Marathon readers hoping that the lake will freeze

Fans of the Swallows and Amazons writer Arthur Ransome will gather at the Windermere Jetty Museum in the new year to celebrate another of his children’s classic stories.

A group of around 30 people will take part in the marathon reading of Winter Holiday, an adventure tale in which the children skate and sledge on the frozen lake and plan an expedition to the “North Pole”.

The event has been organised by the team that previously held marathon readings of Swallows and Amazons on the shore of Coniston, and Pigeon Post at the YHA Coppermines hostel.

During lockdown last year they created an online marathon reading of another Ransome story, The Picts and the Martyrs.

Reading Swallows and Amazons

The Jetty Museum holds a number of exhibits relating to Ransome’s work, including the steamship Esperance, currently under renovation, which was the author’s inspiration for Captain Flint’s houseboat in the stories.

“It’s an ideal location for the reading of this story,” said organiser Chris Routledge. “We couldn’t get any closer to the shore of the lake where the story is set and we are really grateful to Lakeland Arts for hosting us here. Though it’s probably unlikely that Windermere will freeze over to provide the perfect setting.”

Windermere Jetty Museum

He added: “This is a wonderful tale of frozen wastes, icebound ships, seals and explorers. The Swallows, the Amazons, and the D’s plan to set out for the North Pole, in the footsteps of Nansen and Peary. Of course nothing goes quite as planned, but as always turns out better than expected.”

Previous marathons have attracted readers who included actors from both film versions of Swallows and Amazons, writers, broadcasters, and Ransome fans of all ages. There’s still a few chapters to be allocated so if you’d like to take part, fill in the form at https://ifnotduffers.org/winter-holiday/  The event, supported by the Arthur Ransome Society,  takes place on Sunday January 30.

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