AN interactive game set in the South Lakeland countryside, which will see fell runners recast in the role of a pack of wolves, is set to be one of the highlights of this year’s Lakes Alive festival.

Inspired by the local legend of the last wolf and the natural history of the south Lakeland landscape Wolves is the brainchild of Bristol based artists Ruth Essex and Simon Evans. The game invites people imagine a lakes in which wolves once again roam.

In the game, which makes its debut at this year’s festival, players track and photograph the pack of ‘wolves’ played by the group of runners, including Ambleside's Ben Abdelnoor, as they roam the landscapes around South Lakeland. The runners, like the wolves, who were features of the Lakeland landscape for thousands of years, will be notoriously hard to see.

To help players, the wolves’ current location derived from radio collar data will be broadcast on an online map. Players then use the map to get out into the landscape to try and seek out and spot the ‘wolves’. There will be a wildlife photography competition and as part of the game people can submit their wolf photographs to the website or via social media.

On Saturday, people can also join a Wolf Encounter Tour. Participants will be accompanied by a wolf expert, ecologist and local tour guide to a wildlife hide in the woods where there is a high likelihood that they will get a view of the wolves.

Both playing the game and tickets for the Wolf Encounter are free.

According to legend, it was on the coast of Cumbria at Humphrey Head that the last wolf of England was killed in 1390 thereby signalling final extinction in this country after 12,000 years. The game’s creators are hoping that players will get a better understanding of how they lived hundreds of years ago.

Ruth Essex, one of the game’s co-creators, said: "Wolves were once a part of the landscape in the Lakes and across Britain. Like any extinct animal or species it’s important for us to understand how they lived and the role that they played in the landscape and our ecosystem. Hopefully this is a fun and educational way for people to do this whilst also getting to enjoy the amazing south lakes landscape. It’s great to work with the fell running community as part of the project.”

Wolves starts on Friday at 7am when the wolf tracking data goes live. It runs until Sunday, finishing with a mass wolf run through Kendal at 1pm. To find out more, to see the tracking map and to sign up go to

Wolves twitter is @wolves_are_here

The game Facebook page is at wolveslive