10/7/90

Scarborough Castle.

SCARBOROUGH, CAPT. COOK AND EARLY WARNINGS.  We arrived in Scarborough at 11:30 on yet another cold, overcast day and drove through the town to the sea where we spent an hour or so wandering around amongst the ruins of Scarborough Castle which occupied the large headland between the South and North bays. The site has a long military history going back to Roman times when a signal tower was built there to provide early warnings of invasion.

Robin Hood’s Bay

When we left Scarborough, we drove north up the coast to Ravenskar on the southern end of Robin Hood’s Bay. We drove around through the town of Robin Hoods Bay and into Whitby, the thriving fishing port when Captain James Cook first joined the Royal Navy and where his ships Endeavour, Resolution and Discovery were built.

We spent 3 hours in the fascinating little town which unfortunately was crawling with the most horrid English daytrippers. On the headland above the port, a statue of Captain Cook looks out over the North Sea watching over the entrance of the harbour as seagulls wheel and cry on the stiff north wind.

Whitby

When we left Whitby we drove up over the moors to Beck Hole. The clouds had cleared and the sun created a beautiful picture as we drove down the steep road leading to the village which was really only a pub, a bridge and several houses. The road then took us past the early warning radar station at Fylingdale. The three radomes made a strange and sinister sight, clustered amongst the heather with a bright afternoon sun shining on their perfectly symmetrical surfaces.

We left the moors and once again got onto a main road which took us back to Thirsk and Sutton Hall.

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We spent a couple of hours at Thirsk Market which wasn’t much as it was packed with tourists. After we had lunch at a pub called The Black Bull we once again drove into the moors to explore.

The first village we came to was Coxwold where we stopped to look around the charming 12th century church. Then we drove deeper into the moors to Byland Abbey. The day had turned cold and grey so we just looked at the imposing cistercian ruins over the fence. The Abbey was founded in 1177 and the church there was larger than Rievaulx or Fountains abbeys. All that remains now however are the walls and the dramatically broken circle of the rose window in the west front.

Moving on, we passed through the large market towns of Helmsley and Kirkbymoorside then we turned off the main road and drove up through the truly beautiful Farndale. We stopped and looked at a tiny country church and drove up and over another bleak, windy top through Hutton-le-Hole then back to Kirkbymoorside and from there back to Sutton-under-Whitestonecliffe.

Fountains Abbey.

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THE MOORS  The day dawned cold, overcast and windy but patches of sunlight were occasionally breaking through to brighten and warm the land. We left the hall at 12:30 after having drinks in the main lounge of Sutton Hall with the other, mostly snobbish guests¹. We drove up the steep gradient of Sutton Bank and had a look through the information centre at the top.

Rievaulx Abbey.

Eager to explore the Yorkshire Moors we headed off through the rolling, windswept wheatfields, slowly climbing higher until the farmland gave way to the bleak moorland. En route we spent an hour or so looking at the impressive ruins of Rievaulx Abbey. The Abbey was founded in 1131 by Cistercian Monks from Clairvaux in  France. The Abbey prospered for several centuries, but overspending by the monks on building a huge cathedral put the Abbey into debt which it never recovered from and by the time of the Dissolution only 28 monks remained of the 200 to 300 which once lived in the Abbey at its height.

Up on the moors it was cold but very very beautiful. The endless expanse of heather was reddish brown with patches of purple flowers to break the monotony. Amongst the heather grazed scraggly blackface ewes, their long coarse wool giving them ample protection from the harsh wind.

The road led down off the moors through small wooded gullies in most of which a small neat village nestled. It twisted and wound in and out of small valleys, crossing and recrossing small creeks and finally it led us back to Sutton Hall.

¹Sutton Hall is an 18th century manor house which had been converted into eight timeshare apartments.

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We got up at 8 and packed up then walked down to Waterloo after saying goodbye and thanks to Lucy who was still in bed, and Alex who was an hour late for work. Over at Helen and Brian’s hotel we waited while they checked out and then we caught a black cab around to South Kensington where we picked up their hire car – a Volkswagen Jetta – from the AA hire car department.

It was reasonably easy to find our way from South Kensington through Knightsbridge and onto the Edgeware Road which led to the M1 motorway. There was a lot of traffic and we had to sit amongst a couple of tailbacks so when we got as far north as Leicester we turned off and took some of the A-roads¹ leading North through endless rolling feels of cereal crops to the Humber River. Across the huge Humber Bridge we drove into the rolling hill country of South Yorkshire. It was raining and cold but still the countryside was very pretty and soon we turned off the A19 at Thirsk and drove the last 4 miles to the village of Sutton-under-Whitestonecliffe.

The huge 17th century mansion of Sutton Hall was like a palace to Linda and I after our adventures of the last 2 years. Helen and Brian’s suite contained two bedrooms, a huge lounge, kitchen and bathroom and the place was full of comfortable furniture and Nouveau antiques. As we settled in we couldn’t believe our luck!!

Sutton Hall.

¹Roads in Britain are designated M for motorways, A for main roads and B for secondary or back roads.

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We met Lyd, Jen and Megan Francis for breakfast at the pub when Lyd and Jen work in Mayfair. We had a great couple of hours laughing and talking there. Then we walked up to Piccadilly Circus and met H&B in the London Pavilion. First of all we took them up to the top of NZ House for a look at London then walked up Whitehall and had lunch at a restaurant by Westminster Bridge.

After lunch we sent them off on a cruise down the Thames and we sat in Parliament square for a couple of hours until they got back. It was 4:30 by then so we walked up to Westminster Abbey and got there just in time to be let in for Evensong.  We sat in the front pews of the great Cathedral next to the altar where’ for a thousand years, kings and queens have been married, crowned and buried, and listened to the exquisite voices of the choir echo around the church.

When we left the Abbey, we caught a bus over to Oxford Circus and went to Break for the Border for dinner. Later, back at the nurse’s hostel we watched music videos that went to bed.

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THE JOURNEY BACK…At 8:00am we got up and while Linda packed our gear I walked down to the bank and changed some money. After we had checked out of the hotel we sat outside Bob’s… in the sun talking to a couple of Aussies while we waited for our 10:30 bus to Istanbul. By the time it arrived and we were on board it was quite hot and as we headed north the fresh smell of the pine trees came to us on the hot breeze blowing through the open door. The pine-clad hills rolled away to our left and soon the land flattened out to the rolling arable land of the Northern Gallipoli Peninsula. Around 12 we left the Aegean to its memories of old wars and turned inland for Istanbul which we reached at 4:30.

The Topkapi Bus Station was as chaotic as ever but we had an idea about where we were going this time so we bought billets [tickets] into Eminönu and flagged down a passing bus. It took 20 minutes to get to Eminönu and about half an hour to find a bus over to the suburb of Şişhane where we caught the airport bus for a whopping 4,000TL each.

We were searched and had our passports checked just to get into the airport and our packs were x-rayed. Inside the airport we settled down to wait…

2:15AM, TUESDAY, 3/7. When I went to the information desk to ask where the flight check-in desk was, the woman said they didn’t know of any flight with Pegasus!! We assumed the worst but about 10:00AM a bunch of Canadians turned up with tickets for the same flight so it should be alright.

Istanbul Airport.

We stretched out to try and get some sleep but the hardness of the seats and floor, along with the bright lights made it nearly impossible…

6:10AM, TUESDAY, 3/6 At 4:30AM the call for check-in came and we took our gear over to the desk along with the tatty bunch of Canadian travellers on the same flight. When we got through passport control Linda and I went to the Duty Free shop and I bought her a bottle of Opium perfume and paid for it with my Visa card. It was 85DM [Deutschmarks]. After that we had a couple of miniscule cups of Coke which set us back 4,000TL for each cup and that saw the end of our Turkish money.

Then, along with our Canadian companions, we sprawled out on the horribly uncomfortable seats to await our boarding call…

6:20AM, TUESDAY, 3/6. At 6:19 our call came over the tannoy: Pegasus Airlines flight PG181 to Amsterdam will be delayed one hour!

8:30AM, TUESDAY 3/6, Still waiting…

9:40AM TUESDAY, 3/6. We finally took off at 9:20AM on board the nearly empty , brand new Boeing 737-400 belonging to the mysterious Pegasus Airlines. We quickly climbed to cruising altitude and soon the patchwork of mainland Europe was drifting slowly beneath us. The land was dry and the colours were the subtle earth tones of summer – browns, dark greens and muddy yellows. Through the landscape, twisting lines of rivers ran like the arteries of the Earth, supplying life-giving water to the parched land. Many small villages dotted the landscape below, fields radiating outwards from them along with the spider-web traceries of roads.

Breakfast/lunch was served at 10:00AM then we settled down to catch some rest…

2:40 PM (Amsterdam Time), TUESDAY, 3/6.  We landed at Schipol Airport at 11:40AM local time (12:40 Istanbul) and passed quickly through passport control.

As we had flown over Germany a perfect white cover of cloud was spread from horizon to horizon beneath the steel blue of the sky, as if a new fall of snow had covered the land. But as we passed over The Netherlands the cloud began to break up to reveal the orderly patterns of the Dutch countryside. The fields were all perfectly rectangular and set in dead straight lines through which ran dozens of glinting canals and the snaking black lines of motorways. But the most striking sight was the colour of the land. Every hue of green blended and merged in patterns of exquisite beauty, the effect heightened by the patches of sunlight shining through the gaps in the towering plumes of cumulo-nimbus cloud.

We waited for ¾ of an hour for our bags to emerge and only by accident did I discover them hidden away in the corner of another baggage hall. It took us a long time but eventually we organised our passage to England via Ostend  in Belgium. It wasn’t cheap but good ‘ol Uncle Visa came to our aid so the 352.10 Guilders the fare cost us didn’t come directly out of our pockets!

Once again we settled down to wait for the final leg of our journey to begin…

6:05 PM, Tuesday, 3/7. On board the first train from Amsterdam to Roosendaal we sped through the green and fertile country of Holland. The land was intensively farmed with crops of vegetables alternating with fields of wheat, corn and oats.

I slept most of the way to Roosendaal and when we got there a station attendant told us that the onward train to Ostend had been cancelled! We had to wait  for ½ an hour for a train to Antwerp and when we got there we found the right platform and sat on our packs waiting for the 3rd and (hopefully) final train to get us to Ostend…

11:05PM, Tuesday, 3/7. The train was late and we missed the Jetfoil ferry service across the English Channel. We had waited in hope as the train sped through the beautiful pastoral scenes of Belgium but we knew that we wouldn’t make it in time.

At Ostend we enquired at the Jetfoil office about our options and learned that the Jetfoil tickets were valid for either of the two night ferry sailings so we decided to catch the 11:00Pm ferry and try to hitch from Dover to London. To be on the safe side, Linda rang the Red Lion [the pub where we’d been working before setting off to Greece and Turkey] and left a message with Jim [the barman] to tell Helen and Brian [Linda’s parents] not to worry if we weren’t at the airport to meet them. 

Then, after changing some Pounds into Belgian money we went to a nearby café with an American guy called Dave and had the most delicious bowl of lasagne I have ever tasted washed down by a couple of beers. A couple of other American guys turned up and we all swapped yarns then Linda and I went over and boarded the ferry. 

As soon as it put to sea we settled down to try and get some rest for the second night of our, by now, epic journey back…

4:45AM (GMT), WEDNESDAY, 4/7. We were sound asleep when the ferry docked and we quickly, and somewhat blearily, packed up and disembarked. Customs was a mere formality and with 1 ½ hours  until the first train to London we decided to try out the very last of our luck and hitch.

Piccadilly Circus

Amazingly, we got a ride almost at once with a lone British guy in a truck and he took us all the way to Lewisham where he followed a Night Bus until it stopped and we were able to ride it all the way in to Trafalgar Square. We walked up to Piccadilly Circus and found the Underground still closed so we sat down outside the station entrance among the other dossers, with the light of day coming fast into the sky and the volume of traffic already building, and waited…    

– Eventually the Underground opened up and along with a motley selection of dossers we went in and with the insane ranting of some crazy homeless guy echoing round the station we had another wait until 5:45 when the first train to Heathrow left. 

The trip was agonizingly slow but we got there in the end and rushed into Terminal 4 where the BA flight from Singapore was just emerging from customs. And there, amongst the crowds, were Helen and Brian [Linda’s parents].

– From the beaches of Gallipoli to the joyful reunion at Heathrow Airport we had been travelling for two days and two nights non-stop; a total of 50 hours. We took the tube back into Central London and made our way round to the hotel in Lancaster Gate where Helen and Brian will be staying. Incredibly, the receptionist told them that they couldn’t check in until 1:00PM so we spent the morning in various cafes and pubs, filling in time while it rained.

Later in the afternoon, after we had got them settled into their hotel, we caught the Bakerloo Line over to the Red Lion. Because it was the European Cup Semi-final night [England lost] and it was very busy, Brain asked me if I could work behind the bar from 8:30 until 11:30.

Finally, at 12:30AM, after listening to a tape that Linda’s friend Pippa and her boyfriend Chris had sent us from New Zealand, we got to sleep…on the floor in Louie’s room. 

1/7/90

We got up at 7 a.m. and packed up our tent for the last time. We hung around the camp for half an hour or so waiting for a dolmüs to take us back over to Eceabat. When it arrived we paid the camp bill which came to a hefty 66,000TL then said goodbye to the shining blue Aegean and the ANZAC beaches and headed back over to the Eastern side of the peninsula.

When we got to Eceabat  we decided to treat ourselves a bit and checked into a hotel on the waterfront, right above “Bob Hawke’s Bistro/Burger Bar.”1  After we had settled into our 20,000TL a night hovel, we went and and imbibed a B.H.B.B.B breakfast of eggs, sausages, tomatoes and English tea…YUM!

After we have finished eating we settled down to read some back copies of TNT2  and I read some information sheets about the Gallipoli campaign. The Casualties of the nine-month campaign where as follows:

489,000 troops fought in on the Gallipoli Peninsula

  • 410,000 British Empire soldiers
  • 79,000 French soldiers

252,000 casualties (killed, wounded or evacuated sick)

  • 205,000 British Empire
  • 47,000 French

43,000 B.E soldiers killed

  • 7,595 Australian
  • 2,431 New Zealand
  • 8,000 French

30,000 have no known grave.

On the hill above the European Side Of The Dardanelles is a huge inscription comprising four lines from a poem by Turkish poet Halil Onan:

STOP O PASSER BY
THIS EARTH YOU THUS TREAD UNAWARES
IS WHERE AN AGE SANK
BOW AND LISTEN THIS QUIET MOUND
IS WHERE THE HEART OF A NATION THROBS

We spent the afternoon sunbathing on the rocks beside The Narrows then went back to “Bobs…” where we sat and drank cold drinks, read old time magazines and listened to [the Australian rock band] Cold Chisel on the stereo. In the evening we had beans and rice at a lokanta then spent our last 4,000TL on beers at “Bobs…”

1Bob Hawke was the Prime Minister of Australia at that time.

2TNT was a magazine published in London for expat Australians and New Zealanders.

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We spent the morning swimming and sunbathing then broke camp at 12:30. Throwing up our packs, we headed off along the path through the trees which soon steepened and narrowed as it’s as it made its way around the headland about 60 feet above the beach. The path deteriorated until we were following narrow tracks amongst the old trenches which covered the top of the point in a rough network. Eventually we descended along the line of a main trench until we came to a tar sealed road which we followed for about 1 km to the camping ground.

We booked in and set up our tent then went for a swim in the rough and windy surf. The rest of the day we spent sitting in the camp bar.

After watching the sunset we went to the camp restaurant for an overpriced meal which was shit value, however some friendly Turkish campers gave us some wine and a grilled fish each so it wasn’t such a bad deal after all.

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The boat ticket from that day.

RETURN TO GALLIPOLI  After checking out of the hotel we bought some food then caught a ferry across The Dardanelles for a mere 500TL each. We caught a dolmüs to Eceabat and then another one over to the Kabatepe Museum. There was a lovely new and clean Contiki bus there and a lot of lovely new and clean Contiki tourists so we didn’t linger and hitched a lift south along the peninsula in a grain trailer towed by tractor. When we had gone about 4 km the tractor turned off into a wheat field but one of the farmers, an old Turk, lead us across another field of wheat and down through the pine trees amongst which were a lot of old trenches, long since crumbling and filled with pine needles. In the distance we could hear the sound of waves breaking and soon the stunning blue of the Aegean could be seen through the trees. When we reached the edge of the trees we were standing on top of a small cliff beyond which was a long white crescent of beach stretching 500m away in each direction with the sea breaking against it in a continuous flow.

The old man talked to us for a few minutes (we didn’t understand a word!) then left us to swim, have lunch and make camp. We spent the afternoon swimming and sunbathing and I spent an hour or so exploring the network of old trenches which were slowly returning to the earth on the hillside above the beach.

WW1 trench, Galippoli.

At 4:30 we set off around the southern headland of our beach and walked 1 km to the camping ground. We had a couple of Cokes in the bar then walked back to our camp, had another swim then sat on the sand side by side as the waves slowly flattened out, the wind died to a breeze and the huge read disc of the sun set behind the twin Greek islands across the water, almost hidden in the haze.

Galippoli Sunset.

We lit a small fire and cooked some tomatoes and ate them out of the pan along with bread and jam and cheese. By 9 it was nearly dark and after a couple of herds of goats had tinkled their way past, we went to bed.

Our Galippoli Camp.