Another early start as the coach had to take us from Arras to Langemarck, just to the NE of Ypres. The forecast was rain all day which is probably appropriate for walking across the battlefields of Passchendaele.

We started at Langemarck German cemetery, an eerie place at the best of times. Over 44,000 men are buried here.

Via the Brooding Soldier at St Juliaan, the cemetery at Poelcapelle, the village of Passchendaele, we were aiming for Tyne Cot.

Tyne Cot is the largest commonwealth cemetery in the world. Over 12,000 burials, and a further 35,000 names of the missing on the wall at the back. The scale of loss is immense here, but it’s only part of the story.

Lunch was in the grounds of Zonnebeke Chateau, then we walked to New Buttes cemetery and Polygon Wood, where we were privileged to witness the NZ Forces rehearsing for their service of remembrance.

Up until this point we’d been lucky with the weather. The promised rain hadn’t materialised, but now the showers started. A long difficult slog via Hooge Crater cemetery saw us all rendezvous at a watering hole at Zillebeke Lake, less than a mile from Ypres.

En masse we walked through Ypres to finish at the Menin Gate. The rain kicked in with a vengeance but this didn’t dampen our spirits.  The trials we faced just can’t be compared to what our troops went through.

So that’s that. Another day completed, just over 21 miles, mainly in pleasant weather but a very wet finish.

Another post to follow…

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