Firstly, apologies for the lateness of these updates. The wordpress app didn’t want to play so we’ve had to wait until we’ve come home to update you all. A quick note – not all the photos are mine, some are from the charity, others from other walkers.
We started the day at Lochnagar Crater at 07.30 with a photo shoot and a short blessing from the Padre that was walking with us, then we were off.
An easy 6 miles across very muddy fields to our first tea stop at Flatiron Copse via the Welsh Memorial at Mametz Wood.
At Flatiron copse we visited the grave of a VC winner, who remarkably had been recorded. Hearing his voice whilst stood at his grave was chilling.
From Flatiron Copse we had a 7 mile or so walk to Thiepval for lunch. We got a little bit wet on the way as the drizzle started. Nothing too bad so it was head down and keep plodding on.
After lunch at Thiepval we stopped at the Ulster Tower and had a briefing on the successes of the Ulster Divisions from an RUC veteran who also volunteers at the Ulster Tower.
From the Ulster Tower was an easy 5 miles or so to the Newfoundland Memorial Park at Beaumont-Hamel where the landscape has been preserved.
One of the highlights of the day was next. Stood in the iconic ‘Sunken Lane’ where the Lancashire Fusiliers fought bitterly on the 1st July 1916 and hearing a recording of a Fusilier who survived but who had been fighting where we were stood bought goosebumps.
We were on the homeward straight now. Another 5 miles or so to the coach via the Sheffield Memorial Park, the site where the Accrington Pals were so sadly wiped out.
Day 1 was done, people’s GPS systems were reporting between 21 and 23 miles. It was a relief to get the boots off and get back to the hotel for a warm shower, food then early to bed to do it all again the next day!