Aficionados of RS Surtees’ comic hunting tales are being invited to take part in what must be the ultimate experience for those who love the 19th-century writer.

The RS Surtees Society’s first Northern Weekend (23-25 September) promises to immerse fans in the heartlands of his exuberant characters – Mr Jorrocks, Lucy Glitters and Soapey Sponge.

“It’s a call to arms to all Surtees lovers,” said society chairman – and joint-master of the Mendip Farmers’ – Robert Williams.

“A lot of people sit down and read him with a malt whisky after a day’s hunting and dive into his world,” he said. “But 99 per cent of them never see that wild, rolling, open north country.”

That should be rectified with a full programme, which includes autumn hunting with the Braes of Derwent and a guided tour of Surtees’ home, Hamsterley Hall.

Saturday night will be rounded off with a reprise of the famous “Goose and Dumpling” dinner from Hawbuck Grange.

The dinner of the book ended riotously, with some finding “that resuming their seats was a difficult matter”.

Mr Williams said it was likely to be a jolly evening: “When you put a lot of masters in a room together, it’s usually fairly cheery.”

To book last-minute tickets from the RS Surtees Society, tel: 01749 344338.

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (22 September, 2011)