Latest News

Tour Dates Update

2022 Schedule Tours

After the last 2 years, it’s more obvious than ever that nothing is certain. That being accepted, I’ve just uploaded details of my proposed scheduled Tours, on most Saturday mornings, from March through to end of September.

Dates and booking details here: EVENTBRITE

These scheduled Tours start at 10.30, and take between two and two-and-a-half hours to complete the two-mile route. (Route may be a little longer, or shorter depending on weather and any enforced detours).

A couple of Saturdays are not included, as I plan something a bit different for those. More information closer to the dates.

If you, or a group of you, would prefer a Tour on a different date, or of a different distance or duration, please get in touch. I’ll do my very best to fit something in for you.

Any comments, or questions, let me know.

Latest News

The Yanks Are Coming!

During 2022, I plan to share a few posts on my Facebook Page about what was happening in Northern Ireland 80 years ago, specifically in relation to the arrival of the US military.

#OTD1942

By way of background:

Plans had been developed as early as April 1941 for the United States of America to send troops to the UK, should the USA enter the Second World War.

In June of that year, 350 civilian workers from G.A. Fuller-Merritt Chapman Corporation (an American firm) arrived in Northern Ireland to begin building naval bases at Londonderry (Base No.1) for the refueling and repair of destroyers and submarines, and Lough Erne for PBY Catalina flying boats.

in July, members of the Special Observer Group made a first visit to Northern Ireland, looking at existing infrastructure and making recommendations about potential sites for US military sites. The Group submitted its first report in September, recommending that a depot be established at Langford Lodge to carry out maintenance repairs for American aircraft.

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, and the subsequent declaration of war on the USA by Germany a few days later, brought America into the war.

On 17 Dec, Major General James E. Chaney submitted a report on his review of the situation following American entry into the war, and specifically referenced a plan to send 33,421 American troops to Northern Ireland.

This cohort of troops will be designated by the codename MAGNET Force.

The friendly “invasion” of Northern Ireland is imminent!

Follow the Tour’s Facebook Page for regular updates on the 80th anniversary of key events.

Image: Washington County Free Library Photo WCRH018. Part of the General Russell P Hartle Collection. American troops from 34th Infantry Division en route to Northern Ireland on board the British troop ship HMTS Strathaid. Photo taken in February 1942. Copyright United States Signal Corps.

Tour content update

Well, Hello 2022!

As 2021 draws to a close, I would like to wish you all a Happy & Prosperous New Year.

Despite you-know-what, I had a pretty special year for my Tours. Despite not running any just-turn-up Tours (I decided the safest option was to ask all Tours to be pre-booked in advance) I still took more tours than I expected. There were a few notable ones too: the remarkable folk from the British Limbless Ex-Servicemen Association (BLESMA); the participants from the Men United project in Belfast; and those who joined me on the couple of Tours (in the pouring rain!) as part of the NI100 commemoration. Thank you to all who joined me.

Thanks

A special shout-out to the Northern Ireland Lottery Heritage Fund for their support this year. Their grant, as part of the COVID recovery project, helped me purchase more WW2-era memorabilia, upgrade my website and ensure my Tours were COVID safe.

Finally, I can’t miss out the fantastic help offered by Mid & East Antrim Council. In particular, the Tourism, Business Development and Museum ladies (they know who they are!). Their enthusiasm for what they do, and their regular check-ins to make sure I was getting every available help and encouragement, was invaluable during the pandemic.

Looking Ahead

I’m now looking forward to 2022. It will mark eighty years since the friendly “invasion” from across the Atlantic. The official arrival of military personnel from the United States changed the culture of Northern Ireland – music, food, fashion, and romance! I plan to organise a few special activities during the year to highlight the impact our American visitors had on the town.

This anniversary, however, does not mean I’ll be neglecting the core elements of my Tour. You will still find out about Air Raid Precautions; Rationing; the reconfiguration of Factories to make parachutes, tanks, life-jackets, uniforms and more; changes to the town’s infrastructure; the establishment of Army Camps; the creation of a Military Prison; the role of women volunteers; the local consequences of the Belfast Blitz; and, of course, the formation and onward journey of the US Rangers.

New Stuff

If you have any suggestions about topics you would like included in future Tours, or any comments in general, I’d be delighted to read them.

As well as Guided Walking Tours, I can also deliver talks to Groups, and set up a display of my WW2-era memorabilia. These talks can be adapted to suit your requirements, so the earlier you get in touch with me to discuss options the better.

Keeping in Touch

I’ll provide updates on events and activites throughout the year on the Tour’s Facebook page. I know Facebook has its own way of deciding what to put into your News Feed, so the only way to make sure you find out about what’s happening with my Tour is to make this page one of your favourites. This link may help you do that: https://m.facebook.com/help/371675846332829

So, onward to 2022, whatever that may bring.

Latest News

Winter Update

Tours

With the winter months now on the horizon, it’s impractical to offer Guided Walking Tours more than a day or two in advance, as many of my artifacts are too fragile to be exposed to poor weather conditions. That said, if you would like me to organise a Tour, and spot a decent short-term weather forecast, please get in touch and I’ll see what I can do.

Presentations

I can come to a venue of your choosing to deliver a Presentation, including a small exhibition. Although my area of expertise is how the town of Carrickfergus was impacted by the Second World War, my Presentation provides a good introduction to those interested in examining their own wartime heritage: family, community, and/or locality.

The Second World War affected everyone and everywhere, but many of the local stories from this period need to be brought back to the fore. I can share my own journey of discovery, and help you prepare for doing the same.

If you are interested in a Presentation, please contact me to begin making arrangements. Presentations can be tailored to suit your requirements.

Latest News, Tour content update, Tour Dates Update

We are back!

A relaxation of the COVID restrictions means I can re-start Walking Tours around Carrickfergus from 24 May 2021. Finally, the Teddy Bear (yet to be named) can come out of his suitcase!

Join me on a walk around my hometown to uncover the story of Carrickfergus as it was during the Second World War. We’ll visit some of the locations that were important during this period to understand what it was like to live through this most momentous period of the 20th Century.

All Tours include extensive contemporary photographs and artifacts, as well as a few specially commissioned reproductions. Through these, you will experience how the people, buildings, and infrastructure of Carrickfergus responded to the outbreak of the Second World War.

Tour Options

The Tour has a few Route permutations, from 1.2 to 2.5 miles.

The Public Tour is the shorter version, taking about 90 minutes to complete. Public Tours are advertised through Eventbrite.

Private Tours are available on request: please get in touch with your requirements and I’ll do my best to organise a Tour for you. Private Tours can be tailored to meet your specific requirements and interests. The Route and content can be adapted, and visits to additional locations included (subject to their opening hours).

Prices

Adults (aged 16 and over): £8

Juniors (Under 16): £5

Any Questions?

Ultimately, I want you to have a great experience on my Tour. Feel free to contact me to find out more, talk through what you would like included on your Tour and even make suggestions. Private Tours can be as bespoke as you want.

If you have any queries about the Tour, please do get in touch.

Phone/Text: 07916 780474

Email: leadthewaytourcarrickfergus@gmail.com

Uncategorized

Bevrijdingsdag 2021

My late mother was Dutch. She grew up as a child in Eindhoven while it was under German occupation.

She was always immensely grateful to those Allied service personnel who risked (and in far too many cases lost) everything to liberate her country.

The Dutch, as a nation, have not forgotten either. Tomorrow (5 May) is their Liberation Day – Bevrijdingsdag.

Awash with colour on Bevrijdingsdag

It is a really big deal for the Dutch. The whole country flies the national flag, and residents turn buildings, villages, towns and cities into a swathe of orange as flags, banners and bunting bedeck the nation. It is one of the most respectful, emotional and colourful commemorations in the world.

As my mum is no longer with us, on her behalf to all those brave young men – bedankt iedereen

Uncategorized

BYOB – Bring Your Own Bubble

As we start a cautious exit from COVID lockdown, it is now possible for me to restart my Guided Walking Tours.

I am certified as “Good to Go” and have recently completed the WorldHost 2020 assessment. Consequently, I’m very aware of the risks still associated with the virus. I have, therefore, decided to set a few temporary ground rules:

  • I do not intend, for the short term anyway, to have multiple households or bubbles on the same Tour. I will only accept a booking from ONE person on behalf of a household or support bubble (minimum 2, maximum 8 people in total). NOTE: it is the responsibility of the person booking the Tour to ensure that Guests in their Group are from the same household or constitute a support bubble.
  • I encourage all Guests to bring their own hand sanitiser, but as a contingency I will have some available on the Tour.
  • I will wear a face covering at any point where I am within 2 metres of a Tour Guest, for example where Guests need to approach me to have a closer look at a picture or artifact. I would appreciate Guests do likewise.
  • The Tour Route (1.2 to 2 miles, depending on your Route preference) is outdoors, which greatly reduces the risk of virus transmission.

Seven Steps to Book a Tour

  1. Contact me with your preferred dates/times (contact details are on the homepage)
  2. I’ll confirm which of those I can accommodate.
  3. We agree on a date & time for a Tour.
  4. A Method of payment is agreed.
  5. Once the booking is confirmed, I will provide you with any relevant joining instructions.
  6. Please arrive promptly at the agreed date & time to start your Tour.
  7. Experience a unique Guided Walking Tour of Carrickfergus.

Looking Ahead

As soon as further restrictions allow, I will be able to start taking bookings on a less restrictive manner. Apologies, in the meantime, if my current ground rules don’t suit you.

Even though the number of Guests who can join a Tour has been reduced, there is no change to the pricing: £8 Adults (16+), £5 Juniors (8-16), FREE for those under 7 (children that young may not be interested in joining a Tour, but are welcome to come along).

Feel free to contact me for further information or to ask me a questions about the Tour.

Tour content update, Tour Dates Update

April Re-Start

Fingers crossed, brighter times are ahead.

I’m now one of the growing minority (soon to be the majority) of people who have had the COVID vaccine. I’m hoping this will be a significant step towards a return to normality – or as close to that as possible.

From my Guided Walking Tour’s perspective, I’ve put in a shed-load of effort during the lockdown to make sure I can begin meeting new Guests, and sharing the story of my hometown as it was during the Second World War.

Busy bee, busy me

Anyone who knows me will have often heard me say “every day is a school day”, and I’ve been true to my word. I’ve completed online classes in Customer Care, Social Media for Business and am part-way through a Tour Guiding course.

I’ve also had a lot of support from Mid & East Antrim Borough Council through their Storify my Business and Digital Boost programmes, regular check-ins from their Tourism folk and timely emailed updates.

Thanks to some financial support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, I’ve been able to track down and purchase some exhibits to show Tour Guests; invest in some audio equipment so that Guests can maintain Social Distancing and still hear me; bought licences from National Museums NI for a few wartime photos which I will be able to share on my website and social media channels; and upgraded my website (though I’m still tinkering with it, so it will change a bit over the next few weeks).

Starting Soon….

Bottom line is that I hope to be in a position to re-start Tours in April, subject to appropriate guidance. Safe to say I’m excited about the possibility of recommencing Tours.

The best way to keep informed about my Tours is to either check in with my website now and again, or follow my Facebook Page.

Additionally, I’ve looked at the content of my Tour, and the exhibits I now have, and think there is enough there to be able to offer presentations to groups (once we are allowed to meet like that again). I’ll update you on this possibility through my website and Facebook Page.

Finally, if you have any comments, questions or suggestions about my Tour, please let me know. I want to keep improving!

Looking forward to meeting new Guests and showing off my hometown.

Adrian

Latest News

Lead the Way Tour receives grant of £3,000 from the Heritage Recovery Fund to help recover from the COVID-19 pandemic

Lead The Way Tour has been awarded £3,000 to help recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Lottery Heritage Fund announced grants to help 50 organisations and 41 individuals adapt, recover and re-open following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Heritage Recovery Fund is being distributed by The National Lottery Heritage Fund on behalf of the Department for Communities. The fund is part of the £29million Executive allocation to support the arts, culture, heritage and language sectors in Northern Ireland.

Grants from the Heritage Recovery Fund were awarded to a wide range of organisations and individuals in the heritage sector, from historic sites, attractions and landscapes, to tour guides and specialist heritage conservators. The grant will enable Lead The Way Tour to invest in developing the experience and cover lost income as a result of not being able to conduct guided walking tours in 2020.

Lead The Way Tour owner, Adrian Hack, said “I’m really grateful to the Department for Communities and The National Lottery Heritage Fund for providing this funding. Thanks to this grant, I can continue to develop the tour content, acquire more exhibits to share with tour guests, convert the tour content into a presentation which can be delivered in schools, community groups and other settings, examine opportunities to offer virtual tours online, and ensure my guided walking tours are safe and ready for guests when tours can re-start again.”

Adrian added, “My tour concentrates on the transformation Carrickfergus went through during the Second World War: it’s factories were converted to make goods needed for the war effort; civic buildings re-purposed to help civilians protect themselves from potential attack; army camps built on surrounding land for British, American and Belgian troops; and the civilian population endured rationing, air raid precautions and the blackout.

“It is ironic that in the year we commemorated the 75th anniversary of the ending of the Second World War, the globe was once again engulfed in a worldwide event. The COVID-19 Pandemic greatly restricted my tours during 2020, but with the assistance of this grant I am much more positive about 2021.”

Uncategorized

GIFT VOUCHERS AVAILABLE NOW!

Looking for something different to give to a loved one or friend at Christmas?

I’m offering Gift Vouchers for Private Guided Walking Tours of Carrickfergus, which can be used during 2021.

My Second World War themed Guided Walking Tour is the only one of its type in Northern Ireland. It looks at how one small town in Northern Ireland adapted to wartime conditions.

BACK IN TIME

We all have ancestors who experienced the impact of the Second World War on their lives. My Tour takes you back to that historic period through the eyes of those folk who lived, worked or were stationed in Carrickfergus between 1939 and 1945.

On the Tour you will discover how factories changed production to meet the needs of the War Effort; local people lived with rationing, air raid precautions and the blackout; overseas troops based themselves in and around the town in preparation for entering battlefields on North African and European soil; buildings were re-purposed to become military prisons, stores and accommodation; and how some of the remnants of that time are hidden in plain sight!

GIFT VOUCHER

If you know someone who might enjoy coming on a Private Guided Walking Tour, why not get them a Gift Voucher?

Priced at just £7, it can be used to book a Tour during 2021.

If the Voucher holder wants to bring along additional guests, they can be added at the time of booking for just £7 per person (usually £8).

The Voucher holder can contact me anytime during 2021 to arrange a suitable day and time for their Private Tour.

ORDERING A VOUCHER

To order a Gift Voucher, drop me an email at leadthewaytourcarrickfergus@gmail.com with your name and postal address, and I’ll reply with payment details.

UK postage & packaging is included in the price.

Order your Voucher by 17 December 2020, to allow sufficient time for postal delivery.

If you live in a BT38 postcode area I can deliver a Voucher personally right up to 23 December 2020 and accept cash on delivery.

If you have any queries about the Voucher or the Tour, please get in touch using the email address above.

Adrian (your personal guide)