Birthday Lunch & Scottish AGM @ The Renfield Centre, Bath Street, Glasgow
Jan 18 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm


The TARS Scotland AGM (now moved to a more appropriate date in January) followed by a 130th birthday celebration including a soup and sandwich lunch, party games and fun, and – especially for the Rogers amongst you – birthday cake!

Cost and booking details will be available in December.

A Dick and Dot Day in the Land of the Gaels @ TARS Library & Stall
Apr 26 @ 10:30 am – 3:30 pm

‘”She might have seen a bird while she was waiting,” said Dick, “and got out of the car to have a better view, and sat down to watch it and fallen asleep.”’ PM

Caerlaverock Swans

Swans feeding at the Caerlaverock Wetland Centre

TARS LibraryThe library and stall will be open from 10.30am, when coffee/tea will be available in the café downstairs. After a talk by Margaret Ratcliffe, we’ll drive the 8 miles to Caerlaverock Wetland Centre, Eastpark Farm, Caerlaverock DG1 4RS, for a group lunch, a talk by Brian Morrell, the Manager, and a guided walk, taking in the newly built state-of-the-art, disabled-friendly Observatory, overlooking the Swan Pond, and finishing around 3.30pm, although the Centre is open until 5.00pm for those who want to stay longer.

When booking please indicate if you will need a lift to and from Dumfries station, giving arrival/departure times, and to and from Caerlaverock, or if you are able to offer a lift, and if so how many spare seats you will have.

Lunch (soup and sandwiches plus tea/coffee) is included in the cost. There is a café, with other food available to buy if you need it!

Cost – Adults 12.50 (incl. lunch), Concessions £11.00 (incl. lunch), members of WWT £6 (cost of lunch). Advance booking essential.

IAGM 2014 by SW Region, Barnstaple
May 23 @ 5:00 pm – May 26 @ 1:00 pm

 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


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 A351. 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


Rusland Ramble @ Rusland Churchyard LA12 8JT
Jun 3 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

Come and join us for a time of quiet reflection at the grave side followed by a picnic and gentle ramble, weather permitting.
All welcome, but best to let one of the organisers know if you are coming.

The Newtonmore Wildcat Experience @ Newtonmore
Jul 25 @ 4:00 pm – Jul 27 @ 11:00 am

Join us for the weekend and enjoy a Wild Cat Experience!

The Wildcat Trail

We have the exclusive use of Newtonmore Hostel from midday on Friday July 25th to Sunday July 27th. The hostel is right in the middle of the little town of Newtonmore in the heart of the Wildcat country!

The hostel at NewtonmoreNewtonmore is on the railway line from Inverness in the north to Edinburgh and Glasgow in the south. For Rattletraps the A9 is only a few minutes away and there is parking at the hostel. Likewise dromedaries can be stabled. For those who do not want to stay in the hostel there are B and Bs nearby, one of them only a couple of minutes from the hostel.

If you are very lucky you may see a wildcat in the wild. If you are not so lucky you can make your own luck by joining us at the nearby Highland Wildlife Park run by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland. Discover Scottish wildlife and endangered animals of the world’s mountains and tundra in a spectacular setting in the Cairngorm National Park.

The Highland Folk Museum at Newtonmore covers a mile long site with over twenty-five buildings. Discover how Highland people lived, worked and dressed. Visit the reconstructed eighteenth century Highland village. Look out for charcoal burners. The museum is inspired by the open air ones in Scandinavia and moreover it is free!

The open air museum

Surely not the Amazons’ tent! Spot the handcart (which book does that feature in?).

In the hills just above Newtonmore is the remains of a Pictish dwelling place. (Picts lived here, but were there any Martyrs?) Follow the Wildcat Trail into the hills to find it. Bring Dromedaries for further exploration!

A blue wildcat

A blue wildcat.

There are numerous models of wildcats prowling the town. Find 25 and you receive a certificate. Find 50 and you win a prize. Each wildcat is decorated in a different way.

A very strange wildcat.

A very strange wildcat.

A purple wildcat

A purple wildcat. Only another 47 to go!

The weekend is especially good for juniors and their families, and there is a welcome for TARS members from other regions too. Sleeping places are limited, so early booking is recommended, if you would rather stay elsewhere then just join us during the day and in the evening.

The cost is £14 per night (this includes tea, breakfast and refreshments throughout the day).
Juniors go FREE (but must be accompanied by a paying adult).
There is also a £5 Registration Fee for all attending any part of the weekend.

Scottish Literary Day @ Linlithgow Union Canal Centre (LUCS)
Oct 18 @ 10:15 am – 4:30 pm

We’re delighted to welcome Sophie Neville (‘Titty’ in the 1974 Swallows and Amazons film) to our Literary Day!

Sophie Neville

Sophie Neville

  • 10:15am to 10:30am – Registration and Coffee in the LUCS Team Room
  • Talk: – ‘The Making of the Swallows and Amazons film’ – Sophie Neville
  • Boat Trip on the canal
  • Lunch
  • Talk: – ‘Gaelic Language and Community in Great Northern?‘ – Prof. K MacKinnon
  • Talk: – Sophie Neville

Cost: £22 including the Boat Trip, all food, coffee and tea.

Booking (by 4 October please), and further information from Jim Lonie –

St Magdalene

Nov 27 2014 – Jan 17 2015 all-day

Revival of 2010 Production

Swallows and Amazons

Written by Arthur Ransome
Adapted for the stage by Helen Edmundson
With songs by Neil Hannon
Directed by Tom Morris
Revival directed by Pieter Lawman
A Bristol Old Vic production

Birthday Lunch & AGM @ Hawes Inn
Jan 17 @ 12:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Celebrate Arthur Ransome’s birthday at the Hawes Inn in South Queensferry – AGM afterwards in the Meeting Room.

The Firth of Forth narrows at this point … Right in the midst of the narrows lies an islet with some ruins; on the south shore they have built a pier, for the service of the ferry; and at the end of the pier, on the other side of the road and backed against a pretty garden of holly-trees and hawthorns, I could see the building they call the Hawes Inn. *

We look forward to celebrating Ransome’s Birthday with a great lunch!


Soup of the day
Potted oak smoked chicken liver pate
Prawn cocktail


Salt beef hash
Fish pie
Savoury Eccles cake


Raspberry creme brûlée
Rhubarb, plum & cherry oaty crumble
Cheese board


Tea or Coffee

3 courses £25, 2 Courses £20 (including service charge). Time: – 12.30pm for 1 o’clock

Booking is essential for this occasion! We must let the Hawes Inn know the number of people coming. Lunch bookings must be made by 3rd January 2015.

… presently [David Balfour and Ransome] were set down at a table in the front room of the inn, and both eating and drinking with a good appetite. *

* Both quotations from Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson


Northern Region AGM 2015 @ Penrith Methodist Church
Mar 21 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm

All Northern region members are invited to attend the AGM which is being held this year in Penrith on Saturday March 21st from 11.00.

We will meet at the Methodist Church Hall, Wordsworth Street, Penrith, Cumbria. CA11 7QY

Penrith Methodist Church Hall is situated on the junction of Wordsworth Street and Drover’s lane. Follow the one way system in the town centre keeping right to go south and then turn left into Portland Place. Sp Methodist Church.The church has a small car park, and car parking is available nearby. 

By Rail; Penrith is on the West Coast Mainline from north and south, and from the east via Carlisle.

Members are recommended to bring their own packed lunch and eat in the hall. Tea and coffee will be available.

In the afternoon we are pleased to welcome Jenny Weddick as our speaker. TARS and NBT member Jenny has also sailed extensively in tall ships. Her talk is entitled – ‘Blue Water and Albatrosses’

Visit TARS Library and Stall in Dumfries @ Georgetown Community Centre
Jul 25 @ 10:30 am

Visit TARS Library and Stall in Dumfries

Follow the town trail and help plan part of the 2016 IAGM

Discover the beauties of the tidal Nith, the story of the last years of Robert Burns, and many other Dumfries characters from the past. Bring your own knapsack full of bunloaf and marmalade, grog and chocolate, or sample the delights of Hullabaloo or one of the many other delightful eating-places in the town.

Meet at Georgetown Community Centre from 10:30am and we’ll take it from there.

Booking is not essential, but it would be useful to know if you are coming, so please email Winifred Wilson at