We woke to a day full of mist and occasional rain for our move further north. All slept very well, and we put it down to the gases that must have been coming out of the ground at the Oracle yesterday. Anyway, whatever it was it seemed to work..
An 0830 start took us through Delphi to the West to then turn north past Amfissa before entering the spectacular Gorge that will lead us through to the small village of Gravia and then on to Brallos before we venture through the Pass. However, one of our members came forward in the coach to inform me that he had left his passport and money in the safe in his room. Stephen, our driver immediately did a 360 degree turn and headed back towards Delphi while Elena called the hotel to inform them that we were on our way back. All worked out well and the Passport and Money was back in the owner’s hands. Continuing we were able to take in the beautiful scenery through the Gorge as were the Cyprus Pines dotting the landscape. All was very green as it had been a hard winter but with good rain and now spring was bursting forth.
Gravia was where the B Company of the 2/1st Battalion propped and was to cover the road through the Gorge but was later moved over onto the main evacuation route and safely went through 2/4th Battalion who had been tasked with the rear-guard duties.
Gravia is a small village or 600 people at the northern end of the pass and over the centuries this position was of strategic importance to Greece and it is where the revolution against the Ottomans started in 1821. A coffee relaxing near the small river that runs through the village was enjoyed before we headed off towards Brallos.
Next stop was on the old Brallos Pass Road where we were able to see across the valley the railway bridges brought down by a commando type raid by a British Group who had been dropped on the Aegean Coast, carried out the demolition and returned to the Adriatic Coast for pick up and return to the UK. Quite an extraordinary task, that was a success.
On the old Brallos Pass Road we stopped at the new Memorial that had been established by the 2/2 Field Regiment in memory of those under Lt Anderson who had been killed at the site by counter battery fire on 22 April 1941.There was also a section of 9 men from the 2/4th Battalion who were posted as close protection for the guns were also killed in the exchange of fire.
Following that visit we continued down the mountain side on the old original road with visibility down to 5 metres due to a very heavy fog. At the bottom of the mountain, we made our way to the village where the repaired bridge that was dropped by the Commandos was located and found a wonderful taberna, where we all shared Roast Lamb, chips and Greek salad for lunch. After lunch we went up to see the bridge and then headed off for Kalambake via Domokos. At Domokos, we were able to view the layout of the defence of the site. There were 4 Battalions supported by a Field Regiment, Machine Gun Battalion, anti-armour and the Hussars who were to conduct and act well out to the front of the position in a covering force role.
Kalambaka was reached at 1820 and we prepared for dinner and a pre-dinner drink. Tomorrow the Monasteries on the hill followed by the visit to the site where Brigadier Sharpe had set up the blocking force 15 km north of the town.