Whodunnit in Linlithgow

Do you enjoy a short walk around town? Do you think you take in all of your surroundings, including the many plaques and statues on display throughout every town, city and village? Try this murder mystery trail designed by Treasure Trails to explore Linlithgow. The walk is about 1.5 miles long and you should allow at least 2 hours. There are optional extensions for keener walkers.

There’s Been a Murder!

There has been a murder in the historic Royal Burgh of Linlithgow. Councillor Thomas Kane has been under pressure from locals over his plans to redevelop the town’s playing fields into an airstrip. After failing to arrive at the town council meeting, he was discovered at home, murdered! The police have issued a list of suspects they would like to interview. To find the murderer, follow this walk around the town, eliminating suspects as you go, until you are left with just the guilty individual.

Begin at the well at Linlithgow Cross, situated at the bottom of the hill to the palace. Here you can eliminate your first suspect. The name of the person that executed the well matches that of an innocent suspect who can be removed from your list.

From here face the main road and turn to your right down towards the pedestrian lights. Here is the location of the first ever gun murder in Scotland. James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray was the half brother of Mary Queen of Scots and was appointed as regent of Scotland when she abdicated in 1567. Upon defeating the former queen’s men at the battle of Langside, and for the general management of the kingdom, he became known as ‘the good regent’. 2 years after defeating her forces at the Battle of Langside, James Stewart was shot by one of Mary’s supporters. The name of the assassin can be found on the Sheriff Court building and matches the surname of a suspect to be scored out.

If you wish to extend your walk to visit the canal, go around the left side of the sheriff building, past the police station. Make your way up the steps at the end of the street and turn left through the gate. Once under the railway line, climb the steps and turn left.

Returning to the High Street, continue on the right side of the High Street, towards the station and look for the black lamp post structure. This is the Lord Provost’s lamp and includes the Linlithgow emblem of the black bitch on its base.

Past the bus depot you will come upon a bar named after the town’s most famous queen. The 4th person listed shares a name with one of the suspects, who can be eliminated.

Continue along the High Street looking to the opposite (north) side and locate the building with a date that is the same back to front, upside down or as it is written on the building!!! As you view this, a nearby business behind you is an anagram of an innocent person (first initial and surname).

Taking a break from solving clues for a bit, cross at the pedestrian crossing and continue along to the right, past the mini-roundabout. Pass Regent Shopping Centre across the road on the right and past St Michael’s Roman Catholic Church on the left.

Look out for the green sign pointing towards Linlithgow Loch and Peel. Follow the sign down the narrow path, be careful as the ground is uneven. Go through the gate into the open land in front of the loch, known as ‘the peel’.

You can extend your walk by about an hour if you go all the way around the loch. Many community and Historic Scotland activities take place throughout the year at the Peel and Linlithgow Palace. Details can be obtained on local activities on www.linlithgow.com.

Whether you go round the loch or not, pass the children’s play park and make your way along the side of the loch. Information boards can be found throughout the open space. By the loch side you can find details on the wildlife that can be found in the area. One of the insects can be unscrambled to reveal the next person with an alibi.

Make your way uphill towards the palace. It is believed that a manor stood in this location in the 1100s and the earliest reference to the palace was in 1301 when it was home to Edward I of England. Following defeat at the Battle of Bannockburn the English occupation ended.

Using the information boards, locate the name of the master mason responsible for the work in front of you. This name can be scored out.

Moving around to the car park in front of the palace and in front of the church with the unique spire, you will find someone who shares their name with the artist who drew a picture in 1670 demonstrating the dominance of the palace and the church.

Exit through the gatehouse and downhill towards the start point. Through an alley you will find the ‘green man’. The architect of this structure is the last of the innocent parties to be removed.

Congratulations! You should be left with just one name on your list. This person can now be arrested for the murder of Councillor Kane.

Having completed your mission, you may wish to continue further into the garden to explore before returning to your start point.

This murder mystery is a short taster trail, produced as an example of the work of Treasure Trails Scotland southeast. You can download the taster in pdf format here.

A longer Linlithgow trail, in the spy trail format can be purchased from www.treasuretrails.co.uk

Treasure trails are produced as a fun and unique way to get people exploring and looking at their surroundings in a different light.  They are produced in three different formats; hunting for buried treasure, solving a murder mystery or foiling the plans of an evil genius in a spy trail. Each trail is designed to show you the best sites around your chosen town with snippets of history.

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