Saturday, 28 February 2015

HuntFun - a great way to get kids walking and considering their surroundings.

Do you remember in my post about Ambleside I mentioned that we'd explored the area with a HuntFun treasure hunt?  Well let me tell you some more about it.

The boys love to be out in the open air and we often try and find a walk to do at the weekend, or make our own scavenger type hunts so when I saw you could buy treasure hunts (treasure not included) I started to find out more, they kindly sent me a couple of printable ones, Ambleside and Windermere, and I bought another for Carlisle.   Needless to say being the organised person I am I forgot to print the hunts out so they sent me a link to access the clues on my phone so we could still complete it.

Huntfun say that their hunts will open your eyes to so many things you would ordinarily just walk straight past!  I was dubious, I'd lived in Ambleside for 3 years there wasn't going to be much I didn't know was there.  I cannot believe how wrong I was.  The trail took me to a church just minutes from where my old house was that I didn't know even existed.

Once you get your head around the cryptic clues and realise you may have to look high and low for the answers everyone can get involved.  The boys soon realised that they may have to read memorial
signs on benches,  house names or dates engraved on the sides of buildings to get the answers.
One clue had us totally stumped, it read along the lines of "which way is the man facing?"   So this was clearly not going to be any man.  It was getting dark (and starting to rain), there were no obvious statues so it wasn't them, there were no posters or carvings.  I admit we gave up.  It was only the following day (as we were heading back through the village) my husband stopped and said "West".  Confused we asked what was..... and he told us the man.  I'm not going to give it away in case you choose to explore Ambleside with the hunt but lets just say ......... look high... nope higher and pray for windy weather!

The problem with reading the clues on my phone was that I couldn't see the map included.  We very nearly had a big argument in the park as to which gates we were being told to leave by (hubby overruled me ........ I was right!!) and we ended up in the wrong place for the next clue, fortunately with a bit of help from Google Maps we were back on track.

Both the HuntFun trails start from the Tourist Information Office, so I assume that's an overarching theme, however this can affect the way the walk works.  The Ambleside one was good as it took you round in a circle, the Carlisle one was a little annoying as it went in a figure of 8.... oh and the Tourist
Information was closed for renovation.   Yes, unfortunately with the trails being pre-written it cannot account for changes in the structures and environments so whilst you can answer the majority of the trail questions if the sign you need is missing or if there is scaffolding around a crucial post box then you have to admit defeat.
    Ben has a great memory (especially when things go wrong) and when we did return to Ambleside kept trying to answer the clues we were missing.

Don't fear, answers are included - but beware of looking up "just one" until the end as it'll spoil everything if you accidentally see another.

Clues aren't all observational some really tax the brain, take a Carlisle one "in what year was........".  The boys looked everywhere - could they see any dates?  no.  Until I spotted some letters carved into the wall.  The look on their faces when I told them that was the date could have painted a thousand
words.  "No mummy, that says XXMBVI (or something similar), it doesn't say numbers".  Ahha boys.... let me teach you about Roman Numerals (as you have obviously never looked at the front room clock!).  Then take another 20 minutes of mummy trying to remember her GCSE maths lessons!   But you know what ............ I got it right!!!

So what do you get in a HuntFun pack?

There are many different options.

You can order a printed one (from £5.99 + p&p) like the Carlisle one, which is a colourful A5 sized booklet or, if you need it faster a downloadable one to print off.  However the one I can't wait to try next is a GPS one (from £9 per person), it looks so much fun and hopefully may decrease the risk of us getting lost in a strange place.

If you are planning a surprise for someone you can order the personalised Plus4 version (£24.99).  Not only can you personalise the cover but they include 4 extra pages with 4 pictures and clues of your choosing.  It may be you want to hunt to continue to that nice restaurant for Mothers Day or to the Play centre for a birthday treat.

HuntFun suggest that the hunts take around 2 hours to complete and, even with 2 kids in tow, this was about right. Of course if you're not against the clock there's nothing to stop you going in the cafe for a drink or looking around the local attractions, like Carlisle Castle (though additional costs may apply).

Once you have completed your treasure hunt, HuntFun have a member’s area where you can join and personalise and print your very own certificates!

Ohh did I say there was no treasure at the end other then smug satisfaction?  If you are taking the kids it may be worth putting some gold coins in your bag or finding a place to buy a token of that city) like a pencil).

Value for money

Whilst they are pricey when you compare it to an attraction entry it's really no more expensive.  What we found as well was if you complete them in pencil you can always re-do them next time you are visiting as you won't remember the answers (well not all of them) and may even find ones you missed out.

With over 200 routes to choose from where will your treasure hunting take you?  We're looking forward to ordering some for the summer to get us exploring new places.

How do I find HuntFun?

HuntFun on Facebook  follow HuntFun on Twitter  Look at HuntFun's website 

Disclaimer:  HuntFun sent me 2 downloadable treasure hunts to try, Ambleside and Windermere.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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