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The Lake District’s tour operator, Mountain Goat, will have a special passenger on board when it runs its new ‘Swallows and Amazons’ tour on Thursday, June 7, when one of the stars of the 1973 film of the Arthur Ransome novel will be touring with ‘The Goat’ and offering unique insights during the day.
Actress, producer and writer, Sophie Neville, who played the youngest child Titty Walker in the 1973 classic, has maintained a passion for Arthur Ransome’s novel since her childhood and contacted Mountain Goat having heard about its new tour.
The ‘Swallows and Amazons’ tour was introduced by Mountain Goat as part of its 40th anniversary celebrations and takes in locations featured in the novel, as well as others that have associations with Arthur Ransome himself.
The tour normally runs on Tuesdays and Saturdays, but when Sophie Neville got in touch, Mountain Goat seized the opportunity to put on a special tour. Sophie will be writing a blog following her Ransome day out and this will appear on her much-followed website www.sophieneville.net
This website enables Sophie to do something she has been nagged to do for years – posting up some of the diary entries written during the filming in 1973, when all the child stars kept records of their experiences in the Lake District.
Her passion for ‘Swallows and Amazons’ is such that in 2010 she clubbed together with a friend to buy the dinghy that was used as the boat ‘Swallow’ in the film. This year, this renovated and beautifully equipped boat is available for hire on Ullswater for those who wish to sail like the Walkers and Blacketts – a must-do experience for any fan of the film, of which there are millions. Details of how to hire ‘Swallow’ can be found at www.sailransome.org
Sophie has also been assisting the background research of film maker, Nick Barton, who has the backing of BBC Films to make a new adaptation of ‘Swallows and Amazons’ in 2012.
Add to this the fact that her career has seen her bringing some of Ransome’s other novels to life, and that she has amassed a huge amount of knowledge on his work, and she really can be regarded as a fount of knowledge on the author and his works.
Mountain Goat’s managing director, Peter Nattrass, says: “We were delighted when Sophie Neville got in touch with us, as we had already made it our mission to invite her to take a tour in our 40th anniversary year. We are sure that she will be able to contribute valuable insights during her day out with us”.
Co-owner, Stephen Broughton, adds: “Sophie is being extremely generous in sharing her unique insights with us and this will truly enrich the product that we can offer to Arthur Ransome fans. She was privileged enough to hear about the author’s life and works from his widow, so can add facts that we might never otherwise know about”.
More information about Mountain Goat’s ‘Swallows and Amazons’ tour can be found at www.mountain-goat.com. Sophie Neville’s incredible journey, since playing Titty Walker, can be explored at www.sophieneville.net