The North East’s ‘biggest and best scream park’ Psycho Path reopened its doors for the brave and the foolhardy to try. 

When an email went around Echo HQ saying we’d been invited to test our nerve, cartoon tumbleweed rolled by – we’re not a daring bunch and spending a Friday evening being scared out of your wits doesn’t scream ‘nice way to relax after a long week’.

Fast forward two weeks and the Echo’s resident self-confessed wuss (Daniel) and paranormal correspondent (Phoebe) had been volunteered as “the best people for the job” (read: sacrifices).

The Northern Echo: From Burnopfield to the middle of a Hollywood horror.From Burnopfield to the middle of a Hollywood horror. (Image: DANIEL HORDON)

Like a pathetic fallacy from a Lord Byron poem, thick fog had rolled in over the wet and mizzly County Durham countryside and set the spooky scene as they made their way to Burnopfield.

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Getting out of the car at Lintz Hall Farm Phoebe declared the nerves had started to set in, while Daniel was still questioning how he’d ended up roped into the scariest press trip of the year.

“IMPORTANT NOTICE – DISCLAIMER FOR PERSONAL INJURY OR DEATH”, reads the first sign to greet visitors as they step out of the car.  After skimming through a disclaimer, and likely signing away all of their human rights and firstborn children (who has time for small print), The Northern Echo’s scaredy-cat duo headed inside.

The Northern Echo: A warm welcome...A warm welcome... (Image: DANIEL HORDON)

The entrance hall, a converted farm shed, hosts bars and street food vendors, as well as a theatre stage area with frequent performances.

Having come straight from work, and to mentally fortify ourselves for what was to come, we grabbed a plastic cup of Dutch courage and a healthy helping of Greek food before daring to go any further.

We’d been given VIP wristbands on arrival which cost a pricey £82.50 per person including a booking fee. You’re meant to get a complimentary drink for this, although we ended up paying for ours, and you’ll have to fork out extra for food too.

The main perk is being able to jump the queue at each attraction – though you do get a fair few dirty looks from people who have been stood in an ankle-deep quagmire for fifteen minutes waiting to get into a maze.

The Northern Echo: The main converted shed has bars, street food sellers and a stage.The main converted shed has bars, street food sellers and a stage. (Image: DANIEL HORDON)

Eventually psyched up, we headed outside and found ourselves at the Thunder Dome – a sort of laser-quest experience where you’re hooked up to a shock machine and given a charge every time you’re hit. It was more fun (if painful) than scary, although you’ll have to fork out an extra £2 each for the shock pads to play.

By this point we wanted to be scared - we’d built ourselves up for it.

We tried four of the mazes in total – ‘Corn-ered’, ‘iScream’, ‘Psycho City’ and ‘Cutthroat Island’. For each, the premise is the same – actors either stare you down, creepily lumber after you through the maze, jump out, or shout at you.

The production quality is exceptional, from the costumes to the scenery, to the heavy-handed use of the smoke machine.

The Northern Echo: 'I Scream' - our favourite of the mazes we tried.'I Scream' - our favourite of the mazes we tried. (Image: DANIEL HORDON)

But were we terrified? Unfortunately, not really.

We both jumped a couple of times, but despite being desperate for that horror movie experience, it wasn’t to be. As a self-styled wimp, Daniel was surprised that he wasn’t scared at all.

‘iScream’ was our favourite of the ‘nightmarish’ attractions we tried. Strobe lights and thick smoke make for a disorientating experience as you fumble through the darkness.

Maybe we missed the scariest attractions (having never been we didn’t know which would be the freakiest) but having tried four of them we were a touch disappointed.

The Northern Echo: 'Psycho City' is another of the 12 attractions.'Psycho City' is another of the 12 attractions. (Image: DANIEL HORDON)

That’s not to take away from how well produced and put together they are - this is a slick operation and there were certainly groups who we heard screaming with fear.

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It’s worth noting that despite there being 12 attractions it’d be very difficult to get around all of them in the six hours Psycho Path is open each night. We saw signs noting 50-minute waits on some of the queues, so unless you pay the extra to go VIP you’ll probably only see about four or five mazes if you’re wanting food and drink too.

By about 10.30 pm, with just half an hour left until close, we decided to head off to avoid a rush in the car park – which is never quite the mark of a brilliant night. A snap ‘exit poll’ on the way back to the car rated our evening a four out of ten.

Would we pay what would have worked out at about £100 each for the experience we’d had? Probably not, although maybe this experience just wasn’t for us.