Annual Arnhem Pilgrimage

Annual Arnhem Pilgrimage

Background

Every airborne soldier is familiar with the story of Arnhem 1944.  Even civilians are aware of  “the bridge too far”, following the hugely successful film.  Our annual trip is to pay homage to those brave souls that took part and did not return.  It is a mixture of quiet reflection and comradely fun, with some great bike riding to boot! 

Our “Pilgrimage” Founder

Mike “Titch” Cornish (Ex WO2, ex 2 & 3 Para) was the original driving force behind the annual pilgrimage.  He came up with the idea of an annual trip on motorbikes.  He then made links with the local motorcycle club and the Red Beret Riders, our Dutch airborne Riders.  Thanks to his efforts and organisation, ably assisted by others, we now have an established, annual ride to Arnhem. 

Ground Rules

As for the whole event…we are bikers!!  Usual rule applies: everybody is responsible for themselves.  We appreciate you may want to explore on your own, but if you want to join us, then we have developed a methodology.   We observe the riding rules and stay safe!!

Our Facebook page is the best way to find out who is going and by which method.  If you want to meet up just post a message on the page and wait for the replies.  We generally stay at Oostappen Vakantiepark and, as before, you could book the same, or go your own way.

The rides

Once we are in Arnhem we have three specific rides that we participate in.

1.  Ride of Remembrance (Friday) – led by the local bikers we ride to various small cemeteries to pay our respects.  This ride, in particular is something you don’t want to miss.  Our friends, the Dutch riders, leading the ride take us up on to the dykes wherever possible.  There is something very special about riding your motorbike 40 feet, “in the air”, looking down on the canals and towns. 

2.  Ride to the Dropping Zone (Saturday) – led by our dear friends, the Red Beret Riders (Dutch Airborne Vets) who’s hospitality through the years has been outstanding.

3.  Ride to the Sunday Service (Sunday) at Oosterbeek  – the reflective ride.  Almost silent running into the parking area of the cemetery, sets the scene for the service.   

The start place is usually the road outside the gate at Oostappen Campsite around 9am.  We usually publish the start place and time of the RVs at the Oostappen Campsite Clubhouse, then off we go!

These are great rides, with the right mixture of fun and seriousness, and loads of good riding (especially Friday, riding 40 ft up on the dykes that protect the villages, riding the curves!  Fabulous!)

How to get to Arnhem

 

The choice is yours.  We have travelled through the tunnel and have used the ferries.  It all depends where you are starting from.

In 2017 there are a number of us who have decided to take the overnight ferry from Harwich to the Hook of Holland, on the Wednesday, to arrive on the Thursday.  This meant that we arrived in Arnhem fresh and ready for the weekend.  Ever since then there is a large contingent who take this route.  

Others, particularly our Coventry group, prefer to take the tunnel from Folkestone so they get the ride through France and Belgium into Holland.

As we said “the choice is yours”.

Where to stay

 

Again, it is up to you, but the “main body” stays at the Oostappen Vakantiepark Arnhem.  Click for Map

This has the advantage of being cheap and centrally located for the rides.

Chalets are around 180 euros for a six berth, so by joining up and sharing, the cost comes out at only 30 euros a person!

Video of the Saturday Ride to the Dropping Zone at Ginkel Heath

Have a look at this video to get a flavour of the weekend.  It was taken, and produced, by one of the Red Beret Riders