‘Unlike other films, ‘Swallows and Amazons’ is within children’s reach,’ I was told last weekend. It’s true any child can pretend that their bed is a sailing dinghy taking them out to a deserted island where they can camp. And when you are a little bit older – it’s not impossible to join a sailing club.
We took Swallow to join the Aldeburgh Junior Lapwings on the River Alde in Suffolk.
One intrepid sailor had bought her own Lapwing for £100, raising the money by busking in Aldeburgh High Street. Tilly renovated and varnished the clinker-built dinghy herself.
She can be seen here teaching the younger children how to owl hoot, playing ‘What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor’ on her thumbs.
The children went fishing for crabs, which they later raced down the slipway.
They went in search of treasure – if that is what you call a scavenger hunt –
before sailing back to camp by the mud flats, cooking out in the open and sleeping in tents.
They launched their dinghies, raised their red sails
and headed off, catching the tide.
Swallow, the dinghy used in the 1974 film ‘Swallows & Amazons’ acted as flag ship.