Reading Ransome in the Lake District

Courtesy of Windermere Jetty Museum

Detail of the pictorial dust jacket for Arthur Ransome's Winter Holiday (1933).

An ongoing series of marathon read-throughs by the public of Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons series of children’s novels continues at the end of this month in Cumbria on the banks of Windermere, England’s largest natural lake.
Winter Holiday is the fourth in the reading series organized by local writers Chris Routledge and Eileen Jones following Swallows and Amazons (read on the shore at Coniston Water, 2017), Pigeon Post (Coppermines Youth Hostel, 2019), and The Picts and the Martyrs (online during 2020 lockdown). Published in 1933, it continues the adventures of keen young sailors the Swallows, the Amazons, and the Ds, on a frozen Arctic adventure.
“The readings are free to join, and take place for no other reason than the joy of it,” says Routledge, who also organized a read-through of Moby-Dick in Liverpool in 2013. “Ransome’s books are lovely to read aloud, are full of well-paced action and adventure, and of course in 2021 they also have an almost irresistible flavor of nostalgia and innocence. Ransome's stories have become part of the mythology and folklore of the Lake District and to read them with other people, surrounded by the landscapes he so evocatively describes, is an enormous pleasure.”
The reading will take place indoors on January 30 from 9 a.m. to about 5 p.m. at the Windermere Jetty Museum, which holds a number of exhibits relating to Ransome’s work, including the steamship Esperance, currently under renovation. For more information or to volunteer to take part go to