WE ARE BACK!

Starting from Saturday 23 May 2020

Revised route, new content, restricted group size, name your own price.

On 18 May 2020, the Northern Ireland Executive announced some amendments to the COVID-19 containment measures.

One of those changes allows for small gatherings (up to 6 people) from more than one household in an outdoor environment – provided effective Social Distancing is maintained.

Getting out of the house seems more important than ever. Combining exercise, fresh air and a bit of education seems like a good way to spend some of your time.

I could do with ‘keeping my hand in’ and I’ve also taken the calculated decision to renew my Public Liability Insurance.

Consequently, I will be offering 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 must be pre-arranged. 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.
  • Tours can be delivered on most days: morning, afternoon or evening.
  • Each pre-arranged Tour must be made up of people who are known to each other.
  • Maximum of 5 persons on each Tour.
  • Those who come on the Tour MUST adhere to 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 around 90 minutes to complete.

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.

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.

 On a “normal” Tour, I display these in an indoor environment.

NAME YOUR PRICE

There is no set cost for the Tour, in the current circumstances. At the conclusion of each Tour you can, if you want, make a donation of your own choice. Although this would be very welcomed to help cover my set-up and running costs, it is not a requirement.

PREVIOUS PARTICIPANTS

Anyone who has previously been on my Tour may wish to know that during the lockdown I have spent considerable time adding content to the Tour. If you would like to join me for an Update Tour, where I only cover the additional content from the previous Tour, please get in touch.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to get in touch.

Adrian

YouTube Channel

As well as reading a small mountain of books and innumerable pages on the internet while researching content for the tour, I have come across quite a few interesting and useful videos on YouTube.

I thought I would put these together in a collection, so here’s a link to my YouTube Channel: Lead The Way Tour YouTube Channel

The Channel has only 1 video specific to the Tour, at the minute, but if you visit the associated playlist there’s a lot there of interest. Please feel free to subscribe to the Channel to view any more videos I add to it.

If I had to recommend a particular video on the playlist to start you off, it would be A Letter from Ulster (1942).

Enjoy the nostalgia.

Always looking for more…..

If you come across any more videos that you think could be added to that playlist, please contact me with the details.

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.

Request for information

With the Tour now in mini-hibernation for the winter (though willing to be woken up on request), I am continuing with research on events in Carrickfergus during the Second World War.

As well as using published material in books, magazines, websites and newspapers of the time, I would like to hear personal stories from those who lived in the town during this period.

Sadly, many of those citizens are no longer with us. However, I am sure many of their personal stories have been handed down the generations.

If you, or people you know, have any recollections of what it was like to live and/or work in Carrickfergus during the Second World War, please get in touch with me.

For example, from my own family I have discovered that:

  • my dad studied at the Tech on High Street, before getting a job helping with horse-drawn bread deliveries;
  • my grandmother used to watch the American soldiers parading down Lancasterian Street from her first floor landing window (she used to live in what is now a charity shop opposite the Fire Station);
  • my grandfather got a suspended prison sentence for his part in the theft of petrol from the Army store at Kinnegar barracks, where he was working (not the sort of story I hoped to find!);
  • my father-in-law was in the local Home Guard; and
  • my mother-in-law worked in Barn Mills (I recently found a photo of her there, taken in 1943)

Perhaps this request for stories is a good excuse for the younger generations to sit down and chat with their elders about this period in time.

Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, please get in touch to let me know if you have anything you think may be of interest – stories, photos, memorabilia etc.

I can arrange to meet up, if necessary, to record these stories or take copies/photos of any useful items. Or if you are happy to email me the stuff, that’s great.

The best way to get in touch, initially, is by emailing me at: leadthewaytourcarrickfergus@gmail.com

I will follow up any offers of information over the winter months. I may not do this immediately after you email me, so don’t worry if you don’t hear back from me straight away.

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.