Nick Lipscombe ~ Battlefield Tours 2018
In 2018 Nick is running the following tours:
12 to 19 September 2018:
The tour begins with a drive down the Tagus Valley to Toledo before taking in the battle at Talavera; then to the crossing at Almaraz before heading towards the Portuguese border. Here we take in the bloodiest battle of the Peninsular War at Albuera and the equally brutal siege at Badajoz. Then to the fortified town of Elvas, Portugal, a UNESCO world heritage site steeped in history, before heading north again via the atmospheric Roman bridge at Alcántara and onto the 14th Century Parador at Ciudad Rodrigo. Back across to Portugal and the perfectly preserved fortified town of Almeida where we examine the action across the River Coa. It was here that Black Bob Craufurd so nearly lost the elite Light Division. The major battle on the border at Fuentes de Oñoro is visited in detail, along with a trip to Wellington’s headquarters at Freineda. Finally, we travel to Salamanca, a beautiful and culturally rich city with the best preserved Peninsular War battlefield. You will stay at great hotels and have every opportunity to witness and enjoy Spanish hospitality and culture in these varied regions of central and western Spain.
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16 - 21 May 2018:
Sir John Moore assumed command of the British Army in October 1808 and led it across Portugal and Spain to link up with his Spanish allies to commence a campaign against his better wishes. At much the same time Napoleon arrived in the Peninsula at the head of 125,000 battle hardened veterans. Having restored his brother back on the Spanish throne, Napoleon turned his attention to remove Moore’s army which he dubbed the ‘troublesome British leopard’. With his lines of communication compromised, Moore was forced to retreat in the dead of winter over the inhospitable Galician mountains, his army fighting tenacious rear-guard actions to facilitate their escape to Corunna where they turned to face the French. It is a harrowing yet heroic story of a retreat in often freezing conditions where hunger, tiredness and inadequate clothing were as much an enemy to Moore’s men as their French pursuers in their desperate race to the coast and the succour of waiting Royal Navy transport.
24 to 27 June 2018:
This is a comprehensive tour of the Waterloo campaign battlefields and key locations. It will concentrate on the key personalities, drawing on the maxim that ‘war is about minds more than stuff’. The decisions made by eight men decided the fate of 200,000 men on that momentous day and, ultimately, the destiny of Europe for nearly half a century. The tour takes in the battles at Ligny and Quatre Bras, the withdrawal on 17 June and the main battle at the ridge of Mont St. Jean on 18 June. In addition we will visit a number of museums including the revamped visitors' centre at Waterloo as well as Wellington's and Naploeon's respective headquarters.
3 to 8 July 2018: Edgehill to Newbury 1642-43
This is the first of three tours that Nick is running for The Cultural Experience on the First English Civil War 1642-1646. This opening tour will look at the first two years of conflict; the road to war, the struggle to arm and the advantage enjoyed by the Royalists in the early encounters. The tour will examine the first skirmish of the war near Worcester, the key battle of Edgehill, the struggle for (England’s second city) Bristol, the key battles of Lansdown and Rondway Down and culminates in the first battle at Newbury in September 1643.
We will visit some well preserved and accessible battlefields set amongst the picturesque rolling countryside of the Cotswolds and south-west England. The chance to stay in some fine hotels and visit a number of historic cities and towns to create a well-balanced and fascinating tour.
1-8 June 2018:
On this eight-day tour, we escape the main roads to discover the Portugal known so well to the men of Wellington’s Army during the years 1808- 1811. As well as visiting the magnificent battlefields of Rolica, Vimeiro, Bussaco, Pombal, Redinha and Foz de Arouce we will see one of the beaches on which Wellington landed his army in August 1808 with the treacherous rolling surf; explore the forts and signal redoubts along the Lines of Torres Vedras; wander around the historic centre of Lisbon; sample port wine in one of the many port houses in Porto besides the banks of the mighty River Douro; walk the walls of the pretty medieval town of Obidos the site of the first action of the Peninsular War; stay in a former palace in Lousa and marvel at the stunning Portuguese countryside as we travel over its mountain ranges and through its river valleys and national parks. All set amidst the background of wonderful local and international cuisine and great Portuguese hospitality.
The Universities of Cambridge and Oxford Alumni Tour 2018 and 2019
Nick and Professor Jeremy Black will be running two tours in 2018 and 2019 covering the closing stages of the Peninsular War and the War in Southern France.
Part 1: 2 to 6 September 2018
In 1813 Wellington defeated three French armies in an epic battle at Vitoria. The French suddenly found themselves with their backs to the Pyrenees, fighting to prevent the invasion of France. Take a riveting journey through the dramatic landscape that witnessed the concluding events of Napoleon’s struggle for control over the Iberian Peninsula. Learn how combined British, Portuguese and Spanish armies finally broke Joseph Bonaparte’s French forces. Follow Wellington’s campaigns to capture the two remaining French strongholds in north-eastern Spain: San Sebastián and Pamplona.
Post Tour Comment: You were. as ever, a tour de force and I hugely enjoyed the historical content and in particular the vital part played by the Navy. I wonder how many people in a hundred could explain the real legacy of Trafalgar or the success of the Lines of TV? Well, I am now one! You switch so effortlessly from grand strategy to military detailed tactics. Robin House.
Post Tour Comment: I am writing to you to say thank you for the Corunna trip and to say what a star you have in Nick. He kept us enthralled throughout the tour. From the first evening he went out of his way too explain what we were looking at and why. At the same time weaving in fascinating descriptions of the personalities and making sure that we were all up to speed with the history. Not a second went by in the coach that Nick didn’t fill with background and related interesting information. Rick Stroud.
Post Tour Comment: Our tour leader, Nick Lipscombe, was outstanding. He brought the events to life for me. In particular, his ability to reconcile the totally divergent reports of the opposing sides and relate them to the actual ground played a major part. Looking forward to part 2 next year. Richard Foinette