Maidenhead/Adventuring Day 12

Day 12         Maidenhead/Adventuring          Mainly blue skies/warmish

Today was another early start and we did another 3 train shuffle – Maidenhead to Paddington, Paddington to Victoria Station on the tube and then the overland fast train to Dover.

When we arrived at Dover, we went for a walk through the town and found a little café to have morning tea/early lunch before heading down to the waterfront.

The original harbour was developed by Henry VIII in the early 1500s and completed by Elizabeth I in 1595.  The entire Dover Bay was enclosed in 1903 as a home for the Navy Channel Fleet.  The walled harbour has three main shipping entrances – one for the ferries, one for the fishing boats and private boats, and one for the cruise ships.

We went for a 40 minute trip around the harbour on a small, old boat, The Southern Queen, to view the White Cliffs of Dover from the sea.  We were expecting to go up the coast a little, but unfortunately, the boat didn’t leave the harbour.  However, we did have a good view of some of the cliffs and heard a commentary of some of the history relating to Dover and the part it played in the First and Second World Wars.

The cliff face, which reaches up to 350 feet high, owes its striking façade to its composition of chalk (pure white calcium carbonate) accentuated by streaks of black flint.  On a clear day, the White Cliffs are visible from the coastline of France.

In the Cliffs, there is a labyrinth of tunnels where wartime personnel worked, slept and planned some of the major strategies of Word War II.  From here, Vice-Admiral Ramsay masterminded the evacuation of British and allied troops from Dunkirk.

From the harbour, and most of the places in the town, we were able to see Dover Castle, perched high on the cliff tops.  The Castle was built about 8 centuries ago and survived the wartime bombings because Hitler had ordered that it not be bombed as it was to be one of his residences after Germany took control of Britain!

When we returned to the harbour we were taken by car on a tour of Dover, which included spectacular views over the busy Harbour, the wartime gun emplacement, the town, market square and the opportunity to go for a walk along the tops of the White Cliffs, which was fantastic.  We would have like to spend longer there and go right along to the lighthouse, but our time was limited.

Of all the sightseeing tours we have been on over the past 9 weeks, the Dover White Cliffs Tours would have to be the most disappointing and unprofessional.

Before leaving Dover, we decided that it would be great if we could go over to Folkestone to see the channel tunnel site, so we asked a local taxi driver if he could take us.  He gave us a running commentary about Dover’s history and he found a great vantage point to look down on the impressive channel tunnel loading operation, where cars, trucks and buses are loaded onto trains for the tunnel crossing under the channel to France – it was huge!

On the way back to Dover, our driver called in at Capel to show us the Battle of Britain war memorial, which consisted of a giant propeller laid out in a field (so that it can be seen from the air), a memorial to the air force personnel and Spitfire and Hurricane fighters.

We were very impressed with our taxi driver, who then dropped us back at the station in time to catch our train back to Maidenhead, via Victoria Station and Paddington, after spending a lovely day in Dover.

Janet & Adrian’s friends, Hilary and Andy called in with a few things for us to drop off to their daughter Emily, at Exeter on our way to Cornwall on Monday.

Janet took us out to a lovely English Pub for dinner and a catch up on her day at school and our adventure.


One Response to “Maidenhead/Adventuring Day 12”

  1. Nicole says:

    Hi Richard & Sandy

    WOW now that what I call a tunnel entrance! The Clem 7 is nothing but a little mouse-hole in comparison. Great to catch-up with your latest adventures.

    Looking forward as always to the next instalment/s
    Nicole

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