self-guided story trail | 2014

Grab a mobile device, download two free apps, and hit the towpath and streets! There are 11 episodes to find, use the map to locate episodes and watch the 1 minute “how-to” video to get started.

This self-guided tour uses Geocaching and Zapcodes (read Helen’s blog post to learn more about this). Through each strand are three characters whose lives have been, and will be, altered forever by their attachment to the city and its waterways. Past collides with present, digital with print, to create an immersive and thrilling adventure.

You will need an internet-enabled device such as a smartphone or tablet to locate and read the codes and clues. If you don’t have one, email to borrow one. Below is a map showing the general locations for the geocaches and the precise locations of the zaps.



Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. We’ve created 5 geocaches as part of our story trail, and hidden them around central Manchester.

To find them, you will need to install one of these geocaching apps on your smartphone or tablet:

  • Open Caching – free app for Android and iPhone.
  • c.geo – free app for Android devices.
  • Geocaching – this is the official app, which includes the most caches and features, but it costs around £6 and requires an annual subscription. If you’re a keen geocacher then this is the best app to have, but if you’re only interested in using it for this story trail we recommend using one of the free apps.

Once you have installed the app of your choice, search for caches in Manchester that have been created by Tales from the Towpath, and start to navigate the story. As you find each cache, date and sign the paper log inside the cache and please remember also to log your find via the Opencaching or Geocaching app – you can leave more comments there.


Zapcodes are scannable icons that add digital media to what you see through your mobile device’s camera – it’s known as augmented reality, since it allows us to see and hear more that what is actually there. You need the Zappar app to read the codes.

Download and install the Zappar app:

then head out around Manchester to look for the codes. The first zapcode will be available here from 10am on Monday 6th October.

Micro-print publication

Our beautiful origami narrowboat was available during the 2014 Manchester Literature Festival from the People’s History Museum, Royal Exchange, Midland Hotel and other Festival locations, as well as on the night of the performance, bringing the towpath into the streets.

Now that the festival is over, you can have a go at making one yourself. Grab yourself some paper and watch the demo below. It’s pretty simple! We’ve used A5 here.