CONISTON has been transformed into a village of mystery from today (Saturday) as part of a quest designed for inquisitive detectives.

Ruskin’s Quest will put to test a participant’s observational skills and riddle-solving tactics.

The challenge consists of participating businesses displaying an item at odds with its value within their window.

The challenge is to spot the item, which in some cases will require a very keen eye.

From there participants must enter the establishment and receive a riddle to which an answer must be found.

Participating businesses will be displayed on a quest map, designed by PCSO Emma Forrester and John Ruskin School pupil Greg Dzinora.

PCSO Emma Forrester said: “It has been a fun few months speaking to shop keepers who have happily joined in the excitement of finding the rogue item for their windows and struggled with their own challenge of writing a riddle.

“I hope this year’s launch of Ruskin’s Quest, an adaptation of Ulverston’s summer event, will be hugely successful.

“One of the reasons I decided to do this was to help boost community spirit as the winter can be harsh on local businesses in our area as a lack of tourists in the area can lead to a lack of business.”

Prizes, donated by the Cumberland Building Society, will be given out in March for first, second and third place.

Sue Holland, from the Coniston Business Forum, said: “Ruskin’s Quest is certainly an innovative idea of how to get local families and tourists alike, to reconnect with their local businesses.

“Coniston Business Forum is pleased to support this initiative, as a fun way to encourage people to use their local shops and cafes. It is exciting to see a local family taking the lead on this activity and we wish the project great success.”

All proceeds from the activity will be donated to the Coniston Crusaders Youth Club to help fund a holiday club.

People can follow the action on Twitter using #ruskinsquest.

Maps went on sale this morning and are available until March 2 at the Coniston Tourist Information Centre and local newsagents.

The maps, which double up as entry forms, cost 50p.