Anyone who reads my blog will know that I am an avid fan of Karen Narramore’s Spotty Dog Trails. The simple kit of a trail map, clue sheet, tally counter and badge has answered my ‘what shall I do with the grandchildren today?’ question on many occasions. Megan, my seven-year-old granddaughter even asked Father Christmas for one for her Christmas stocking this year!
On the day of our adventure it was raining. Undeterred, all five of us plus dog set off with pushchair, picnic, waterproofs and high hopes that the weather would cheer up when we reached Penzance. When we’d parked, we sat and ate lunch inside the car, then decided to brave the weather in our waterproofs with our map safely stowed in a plastic bag.
The first clue was easy but the second had us walking backwards and forwards along the seafront completely perplexed. Eventually I gave in and asked a man in a fishing tackle shop if he had seen a smiling fisherman holding up a fish somewhere nearby. “Oh yes,” he replied. “He’s in the shed yonder having a coat of paint, but he usually lives outside my shop!” Problem solved, tally list ticked!
My lot get very concerned if we can’t find the clues, as they like to conscientiously tick them all off and understand what they mean. Sometimes it takes a bit of explaining, such as the one on this trail depicting the severed head of John the Baptist on a plate – a plaster cast on a wall of a house in one of the back streets. I congratulate Karen on her homework, researching it all for us to learn more about the places on our doorstep we take so much for granted.
We had a brilliant day, again finding streets I’d never been down, beautiful Regency terraces, tropical gardens, a dalek and the Bronte sisters’ mother’s house! The rain eased off and a highlight of the day for the children was the fountain in Morrab Gardens. The pool beneath it was brimming with tadpoles so they spent a happy hour scooping them out and putting them back before we finished the trail.
Another great day out uncovering some of Penzance’s hidden secrets. Where next?
What’s your favourite child friendly activity in Cornwall? Why not leave a message below, post on our Facebook page, or tweet @Bosinver – we’d love to hear all about your adventures!