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Surtees fans invited to join tour of his hunting country

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)

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