THE herd has flown home following Stirling’s very first Reindeer Trail.

The animals, which were designed and decorated by local schoolchildren, paid a flying visit to Stirling Castle after leaving city centre shops and cafés where they stayed over the festive season.

Now back at their secret location, the 20-strong herd is set to make a return for the 2019 trail after the Go Forth Stirling Business Improvement District organised initiative was hailed a success.

Jon Walton, director, said: “We’re delighted with just how popular the Reindeer Trail proved with local families and the traders who took part.

“It created a real buzz and lots of smiles around the city and was great for sparking people’s curiosity.

“When you launch a new initiative like this you can never be 100 per cent sure how it will go.

“Happily, the trail proved a great success both in terms of the feedback we got from those involved and the amazing drawings which school pupils came up with for the reindeer in the initial design competition.”

Ahead of the trail going live, pupils from the area were invited to come up with their own designs individually or in groups with 160 entries.

A total of 20 winners were chosen from 17 schools who were then provided with materials to decorate the 1.7m tall 3d reindeer.

Shoppers were then encouraged to grab a map, complete the clues and find them all, scattered around the town.

With hundreds of entries, completed forms are being checked over and all entrants with the 20 correct answers will be placed into a prize draw with winners announced later this month.

Jon added: “I want to thank all the school pupils and teachers involved for their hard work and imaginative designs as well as the local authority.

“We couldn’t have achieved what we did or run this fantastic trail without them.”

Meanwhile, one of the schools taking part will also receive a part as competition entrants were asked to vote for the best design.

Councillor Susan McGill, convener of the Children and Young People Committee, hailed the initiative as “fantastic”, adding it “produced a real excitement among pupils”.

She said: “The reindeer they created were diverse, individual and imaginative.

“We set up the opportunity like a real design job, sending the schools a brief and asking the children to create a prototype design.

“This meant they drew upon skills including creativity, co-operation and critical thinking.”