BEYOND THIRTY WEST
By Laurence G. Dunn
Copyright © 2017
Fun and Adventure by British Edgar Rice Burroughs fans. Only in England can this kind of adventure occur.
The HEART of loving ERB is the reason for the gather and in that, Ed's memory shines!
On Saturday, 24th June, 2017, five members of the British Edgar Rice Burroughs Society met up at the home of Rod Jackson. I had arrived a day earlier as I had the farthest to travel, and spent a pleasant afternoon going through his collection and I was particularly envious of his Jim Cawthorn artwork. After dinner and a drink at a local pub, Rod gave me the guided tour of the area passing through some gorgeous rolling hill countryside and passing through villages like Bredbury, Romily, Broadbottom, Hattersley, Charlesworth, Compstall (an old cotton mill is still standing - but obviously long shut down that was once powered by its watermill), and Marple (a name that didn't mean much until Rod mentioned that Agatha Christie once had a friend who lived there and came to name one of her most famous characters - Miss Marple). Beautiful old cottages and pubs along the way through winding roads that made the evening drive a delight.
After our fellow Edgar Rice Burroughs colleagues had arrived, we set off in two cars to Castleton in Derbyshire. With a little play on the name and Castleton becomes Castle Torn — focal point of the novel, The Outlaw of Torn*.
* The Outlaw of Torn was Edgar Rice Burroughs' second novel. Written in 1911, it was published in serial in 1914 but did not see book publication until 1927. —Editor
We travelled through some spectacular scenery on the way particularly as we passed below Mam Tor (mother hill) a 150m high peak, but also known as the "shivering mountain", and then drove through Minnatts Pass that is a ravine between limestone peaks before entering Castleton. It is a local hot spot for tourists, hikers and cyclists as the castle along with the four caverns in the immediate vicinity known for its mining of the Blue John Stone. It was built in the 11th century by William Peveril who was given the lands for supporting William the Conquerer. It was built not as a defence but to secure the local woodland and deer for the nobility. But by the 12th century, Henry II (father of Richard the Lionheart), took control and further additions were made increasing the manpower to 20 knights and staff. There is no evidence of any siege (until this day) ever took place and after some 300 years, it fell into disuse and began its long journey into decay.
As we stormed up the hill, arrows rained down in their thousands upon us. Eventually we reached the outer walls and with the fierce fighting that followed, we breached the battlements and headed towards the keep. Thrusting, slicing and hacking our way, bleeding from a hundred wounds, we reached their final sanctuary. Sadly, with the blood lust still full in our eyes, the enemy surrendered. The obligatory rape and pillage followed as custom dictates. Our prisoners were treated with utmost respect and disemboweled accordingly.