Events in 2003

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Ludlow Walking Weekend

22th-23th February 2003

After gathering at Ludlow's castle gates, we walked around the perimeter walls before heading westward to the Mary Knoll Valley. It was bright and a pleasant temperature for walking. Buzzards circled overhead as we travelled, perhaps seeing us as a source of protein.

In the evening we continued conversation over dinner in the Wheatsheaf which is built against the tower of the remaining town gate.

On Sunday Tom Wall of English Nature guided us through Downton Gorge which features in The Secret of the Gorge. Tom has read Malcolm Saville's books and explained the locations along the route using old photographs and paintings. We were privileged to see this restricted area in the company of such a knowledgeable enthusiast.


Group at the Gorge

Lorraine enthralls her audience

Downton Gorge

Tom Wall
 

Rye Annual Gathering Weekend

4th-6th April 2003

Around eighty members managed to explore the locations of all the Sussex Lone Pine stories this weekend. Our indoor activities took place within the Mermaid Hotel which was the inspiration behind the Gay Dolphin Hotel. On Friday a group walked to Camber Castle where the Warrenders first met the Mortons. This encounter was read to us as we basked in the sun at the top of the bank overlooking the wall. In the evening we had a talk on the author Sheila Kaye-Smith who Malcolm Saville read and enjoyed as an adolescent and who later influenced his work.

On Saturday we visited Winchelsea Church where we were greeted by the rector and saw the book of remembrance which had been turned to the page showing the entries for Malcolm and Dorothy Saville. A walk took us past Chelsea Cottage where they lived and to the site of St Leonard's windmill where Jon met Slinky Grandon in The Gay Dolphin Adventure. The coaches then took us through the Isle of Oxney where Treasure at Amorys was set and then on to The Elusive Grasshopper territory for lunch at The Ship Inn, which was renamed The Fishing Boat in the story. From here we took the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway to Dungeness where there was time to climb the old lighthouse for a better view, have a cup of tea or follow bogus bird watchers to the site of the old school.

In the evening, we returned to The Mermaid for a fabulous feast and had a quiz on local knowledge, observation and the books. Afterwards there was the opportunity to look at, and perhaps buy, some of the many books brough along by Colin Harding.

Our AGM took place in The Mermain on Sunday morning. Mark O'Hanlon who founded the Society is stepping down from the committee after nine years but will continue as an active member. We had a chance to thank him for many years of hard work and to wish him a happy birthday. In the afternoon Robin and Pip Saville kindly invited members to their home for tea. This concluded what had been a most interesting and enjoyable weekend.


Camber Castle

Winchelsea Church

Hercules
 

Yorkshire Walking Weekend

14th-15th June 2003

Nature put on a spectacular display for our walk up Swaledale - bright sunshine illuminated masses of wild flowers in the meadows near Muker, sparkling waterfalls farther up the valley and lapwings on the hill top. All the members on the walk should now recognise the Lone Piner's peewit call. A tearoom at Keld provided sustenance until we enjoyed a well-deserved and excellent meal together on the outskirts of Richmond.

The Sunday walk from Richmond to Easby Abbey was a more leisurely and level affair and was, again, accompanied by glorious summer weather and the reading of more extracts from The Secret of Buzzard Scar. After this weekend it is not difficult to understand why many claim that Yorkshire is God's own country.


Buzzard Scar

Falls at Keld

River Swale at Easby
 

Lewes Weekend

30th-31th August 2003

If you walk along the Seven Sisters cliffs in East Sussex, you have a steep climb and you do not see the cliffs. Instead we walked from Seaford to Cuckmere Haven and enjoyed magnificent views of the famous white cliffs shining in the warm sunshine. As we lazed on the grass, Colin Harding read an extract from The Thin Grey Man which is set in this area. We then continued our walk to either a pub or a tearoom. These refreshments kept us going until our fabulous feast together in the evening.

On Sunday our legs had a rest as we went on a car treasure hunt. The route took us around local beauty spots and also to a number of the many houses where Malcolm Saville lived before we ended up in a teashop in Lewes. The clues and questions gave us a wonderful insight into the strange workings of Colin's mind - it was a little scary!


The Seven Sisters

Fabulous Feast

Picnic
 

Bishops Castle Weekend

8th-9th November 2003

Two days of walking around South Shropshire gave the opportunity to enjoy autumn at its best. A crisp and misty start on the Saturday took us from Clun Castle across bare fields towards the ancient hill fort of Bury Ditches. After a warming lunch we set off through the woods where the golden colours of the leaves were magnificent after the dry summer. We are indeed fortunate that public houses feature in many of the stories and we had dinner in The Six Bells at Bishops Castle, which is mentioned in Lone Pine Five. Things turned ugly later on when our younger members indulged in a game of Slaps. Older and wiser members sheltered in their rooms before any blood was shed.

The survivors of these gladiatorial battles met the next day in Bishops Castle for another walk around the hills and woods before returning to the town and the Three Tuns public house. Since this building also features in Lone Pine Five we felt it was our duty to explore this building, for purely research reasons of course!


Bury Ditches

Good Slapping

Bishops Castle