The Enid Blyton Society
Five on a Hike Together
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Book Details...

First edition: 1951
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Illustrator: Eileen A. Soper
Category: Famous Five
Genre: Mystery/Adventure
Type: Novels/Novelettes

On This Page...

Reprint Covers
Artwork
Review by Terry Gustafson
Further Illustrations

Reprints


Dustwrapper from the 1st edition, illustrated by Eileen A. Soper



Endpapers from the 1st edition, illustrated by Eileen A. Soper



1st German edition published by Blüchert Verlag, Stuttgart in 1958,
illustrated by Nikolaus Plump with the title Five Friends on a Big Journey



1st Spanish edition published by Editorial Juventud in 1967,
illustrated by José Correas
Foreign Titles
German: Fünf Freunde auf großer Fahrt
French: Le Club des Cinq en Randonée
Dutch: De Vvijf op trektocht
Spanish: Un fin de semana del los Cinco
Portuguese: Os Cinco no Lago Negro
Italian:
Swedish: Fem pĺ fotvandring
Danish: De fem i den gamie ruin
Finnish: Viisikko Retkellä
Russian: Taina mratschnowo osera
Icelandic: Fimm í skólaleyfi
Basque: Bosten Asteburu Bat
Indonesian: Lima Sekawan Rahasia Harta Karun
Malaysian: 5 Mengembara lagi


The Famous Five have used many modes of transport in their travels but this time it's boring old legs!

The tenth book in the series and yet another that appears pretty high up on readers' preferred lists, it tells the story of the Kirrins on a hiking holiday which takes place when they have a few days off school. They meet up and are away to the moors in lovely autumn sunshine with the intention of bedding down in farm-houses and inns along the way.

They've been going only a few hours when there's a hitch in their carefully laid plans. Timmy the dog crawls part way down a rabbit-hole and gets stuck. When he's pulled out by his back legs one of them gets twisted and sprained and he's also bruised so they decide that it's time for lunch. They enjoy a heavenly meal on top of Fallaway Hill after which Julian philosophizes a little about boys and girls roles in life and this is enough to make George confirm for about the millionth time that it's stupid to be a girl. As Doctor Abbott the eminent psychiatrist remarked of Basil Fawlty — "There's enough material there for an entire conference!"

Timmy is in pain and has waited patiently for lunch to finish. Now he must be attended to and when the children reach Beacons Village which is vet-less they are advised to visit a dog-knowledgeable man who lives in Spiggy House up the road. Enid Blyton could think up some quite innovative names for her characters and locations and she also produced a few which were not quite so creative. Although the title Spiggy is used occasionally in this modern age I doubt if it was the case way back in 1940 when it featured in another Blyton book. It's a pleasant little word and who knows, maybe EB invented it!

George and Julian go to Spiggy House with poor old Tim whilst Dick accompanied by Anne sets off for a farm where they are booked for the night. Although it's only about 1˝ miles as the crow flies they lose their way and that may have been due to some fairly hazy directions which they got from a man with a one word vocabulary — "Ar!" Darkness begins to fall. It starts raining and at one stage the two dripping hikers are startled by the sound of bells jangling out over the countryside. Where are they located? What on Earth are they for? The noise is scary! It's a scene that could embed itself into the imagination. Years into the future when we recall the Enid Blyton days which were so much a part of our lives we can think of Dick and Anne ... up there on the darkening moor and listening to the bells with the rain sweeping around them. I can visualise a beautiful Soper painting of that tableau but I doubt if one exists.

They manage to hunt down a farmhouse but it's not the intended one. A deaf old woman who lives there reluctantly puts them up but she doesn't want her son to see them when he returns because he would not take too kindly to them and he has a horrible temper. This is where the plot really begins because later in the night Dick, who is sleeping out in the barn, hears a strange tapping on the window and a cautious voice whispering his name. He thinks the best thing to do is to answer — and he does. The mysterious person passes on to him the words that are seared into every Enid Blyton fan's heart. If there are any who haven't come across them yet, then they will in future years: Two Trees. Gloomy Water. Saucy Jane. The name — Maggie, is also mentioned and then a bit of paper with a plan drawn on it is thrust through the cracked window where it flutters to the floor. The message and the paper were intended for another Dick who was supposed to be in the barn to receive them but he obviously hasn't arrived yet so they have inadvertently been delivered to the wrong person! In 1947 EB produced a book about Mike, Belinda and Ann who lived for a while on a houseboat named The Saucy Jane (reviewed elsewhere in these book lists). There is no connection with the Saucy Jane mentioned by the mysterious person at the barn window apart from Enid Blyton's penchant for recycling a few names now and then.

Dick meets up with the deaf woman's son the next morning — a man also called Dick who is obviously the real Dick as opposed to the Famous Five Dick. Confused yet? The locals call him Dirty Dick because he's such an evil person. His presence causes the Famous Five Dick and Anne to clear out fast. They locate Julian and George in the village where they all partake of an Enid Blyton breakfast at the inn and discuss the piece of paper that has come into their possession. It's now realised that it was meant for the other Dick at the farm — the Dirty one and the fellow who delivered it could be a man-on-the-run because it turns out that the bells on the moor were pealing to warn the locals that a prisoner had escaped from the nearby jail.

They set off again and call into a police station to report their findings. I was going to announce that a unique situation occurs then realised it has happened at least once before and maybe it occurs somewhere in one or other of the short stories ... they meet up with a really horrible policeman! I think that 99.9% of all the police-people who appear in the books are good and kind Upholders of the Law and only too willing to help the Famous Five, the Secret Seven, the Find-Outers and all the other groups who call them in at the end of an adventure, but this one is an exception. The reason I couldn't class him as unique is that another example of a rather nasty police officer exists and he goes under the name of Theophilus Goon who may well have been a one-off when the first Find-Outer book was published. The policeman whom the Famous Five visit in a little township called Reebles, looks very much like a crook in the Soper illustration. He doesn't condone kids because to him they are nasty little things full of mischief and cheek and he reckons Julian and Dick are talking nonsense. He even rips up their precious bit of paper and throws it in the street. Dick reprimands him severely and attempts to educate him about the intricacies of English law regarding litter but the brute snorts at them and uses words which could be roughly interpreted as Clear Orf!

Seeing that the Officer won't do his duty, the Famous Five then combine their walking holiday with the mystery that has been thrust into their hands and after a few enquiries they manage to locate a place called Gloomy Water and then other clues fall into place. Basically the paper they have with the plan on it is a treasure map of sorts and the rest of the story has the Five trying to locate it with competition from a criminal element. A raft-trip on the lake is involved and even some underwater exploration — at night! To sum up ... the book has plenty of Enid Blyton atmosphere with its descriptions of the Kirrins' hiking experiences that convey pictures of hills, farms, country roads, village shops, inns and English life all helped of course by the artist — Eileen Soper. It could well nudge potential back-packers to set out on the road themselves and who knows, there could be a mystery or a Dirty Dick kind of person just around the corner which could well add much interest to the trip and supply an excellent conversation piece for future get-togethers. These illustrations are hidden by default to ensure faster browsing. Loading the illustrations is recommended for high-speed internet users only.