Events in 2004

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Lyme Regis Weekend

21th-22th February 2004

The little-known Saville story The Secret of the Hidden Pool provided an excuse to visit Lyme Regis which lies at the western end of the Dorset coast. We toured this delightful town on Saturday, learning of its history and its literary connections. Jane Austen regularly visited and we saw a number of places where she stayed. Having roped ourselves together we ventured onto the wind-swept Cobb. While most of us were struggling to stand upright beside the row of steps known as 'Granny's Teeth', Jo read a passage from Pursuasion, about Louisa Musgrove's dramatic fall on the Cobb. The two girls in our party were reluctant to re-enact this accident. The Cobb also features in The French Lieutenant's Woman and later we saw the home of the book's author, John Fowles. Strangely, Thomas Hardy seems to have overlooked Lyme Regis in his Dorset writings. We managed to investigate a number of tea-rooms and cafes during the day in preparation for an evening of continued conversation and refreshment at an inviting tavern.

Rested and clad in every warm item of clothing we possessed, we undertook a longer walk on Sunday that took us to the top of Golden Cap which, at 191m is the highest sea cliff on the south coast. We were fortunate in that the weather provided clear views towards Portland Bill and made the climb worthwhile. As if by chance, we arrived at The Anchor Inn at lunchtime. Our return journey provided more magnificent Dorset views. Some of the walk's survivors discovered a cafe in Charmouth that looked unchanged from the 1960s and which was reminiscent of those featuring in Saville stories. This provided copious volumes of tea, the opportunity to thaw out and to prepare for our homeward journeys.


The Cobb

The Sheep Wash

Golden Cap
 

Shrewsbury Annual Gathering

16th-18th April 2004

The Society returned to its root to celebrate its 10th anniversary. We met at the Lion Hotel on Friday evening for a buffet meal and talk by celebrated writer and personal friend of Malcolm Saville: Mary Cadogan. Afterwards some of us were parted from our money by Colin's book stall and Madame Pam's greeting cards.

A coach tour on Saturday took us around many of the locations used in the stories and to the Secret Hills Discovery Centre at Craven Arms. After lunch our our tour continued to Clun, where we invaded the ruined castle or HQ3, Bishops Castle and the Stiperstones. The 'Land of Dereliction' has undone some landscaping since the closure of the lead mines but there is still plenty of its industrial past visible today.

In the evening, after a fabulous feast, Richard Griffiths presented the results of a recent poll to find the most popular book written by Malcolm Saville. This multi-media show included a competition, drama, video and a lot of laughter. The winning book is The Gay Dolphin Adventure. Full report and analysis of the poll can be viewed online or in the Summer 2004 edition of Acksherley!.

On Sunday morning we held our Annual General Meeting, once again in the Lion Hotel.


The Lion Hotel

Meal at The Lion Hotel

Clun Bridge
 

Blakeney Weekend

19th-20th June 2004

Forty people attended this event which makes it something of a record. The group was treated to a good walk through a wide variety of landscapes with plenty for the birdwatchers: redshanks and oyster catchers, peewit and even avocet were seen en route. Possibly due to the number of waders, a marsh harrier was in attendance too. The walk concluded with a visit to Blakeney Church. The two towers of this building feature in Redshanks Warning. The characters were locked in the smaller of the towers, but we were privileged to climb the larger tower which gave views of Blakeney, Wiveton and Cley.

On Sunday a specially chartered boat took us out to see the seals and to land on The Point which features in the book. We discovered Miss Harvey's hut to the possible consternation of the people staying there for a quiet weekend!


Gathering for the Walk

Blakeney Quay

Leaving the Point
 

Shap Weekend

7th-8th August 2004

The Lake District is a new area for the Society to explore but we followed in the tracks of the Jillies after their unscheduled stop in this area in Strangers at Snowfell when their train was stuck in a snowdrift. No such climatic hazards affected our walkers as they marched over the rolling hills in sunshine. There was slight confusion when some 'enemy' modified the footpath diversion signs around some pipe laying. However, this did not fool our intrepid explorers for long and they managed to find where Dr Thornton had hidden his blue papers in the story.


Site of the Snowdrift

Rolling Hills

Lunch Stop
 

Rye Fawkes Weekend

13th-14th November 2004

The weekend was based around two Lone Pine books. On Saturday we followed in the possible footsteps of Slinky Grandon as he went to meet Valerie at the windmill in Winchelsea in The Gay Dolphin Adventure. The mill was destroyed in the storms of 1987 and we could not see Slinky either. After lunch we walked back to Rye in unseasonable sunshine passing Camber Castle where the Mortons first met the Warrenders and Miss Ballinger.

In the evening we gathered on Hilders Cliff to see the Rye Fawkes procession pass by as described in Rye Royal. We saw three floats pass but rumours were that the tractor pulling the fourth ran out of diesel as it was going through the Landgate. As a result the rest of the procession went direct to the Salts where the bonfire and fireworks made for a spectacular display. local press report

A town walk and treasure hunt on Sunday morning gave the opportunity to enjoy more sunshine and find more locations described in the stories. John and Evelyn Roberts were the worthy winners of the prize fluffy peewit as they got full marks in the hunt.

Treasure Hunt questions
Treasure Hunt answers


Camber Castle

Bonfire and Fireworks

Pump Street