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Inverness BID is helping to launch a 'MonsterVillain Safari' for youngsters over the October holidays

By Calum MacLeod

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JUST a few miles from the world’s most famous monster hunting location at Loch Ness, young adventurers are being invited to take part in a hi-tech monster hunt of their own.

The junior cryptozoologists and their families can hunt down and bring “MonsterVillains” to life on their smartphones in an interactive adventure through the centre of Inverness.

The Highland capital MonsterVillain Safari, held in association with Inverness Business Improvement District (BID), is one of a series of similar events taking place across the country over the October holidays, providing families with a socially distanced, contactless and fun activity as they go on the trail of the creepy but cute monsters.

Margaret Laws of Inverness BID said: “With so many families unable to go away this October, and Halloween events having to be cancelled, BID wanted to provide something fun and safe for families.

“The MonsterVillain Safari is a great way to entertain the kids and bring people back into the city centre in a safe environment.

“The businesses are excited to be part of the event with some even adding their own ‘spooky special’ surprises.”

The trail to find the 10 MonsterVillains takes on average about 45 minutes to complete and is completely free for families and groups to take part in. At around 1.5 miles or 3500 steps it is also aimed at keeping families fit and active.

The safari works by utilising contactless QR codes, without the need to download or sign up to anything.

The 10 vinyl window monsters, all specially created for this project, have been placed around Inverness for families to hunt down. There is no need to actually go inside the venues, but some participating businesses are offering extra incentives to come in while on the monster trail.

When families in Inverness scan each character’s unique QR code, the monster will come to life in an animation on their smartphone and they will learn their names, stories and powers.

When all 10 MonsterVillains are found, families will be rewarded with another free eBook, a follow up adventure, again written specially for the trail.

Martin Blackwell, former chief executive of the Association of Town and City Management and the Charity Retail Association, who is co-ordinating the project nationally, said: “I loved the idea of a safari on the high street!

“If something fun like this can help make families and kids feel good about going back out onto the high street in a safe way then we’ve done our job.”

Although the MonsterVillain Safari is free to participate in, there will also be an opportunity to donate to chosen charity Highland Hospice.

The event runs in Inverness from today throughout the month to finish – appropriately – on Halloween, October 31.

To access the Inverness MonsterVillain Safari, visit highstreetsafari.com/locations/inverness

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