‘Splatchers?’ said Roger. ‘Splatchers,’ said the boy. ‘For walking on the mud.’ ‘Gosh!’ said Roger. ‘Like snowshoes?’
When these children first saw big, wide footprints across the muddy flats of low tide, they concluded it was due to a passing mastodon, until they realized that a mastodon would have sunk deeper into the mud (the rarity of mastodons in 20th century Norfolk wasn’t an issue). The local boy, who happened to be called Don and who had splatchered across the mud, was subsequently called MastoDon.
‘… the splatchers, two large oval boards, with rope grips in the middle of them for heel and toe, and stout leather straps for fasteners.’
‘We’re just going splatchering.’
Source: Arthur Ransome, Secret Water (London: Vintage, 2014 (1939)), p. 116, 118, 322