Plundering Pirates of the North East
Plundering Pirates of the North East have been around for a few years.
We are an ever expanding group of friendly and like-minded people who gather together regularly during the year to raise money.
The main event being the annual Midsummer Mutiny.
We are proud to help Berwick and District Cancer Support in delivering the vital service they provide.
Midsummer Mutiny History
Mutiny 1 - 2012
The Midsummer Mutiny for Plundering Pirates came about in 2012 when a group of like minded people decided to throw a family-friendly party, with the idea of also raising some cash for a local charity. After deciding it was to be pirate themed, it was held on the 23rd and 24th June 2012, and involved setting up a pirate camp in the large garden of two of the participants. Invites were sent out via Facebook and around fifty people attended, most of them camping over for the night. A "raid" on Holy Island took place, firstly storming and exploring the castle before ending up on the rooftop with a fine view of the harbour and out to sea. The pirates then moved on to explore the old limekilns, a large structure which is a maze of arches and tunnels, part of the island's industrial past. A brisk walk back to the village ended with the crew retiring to the Crown and Anchor for a few rums. On return to the camp, various pirate themed activities were undertaken, such as a treasure hunt for the younger pirates, deck quoits, walk the plank, and the Rum Run, which entailed tackling various obstacles whilst carrying a barrel. Barbecues and a campfire were lit and food cooked and the night was brought to a close with local band Yitt performing. The next morn a barbecue breakfast was cooked before all departed homeward, some travelling quite a distance, Bristol, London and Northern Ireland being the farthest flung destinations. A total of £432 was raised over the weekend for The Berwick and District Cancer Support Group. The crew all agreed to meet up and do it all again the following year.
Mutiny 2 - 2013
June of 2013 brought the crew together again for Midsummer Mutiny for Plundering Pirates 2. It had now become a slightly larger event with about sixty guests at the camp for two nights. A boat had been donated and was onsite, ready for the start of festivities on the Friday night. Named as Ruby, the boat was christened by young Ruby from London, who then hauled up the sail and declared the event open. Live music was provided by Jimmy Nelson, an excellent mix of both traditional songs and more recent hits, which soon had the crew dancing. The following day saw a trip across the Scottish border to the port of Eyemouth where the crew assembled at the old Watch House, a building made entirely of tombstones, many of which bore the skull and crossbones insignia. From there, the crew split into two groups, half going to Gunsgreen House and the other half going to the Eyemouth Maritime museum. The former has smuggling connections and the latter a selection of old boats and nauticalia. Later in the day, regrouped at the pirate camp, games took place including Pose Like a Figurehead and a tug of war. There were also various birds of prey onsite for handling and photographs. In the evening, music was provided with acoustic guitars round the campfire, shanties, rum and tales of the sea. The weekend raised £840 for the local cancer charity, helping to keep their cars running to transport patients to their appointments.
Mutiny 3 - 2014
Midsummer Mutiny for Plundering Pirates 3 kicked off on a balmy Thursday evening in June 2014, a very laid back night as the first of the pirates arrived. Fed with gammon cooked in cider on a campfire, they caught up with each others news and exploits. Friday noon saw the crew "set sail" for Holy Island where Dancing With Ghosts played a set of self-penned folk tunes written about the island and the local coastline. Back on site, weapons expert Fox was setting up targets for the crew's return. Under strict supervision, some tried their hands at throwing spears, axes and knives before being given a display of using a bull-whip to great effect. In the evening, local folk songs and shanties were played by Russ Field and Friends. Rising from their tents on a bright Saturday morning, after downing breakfast, the crew set off to Haggerston Castle to climb to the top of the massive tower there, the remains of the 1800s building which was destroyed in a fire. After an amazing view and many photos, it was back to camp to be entertained by Andrew Smith and his bagpipes, before the evening's Buccaneers Ball, where the band of pirates dressed in their finery and drank and danced the night away to Hardly Original and The Guilty Pleasures. A Sunday morn count up revealed that £1,126 had been raised for The Berwick and District Cancer Support Group.
Mutiny 4 - 2015
June 2015 brought the 4th Mutiny, even bigger this time, with pirates of all ages camping in the woodland behind the site and also expansion into the adjacent field, accessed via a bridge and Smuggler's Way. Again, the Thursday night was informal for the early arrivals with things kicking off on the Friday with another trip to Holy Island and Dancing With Ghosts providing the entertainment in the sunshine outside the Crown and Anchor. Return to base camp saw more axe and knife throwing skills being pursued before the arrival of the dance troupe, the Luna Nigra Tribal Dancers. They kept the crew enthralled outside whilst musicians were setting up in the marquee, where Robert, Knox and Wize performed, followed by Hardly Original. Saturday saw the arrival of archers from Coldstream and tuition was given in this ancient sport with many of the crew being able to hit a bullseye. Then the Border Clansmen trundled in their cannon, which they let loose many times to mark the hour. The 2 o clock firing marked the arrival onstage of Antmusic, Britain's top Adam and the Ants tribute band, who filled the marquee with their songs of pirates and highwaymen. On the Saturday night, the Buccaneers Ball in the marquee was treated to the varied musical styles of The Parrot Smugglers, Zenith Nadir and The Guilty Pleasures. From folky rock, through Mexican fusion music, to funk and chart hits, they supplied it all. A charity total of £1,537 was raised at The Midsummer Mutiny for Plundering Pirates 4.
Mutiny 5 - 2016
Now in it's 5th year, the Midsummer Mutiny of 2016 brought not only the biggest crowd of guests so far but also the wettest weather. Luckily, the marquee proved waterproof. Whilst the Thursday evening was dry and the traditional campfire went ahead, Friday was a downpour which led to the daytime outside games being cancelled and an impromptu music session took place in the marquee instead. Dancing With Ghosts led the way followed by various crew members from Durham, Cambridge and Bishop Auckland sharing their musical talents with us. After a break for food and a tidy up, the stage was set for the evening entertainment, The Luna Nigra Dancers, 3 Days Later, Zenith Nadir then headliners Hardly Original rounding the night off. Thankfully Saturday arrived bright and fair, slowly evolving into a heatwave, which allowed the games to go ahead, including a Scotland/England team challenge which the North o' the Border crew won. Dance workshops, archery and spear throwing also took place as did the Ship's Figurehead contest. The evening began with Luna Nigra performing the Sailor's Hornpipe to the sound of our local bagpipe player before the main event, the Buccaneers Ball. The Queens of Noise opened up with a great performance of all girl rock songs. White stripes were then painted on faces as Antmusic took to the stage for a rousing set of piratey songs in the style of Adam Ant. This 5th Midsummer Mutiny, with a capacity crowd, raised £2,311 for the local cancer charity.
Mutiny 6 - 2017
2017 saw the pirates at a new venue, having outgrown the marquee and limited space of previous years. Luckily, Berwick Rugby Club were happy to allow the use of their venue with a field for camping and games right next door. After the traditional informal gathering of Thursday night, Friday dawned fair, if not too warm, and the crew wandered down to Cocklawburn for some acoustic shanties with a bit of comedy thrown in. Friday evening in the venue kicked off with 3 Days Later before Luna Nigra took the floor with their gyrating dance moves. Also hitting the floor were some of the performers from Kynren, wielding swords. Long Ron Silver and The Powder Monkeys then took to the stage, followed by Antmusic to round the evening off. Saturday dawned warm and turned into the hottest day of the year in the field with the English pirates beating their Scots counterparts in the Border Pentathlon. Ukelele music was played by the Earlston Ukelele Club as cutlass tuition from the fight director of Kynren was given, and spear throwing supervised by Stuart from Largs. Our Pirate Piper then led all into the venue for the Buccaneers Ball, opened by Toria with a set of Americana music, leading into the Red Hot Panthers performing 1950s rockabilly. The Queens of Noise rounded the weekend off with a blistering performance of 80s/90s rock. After final tallying up, including a few donations, a sum of £2,400 was handed over to The Berwick and District Cancer Support Group. It should also be noted that 10 year old Ben Shirley of Belford had his flowing locks shaved at the event, raising over £500 for Cancer Research and the Little Princess Trust, a children's cancer charity.
Mutiny 7 - 2018
The 7th Midsummer Mutiny for Plundering Pirates began on Thursday evening, 14th June 2018, with the early birds enjoying acoustic music, food and rum under canvas in the field at Berwick Rugby Club. Things kicked off in earnest on Friday when the crew took to the streets of Berwick, setting up at the Town Hall, busking their way through a selection of traditional songs and some self-penned numbers, whilst gathering donations for the charity. After a visit to a local tavern, the pirates set off on a ghost tour of the town led by Frank n Knight Tours, who narrated many sordid tales of the town's bloody history. On their return to base camp, the official opening ceremony was performed by two of the younger crew unfurling the ship's sail and declaring that the Mutiny was ready to set to sea. The evening's festivities kicked into action with a varied musical entertainment provided by three live bands, the first being local legends Ripple, who performed the Mutiny's anthems amongst a varied set of both originals and covers. The Luna Nigra Tribal Dancers then took to the floor for a magnificent display of skirt-swirling showmanship, performed to nautical themed tunes. This was followed by re-enactors from Kynren putting on a fine display of swordsmanship for the audience. Tyneside based band Kiss Me Deadly then took to the stage for a high energy show of girl power, filling the dancefloor with their repertoire of cheesy 1980s rock hits. The night's headliners, The Panthers, then treated the packed venue to a blistering performance of 1950s rock and roll. As the exhausted pirates left the venue, they were enlightened by a live fire act, staged by a shipwrecked castaway from County Durham.
Saturday dawned bright and sunny, unlike the crew, and the Borders based band The Lime and Soda Club played in the sunshine whilst a brave crew member from Northern Ireland underwent a head shave by cutlass to achieve a sponsorship total of over five hundred pounds for the charity. Whilst archery and sword lessons were being held under the supervision of Kynren's fight arranger, other activities on offer were tribal drumming and poi juggling workshops. Meanwhile, wandering amongst all this, was a local buccaneer with an eight foot boa constrictor around her neck. This was one of several snakes that she had brought along and photos of crew members adorned with a snake proved to be extremely popular.
As an impromptu music session came to an end, the pirates headed for the cover of the inside venue for The Buccaneer's Ball, helped on their way by a thunderstorm. Once settled inside with refreshed drinks, two condemned men were led in by the Mutiny's officers. To the sound of the skirling bagpipes, the scoundrels were paraded and led to their fate, to have their painful punishment of chest waxing, again boosting the coffers by sponsorship. Once the decks were swept of loose hair, local band The Dissidents set about with their self-penned show of Alternative rock. The Luna Nigra dancers then took to the floor, a dozen of the most fearsome pirate wenches ever seen, culminating their act with a dance involving sharp cutlasses. This was followed by The Killer Cats, who played a rocking set of blues and rockabilly tunes, delighting the ship's crew and filling the dancefloor. The stage was then set for Antmusic, Britain's top Adam Ant tribute band, who brought the house down with their songs of pirates and highwaymen before the shipmates trooped back to their hammocks, being treated to another fire juggling performance on the way.
Come Sunday morning, a rather bedraggled crew started to disperse on their voyages to Edinburgh, London, York, Northern Ireland and other far flung destinations. Many long lasting friendships have been forged at this event, for some of those from afar it is their annual meet up with old and valued friends. Before parting ways, there were discussions about doing it all again next year, bigger, better, and raising even more money for The Berwick and District Cancer Support Group. This Mutiny raised £3,404, which was topped up with a further £100 from the local branch of Ramsdens.
This brought the total raised by the pirates for The Berwick and District Cancer Support Group to £12,150 over the years. To show their appreciation of the pirates, the cancer charity asked the pirates to name their newest vehicle. After a vote among the crew, the name Mutiny was chosen and the new vehicle was "christened" before joining the other cars in the charity fleet, Herbie, Percy, Torchy and Miles.
Welcome to 'The Plundering Pirates North East' page on The Berwick and District Cancer Support Group website. This page is managed by our wonderful friends 'The Pirates' and any views expressed on this page does not specifically represent the views by the trustees and management of the charity.