Nick Lipscombe ~ Battlefield Tours 2021
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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9 - 16 September 2021
4 - 11 June 2021
The French invaded Portugal three times between 1807 and 1811. Each time the nation’s saviour was Arthur Wellesley the future Duke of Wellington. The first invasion in 1807 by General Junot, ended following Wellesley’s victory at Vimeiro in August 1808. The second invasion by Marshal Soult in 1809 ended abruptly following Wellesley’s extraordinarily audacious operation to recapture the city of Porto in broad daylight, forcing Soult’s force into a harrowing retreat over the mountains in north Portugal. In 1810 the third invasion by Marshal Masséna came to an equally dramatic end in front of the Lines of Torres Vedras necessitating, the following year, Marshal Ney to conduct a series of rearguard actions for the French to escape only to be defeated on the Portuguese-Spanish border at Fuentes de Oñoro in 1811.
If 1643 was a missed opportunity for the Royalists, 1644 was squandered in spectacular fashion by the Parliamentarians and Scottish Covenanters who had combined forces at the start of the year to defeat the King. Internecine struggles beset the English Parliamentarian higher command and distrust fuelled the uneasy alliance with the Covenanters. The north was won at Marston Moor but the allies failed to capitalise on this pivotal victory. Failures at Cropredy Bridge, Lostwithiel, Cheriton and at the second battle of Newbury left Parliament in a quandary and gave the Royalists renewed hope. Alas the failures spurred Parliament into action. The self-denying ordinance and the establishment of a New Model Army were about to change the war and the fortunes of Parliament in a remarkably short time. Within months the decisive battle was fought at Naseby after which the demise of the Royalists was only a matter of time. The rest of 1645 and 1646 was a series of sieges to capture or coerce Royalist strongholds of the futility of further bloodshed. No city encapsulated that more appositely than the King’s capital Oxford which endured three sieges before capitulation bringing an end to the first English Civil War.
Following the regicide of Charles I, his son would reignite the struggle in England with the help of the Scottish Engagers, this time on the side of the Royalists, but would be decisively defeated at Worcester in 1651.
28 June - 3 July 2020