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TITEL TITEL
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TITEL 'PRIKKERS' TOUR NIEUWE HOLLANDSE WATERLINIE TITEL
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We started the tour along the defence line 'Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie' at 8.30 at the Micefort in Muiden.

The Micefort dates from 1874-1877 and had been intended for defending the access points (a high area part), formed by the sea dike and the canal and the road along this. Furthermore it was for mastering the floodings and protecting the flooding works, like sluices and culverts. The name Micefort descends from the mobilisation of 1939. Then the soldiers wore grey-green, soon referred to as mouse-grey.

 

And from the other side...

 

Before leaving, we discuss the route we will follow. It won't be easy to keep a row of almost fourty Land Rovers together on the small paths we intend to drive. On our way, we have two ferry-boat crossings (the rivers Lek and Waal). As there is just enough space for a couple of Land Rovers this will take quite a lot of time.

 

And we are on the road! This spare wheel will be the view for the rest of the day.

 

Just a photo somewhere on the route. We stop regularly to join op the queue, otherwise the queue will fall apart. That leaves us enough time to have a talk or make some pictures.

 

This picture was taken on the banks of the river Vecht, just before Nigtevecht. Alongside the Vecht are multiple country estates built by rich Amsterdam merchants. Gerard's Land Rover is always a beautiful one, but in this picture it is more than beautifull!

 

A major part of the tour leads alongside the Vecht. The Vecht was the principal defence line of the northern part of the 'Nieuwe Hollanse Waterlinie'. West of the Vecht was the defended, safe area. The area on the east of the Vecht could be flooded. This picture is taken just before we enter Loenen aan de Vecht. Nearby Nigtevecht is also the place where the 'Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie' and the 'Stelling van Amsterdam' come together. The 'Stelling van Amsterdam' is another Dutch defence line, which surrounded Amsterdam.

 

This is in the middle ot the peat-soil polder north of Utrecht. This is one of the areas that could be flooded. It was fantastic to see al those Land Rovers on the dead straight lines of the polder.

 

We have to make a full left turn to cross a very narrow bridge. Not an easy task for the elderly Land Rovers with their enormous turning circle.

 

North of Utrecht are several forts. From west to east these are 'Werk bij Maarsseveen', 'Fort de Gagel' (this one is on the photo), further on 'Fort Ruigenhoek' which we have visited and finally 'Fort Blauwkapel' and 'Fort Voordorp'.

 

Arrival at the parking place at st. Anthonydike. From here we walk to the fort, but not before we have lunch and a look under the bonnets of each other's Land Rover.

 

Driving in a queue isn't as time consuming as I expected. We are slightly faster than the preparatory trip I made two weeks earlier! So there is more than enough time to let out the dogs, have a conversation en make some pictures. In the middle of this photo is the oldest Land Rover of this day, the 1959 Series 2 of Erwin de Knegt.

 

A paved parking place wasn't necessary for us :-).

 

It's personal, of course, but I think that the blue one is the most beautifull.

 

Clearly isn't it?

 

As a reward for organizing this 'prikkers' tour, Aad Koene hands me the 'prikrover'. I feel honoured! As we have torn down the mantelpiece in our house, there's no place there. Otherwise I certainly would have put it there. I will find another good looking place. Compliments to the one that turned this toy Land Rover into a real voodoo Land Rover!

 

 

 

It's beatyfull isn't it?

 

The fort on the Ruigenhoeksedijk is especially opened for us for today. Three guides take us around the fortification.

 

This fortification is built between 1869 and 1870. De correct name of the fort is "Fort op de Ruigenhoeksedijk". The fort was meant for defending the dikes and paths. Even the railway from Utrecht to Hilversum and the road along the railway had to be protected by this fort. Around the year 1885, the fortification was intended to hold 240 men and 24 pieces of ordnance. The centre piece of the bomb-proof barracks is a really nice cast iron staircase. It takes you upstairs onto the top of the fort. Because of the important location, several concrete casemates are built around it. Today, some bunkers and remainders of observationposts still exist. Not only the fortification, but also the surroundings are quite interesting. Nearby the fort are a flooding sluice and an anti-tank canal, both in a restored state.

 

Explanation about the fortification by one of the guides.

 

 

This is the cast iron staircase in the reduit of the fort. A reduit is a indepent defendable work within a fortification, that was meant for defending when the main embankment had fallen.

 

The evidence that I've eaten fruit, today! At a footpace on the cycle path at Rhijnauwen. The local government gave us a permission for this.

 

 

A large number of bunkers and casemates in the fields between fort Rhijnauwen and Fort Vechten near Bunnik.

 

This photo is taken on the Marsdijk beyond fort Vechten. Right here, the Limes crosses the Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie. The Limes was the northern border of the Romain empire. You can just see a replica of a Romain guard-post in the background.

 

This is just before passing fort 't Hemeltje. It's the section for which we got a permission to drive a small stretch on a cycle path, at fort Rhijnauwen. First of all this is a nice section to drive, but it also helps us to avoid driving on the motorway, with the whole queue of Land Rovers.

 

More than fourty Land Rovers crossing the bridge near the plumpsluice at Nieuwegein. The plumpsluice at (formerly) Jutphaas is part of the Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie. The plumpsluice was meant for quickly damming the Amsterdam-Rijn canal, in times of war. This was to prevent the water from the flooded land to flow back through the canal. The digging of the canal started in 1934. They had to come up with a solution for the flooding problem which would quickly lock the canal without interfering with shipping traffic. They built a concrete box above the canal. It was intended that the box should be filled with sand and stones and the bottom be provided with explosives. By a single explosion the whole canal could be dammed up.

 

Construction of the plumpsluice started in 1937, but wasn't finished yet at the start of WO II. After the war, the construction was abandoned, but the Amsterdam-Rijn canal reached completion in 1952. Little by little it became clear that the narrowing of the canal at the plumpsluice was an obstacle for modern ships. Because of the hight costs of demolishing the plumpsluice, they dug the canal around the sluice.

 

We have permission from the government to drive on this sanddike. Another avoidance of driving the motorway, too. And of course it was a very nice stretch to drive with the Land Rovers. We like it best to drive this kind of paths!

 

 

 

 

De queue of Land Rovers becomes longer...

 

...and longer...

 

...and longer!

 

 

 

Our trafic regulator. Unfortunately his Land Rover was taken apart, but you can drive a Ford FiŽsta offroad too! I think he's a hero! The damage to his car isn't of this day by the way.

 

That was the sanddike, let's go to the river Lek and the ferry to Culemborg!

 

 

Still beautyfull such a Forward Control!

 

Aad Koene took part too with Tinkerbell, so no Land Rover should be left stranded along the route... As far as I know, there were no problems worth mentioning during the trip. Although I've seen somebody walking with an axle shaft, but I guess that was for selling only.

 

A couple of typically dutch pictures. Landscape of dikes and polders.

 

 

 

We're just passing fort Honswijk. This fort was built between 1841 and 1848 just southeast of the village of Honswijk. This fort was intended for defending the river Lek and a small strip of land that couldn't be flooded. The fort was also for defending the sluice on the eastside of the fort. The water was flowing from the Lek through the river De Snel down the lower fields. The fort was meant for 540 men and 51 pieces of ordnance.

 

Passing the river-forelands of the Lek towards the ferry, which will take us to Culemborg.

 

As there is just enough place for 14 Land Rovers or so, and it will take about 15 minutes to cross the river and back, it will take some time to get all of us across the river.

 

 

 

The first couple of Land Rovers are on the ferry. It would seem that they leave a couple of oil splashes on the ferry deck...

 

 

At the other bank of the river, just beyond fort Aan het Spoel we wait for everybody to cross the river. The function of this fort was defending the breach in the dike, which was necessary for flooding in times of war.

 

 

Here we are passing fort Everdingen. Fort Everdingen is on the crossing of the Lekdike and another dike, the Diefdijk. This fort was built between 1844 and 1849. The fort is built on the dike en was intended for the defence of a strip of unfloodable land and the dike. The fort has it's origin as a kind of a towerfort, but by manufacturing better guns and ammunition it was neccessary to protect the tower against that by walls. The tower was built on the dike. Traffic coming over the dike has to pass the tower. There was a home for the fortguard on the west side of the tower. This home was defendable too and has walls of 80 centimeters wide.

 

 

The Diefdijk between the rivers Lek and Linge. Along the dike is a large number of bunkers and casemates. The soldiers that were encamped here had to protect the Diefdijk against attacks.

 

 

Just some greenlaning on an unpaved path. On that path we pass kind of a sluice/lock in the dike. This lock was for closing the gap in the dike when the surrounded land was flooded. On the end of this track we pass fort Asperen. Fort Asperen was meant for defending the Linge access with its sluices and locks. The fort dates from 1879-1880 and has the shape of half a circle with a bomb-proof tower inside, surrounded by a moat with a bridge over it.

 

Somewhere between the rivers Linge and Waal, the queue falls apart. One part of the queue followes the Linge too far and another part of the queue is delayed by path-crossing cows. Making phone calls and using the CB radio (unfortunately mine isn't working yet) make us finally meet at the ferry to Brakel.

 

We arrive in the twilight at the ferry to Brakel. Normaly there's a bigger ferry, but unfortunately that one is out of service, at the moment. So it takes three rides before we're all across the river.

 

 

SolideBolide ready for the last stretch to the finish, for a drink at fort Altena!

 

It is pretty dark when the last Land Rover comes off the ferry.

 

We're waiting for the others to cross the river. In the meantime it becomes really dark. The tour will be completed in the darkness. There are not very many lamp-posts in the polder of Woudrichem. Despite I had driven the route before, it was a bit of a search in the darkness. As planned we all arrive at 18:15 at fort Altena!

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