Five on a Hike Together
|Cover artist||Eileen A. Soper|
|Series||The Famous Five series|
|Genre||Mystery, Adventure novel|
|Publisher||Hodder & Stoughton|
|Media type||Print (hardcover and paperback)|
|Preceded by||Five Fall Into Adventure|
|Followed by||Five Have a Wonderful Time|
Two pupils at Julian’s and Dick’s school get a scholarship, so that the school gets extra holidays. Because Anne and George have a mid-term break at the same time the Five decide immediately to go for a hike across the countryside. Julian books to spend their first night at a bed and breakfast called Blue Pond Farm-House, but on the way there Timmy falls into a rabbit burrow and damages his leg. Consequently, Julian goes with George to Mr. Gaston, an expert on horses who also knows about dogs, and Dick and Anne head for Blue Pond Farm-House on their own. Mr and Mrs Gaston insist that Julian and George stay for the work done to Timmy, but the three do eventually reach Blue Pond Farm-House.
However, the weather had abruptly become dark and rainy, and Dick and Anne are directed only with the vaguest “ar”s when they request directions, besides being confused by ringing bells whose meaning they cannot decipher. The two children take completely the wrong route, and upon seeing a light, run to meet a completely deaf old woman. Assuming it must be Blue Pond Farm-House, Dick and Anne go in but the old woman, called Mrs. Taggart, bluntly announces they must leave because her son would not accept either of them. However, once Dick manages to communicate Mrs. Taggart agrees to let Anne stay in a remote loft whilst Dick makes do with sleeping in the barn.
During the night, Dick is awakened by a voice in the night who calls his name repeatedly. He knows the voice cannot be from one of the Five and cannot understand how he would know his name. Dick is handed a message in diagram form saying:
- “Two Trees”. “Gloomy Water”. “Saucy Jane” “And Maggie knows”.
When Dick wakes up, Mrs Taggart’s son is back and the old woman forgets Anne, so that Dick shouts for Anne. The two recognise it was not Blue Pond Farm-House, something confirmed when they meet a local boy who directs them there quickly. Once they are back with Julian and George for breakfast, Dick and Anne tell the story of the bells and the message. Julian says that the bells signalled an escape from a prison, and the escaped prisoner meant to meet “Dirty Dick” Taggart at the barn, and Anne says that is how the prisoner recognised Dick’s name.
After this, the Five report the incident to the village police but the sergeant is extremely angry and strongly suspects the children are telling them lies. The Five consequently decide to hike to “Gloomy Water” higher on the moors and sleep in an old ruin, where they recognise that the message Dick was given was a clue to find stolen goods from a past burglary by a prisoner called “Nailer”, and that it was hidden in a boat called “Saucy Jane” in the lake.
Just as the Five realise where the loot is hidden, Maggie and Dirty Dick come to Gloomy Water to find it, but Timmy growls at the unpleasant-looking, chain-smoking couple, who want to wait for the Five to clear off. The Five, however, paddle into the lake but do not find anything, and the following morning, with the two villains absent, try to work out where the “Saucy Jane” is from the fourth clue “Tall Stone”, which they ultimately recognise as being seen clearly from where the loot is. Ultimately, with intense efforts to keep their raft steady, the Five locate the “Saucy Jane” at the bottom of the lake, then Maggie and Dirty Dick come in again, when Julian says they will be gone tomorrow to return to school. Thus, Julian (a star swimmer at school) comes out near midnight to collect the loot after failing to dislodge it the first time, and when they are able to force it from the sunken boat they find diamond and gold necklaces stolen from the Queen of Fallonia.
Although it was 2:30 AM when they recovered the jewels, the Five already plan to get them to the police, since Julian said the box was too heavy, and when they evade Maggie and Dick again and get back to Reebles to call Mr. Gaston, he is astonished that they have found the Fallonia jewels, and so is the police when the Five give the story of how they found them. At the same time, Maggie and Dirty Dick are stuck in marshland near the lake and are ultimately arrested themselves.
- The gamebook The Sinister Lake Game (1984) was based on this novel.