Thanks to the kindness of Sustrans, I’ve finally been able to see a copy of the original Time Trail Record Card:
You can download a PDF version here.
This is your Master Card
After some months puzzling over the Time Trail, it’s great to see something official, straight from the puzzle-makers themselves, or at least the custodians of the puzzle.
The mention of 1998 is the earliest date that I’ve seen in relation to the Time Trail. It’s interesting to see the emphasis on ‘old-school’ rubbings, crayons, and water-resistant paper! In good weather, and with patient friends or family, it would be a good excuse to interrupt the journey, particularly if there was a pub nearby. Today, though, the instructions would probably be different, and would include mobile phones, QR codes, Instagram uploads and Facebook likes…
To obtain an actual Time Treasure kit from Sustrans, for one of the sets T1 through T5, you would have taken a rubbing from each disk, cut out the small shape (containing a letter or two) from the rubbing, or a photocopy of it, after having found at least 3/4 of the disks, in most cases. Then posted off another photocopy of the whole master card, along with your payment and an order form.
I’m fairly sure that Sustrans are no longer accepting any orders, submissions, or payments, or selling water-resistant paper — although they’ll certainly accept donations — you can now sponsor individual miles of the cycle network!
The second page of the record card is also interesting because it gives us another way to arrange the disks in each set, in addition to the one that the disks themselves form. So, for example, for the T3 set, the disks in numerical order show the 8 Ages of Man. The small contents of each tiny triangle are, in 1-8 order:
A N₂ r i Ne Ar O₂ CO₂
But with this new information on the record card, I now know that another order for the T3 set is 1/4/3/2/7/6/5/8, so we get:
Air N₂ O₂ Ar Ne CO₂
And these are the top five elements in our Air, in descending order: Nitrogen (78%), Oxygen (20%), Argon (0.9%), the (in)famous Carbon Dioxide at 0.03%, and Neon (0.001%). (Water vapour is not included, but would probably be about 0.25%.)