he says and leans over the fence to get a better look.

"Watch out! You're going to fall", shouts Ethie. She runs back to the fence, but is too late! Travel-ted slips off the fence and falls down into the deep dark chasm.

Ethie doesn't hear a splash, so she knows that he is not in the water.  But she doesn't know what to do. The chasm is too steep to climb down and the only entrance is by sea, so she has no way of getting to him. 

"Help!", comes a far off voice from down below. It's Travel-ted. Ethie is so relieved he is okay.

"I can't see you", shouts Ethie, "where are you?"

It is so dark, Ethie can't see him.
"Help", shouts T-T again. "I'm stuck on a ledge"
Just then, Ethie hears louder shouts from the chasm. "What's wrong, has someone fallen in?" The louder shouts come from birdwatchers in a small boat who have come to look for seabirds.

"Yes", calls Ethie, "my teddy. He's trapped on a ledge. Can you see him? He's wearing a blue jumper"

"Wait, yes, we can see him."

Ethie watches as one of the people in the boat reaches out to the side of the chasm with a long pole. The pole is taken back into the boat with something blue on it.

"We've got him", they shout. "We'll send him back up to you."

They throw a rope up for Ethie to catch and she pulls Travel-ted up to safety.
Ethie pulls Travel-ted up with the rope

Nearly there.

"Thank you so much", shouts Ethie down to the boat. All the birdwatchers cheer and clap. Ethie throws the rope back down to the boat, then she and Travel-ted watch as it heads back out to sea.

Ethie gives Travel-ted a great big hug. "Oh, I'm so glad you are fine, I really thought I'd lost you this time. You have to be more careful!"

"I'm sorry", says Travel ted, "it's just that I saw something interesting. So...can you lower me back down?"

"What! No! Why?" Ethie is shocked to hear this.

"Well, because there is a box down there on the ledge. I want to see what is inside it."

"Hmm," says Ethie, "oh all right then." She also wants to know what is in the box.

She walks to her car where she finds another piece of rope and some twine . She then ties the rope to Travel-ted and lowers him back down into the gloup.

Ethie slowly lowers Travel-ted down the side of the gloup

And on to the ledge again
He finds the box and ties the twine around it and shouts to Ethie to pull it up.

The box is heavy

There are definitely things in it.
It jangles as it hits the side of the gloup

Nearly at the top
Ethie then pulls up Travel-ted onto the safety of the wooden walkway.
"Now for the moment of truth", says Travel-ted and opens the box.

"I bet it's just a load of old junk", says Ethie. 


 "Er, no it isn't," said Travel-ted, "come closer, look at this!"

"This is definitely NOT junk."

"Oh! How exciting, that is not junk. That is treasure," says Ethie. "I wonder why it was down in the Gloup?"

"We'll need to investigate this. Let's take it home." says Travel-ted.

Ethie drives them both home and they get some tea. The next day they both go to the Orkney Room in Orkney Library & Archive to look up the Gloup and lost treasure. Travel-ted reads some old books but he can't find find anything on lost treasure at the Gloup. All he finds is tales of a strange green light that is sometimes seen there at night.

So he looks up pirate books instead. "It must be pirate treasure", says Travel-ted. It says in this book that Pirate Gow and his shipmates raided the big houses of Orkney. He was captured at Eday, but they never found any of the stolen property. 

Just then one of the Archivists gets a phone call. It's the Orkney Museum, they've found something interesting. You'd better come with us to have a look.

Ethie, Travel-ted and the Archivist walk round to the Museum. The museum curator waits for them in the Groatie Hoose in the gardens at the back. The Groatie Hoose is a folly supposedly built from the ballast of Pirate Gow's ship.

The curator shows them a poster she found in the Groatie Hoose.

"Oh no!", said Travel-ted and Ethie together, "what are we going to do?"

"If you know about this", the curator says, "then we should call the Police". When a policeman arrives, he does not believe the story at all. But he agrees to meet the Travel-ted, Ethie and the curator back at the Groatie Hoose at midnight with the box of treasure just to see if anything happens.

Just before midnight comes, they all gather in the garden and put the treasure box in the Groatie Hoose. Then they hide inside the museum and keep watch out the window.

On the stroke of midnight in the simmer dim, they see a strange green glow moving through the garden. The glowing light moves around the old folly.

Then they hear a gravelly voice shout out, "Ha-Harrr! It's here!" The glow then forms itself into the shape of a man. A tall bearded man wearing old-fashioned clothes, just like pirates from the books. He stands for a moment looking right at them and holding the treasure box. Travel-ted shivers. Then the pirate runs off through the garden.

The policeman is startled but intrigued now and says, "Right. Let's follow him!" They find it hard to follow the pirate as he runs very fast. Soon though, he turns back into a glowing light and shoots off into the night. "Car. Now!" shouts the policeman. They all pile into the police car and follow the light. The light eventually leads them back to the Gloup where it vanishes into the darkness.

"I'm not giving up now", says the policeman. He calls for the coastguard to come and they all search the gloup with ropes and torches. Not an easy job in the eerie light. Eventually close to the ledge where Travel-ted found the box of treasure, they hear voices inside the cliff. They find a narrow opening. It is too small for the coastguard men, but not too small for Travel-ted.

"Off you go little bear", they say. "Be careful" says Ethie. Travel-ted edges along the narrow tunnel following the sounds of the voices. Soon he reaches a large cave full of pirates all cheering and laughing.

"Ha-harrr! We fooled them and got our treasure box back!" Travel-ted watches as the big tall bearded pirate tips out the contents of the box onto an enormous pile of treasure. Gold, and silver jewels, goblets and chains. But also framed pictures and fine furniture too. In fact the cave is full of many fine things. "It's the lost treasure of the old houses of Orkney" realizes Travel-ted. He inches his way back out of the cave towards the lights of the coastguard and policemen and tells them the news.

By Thursday of the following week, the Orcadian newspaper's front page story is all about the recovery of the lost treasure of the old houses of Orkney and how Travel-ted found them.



Disclaimer - no bears were thrown into chasms during the making of this story. 
All photos were taken by LG and PB, except the boat in the Gloup which was taken by Pauline Wilson. Many thanks to PB for his help with the photos on a very blustery day.


  1. Brilliant!! Great story ���� Loved the disclaimer at the end ��

  2. Thanks for your comment Tessa. Travel-ted and I are glad you like the story (and the disclaimer). Travel-ted is now claiming stunt fees.

  3. Brilliant! Orcadian explorer Travel Ted saves the day again.

    1. Thanks Anon. Your feedback is much appreciated.


I hope you enjoy Travel-ted's adventures. Please feel free to leave a comment. Lucetta, x