Disabled visitors to battlefields

Topics about the Regiment during the Great War.

Disabled visitors to battlefields

Postby plbramham » Thu Jul 14, 2016 9:45 am


Just got back from a really excellent and rather intense weekend trip to Somme/Ypres with Leger Travel.
Tips for those who "ain't to good on their legs"!

Do you know what? The worst problem is the steep steps in and out of the coaches!
Being “battlefields” of course they are not “disabled friendly” and I feel should not be converted to such in order to retain their integrity.
Actually some are easily accessible.

1) Newfoundland Park (Beaumont Hamel) does have surfaced routes across about a third of the areas of interest ( but you would have to arrange bring your own chair if needed). Though, if you can walk a couple of hundred yards , rest, go on, no problem, it is not steep.

2) Menin Gate, Ypres. It’s the main road through the town, no problem.

3) Thiepval Memorial, Somme. New access via visitor centre means no trouble, just go up a paved slope.

These European battlefield tours I go on are great. I am picked up from Kendal and taken to my hotel in Belgium/France. Problem is it means three coach (bus) transfers and a ferry, thus takes 16 hours! ( look at map - Northern England to Northern France is not that far, but at budget prices you have to pick up people at stops on the way).

I only needed help with my disability once ( and I didn’t NEED it I could have managed!) It was when going from Hill 60 to another ravine. I was going down on “all fours” and on my backside. Several people asked to help but I refused. Finally, a Royal Artillery officer and his wife lifted me up. Very kind of them, but I WOULD have managed. (I am a stubborn old devil!!!)

I did have a slight "issue" in that I lost my balance and fell down a stairwell at Peronne Castle. Got up walking, just a few scuffs and bruises, much to amazement of the tour guide! (They don't kill me that easily!)

I'm going back in a couple of months for a tunnellers/ miners tour. Should be a doddle for me- half my family were coal miners!

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