Wednesday, 29 December 2010

The Brydons Go Canoeing

The Brydons Go Canoeing. It appears from the evidence which I have been able to
collect that the Brydons actually live in a little village near to Preston. The
village is supposed to be somewhere near Pendle Hill. Preston is the town
referred to as being visited by the adults in the story of this and other
volumes in the series. Is this place actually Whalley and is the hospital based on Calderstones Hospital ?

The story starts with Dan Brydon and Sam Mitton deciding that they are going to
make their own canoe. Their attempts to do so are suitably hair-raising and
foolish. They are also totally ineffective. It is the arrival of a new young
doctor at the Saint Jonathan's Hospital for Children next to their home that
resolves what promises to be a totally frustrating and dangerous situation. As a
part of a bargain with the young doctor both Dan and Sam take part in a new
class that he has instituted for disabled children. They are delighted to take
part in the new swimming activities and succeed in getting the children to take
part in water-based games which helps both their confidence and general health.

Meanwhile Doctor Ritchie sets about the project of getting the boys to build a
canoe and to learn how to use it safely. The two tasks begin to complement each
other and the Brydons find that they are getting far more out of helping the
disabled children than they had ever imagined. The disabled children also begin
to discover all sorts of things that they would like to do connected with the
canoe building. Painting and naming the canoes becomes a major point in their

Doctor Ritchie then begins to develop them as a viable force for making
explorations by canoe. In the end the newly created canoe is named 'The Gay
Adventurer' by Janet who has begun to find some of her old confidence.The first
voyage is on the Ribble from Edisford Bridge, near Clitheroe to Ribchester
Bridge. It is nine miles with quite a few hazards to negotiate. There is place
called the Jumbles which is the rocky shelves where the Calder joins the Ribble.
There is also a place called Sale Wheel where the river runs through a rocky
little gorge and then widens out to created a kind of whirlpool. Another
description mentions the great curves below Siddows Hall where the Standen Brook
came in. They also pass Great Mitton Bridge - we are told that if you could
stand on the bridge "you'll have one foot in Lancashire and the other in

Simon also mentions "Do you see the top of that square tower ? It belongs to the
church which dates back to 1270 (in Great Mitton). They pass Mitton Wood and
reached the place where the river Hodder came tumbling down its wooded valley to
join the Ribble. "There's a bit of wild water below Dinckley Ferry." They go
pass the red-brick Salesbury Hall. The inn they end up in is called the De
Tabley Arms.

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