Tour Arrangements – Autumn and Winter

2020 did not exactly go to plan!

Well, this wasn’t the way this year was supposed to pan out! The arrival of COVID-19 was a real setback, particularly as I was unable to run any tours from mid-March for three months. This meant that I missed out on a series of special tours planned for the V.E. Day weekend back in May.

All things considered, though, I had a more successful set of tours, all things considered. Despite the virus restrictions introduced in March, which brought the country to a standstill, I was able to re-commence tours in mid-June by adhering to specific virus countermeasures..

Soon after the re-start, a younger guest came on a tour. Based on feedback, I re-visited the content of my tour and developed a version aimed at a younger audience – a Junior Tour was born!

Through the Junior and Scheduled Tours, I met some really great people. A huge thanks to everyone who came along, especially the children who joined my new Junior Tours. I genuinely enjoyed meeting each and every guest.

Trees in Autumn Forest

The Changing of the Seasons

With the nights already closing in and the weather becoming more unsettled, I’ll not be arranging Scheduled Tours during the Autumn and Winter months. Instead, I’ll be offering tours on request until March 2021. If you want to come on a tour during this period, please get in touch and I’ll do my best to organise one on a day/time that suits you. I know the weather has a big impact on deciding when to go on a tour, so feel free to contact me at fairly short notice if the forecast looks promising.

Meanwhile, work continues to develop the tour for next year: further research into the town’s experiences during the war; hunting for more photos and pieces of memorabilia; and improving my “digital output” (fancy name for my website and social media channels!).

Throughout the Autumn and Winter, I’ll keep adding snippets of information and updates about the tour through my website and social media outlets – follow them to avoid missing out. The various ways to get in touch and follow my social media channels can be found here: https://leadthewaytour.com/contact-me-2/

More to come

Before I forget, some things to look forward to over the next wee while:

  • Carrickfergus Castle is due to re-open on 1 October;
  • The Guard House near the Town Hall is about to open to visitors after its refurbishment; and
  • Two books are soon to be published – one on the local Ulster Home Guard and the other about Carrickfergus’ townscape through time.

My hometown may be small, but it’s packed with history!

Finally, I’m always open to receiving suggestions, advice and memories that help tell the story of my hometown during the war. If you have anything to share that you think I may be interested in, give me a shout. Every day is a school day!

Adrian

IMPORTANT UPDATE

Revised route, new content, restricted group size.

As the Northern Ireland Executive announces amendments to the COVID-19 containment measures, I am continually revising the Tour to ensure Guests’ safety..

Consequently, I will be taking Guided Walking Tours of Carrickfergus, looking specifically at events here during the Second World War, on the following basis:

  • There will be no “just turn up” Tours – all places on the Tour must be booked through Eventbrite or be pre-arranged on request. Drop me an email (leadthewaytourcarrickfergus@gmail.com), give me a call/text (+44 7916780474), or send me a Facebook Message (https://www.facebook.com/leadthewaytour), and I’ll do my very best to organise a day and time that suits you.
  • Requested Tours can be delivered on most days: morning, afternoon or evening.
  • Maximum of 10 persons on each Tour.
  • Those who come on the Tour MUST adhere to appropriate Social Distancing.

PUBLIC SAFETY REMAINS PARAMOUNT

ROUTE

The Tour route will be slightly different than before, to ensure it is delivered within the official guidance in regard to outdoor spaces.

It is about 1.3 miles long, and will take just over 90 minutes to complete (a shorter version is available for children – see The Tour section)

The route is on level ground with safe crossing points.

If you want to include more exercise into your Tour, it can be extended up to 3 miles to include walking out of the Town Centre to some of the locations that I talk about. These longer Tours can be arranged on request.

CONTENT

The Tour covers the following topics:

  • Background on the Churchill Tank displayed on the Marine Highway, the North Irish Horse Regiment that used it during the Second World War, and why Carrickfergus was so important in the development of the Tank
  • Factories in Carrickfergus that made a hugely significant contribution to the War effort
  • Domestic life in the town: The Home Front
  • The special uses of the town’s Civic Buildings
  • How the Town Centre’s infrastructure changed throughout the War, particularly when the American Troops arrived
  • The Sunnylands Army Camp – from British to American to Belgian occupation
  • The formation, and onward journey, of the US Rangers
  • A new Belgian Army
  • Carrickfergus Military Prison and Detention Barracks
  • The Military Petrol Distributing Centre

I use approximately 150 photographs to help tell the story of events in Carrickfergus during the Second World War. These photos have been enlarged to A4 size, so are visible from 2 metres to maintain social distancing.

I also have a few exhibits which I bring along. However, due to their fragility, if the weather conditions are not favourable I may not be able to display these –  apologies in advance if this is the case on your Tour. 

If you have any concerns or questions, please get in touch

Adrian

New Junior Tour

Over the last few weeks, three Primary School pupils have been on my Tour.

The Second World War is on the Primary school curriculum, and these children have been enthused enough to ask their parents to book a place on the Tour. The feedback has been very positive, but I appreciate that the Standard Tour content may be too detailed and varied to take in at that age.

With that in mind, I am organising Junior Tours over the summer months more specifically aimed at content that more appropriate for pupils in Years 4-7.

NOTE: Children on the Tour must be accompanied by an Adult. If from the same household, more than one child can be accompanied by a single adult

The Tour will look at events that happened in, or impacted on, the town of Carrickfergus:

  • Factories that made items used during the war
  • The Belfast Blitz
  • Air Raid precautions, including the issuing of gas masks
  • The American Army in Carrickfergus
  • The buildings adapted or built to support the military in Carrickfergus
  • Rationing and the Home Front

This Tour Route is around a mile in length and takes just over an hour to complete. This version is specifically for Primary School pupils plus a responsible adult to accompany them.

Advice for young children (Year 3 or younger) – if I am honest, the Junior Tour may not be suitable, and the Standard one definitely isn’t. There is quite a lot of information shared on both Tours, and I am not sure that a very young child would find this sufficiently interesting. That said, I will leave it up to the main carer of such a young child to decide if they want to bring them on a Tour. In such circumstances, children of this age will be made more than welcome and I will not charge for their attendance. If in doubt, get in touch and I can offer more specific advice.

Standard and Junior Tours will be advertised on Eventbrite, but I am also very open to requests to put on a Tour on other dates and times.

Tour Dates Update

Set Tours for the next six Saturday afternoons (2pm start) have been added to the “Events” section of the Facebook Page (although you can ask me to set up a Tour for another day/time – just ask!).

A quick background to the Tour is in the video pinned to the top of the Facebook posts.

To stay within the COVID-19 countermeasures, I have to limit the number of guests on each Tour to 8. Therefore,for the time being, there is no “just turn up” option – tickets must be purchased in advance through Eventbrite.

US Rangers – Activation Anniversary

This Friday (19th June) sees the 78th anniversary of the activation of the 1st Battalion United States Rangers in Carrickfergus: the only US Army unit ever formed on foreign soil.

To mark this occasion, I had planned to organise a special version of my Second World War themed Tour around Carrickfergus with an extra focus on the selection, training and onward journey of those Darby’s Rangers.

Unfortunately, due to obvious reasons, I have had to scale back on that.

I have adapted the route and content to make the best of the current situation. Three Tours on the 19th have been added to the Events section of my Facebook page.

These Tours still include visits to locations around Carrickfergus which were of special significance during the Second World War, from manufacturing, military and Home Front perspectives.

The Tour route is just over 2 miles long, on level ground, and will last for around 90 minutes.

The Tour starts from the pathway just to the left of Carrickfergus Castle (as you face the main gate). I’ll be there with a green rucksack, so you won’t miss me!

To comply with the current COVID-19 measures, the following changes have been made to my Tour:

• A maximum of 8 people (adhering to appropriate social distancing) per Tour

• To go on a Tour, you must pre-book a place

• The route has been amended so that it is entirely outdoors

• All the photographs that I show have been enlarged to A4 to make them visible from a safe social distance

• The few exhibits I carry with me cannot be handled by the Tour guests.

If you have any concerns or questions about the Tour, please get in touch.

Similarly, if you would like me to organise a Tour on another day or time, please contact me and I will do my best to accommodate you.

IMPORTANT UPDATE

Revised route, new content, restricted group size.

As the Northern Ireland Executive announces amendments to the COVID-19 containment measures, I am continually revising the Tour to ensure Guests’ safety..

Consequently, I will be taking Guided Walking Tours of Carrickfergus, looking specifically at events here during the Second World War, on the following basis:

  • There will be no “just turn up” Tours – all places on the Tour must be booked through Eventbrite or be pre-arranged on request. Drop me an email (leadthewaytourcarrickfergus@gmail.com), give me a call/text (+44 7916780474), or send me a Facebook Message (https://www.facebook.com/leadthewaytour), and I’ll do my very best to organise a day and time that suits you.
  • Requested Tours can be delivered on most days: morning, afternoon or evening.
  • Maximum of 10 persons on each Tour.
  • Those who come on the Tour MUST adhere to appropriate Social Distancing.

PUBLIC SAFETY IS PARAMOUNT

ROUTE

The Tour route will be slightly different than before, to ensure it is delivered within the official guidance in regard to outdoor spaces.

It is about 1.3 miles long, and will take just over 90 minutes to complete (a shorter version is available for children – see The Tour section)

The route is on level ground with safe crossing points.

If you want to include more exercise into your Tour, it can be extended up to 3 miles to include walking out of the Town Centre to some of the locations that I talk about. These longer Tours can be arranged on request.

CONTENT

The Tour covers the following topics:

  • Background on the Churchill Tank displayed on the Marine Highway, the North Irish Horse Regiment that used it during the Second World War, and why Carrickfergus was so important in the development of the Tank
  • Factories in Carrickfergus that made a hugely significant contribution to the War effort
  • Domestic life in the town: The Home Front
  • The special uses of the town’s Civic Buildings
  • How the Town Centre’s infrastructure changed throughout the War, particularly when the American Troops arrived
  • The Sunnylands Army Camp – from British to American to Belgian occupation
  • The formation, and onward journey, of the US Rangers
  • A new Belgian Army
  • Carrickfergus Military Prison and Detention Barracks
  • The Military Petrol Distributing Centre

I use approximately 150 photographs to help tell the story of events in Carrickfergus during the Second World War. These photos have been enlarged to A4 size, so are visible from 2 metres to maintain social distancing.

I also have a few exhibits which I bring along. However, due to their fragility, if the weather conditions are not favourable I may not be able to display these –  apologies in advance if this is the case on your Tour. 

If you have any concerns or questions, please get in touch

Adrian

We’ll meet again……

It has been a staggering month or so.

As the New Year started, I was in the final planning stage of delivering some large-scale Tours over the V.E. Day weekend in early May. I was involved in organising an inter-generational lunch to bring together people who lived through the Second World War and young school pupils who are our future. I was testing new content to be included in this year’s Tours. New professional marketing was almost completed.

Now, I’m into the fourth week of adhering to Scientific and Medical advice and doing my bit to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 virus by staying indoors unless absolutely necessary.

I am in awe of the work done by a huge range of key workers who are looking after our welfare. Health workers, public servants, post & parcel delivery staff, retail workers, transportation personnel, and many others.

Like most of the travel, tourism and hospitality sector, I have not been able to operate during the lockdown. Disappointing as this is, I understand that protecting lives comes first. The least we can do is act selflessly to ensure the safety of our fellow citizens during this unprecedented period.

I have put some of the enforced hometime to good use. I have discovered more information of activities that took place in Carrickfergus during the Second World War, and intend to include this in the Tour, whenever I am able to re-start offering them.

As I sit here at the keyboard, I have no idea how soon it will be before my Tour can re-commence. Realistically, it may be well into the summer, or maybe even beyond.

In the meantime, I’ll keep digging for more to add to the Tour. If you have any information that you think I could include, please get in touch. Similarly, if you have any questions, give me a shout.

Most importantly of all: Stay at Home, protect the Health & Social Services, Save Lives.

Adrian

COVID-19 Update

It feels like I am having to update information about the impact of COVID-19 on my Tour almost every day. However, this is such an important and fluid situation that I don’t mind. Better safe than sorry.

The most recent official advice includes: 

To slow the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) the general public are being asked to stay at home as much as possible and avoid unnecessary social contact.

People over 70 and those who have high risk and underlying health conditions are being strongly advised to stay at home as much as possible and significantly reduce unnecessary social contact.

People should minimise social contact by avoiding crowded areas and large gatherings, including religious congregations and smaller gatherings such as restaurants, pubs, bars, clubs, cinemas and gyms.

In light of this advice, I am suspending my public Tours for the foreseeable future.

If, however, you would like a private Tour, please get in touch. In the circumstances, I am reducing the minimum group size for private Tours to two people. The maximum group size will be six people. These changes will allow a Tour to be conducted in manner that will allow a safe distance to be maintained throughout the Tour.

Even if you don’t come on a Tour, please try to get out and about in the fresh air as much as is practical in the circumstances, and follow the most current advice available. It’s good for your health and wellbeing.

Above everything else, though. please be safe.

Thank you for your continued support.

Adrian

Happy New Year

A new year and a new decade begins.

From a Second World War perspective, 2020 brings us the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe (V.E.) Day on the 8th May and Victory over Japan (V.J.) Day on August the 15th (though the United States of America commemorate V.J. Day on the 2nd of September).

V.E. Day is on a Friday, and I’m delighted that the Government has moved the May Bank Holiday to this date this year.

I am in the planning stages for a variation of my standard Walking Tours to take place over the V..E Day weekend, and I hope to soon be able to share details of a special extended Tour on V.E. Day itself.

Standard Tours are available throughout the winter months on request – just get in touch.

In the meantime, I wish you the very best for a happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year.

Winter Tour Arrangements

During the winter period, there are a few changes to how you can join me for a Guided Walking Tour around Carrickfergus.

Scheduled Saturday morning Tours, offered on a “just turn up” basis, will stop after 26 October 2019 and re-start on 29 February 2020.

During this period, Walking Tours will continue to be available on request.

I know that weather conditions may have an impact on your decision to consider a Tour. I don’t mind getting wrapped up to tackle the elements, but it’s not everyone’s idea of fun. For that reason, I am more than prepared to consider requests for a Tour at short notice, so you can factor in the weather forecast. I will do my very best to fit something in for you.

To help with your planning, here are a few useful hints and tips:

  • To get the most from a Tour, it’s best it takes place during daylight hours.
  • I can include a supported visit to the US Rangers Museum where a Tour fits in with their opening times of Wednesday to Sunday, 11:00 – 15:00.
  • My contact details are here: Contact Me
  • Here’s a link to the BBC Weather Forecast: BBC Weather

More details about the Tour, including how to get here and other things you may want to do while in Carrickfergus, are available here: Lead The Way Tour Website

Please note, I will definitely be unavailable for Tours from 21 November through to 9 December.