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Lantern Christmas Tree Decoration

Lantern Tree Decoration

Deck the halls in Swallows and Amazons style with these mini lantern tree decorations.

You will need:

  • black or grey card
  • template
  • scissors
  • needle
  • black thread
  • battery operated tea light
  • tape
  • glue stick

What to do:

  1. Print the template, if the card you are using is light in colour you may be able to print directly onto the card.  If not print onto plain paper, cut out and draw around the template.
  2. Carefully cut out the shape.
  3. On the large rectangle there are two very small spots, ask a friendly native to help you pass the thread through these two spots using a needle.  Tie the ends of the thread together using an overhand knot.  This is the hanging loop for your decoration.
  4. Fold along all the dotted lines.
  5. Line the bottom of your card shape up with the bottom of the tea light.  Stick the end not marked with shading to the tea light using tape.  If you printed directly onto the card make sure the printed side faces inwards.
  6. Wrap the card around the tea light making sure the bottom of the shape stays lined up with the bottom of the tea light.  Glue where the shaded area is an stick the end down.
  7. Fold the square down and stick the two small tabs on the posts either side onto the square.
  8. Fold the rectangle over so it forms a tent shape over the top, glue onto the narrow tab along the edge and stick this onto the square as well.
  9. When the glue is dry.  Switch the tea light on and use the thread loop to hang it from your Christmas tree.

If not duffers…

Remember to take care when using, passing and walking with scissors and needles.

Sailing Day At Bank Ground Farm. Aug 2nd 2014

Following the success of last year’s Sailing Day hosted by the Battys of Bank Ground Farm, and our failure to raise a fit team of Dragon Boaters, we decided to repeat the experience.
Join us at Holly Howe for a spot of sailing, canoeing or native rowing.
Bank Ground Farm, East of Lake Rd, Coniston, Cumbria. LA21 8AA
Saturday August 2nd, from 10am till 4pm. Bring a model boat, hoist a signal, make a fire place, use leading lights, meet new friends and share lunch in style.
Cost £15 to include lunch and access to the site.
Juniors £8.
Please contact Helen Lewis 0191 373 6312 by 22nd July.

Code Wheel Trail

Lawn Mower Messages

The Swallows and the Amazons often send each other coded messages.  Use these code wheels to send your allies on a trail without letting the natives in on your secret.

You will need:

  • Template printed onto light card
  • Split pins
  • Scissors
  • Coloured pencils or pens (if you want to decorate them)
  • Pencil/pen
  • Paper

What to do:

  1. Make up one code wheel:
    1. Cut out one large wheel and one small wheel.
    2. Place the small wheel on top of the large one.
    3. Push a split pin through the centre.
  2. Write a trail around your garden with short clues (eg bench, tree).  Write it out in code:
    1. Turn the wheel so that the two wheels line up with random letters.
    2. Make a not of one pair of letters, using bold to represent the large wheel (eg jd).
    3. Find the letters to spell out the word on the smaller when but write the corresponding letter on the outer wheel (eg tree becomes nlkk).
  3. Hide the clues.
  4. Explain to your allies that each clue has a different code and that you need to align the two letters on the wheel.  They must then find the letters of the word on the larger wheel but write down the letter shown on the smaller wheel to decode the word which will send them to the next clue.

If not duffers…

Don’t go anywhere without an adult’s knowledge and permission.

Chocolate Coots Nests

Lawn Mower Messages

Make this sweet treat that the Coot Club would appreciate (no coots are harmed in the making of these edible nests).

You will need:

  • 200g plain chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 50g butter
  • 75g shredded wheat
  • Heat-proof bowl
  • Saucepan of simmering water
  • Metal spoon
  • Mini chocolate eggs
  • Silicon baking sheet or baking parchment
  • Plastic tray which will to fit in your fridge (a baking tray or chopping board would work too)

What to do:

  1. Remove all the cream or brown eggs from the packet (these are the colour of coots eggs), you’ll need 36 eggs.  Save the other colours for making Easter nests.
  2. Weigh the chocolate, butter and syrup into the heat-proof bowl.  When the water has come to a simmer, remove from the heat and place the heat-proof bowl on top.  Meanwhile, carefully break up the shredded wheat into long ‘twigs’.  When the chocolate and butter have melted carefully stir in the shredded wheat with the metal spoon.
  3. Place the silicon baking sheet or baking parchment on the tray.  Place dollops of the chocolate and shredded wheat mixture onto the baking parchment, push three of the eggs into each pile.  Place in the fridge until completely set.
  4. As coots build their nests in water, the little piles of ‘twigs’ you’ve made are just the part of the nest which show above the water so you may want to make a a ‘watery’ base for you nests.  You could try making water from paper or napkins or use the nests to decorate a cake, you could even try making a coot from icing or marzipan.

If not duffers…

Always ask for an adult’s permission and help when cooking.

IAGM 2013 resources and links

IAGM 2013

The 2013 IAGM was hosted by the Southern region at Brockenhurst in the New Forest.


‘Dick Callum Cup’ quiz : round 1round 3, round 4 (needs muddled map and original map), round 5, round 6 (plus crib), tie-breakers. (Round 2 was not used – anagrams and answers.)

Websites relating to speakers/boats present

‘Swallow’ –

‘Nancy Blackett’ –

Sophie Neville –

Christina Hardyment –

Jubilee Sailing Trust –




When Arthur Ransome was illustrating his books he sometimes got children to pose for photographs (which he called Hollywoods).  Next time you are out on an adventure whether its with TARS or friends and family why not create your own Hollywoods.

Part 1

You will need:

  • Camera

What to do:

  1. While out on an adventure photograph your family and friends in a Swallows and Amazons style pose.  Arthur Ransome tried to avoid drawing faces so you might like to ask people to turn their faces away from the camera. 

If not duffers…

When out on adventures always be on the look out for potential danger and don’t go off anywhere with out an adult’s knowledge and permission.

Part 2

You will need:

  • Paper (cartridge paper is nice to draw on if you have it)
  • Pencil
  • Black pen (optional)
  • Rubber (optional)

What to do:

  1. Draw an illustration based on your photograph.  Arthur Ransome used mainly lines with a little shading for things like water and trees but you can do yours  however you like.
  2. When you are happy with your drawing, if you like ( and you are feeling brave), you could go over it using black pen.
  3. If you do go over your picture in pen, wait until the next day before using a rubber to remove the pencil lines.  Pictures can be ruined by impatient rubbing out.
  4. Step back and admire your artwork.  You could even send a copy of it to The Outlaw.


Lawn Mower Messages

Lawn Mower Messages

In The Picts and the Martyrs Nancy sends the Ds a message by mowing the words “No go” into the Beckfoot lawn. Here is how you can send your own message like Nancy does, only in miniature.

You will need:

  • A plastic tray (one that doesn’t matter too much)
  • Paper kitchen towel
  • Small jug or plant sprayer
  • Cress seeds
  • Scissors

What to do:

  1. Lay paper towel over the base of the tray, build up at least six layers.
  2. Damp the paper towel until it is wet but not so wet that puddles form.
  3. Sprinkle cress seeds all over the paper towel, you need to use quite a lot.
  4. Place somewhere warm such as the kitchen window sill.
  5. When the cress has grown into a thick, green lawn use scissors to cut your message into it.  Don’t make it too obvious unless you want any old native to be able to read it!

If not duffers…

Remember to take care when using, passing and walking with scissors.

Midland Programme

Midland Programme 2014

Click on the logos next to event to find out more about the category and find events across the country in this category.

Saturday 8 February National Space Centre Discovery Event
Saturday 8 March Puppet Day Titty's Challenge
Saturday 5 April Dymock Daffodil Trail Adventure Event
Saturday 10 May –
Sunday 11 May
Old Jonas and Slater Bob Nautical Event   Discovery Event
Saturday 21 June –
Sunday 22 June
‘Wild Cat Island’ Camp Susan's Challenge   John's Challenge
Friday 18 July –
Sunday 20 July
Rudyard Camp Nautical Event   John's Challenge
Friday 29 August –
Sunday 31 August
Swallowdale Camp
Adventure Event   Susan’s Challange   John's Challenge
Saturday 27 September Apple day
Susan’s Challange
Saturday 18 October or
Saturday 25 October
Professor Callum Walk
Adventure Event   Discovery Event
Saturday 22 November Mug and Book Day
Titty’s Challenge

IAGM 2014, Barnstaple.

 The Return of the Missee Lee

The TARS 2014 IAGM May 23rd – 26th at The Barnstaple Hotel


In 2014, TARS will recreate the world of the South China Seas and Missee Lee in the mouth of the Bristol Channel and with a sea voyage to the Isle of Lundy. The International Annual General Meeting will be based at the Barnstaple Hotel, Braunton Road, Barnstaple from 23rd to 26th May.


The Hotel is situated alongside the newly built bridge over the Taw just downstream of the town of Barnstaple, and close to the beaches of North Devon, the town and the Tarka Trail. The Hotel offers an on-site Health & Leisure Club, with heated indoor and outdoor pools, cutting edge gym and a range of alternative therapies. As well as our trip to Lundy, we plan to offer both cycling and walking on the Tarka Trail and a visit to Lynton, Lynmouth and the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway. Details of Bed & Breakfasts, other hotels in the Brend group, and camping & caravan sites are given on page vii.



Rail: Barnstaple Station is close to the Hotel (walkable or a short taxi ride). To get to Barnstaple take the train from Exeter St.David’s, which is accessible from Bristol, London Paddington, London Waterloo, York, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Leeds and Southampton.

Coaches: Barnstaple is accessible from Lincoln, Leicester, Birmingham, Cheltenham, Bristol, Taunton and London.

The nearest airport is Exeter International.


By road: take the A361 from Junction 27 on the M5. As you approach Barnstaple, take the A361 towards Braunton over the new bridge. At the end of the Taw Bridge, turn left at the second set of traffic lights and immediately turn left into the hotel access road.



There will be an overnight camp for juniors, starting on Sunday afternoon and finishing on Monday in time for the handover ceremony. On Sunday we will have a forest schools session with opportunities to work with willow and learn more about plants, trees and wildlife. Campers need to bring sleeping bags, overnight gear, waterproofs etc. Please indicate whether you will bring a tent or need to share with someone else. Juniors under 8 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian. We will be having a barbecue on Sunday night so please indicate if any campers have a special diet. Breakfast will also be provided.



It will be late afternoon / early evening sailing on either Saturday or Sunday, because of the tide.

There will be an opportunity to sail, with skipper, in either:

  • Jez-y-belle, a two-masted 15ft Appledore Ford’s lugger, with white hull and red sails, for sailing around the Barnstaple and Bideford estuary, with up to four people (including children);
  • Patron, an ocean-going yacht, for out to sea across the bar, for up to five people (no children).

The cost will be between £20 to £30 per person depending on the length of the trip.

Please express an interest on the booking form if you would like to participate.



Things to do

During the weekend, Tars will have the opportunities to walk, cycle, explore, talk and sail. Take the trip to Lundy on Saturday and then do a much or as little exploring as you like. There is much to do on the island including bird watching, walking, rock pooling and sitting on the beach. It has interesting wildlife, history and geology. It is a site of Special Scientific Interest and the water surrounding the island is the first Marine Conservation Zone.

On Sunday we will have the opportunity to visit Lynton and Lynmouth, two villages joined by the funicular Cliff Railway which is powered by water and is over 120 years old. There are many things to do in Lynmouth including the museum, model railway, flood memorial hall and beaches. There are also walks around the Valley of the Rocks and Watersmeet. On the way to Lynmouth is the narrow gauge Lynton & Barnstaple Railway, which offers a two mile round trip between the stations of Woody Bay and Killington Lane Hall.

There will also be walking or cycling on the Tarka Trail (bikes available) or a walk from Mortehoe.




Barnstaple is a market town ideally placed to explore the beaches and coasts of north Devon and also the rugged landscapes of Exmoor. It has two museums, parks, shopping centre, Leisure centre and right next to the hotel a bowling and artificial ice skating attraction. In Elizabethan times The Great Quay area in Barnstaple provided five ships against the Spanish Armada. Butcher’s Row and the Pannier Market, built in 1855, are well worth a visit with a market on most days. Pilton, the oldest suburb of Barnstaple, is just a short walk from the hotel. Alfred the Great created a Burth (fortified town) here, one of only four in Devon.


The Tarka Trail (named after Henry Williamson’s Tarka the Otter) is easily accessible from the hotel for cycling and walking.


The beaches of Saunton, Croyde, Wollacombe and Putsborough are just a few miles away.


Braunton Burrows, owned by the Christie family for more than 350 years, is one of the finest sand dune systems in the northern hemisphere. It is an amazingly rich habitat with hundreds of species of flowering plants.


Just a few miles from Barnstaple is the spectacular countryside of the Exmoor National Park. A paradise for nature lovers, offering a variety of flora and abundant rare wildlife including red deer, wild ponies and several birds of prey. It is a unique landscape of moorland, woodland, valleys and farmland with many villages to explore including Oare in the Doone Valley





TARS Reception opens at 1600. Please do NOT arrive before then (although Tars who are staying at The Barnstaple Hotel will be able to check into their room earlier, as indicated by the hotel).

Day visitors are very welcome, but need to pre-book and not just turn up! There is a fee for registration plus the cost of any meals.


IAGM DELEGATE BADGE Please wear your IAGM badge at all times when in The Hotel, as the Hotel is kindly allowing all TARS delegates (whether resident at the Hotel or not) full use of the residents’ facilities.

  • All IAGM locations for meals and meetings are on the ground floor.
  • The Arlington Suite will be the main room for most events.
  • The Pilton Room will have the IAGM Reception and Help Desks, the TARS Bookstall & Library Stall and the Nancy Blackett Stall.
  • The Ashford Suite will be the site for the Juniors’ YAMEN (Outlaws’ Den).


IAGM CAR PARKING will be available in the car parks in front of and to the rear of the hotel.


SHIP’S DOGS are welcome at off-site activities (on land) but are NOT allowed in the hotel (apart from Guide Dogs).


PRE-BOOKED ACTIVITIES are payable via the booking form.

NB: The Lundy trip is now bookable only via the booking form (rather than by letter to Christopher Kirwin).


OFF-SITE ACTIVITIES – please advise participation when booking.


THE SUSAN CUP COMPETITION In addition to the traditional Dick Callum Cup on the final evening, we plan to re-introduce the Susan Cup on the first evening. This cup is for the Best Decorated Cake, so please bring your entries with you to be judged (and probably scoffed!) during the Official Welcome on Friday evening.


THE PHOTOGRAPHY COMPETITION The Trustees have decided to encourage a competition for the ‘best photo of a TARS event’. These will be exhibited and judged at the Saturday evening Chinese Dinner. Please send your entries to Susan Gouldbourne, Lothlorien, Gunn, Barnstaple, EX32 7NZ as soon as possible. Late entries will be accepted until 1900 on the evening.


THE LYNMOUTH OUTING There will be a cost for those wishing to go on the Cliff Railway and the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway. Please register your interest on the booking form and then pay on the day as there may be a discount for large parties.


Programme Information


Friday 23rd May

1600                        Registration begins. The TARS Library and the Nancy Blackett Stalls will be open. Work commences on Dragon making in the Junior’s Yamen (Outlaws’ Den)

1630 – 1730            Latin Class 1 (generally for Lundy people)

1800 – 1930            Dinner

1945 – 2000            Official Welcome

2000 – 2015            Judging and Presentation of the Susan Cup

2015 – 2100            Talk:


Saturday 24th May

0730 – 0930            Breakfast (afterwards, collect packed lunches, if ordered)

0815                        Registration continues

0900                        Depart by coach to Ilfracombe for Lundy embarkation. (Return time to be advised.)

1000                        Sail for Lundy. (Return sail time to be advised.)

(In the event of inclement weather, alternative activities will be organised.)

1000                        Privately organised alternative activities commence.

1730 – 1830            Latin Class 2 (for non-Lundy people)

1900                        ETA at hotel for Lundy coach from Ilfracombe

1930 – 2030            Chinese Dinner (chopsticks preferred)

2045 – 2130            Talk on Lundy by Simon Dell

followed by judging and presentation of the Photographic Competition prizes.


Sunday 25th May

0800 – 0930            Breakfast (afterwards, collect packed lunches, if ordered)

1000                        Sunday activities:


  • Tarka Trail – walks towards Saunton and/or towards Instow/Bideford/Appledore.
  • Tarka Trail – cycling towards Saunton and/or towards Instow/Bideford/Appledore and beyond!
  • A led walk on the North Devon Coast: 8m starting from Mortehoe.
  • Day trip to Lynton – Watersmeet / Lynmouth / Cliff Railway / Lynton & Barnstaple Railway.
  • Exploration of Saunton Sands, Braunton Burrows, Croyde Bay, Clovelly, Arlington Court, Dartington Glass.


1500                        Junior Tars’ Activities or Overnight Camp

1715 – 1800            Service of Worship in the Arlington Suite.

1800 – 1930            Dinner – Carvery

2000 – 2130            Quiz – The Dick Callum Cup


Monday 26th May

0800 – 0930            Breakfast (afterwards, collect packed lunches, if ordered)

0945 – 1200            Annual General Meeting, followed by Members’ Forum

0945 – 1200            Junior Tars’ activities continue

1300 – 1315            Thanks and Handover                   Farewell and Adieu to you…

1400 – 1530            Board of Trustees Meeting


Booking Information



Full W/e     2 days  1 day

£35            £25      £10      Adults

£20            £12      £6        Students (16-25 in full-time education at 1st June 2014)

£10            £5        Nil        Juniors (under 16 at 1st June 2014)


  • Please use the loose white booking form enclosed in Signals and send it with a cheque for the full amount to David Middleton, 9 Merrow Avenue, Poole, Dorset, BH12 1PY.
  • Payments must be in Pounds (£) Sterling with cheques made payable to TARS SW Region IAGM a/c. The Society pays no bank charges on amounts remitted by cheque.
  • Overseas Tars (and others) may pay their fees by PayPal. Access the PayPal page on the TARS website at or simply type “paypal” into the search box and follow the instructions. N.B.: PayPal deducts a fee at the Society’s end of the transaction (ca 3.5% + 20p; plus an additional 2.5% for transactions outside Europe) and the National Treasurer asks Tars to amend the amounts to be paid accordingly. Payment may be by a PayPal account or credit card.
  • When booking meals, please use the reverse of the form to record whether you have any special dietary requirements owing to health issues, faith or lifestyle choices, so we can request suitable dishes for you.
  • If you have any medical or mobility issues that you would like us, or the Hotel, to be aware of, please also record these on the reverse of the form or on an extra sheet of paper. It is possible to stay all one’s time at the Hotel on the ground floor.
  • You are asked to complete the boxes for free activities as an expression of interest. You will neither be committed to attending those you have marked nor precluded from any you have not, but it will assist us in planning seating, resources needed etc., if we have a rough idea of numbers.
  • Any bookings made after 30th April 2014 are subject to a £20 late booking fee.
  • Attendance at just the AGM on Monday 26th May 2014 is free. If this applies to you, we would appreciate you returning the form with no payment, but clearly stating your intention to attend just the AGM.
  • Please also complete the duplicate booking form on page viii as a record of the meals and activities you have requested AND bring this with you to the IAGM – it should help save any confusion for both yourself and the South Western team.


  • For the purposes of the 2014 IAGM, Juniors are regarded as children aged under 16.
    Children aged 16 or 17 are regarded as students.
  • Junior Tars participation in some activities (e.g. Junior Tars’ Camp) will mean that Juniors might not be accompanied by their parents or guardians on that activity, so a Junior Consent Form will be required. In this case please either enclose completed forms or indicate on the booking form the number of consent forms required. (Juniors under 8 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, so no form is needed for them.)
  • Parents or guardians of those under 18 are also asked to sign the form in the boxes shown to indicate whether they give consent for any photographs of their children taken at the IAGM to be used afterwards either in TARS publications or on the TARS website. Please note that consent is automatically assumed for entries to the Photographic Competition.


Accommodation Information


Book by telephone at 01271 376221


The IAGM venue is The Barnstaple Hotel, Braunton Road, Barnstaple, Devon EX31 1LE

01271 376221   

or to make reservations:


The hotel is situated on the left of the A361. After the Taw Bridge, turn left at the second set of traffic lights and then immediately turn left into the hotel access road.


The hotel is offering a special IAGM Bed & Breakfast rate for the period 23rd to 26th May of £50 pppn, £70 single pppn. The hotel is offering the discounted room rate to guests who are extending their stay.

There are special rates for families – please contact Christopher Kirwin for details:

Tars staying at The Barnstaple Hotel are responsible to the hotel for settling their room account.

Lunches and dinners are payable in advance via the TARS booking form.


Other Brend Group hotels in Barnstaple

  • The Royal Fortescue Hotel       01271 342289
  • The Park Hotel             01271 372166
  • The Imperial Hotel                    01271 345861



Camping and Caravaning


  • We have arranged a 30% discount from Tarka Holiday Park, only one mile from the hotel.
    01271 343691   
    Please quote TARS as a reference.



Bed &Breakfasts:


  • Crossways, Pottington Road, Barnstaple EX31 1JH
    01271 379120


  • No 2 Broadgate, Bellaire, Pitton, Barnstaple EX31 1QX
    01271 327260


  • The Old Vicarage, Barbican Terrace, Barnstaple EX32 9HQ
    01271 328504


Tourist Information Centres (TICs) in the area:


  • Barnstaple TIC, The Square, Barnstaple EX32 8LN
    01271 375000   


  • Ilfracombe TIC, The Promenade, Ilfracombe EX34 9BZ
    01271 863001   


  • Braunton Bakehouse Centre, Caen Street, Braunton EX33 1AA
    01271 816400   


For Booking form, click here for a pdf copy, complete, and post with your remittance, to David Middleton