Wellington Over The Pyrenees

The Invasion of France

BattlefieldHistory

Tour Introduction

En-route we traverse sierras and great rivers, once formidable barriers for the armies of both sides and none so much as the dominating mountains of the western Pyrenees from the top of which, we will gain stunning views over much of the campaign area. We’ll travel along the often violent coast of the Bay of Biscay and visit the harbour havens so crucial to the resupply of Wellington’s army. And once in France we’ll enjoy its rich lush countryside which reminded many of the soldiers of their homes in Britain.

Background

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 three French armies back and defeated them in the epic encounter at Vitoria. The French withdrew and fought with their backs to 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 Nivelle and the Nive, Soult was pushed eastwards towards Toulouse where the last encounter of the war was fought in April 1814.

Highlights

  • The impressive Battlefields of the Pyrenees 
  • The stunning mountain & coastal scenery
  • The magnificent cities of Pamplona, Bayonne, San Sebastian & Toulouse 

"Nick was knowledgeable, informative and patient. An interesting, very enjoyable and hassle-free tour in an area unblemished by tourism.

'Many thanks for a fascinating tour. The more one learns of the complexity of the problems that Wellington had to keep in his mind and tackle on a daily basis, the more one's admiration for him increases..."

Itinerary

Day 1- Burgos.
Fly London to Madrid, drive to Burgos and visit the castle to discuss the siege, Wellington's only major setback in the Peninsula. Check-in to our hotel.

Day 2 - Vitoria.
We spend the day studying the battle of Vitoria from the Heights of Puebla, the knoll at Ariñez, Wellington’s viewpoint at Villodas, the bridge at Trespuentes and the final battles in and around the city itself. Continue to Pamplona and check-in to our hotel for two nights.

Day 3 - The battle of the Pyrenees.
We climb the ridge at Maya desperately held by the 92nd, stop for lunch in the picturesque town of St. Jean Pied de Port from where the French launched their attacks and visit the pass at Roncesvalles.

Day 4 - Sorauren & San Sebastian.
We visit the site of Wellington’s repulse of Soult at Sorauren, the old port of Pasajes where the siege train and supplies had to be landed and the site of the two sieges of San Sebastian, where we check-in to our hotel for one night.

Day 5 - San Marcial and the Bidassoa.
We look at Soult’s attempt to succour San Sebastian and the resulting Battle at San Marcial and the crossing of the Bidassoa including Cadoux’s bridge at Vera and the French strongpoints on Bayonet Ridge above. Continue to Bayonne and check-in to our hotel for three nights.


Day 6 - The Nivelle.
The operation to recapture the redoubt at Santa Barbara, the mountain train to the top of the Grand Rhune and the capture of the Petite Rhune, the Signals Redoubt and the Bridge at Amotz.

Day 7 - The Nive/St Pierre.
The coast road at Bidart and Barrouillet, the curious action around the church at Arcangues, the pontoon bridge at Villafranque, Horlopo, and the magnificent view from the Croix de Mouguerre. Thence to Bayonne and the extraordinary bridging operation over the Adour and the subsequent sortie and battle.

Day 8 - Orthez & Tarbes.
Explore the last pitched battle of the war at Orthez followed by the sharp action at Tarbes where we will also visit the fine hussar museum. Continue to Toulouse and check-in to our hotel for the final night.

Day 9. Toulouse & Home.
Finally to Toulouse, the scene of the final battle of the war. Fly Toulouse – London.

Recommended Reading List

Wellington Over The Pyrenees

Tour Dates

20th - 28th September 2017 (9 Days)

Return flights from London, 4 star hotels, buffet breakfast, 3-course dinner with drinks each evening, all entrance fees and expert guides throughout.

ACTIVITY LEVEL: 2

Guide : Col Nick Lipscombe

Tour price: £2795.00

Single supplement: £285.00

Deposit: £275.00

Price without flights: £2645.00

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