Visit England has declared 2017 the ‘Year of Literary Heroes’, highlighting anniversaries of great writers, including Arthur Ransome, who died 50 years ago in 1967 – and Suffolk’s Shotley Peninsula, which features in two of his books, and where his famous yacht Nancy Blackett is based, is joining in with gusto.
Pin Mill, the peninsula’s picturesque riverside hamlet, is the setting for the opening of “We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea”, published 80 years ago, in 1937 (and also for its successor, “Secret Water”). Nancy Blackett, the yacht he owned when he lived in the area, and which became the Goblin in the book, will be at the centre of the celebrations; she’s based a little way up the River Orwell at Woolverstone and is owned by the Nancy Blackett Trust, set up 20 years ago in 1997.
Events so far planned include a Ransome-themed fete on the green at Pin Mill, on 13th May, where Nancy Blackett will be present, and a flotilla sailpast on 4th June, to speed Nancy Blackett on her way to Holland in a recreation of the fictional voyage of the Goblin.
Other projects in the planning include an exhibition of Ransome’s own photos, taken during the building of his boat Selina King in Pin Mill, a summer camp at Woolverstone, outdoor film shows and a possible literary conference – plus a range of tourism guides, information panels and trails to let visitors explore the Shotley Peninsula’s attractions themselves.
More details will be announced in 2017 as they become available!