Nick Lipscombe ~ Battlefield Tours 2019
In 2019 Nick is running the following tours:
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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This is the second of three tours that Nick Lipscombe is running covering the (First) English Civil War 1642-1646. This tour concentrates on the struggle for the north during the middle years of the war. By the end of 1643 there had been no decisive achievement by either side but an alliance in late 1643 by the Parliamentarians with the battle-hardened army of the Scottish Covenanters altered the dynamics in the north of the country considerably. Within months the Royalist army had been decisively beaten at Marston Moor. The Royalist stronghold of York followed two weeks later. Events then swung to the northwest where the Royalists fared little better, having been driven off at Rowton Heath in their attempt to lift the siege of Chester, the key Royalist city fell a few months later. To all intents and purposes, the north was lost to the King.
This tour will take in all the key actions and sieges in Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cheshire as well as make a visit to the key Royalist stronghold at Newark; the modern home of the National Civil War Centre.
After achieving the decisive victory over the French at Salamanca in July 1812, Wellington liberated Madrid but then over-extended his army at Burgos and was forced into a harrowing retreat. The following year, determined not to make the same mistake, he drove back three French armies and defeated them in the epic encounter at Vitoria. The French withdrew and fought with their backs to the Pyrenees trying to prevent the unthinkable – the invasion of France. Wellington captured San Sebastian and fought a series of battles in the Pyrenees before judging the time right to commence the invasion. After two more battles at the end of 1813, at the Nivelle and the Nive, Soult was pushed eastwards towards Toulouse where the last encounter of the war was fought in April 1814. This tour follows the Great North Road from Madrid towards the great French border fortress of Bayonne and then eastwards to Toulouse. En route we cross some magnificent terrain and great rivers, once formidable barriers. From the top of the dominating mountains of the western Pyrenees we will gain stunning views over much of the campaign area. We will travel along the often turbulent coast of the Bay of Biscay and visit the harbour havens so crucial to the resupply of Wellington’s army.
The Universities of Cambridge and Oxford Alumni Tour 2019
Nick and Professor Jeremy Black will be running the second of two tours covering the closing stages of the Peninsular War and the War in Southern France.
Part 2: 25 to 29 June 2019.
Join expert historians Colonel Nick Lipscombe and Professor Jeremy Black as they follow in Wellington’s footsteps examining the final stages of the Peninsular War, where the allied powers of Spain, the United Kingdom and Portugal fought to repel the Napoleonic invasion of Spain and Portugal. Start this exclusive tour in picturesque Biarritz before setting off eastwards and examining Wellington’s battle-hardened army’s audacious crossing of the mighty Ardour River. Consider the major battles fought in France before 1813, including the battles of Nivelle and the Nive, the siege of Bayonne, the battles of Orthez and Tarbes, and the final battle of the Peninsular War, whilst visiting the scenes and enjoying in-depth discussions and presentations from your trip scholars.
Colonel Nick Lipscombe, Napoleonic historian and lecturer at the Department for Continuing Education, University of Oxford, and Professor Jeremy Black (St John’s, 1978), Professor of History, University of Exeter
Post 2018 Tour Comment: What a good time we all had: battlefields brought to life, operational tactics, strategy and grand strategy all brilliantly portrayed, the historical context made clear and good billets and rations. Thank you all very much; I enjoyed it all greatly. Steve Bodger.
Post 2018 Tour Comment: Thank you for these memorable days, to share history and experiences and for your patience and help with my amateur "Spanglish". I hope to be able to sign up for another of your tours next year and to repeat this fantastic experience. Jorge Alcaraz
Post 2018 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
1 to 6 July 2019: The Struggle for the North of England 1643-1645
“The most important object, at this moment, is the capture of Valencia”. Napoleon, November 1811
This tour covers a virtually unknown aspect of the Peninsular War, and in so doing, it visits some of the most picturesque and vibrant parts of Spain. Starting at Barcelona the tour winds its way south skirting the Mediterranean coast and taking in the many sieges and battles that took place during the French invasion and the subsequent allied counter offensive. The tour visits Tarragona, the Roman capital of Spain, the medieval fortress at Tortosa, the small ‘City in the Sea’ at Peñiscola, the imposing fort at Sagunto and the magnificent cities of Valencia and Alicante. This is a marvellous opportunity to discover about Wellington’s Eastern Front in some of the most beautiful areas of Spain. In addition, given the proximity of events to the Mediterranean, the role and importance of the Royal Navy to land operations is made readily apparent by Nick's talks.
22 - 28 May 2019: Wellington's Eastern Front - the struggle for the East Coast of Spain
4 to 11 September 2019: Wellington in Spain ~ The Classic Peninsular War Tour
Post 2017 Tour Comment: Thanks for a great tour. I think it is the best cultural tour I have been on and certainly ticked all the boxes. I was especially impressed by the way you, Nick, used both primary and secondary sources to give us a real insight into the people involved - what they did, thought, and went through. I came away with increased respect for most of them. Add to that impeccable organisation, some great restaurants and last but not least the companionship and good company of my fellow participants. It was a great group and I will remember you all. Johnny MacIntyre.
23 September to 1 October 2019: Wellington over the Pyrenees, the invasion of France
Nick briefing a group inside Wellington's headquarters at Freineda.