Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Nijmegen 4 Day Marches - Netherlands Day 4 21 July 2017.

Nijmegen 4 Day Marches - Day 4
Distance 47.5km Climb 38m
Friday 21 July 2017

Today was Day 4 of the 101st Nijmegen Marches 2017, the last day marching. As in 2013 and 2014 it was an early start, even before the birds started singing.

We were lined up and marched out of the camp, to the band and salutes, before the sun came up. Down the forest road Beukenlaan.  On reaching the road passing under the Heumensoord sign we again crossed straight over the road onto Driehuizerweg, passed the care home, which was quiet, no-one was up this early. This would be our last walk up this road.

Turning left onto Kwekerijweg passed the sports fields and beach volleyball courts. As we had on Day 2 and Day 3. To the junction where we joined the other walkers, however today with us being so early we only saw a few and they all wore the red bands showing they were on the 50km a day March.

We followed the same route as on Day 2, people were starting to gather. We crossed the Maas-Waalkanaal and took the bridge over a main road. However today instead of turning right through the petting farm we continued along the road, south. Passing through parkland an area of small lakes just as the sun was starting to rise.

Over the last three days walking, we had passed through lots of the Nijmegen areas. Areas of ordinary houses,flats and some areas of very expensive looking houses.  Factory areas, farm houses, fields and woods, rivers, canals and lakes. All added to the experience, everywhere we went people greeted us.

Passing through a small wooded area we stopped at a cafe for a short break, we had walked fast to get as far as we could before the sun came up and it became too warm. The other walkers were starting to catch us up. 

We were in an area called Valenberg. This was where we took a different route to the other walkers. They continued south on Kasteelsestraat towards Overasselt, we turned right, west onto a narrow lane called Spellingsestraat.

Our lane twisted and turns gently westerly towards Nederasselt, through fields of corn. It is along here we pass the house with the golden pig as its weather sign.

In Nederasselt after passing some houses we take a sharp turn left, south, before the church.

At the top of the street we turned right, west, and rejoined the other walkers. We continued west as the road dropped down to run beside the Maas, leading us towards the bridge at Grave.

We had a short rest below the bridge and large flocks of geese where flying all over the area. Unfortunately this was the best picture I could get.

The road took us under the bridge before turning back up the bank onto the bridge. Crossing the bridge over the Maas a plaque shows it is the John S Thompsonbrug, which was taken in part of Operation Market Garden. A number of pill boxes can be seen in the area.

On the western side of the bridge there is a memorial to the soldiers who had died in and around the bridge during WWII.  

The route took us back under the bridge and along the southern bank of the Maas we were now heading south east into Grave.

We had moved from the Maas and were continuing south east. At Gassel we had a short rest.

We were now heading east towards Cuijk. Strange who you pass on the road.

The crowds that met us at Cujijk were large, loud and amazing. After twisting through the town, before we knew it we turned left, north, onto the Maas riverside, a sharp right, east, took us straight onto a pontoon bridge across the Maas. Over the pontoon bridge we turned left into a rest area.

Leaving the rest area we headed north on Cuijksesteeg.  This took us over the bridge we had used on Day 3 in crossing the Mookerplas into Mook we continued north.  Some of this route was now taking us back along part of the Day 3 March passing Molenhoek.

We were now on the Rijksweg which took us straight into Nijmegen. The crowds were getting louder and bigger. It looked like everyone in the Netherlands was out here today.

We arrived at Charlemagne field in plenty of time for a short rest before we lined up and marched the last 5km into Nijmegen with the band playing, and leading us in.

Today the distance we had covered was 47.5km with 38m climb, which made a total of 171.8km over the four days.  What an amazing experience.

I am not sure if I will do this again but it is something I hope I will never forget. People come from all over the World to take part. I have said it before but it is true that the whole four days are a celebration to life, not just for the marchers but also the hundreds of thousand people who supported the walkers.

Well done Nijmegen.
More to follow

Boz North
Details correct at time of writing.
Follow link to previous Day - Day 3 Thursday 20 July 2017 

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Nijmegen 4 Day Marches - Netherlands Day 3 20 July 2017.

Nijmegen 4 Day Marches - Day 3
Distance 41.5km Climb 245m
Thursday 20 July 2017

Day 3 of the 101st Nijmegen Marches was another early start. It was dark and we were up before the birds. However today was very different to Day 3 in my previous 2013 and 2014 Nijmegen Marches, in that it was raining. At times very heavy, this was before we left the campsite so we walked to our start with waterproof gortex jackets on. Although it was raining it was still very warm and this made it uncomfortable walking with the jackets.
Fortunately it had eased enough for us to remove our jackets before we set off. We marched from the camp to the band and salutes, down the forest road Beukenlaan.  On reaching the road passing under the Heumensoord sign we again crossed straight over the road onto Driehuizerweg, passed the care home, which was quiet. No-one was up this early.

Directed left onto Kwekerijweg took us passed the sports fields and beach volleyball courts. We joined the other walkers where we had joined them on Day 2. The marchers and crowds numbered thousands. 

We followed the same route as on Day 2, twisting and turning along streets, south and west.

In Hatert we moved left, south west, from the route we took yesterday. Instead of crossing the Maas-Waalkanaal we were going to walk its eastern bank. Once we had left the houses behind we were in open fields, and you could see all the walkers ahead. Masses and masses of people.

That is all it takes small steps. On reaching the Maas-Waalkanaal we followed along the eastern bank for a number of kms. It soon started raining, people were gathering under bridges and any shelter they could find to put on waterproofs as we walked towards Malden. We did not put on our gortex, it only lasted a few minutes.

At Malden as always there were the local dignitaries, bands playing, bunting, people cheering, flag waving and children handing out sweets, biscuits, pieces of fruit and water.

From Malden we continued by the Maas-Waalkanaal, round the western edge of Molenhoek. Towards our first rest stop. Typical, just as we were about to stop we encountered another heavy rain fall. 

This was where the Maas-Waalkanaal joined the River Maas for a short while.

During our rest the rain stopped, and we set off walking, up the bank to the road into Mook. Where again bands played and people cheered. The rain was not putting anyone off.

Through Mook and we crossed a bridge over the canal into an area between the Maas and the canal and continued south east further along with the canal on our left.

In the distance far to my right, west I could see the towers of the church at Cuijk. We would be walking passed this church tomorrow.

We were a little north of Middleaar when we turned north.

Taking us over a bridge with the south eastern end of the canal to my left and a lake called Mookerplas on my right. It was raining again.

Passed the lake we turned right, east, through Plasmolen.

Continuing east towards Milsbeek we had another short rest and when we started again I saw our first British Bobby of this years Nijmegen Marches. He was not very happy, strange how it is always Day 3 we see the British Police.

Passing through Milsbeek we turn north on the Zwarteweg. Again due to different walking routes we said goodbye to some of the other walkers who turned south west.

A little up the road and their route rejoined ours again. A turn north west then north east brought us to Breedeweg and the sky started to clear.

The sun came out and it was turning warmer again as we walked through Groesbeek.

We were soon at the start of the seven hills Zevenheuvelenweg which took us almost directly north. You could see the crowds stretching out in front of you as you crested each rise.

It was very warm entering Berg en Dal. We had a sharp left then right then left again passing a bar with an old red UK phone box in it.

Travelling north west now. After a short while we turned left, south west, leaving our fellow walkers to continue straight ahead towards their finish. Our route took us down through some woods. Coming out the other side we zig zagging south and west through some houses onto the eastern side of Kwekerijweg. Where we were held up by a train.

It did not take us long to reach the junction with Driehuizerweg, a turn left, south and we were on our familiar route back to the campsite. Passed the care home where we were greeted by some of the guests. This would be our last walk down Driehuizerweg. 

On arrival at the camp we were greeted by the playing of an alpine horn.

The distance we had covered today was 41.5km with 245m climb.  After dinner a shower and some admin, I gave my feet a good rub for luck, before going to sleep and rest for tomorrow.

More to follow

Boz North
Details correct at time of writing.
Follow link to previous Day - Day 2 Wednesday 19 July 2017
Follow link to next Day - Day 4 Friday 21 July 2017