We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea by Arthur Ransome

The Lovereading4Kids comment

February 2011 Guest Editor Tim Bowler has chosen this book for the enduring appeal of Arthur Ransome adventures:

"I loved all the Swallows and Amazons books as a boy. Ransome's genius is that he doesn't just give you the children's adventures but their fantasy adventures as well. You sail in their boats but you also become the pirates and explorers they pretend to be. We Didn't Mean To Go To Sea is different, however. Here there is no make-believe, just raw drama. The children find themselves in a sailing boat being driven out to sea by a furious storm. The depiction of the storm and the children's struggle to survive contains some of Ransome's finest writing."


We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea by Arthur Ransome

'Now Susan,' Mother said, 'And you too, John. No night sailing...No going outside the harbour...And back the day after tomorrow...Promise.' But promises can't always be kept. Within twenty-four hours John, Susan, Titty and Roger find themselves fighting a night gale in the treacherous waters of the North Sea, adrift and in the main shipping lanes. Suddenly, it's real adventure and only their sailing skills can help them now...

Browse inside this book


The seventh of the Arthur Ransome books about the Swallows and the Amazons, and I really think it is the best The Sunday Times Arthur Ransome's adventure books are an institution, and Christmas is the richer because of his invention, gravity, and solid matter Times Literary Supplement The most exciting of the whole Swallows and Amazon series New Statesman

About the Author

Arthur Ransome

Arthur Ransome was born on January 18, 1884, in Leeds, where his father was a Professor of History. His father was a lover of the hills and lakes of Furness, and carried the baby Arthur up to the top of Coniston Old Man (later to become 'Kanchenjunga' in the books) when he was only a few weeks old. Every summer, he took his family by train to Greenodd, complete with their belongings packed into a large tin bath, and then by cart along the valley to Lowick and, finally, to Nibthwaite, on the shores of Coniston Water.

It was to be a long time before the memories came to life in Swallows and Amazons and the rest of the books about the children who sailed and explored the lakes and mountains of England. Always fired by ambition to be a writer, Arthur Ransome took his first job with a London publisher and then with the famous newspaper, the Manchester Guardian, for whom he worked for many years as a foreign correspondent.

As a young man, Ransome spent many more happy holidays on the shores of Coniston with his friends the Collingwood family. Mr and Mrs Collingwood treated Arthur as a son and he pays them grateful recognition in his autobiography by saying 'My whole life has been happier for knowing them'. He spent hours on Peel Island, which was to become famous all over the world as Wildcat Island, picnicking there with the Collingwood daughters Dora and Barbara.

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Book Info


352 pages
Interest Age: From 9


Arthur Ransome
More books by Arthur Ransome


Red Fox an imprint of Random House Children's Books

Publication date

6th September 2001




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