Battery Oldenburg

One of the first things we do when we get off the Eurotunnel is find a car park by the side of the motorway, recline our seats as far as they'll go, and take a nap in the encroaching dawn. Every 15 minutes or so, Ghyll hears something outside and starts barking, so sleep comes fitfully. At some point Sam gets up and takes him for a walk.

We have a few hours to burn before picking up the campervan, so as the workday commences and the traffic dies down, we drive out to the coast to have a wander down by the Battery Oldenburg, a WWII-era gun battery that made up part of the Atlantic Wall defending Nazi Germany from Allied invasion.

There's a surprising amount left, overgrown with grasses and shrubbery as it is. The two main towers are still surprisingly intact. There is some fencing nominally preventing entry, but there's significant evidence of explorers and artists making their way inside the two towers, the adjoining hospital, and other ancillary structures. YouTube videos abound.

We have a nosey with Ghyll, climbing up into the hospital through a makeshift hole in a blocked-up doorway. The inside is bare. There are a couple of old stencils on the wall, clearly in German but totally illegible to us. My spine tingles. We decide to head down to the beach.

The sand is powdery-fine and stretches way out to the low tide. Sam dips her feet. She says that the water is warmer than the North Sea—but not by much.

France '24



The French know how to take it easy. You can tell because of the way that Boulogne-sur-Mer is.


Bob Graham Round, Leg 1 anticlockwise

Running alongside a friend's Bob Graham Round attempt, leg 1 anticlockwise.