A Travellerspoint blog

LAKE WINDERMERE (UK) to YPRES (Belgium) MAY 16th to MAY 19th

Travelling to Belgium, and a day in the Trenches

We left Lake Windermere heading to Nottingham. It seems when Steve installed our Scala system to our new helmets he pinched the wires - eventually we lost communication. We rode 300kms in freezing cold windy conditions to get there - not stopping once !!! Steve was is front following the GPS and I had no choice but to follow - Not Happy !! Now let me tell you I was fairly sizzling in my helmet - I am still waiting for pay-back for that. I think it will have a lot to do with the Credit Card and a nice "compensation" purchase. After installing the new earphone we went on to Peterborough, then on to Folkestone on Sunday ready for our Monday morning crossing.

Crossing England to France is quite easy on the Euro Tunnell - here is Steve helping a fellow traveller with bike troubles of his own.

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We arrived in France, rode the Motorway to Belgium in freezing windy conditions again, but at least we can communicate now !

Our B&B in Ypres (now known an Ieper) is lovely.

After touring the city yesterday we booked a tour of the Ypres Salient today.

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The Menin Gate Memorial to 54,000 soldiers who lost their lives in the First World War - no graves - bodies missing.
They have held a Last Post ceremony here every night at 8:00pm since 1928. Almost 30,000 times.
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Flowers and wreaths from last nights ceremony.
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So after a very good breakfast - real food at last - we set out for the Salient Tour.
First stop was the Book shop which is the starting point of our tour and also a mini museum run by a Canadian who came here just to photograph the war sites and stayed.
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Hope you can read this one - its how to treat Syphillis - sounds extremely painful.

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No wonder the shells caused so much harm - this is the inside showing all the schrapnel -

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First stop on our tour was the Essex Farm Cemetery.

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Grave of a 15yr old boy who lied about his age to get into the Army -
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Second stop was the Yorkshire Trenches & Dug Out - an area preserved for historical purposes. It is a piece of land owned by the Council within an Industrial area - the rest of the trenches were destroyed or have factories built over them.

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Next stop was the German Cemetery - 44,304 soldiers buried here, 24,917 are in a Mass Grave in the centre.
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Bunkers where the Germans held their position and tried to take Ypres, white flag in the background represents the Front Line for the first Gas Attack.

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There are also 2 British Soldiers buried here - recognizing where they died.
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Next stop was the Canadian memorial -

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Our guide found out from the gardeners here that the plants actually have significance - very interesting.

The fluffy green plants represent the Chlorine gas which was first used here by the Germans -

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Spiky bush represents an explosion -
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These bushes represent Grenades -
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very clever gardener.

We also stopped at a farm where we viewed some bits and pieces picked up in the paddocks around here - farmers are still finding this stuff including leaking gas bombs and live explosives.

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This unexploded shell was found in the last couple of days and placed here for collection by the bomb disposal squad - no hurry !!
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Final stop was at the Tyne Cot Cemetery.

this soldier was from Hobart (so is Steve - might be a relative)
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so many graves -

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Objects are remains of 5 Australian Soldiers recovered in 2006

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Back to Ieper we had lunch and a hot drinkj - it was very cold today but well worth doing.

Posted by MKaye 10:52 Archived in Belgium Comments (1)

WINDERMERE - MAY 15th

Lakes District loop

Our view over the lake from our bedroom window - just glorious today
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This morning we enjoyed another hearty breakfast cooked by the delightful character Colette and husband Franky who bears a very close resemblance to O'Reilly the Builder from Fawlty towers - in fact now I have seen the resemblance it is hard not to ask him where is hammer and tools are ??

Having heard so much about the fabulous Lakes District we decided to do a tour today. Now according to the map and our earlier research its quite simple loop - apparently the GPS was in a bad mood today and did not co-operate with our plans.
We rode beside Lake Thirlmere, totally missed the turn-off to do the road around the back of the lake, however it was rather stunning from the main road.

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Then we were led on a little excursion by the GPS - way past where we wanted to be - finally common sense and map reading skills took over.
Turn around and head back - done. Then the flipping thing took us right into Cockermouth, a rather boring town with a lot of pubs, I mean a all of one side of the street was pub after pub, and a few on the other side as well. Quite easy to guess what the local favourite pass-time is !!!
After a morning tea break and being totally unable to find the Tourist Information Centre - lots of signs going both ways up the street but no Info centre, we finally gave up and decided to rely on our maps and that blasted GPS (still in a bad mood - bloody thing !!!)

Our next part of the trip was to go through Buttermere and over the Honniston Pass.
The scenery is quite stunning up here, very rugged, with lots of Lakes.

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The Honister Pass was pretty stunning - very rugged with nice twisty bends winding their way up to the top where there is actually a working Slate Mine.

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Down the other side - now referring to maps only - forget the GPS, we turned toward Windermere.
We had planned to do another loop as well but the weather was starting to turn bad, very misty looking so its time to get back before it gets worse.

And we did find the back road around Lake Thirlmere which was quite pretty and much better than battling traffic on the main road.

Steve's observation of the day : So many lost people wandering around in bright coloured jackets with sticks in their hands looking cold and miserable - how long since they have been home ?

Tomorrow we start heading down South for the train to Calais on Monday morning.

Posted by MKaye 12:45 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

LAKE WINDERMERE - MAY 14th

Cruising Lake Windermere to visit The Lakeland Motor Museum

Bike free day today.
We went down to the edge of the lake and bought tickets to Cruise the Lake to the Lakeland Motor Museum - home of an amazing collection of Motorcycles, Motor vehicles, lots of old British historical stuff along with the Malcolm Campbell and Donald Campbell tribute centre.
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As soon as we got inside we were amazed by the extent of the Museum, first was the motorcycles -
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my personal favourite - the 1928 Royal Enfield for Ladies!!
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followed by Motor vehicles of every shape and size -

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Found the Michelin man -

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and even more motorcycles
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Steve's favourite - BMW R90S
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The 1964 Peel P50 - Worlds smallest Car

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The Amphi Car - Drive on road and in water - yes it literally turns into a boat when in water - it has a propeller at the back.

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We did 2 laps and probably missed half of it -

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A very early "Trike/trailer"
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Fascinating Push Bikes and Peddle Cars -

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Not complete without an Isle of Man TT corner -

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Just when you think you have seen it all - there's the 1936 Flying Flea

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Who has not heard of Donald Campbell and his duel World Land and Water speed records, his final record attempt was close to here on Coniston Water where on the 4th January 1967 at a recorded speed of 297mph his attempt failed and his boat disintegrated. His body was finally found 34 years later and is now interred at Coniston Waters.
At the time of his death he also held the World Land speed record of 403.1mph. Back in 1966, that is a phenomenal speed considering the lack of technology current drivers enjoy.

The Museum houses a replica of his 1967 Jet Hydroplane Bluebird K7.

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along with other replicas -

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Back by late afternoon we went for a walk around the town, found an interesting looking Italian Restaurant, and enjoyed a drink at the Pub across the road from our B & B.
At this point in time we are thoroughly sick of stodgy British Food, very little variety and huge serves of unappealing food.
Tonight we decided to try the Restorante Positano - a brilliant decision. Food was amazing, Italian staff were fantastic, atmosphere was lovely -
I could rave all night. Enough said !! We have booked a table for tomorrow night - looking forward to it.

Posted by MKaye 13:21 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

RICHMOND to LAKE WINDERMERE - MAY 13th

Delightful Dales and Kirkstone Pass in the Lake District North Yorkshire

A beautiful sunny day for riding the Dales today - we are really enjoying the Yorkshire district.

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and a bridge just for change of scenery -

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A lot of the roads are not fenced here and the animals just wander around - they seem to know to keep away from the traffic, except the little lambs who are still learning and dash off when they see us coming.

Look who we came across today -

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This little fellow was an expert at begging food, some nice people gave us pieces of apple to feed him.

Come on Steve - you must have another piece hidden there somewhere -

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And he kept looking for more -
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The countryside is simply stunning - especially today in the sunshine.

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Our first official Pass on this trip - the Kirkstone Pass at 454 metres above Sea Level, which is the highest pass in the Lake District.

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We stopped at the Kirkstone Pass Inn for lunch - lovely food in a pub with lots of character -
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This is the 3rd highest pub in the England, we've now done the highest and 3rd highest, only 2nd to go - our pub habits are getting out of control

Further on we rode beside the Ullswater Lake famous as the inspiration for William Wordsworth to write his poem "I wandered lonely as a cloud" - commonly known as "Daffodils"

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Then it was time to find Lake Windermere and our accommodation at The Field House - lovely B&B on the edge of the lake.
So far we have been very lucky with the weather, all the locals keep telling us to make the most of it - the sun doesn't shine very often up here.
Coming from Australia this is hard to comprehend, we take our good weather for granted.

Posted by MKaye 12:46 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

RICHMOND - MAY 12th

Richmond Castle and how to get lost in the Yorkshire Dales

We started the day with a very good breakfast at our Hotel, the Kings Head. Unable to resist the charm of the Richmond Castle, one of the oldest stone-built Castles in England we set out for an adventure.
Built in 1070 by Alan of Brittany to strengthen the Norman hold it is a very impressive Castle.
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We also visited the non-combatants corp display, a modern display depicting the story of the 16 Conscientious Objectors who were interred here during World War 1 for refusing to contribute in any way in the war. The actual cells they were held in are closed to the public due to their fragile status.

We were really lucky with the weather again today - the sun is still shining.
We visited the Friary Tower and Gardens to see a beautiful display of Tulips.

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Then it was time to go for a ride up to the Tan Hill Hotel.
Gorgeous scenery, exactly how I imagined it would be here in Yorkshire.
Rolling hills with stone walls and sheep dotted here and there - James Herriott "All creatures Great and Small" country.

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Our lunch destination was the Tann Hill Inn, 1732ft above Sea Level, just a Pub in the middle of absolutely nowhere, a favourite stopping point for everybody in the area.
It was absolutely freezing, last temperature I saw on the bike was 8.5 degrees, and the wind was so strong I could hardly hold the bike up !!

We dived inside to warm ourselves by the fire and of course Steve had to have a Ewe Brew, an Ale brewed for the Tan Hill Inn.

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Nougat made a fast track for the fire to warm his little paws.
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After lunch and a lovely chat with some people we braved the strong freezing winds and got back on the bikes intending to make a quick trip back to Richmond. No such luck.

We passed a sign "traffic diversion", having no idea what that meant we kept going, along a very shifty gravel road for quite some time until we came to another sign "road closed" and some bloke in Orange - not my favourite type of person - I have a real aversion to people in Orange diverting traffic. They usually mumble some instructions and wave arms, expecting you can not only hear them in a helmet but also understand what they are on about. This one was no exception - it seems we have to go back, over that bloody shifty gravel road again. Way back to the road diversion sign, and turn up an extremely steep incline.
Now the fun begins, I am already fuming at the stupidity of the signs - maybe if they said the road to Richmond was closed we would have small clue as to what's going on here.
Slowly creeping up this hill we are following a vehicle and a bus. So the genius in the bus decides to stop, half way up on a sharp corner, on the only flat bit of ground on the whole road ----- what the hell is going on here I am thinking !!
Well of course we finally figure out the bus wants us to go around - great, here I am on a Vertical Hill, full brakes on sliding backwards on the slippery road - probably covered in cow or sheep shit, and she thinks I should pass her.
Fuming - absolutely - fuming, I try to take off, revving like hell to stop the bike sliding any further down, I got level with the bus, but as I was having a rather huge Hissy fit - I had fogged my glasses up so much I couldn't see, so I had to stop right beside the bus so I could push them down to see.
The bus driver wound down her window and was yelling at me to go on - Trust me Here - If I could have got off I would most certainly have given her a big piece of my mind........enough said I managed to pass here and get going - still fuming !!!

Further along we came across some sheep being shepherded along the road
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It really is quite beautiful up here - but that's enough for the day.

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After winding our way back down we came across another couple of diversion signs - and they lead to Richmond. It was a Richmond Diversion after all.

We made it home.

Posted by MKaye 09:50 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (1)

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