Saturday 8 January 2011

Treasure Trails: Kendal Murder Mystery Walking Trail

The lovely Sean from Treasure Trails Cumbria brought me a copy of his Kendal Murder Mystery Walking Trail to check out and review on the blog. It says on the front that it's:
The fun & healthy outdoor activity for all ages

To check out this claim I rounded up a team from 3 generations to go and attempt to solve the mystery this afternoon. We were lucky in that the weather this afternoon was dry if cold and so suited for a stroll around town. 

The actual walk leaflet is made of what appears to be water resistant paper so presumably it doesn't matter too much about the weather. Before you start your walk there are clear guidance and safety tips to follow whilst undertaking the walk. You can even text for help if something prevents a clue from being viewed (e.g. scaffolding or vandalism).

Following the instructions in the leaflet we headed to the starting point at the Kendal Tourist Office. The clues and directions were colour coded and different shapes so you could easily see which was which. The clues were all solved by either reading plaques or carvings at the next point on the route. On the back of the leaflet you gradually cross off either weapons or suspects. By the time you complete the route you should have only 1 of each left.

We all set off with plenty of enthusiasm and the 7 year old enjoyed helping to read both the clues and searching for the answers. The 4 year old initially just kept asking for chocolate and really wasn't taking part. Both of us adults found it very interesting exploring Kendal and discovering bits of history about the town and its residents.

Off down Berry Lane

The instructions were very clear so we never got lost but we did get the location of clue 05 wrong (apparently we are not the first!) and had to work out that answer afterwards. Some of the clues contained photographs of an item to find which made finding them very easy.  About half way round the trail we passed a local playground. This was an ideal opportunity to give the kids a play break and if the weather had been better would make a perfect picnic spot.

Play break

After the break the kids were more enthusiastic and even the 4 year joined in by pointing out "words" when he saw plaques. Direction 07 had us a bit bemused until we suddenly clicked what it was we were supposed to be counting. Throughout the walk it was good to not only see well known Kendal landmarks but also to travel past some less well known.

Blind beck

We took less than the suggested 2 hours to complete the route (probably the cold kept us moving fast!). It was an nice easy route that would even be suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs. On a warmer day it would be good to meander slowly and soak in more of the town's history. When we got home I entered our answer onto the web site and was relieved to know we had correctly solved the mystery and were therefore eligible for the prize draw.

I would certainly recommend this to families with children old enough to be actively involved or to adults on their own. I think my 4 year old didn't really understand what it was all about. There are more trails in Cumbria and further afield and I do hope that I can have a go at these when the weather is warmer.

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