2023 Annual Gathering
The 2023 Annual Gathering weekend in Richmond, North Yorkshire picked up on that originally planned for 2021 and was based at The King's Head Hotel, with the AGM held at 11:00 on the Sunday, attendance also possible via Zoom.
North Yorkshire, particularly around Muker, is the location of the fourth Nettleford novel, The Secret of Buzzard Scar, and we all had the chance to spot some of the locations featured in this book during the weekend.
68 members attended the full weekend programme, with 5 others joining part time. We started early on the Friday afternoon with optional tours of Richmond's fascinating Georgian Theatre and/or Richmond Castle. These tours were followed by a Welcome Reception in the Bar and Ballroom, where members collected their
Welcome Packs, and met and greeted friends old and new; for some this was their first Annual Gathering. A large stock of Saville books were available for members to buy during the weekend
and they were also welcome to bring along their own Saville books to sell or swap. The Merchandising Stall also proved popular.
After a delicious buffet meal, there were presentations of Peewit Awards to those attending their 10th (Bronze), 15th (Silver) and 20th (Gold) Gatherings. These were followed by an entertaining slide show reviewing the past year's activities and events.
Saturday's programme was full and during the day there was a choice of activities.
The Ripon and Dales group left by coach to spend a morning in Ripon, where the city's Spring Fair (in the Cathedral) and the Workhouse Museum and Garden proved popular. The coach then toured the Yorkshire Dales, so members could enjoy the scenery of Wensleydale and Swaledale, passing through Leyburn and Aysgarth before a brief stop at Hawes. It then crossed into Swaledale via the picturesque Buttertubs Pass, with an opportunity to view the 66ft deep limestone potholes. After passing through the small village of Thwaite it reached Muker, the village most closely associated with The Secret of Buzzard Scar under the name ‘East Gill’. The return to Richmond was via the villages of Gunnerside, Healaugh and Reeth.
The Swaledale Group followed the bus route taken by the Owlers from Richmond to ‘East Gill’. This took them along beautiful Swaledale, through Grinton, Reeth and Gunnerside and onto Muker,
where a walking group then set off with the intention of reaching Swinnergill Kirk and then Crackpot. The remaining walkers got out at Keld and set off on a slightly shorter walk to Crackpot. After their packed lunches, the whole group then returned to Richmond via the Buttertubs and Hawes.
The evening included the traditional Fabulous Feast, followed by a special Just a Minute entertainment (Saville style) and then a unique, dramatic performance of The Secret of Buzzard Scar, written and performed by members.
Sunday's AGM was very well attended, both in person and remotely. Many members stayed in Richmond for additional walks in the afternoon - a town trail and walks to Easby Abbey. More than 45 stayed on an extra night and enjoyed another evening meal together, this time in an Italian restaurant.