It may only be in its third year, but the Picnic Cinema screening of Withnail & I at Sleddale Hall, the house used as the location for Uncle Monty's cottage, has already become a beloved institution.
There were three nights this year, all quickly sold out, each with 100 lucky fans coming on holiday by mistake for the evening, to watch the film, drink fine wines, and then be forced to camp in the farmer's field next door.
|Arrival at Crow Crag. This shot got one of the loudest cheers of the night.
|Crow Crag on Saturday evening, from (nearly) the same angle.
We were there for the Saturday, which after a damp Thursday and a full-on Withnail-authentic hurricane on the Friday, was a dry and fine evening, thank god. A wonderful time was had by all, and massive thanks are due to Adrian and the Picnic Cinema team for organising it all so brilliantly, The Foundry in Penrith for a very yummy barbecue, and especially to Sleddale Hall's owner, Tim, for allowing the hordes to descend.
Sleddale Hall has not been lived in properly since the 1960s. When Withnail filmed there, it was semi-derelict, and the production actually had to do it up a bit to make it look as uninhabitable as it did on screen! As well as the exteriors, which are seen from several angles, the interior of the house was used for all the ground floor rooms (only the bedroom scenes were shot elsewhere), so Sleddale Hall really is a 'character' in the film. Tim has been lovingly restoring the house and its outbuildings in the five years he's owned it, and though he's still got a ways to go, the results are already fantastic. It's very much a labour of love, and it was great to meet him and chat about it all on Saturday. More power to your elbow, sir! (I should add that the house is of course private property, so please don't try to visit uninvited!)
Anyway, here's a blow-by-blow 'Photo Essay' (or, some pictures what I took on my phone) of our delightful weekend in the country.
|Approaching Wet Sleddale, just off the M6 about 12 miles South of Penrith, where Sleddale Hall is to be found, a couple of miles up a farm track. It's not called Wet Sleddale for nowt. The sky here is not usually this clear, believe me.
|Shut that gate!!