Report on Holidays and Travel Group Visit - SciTech Group visit to Bletchley Park, Cambridge and Duxford - Day1, Monday, 25 March 2013

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DAY 1 It was bitterly cold as we waited for the coach to pick us up at a time many of us don’t often see these days. The unluckiest among us had a very early start in order to get to Thorpe Willoughby before 7.00am and I was very pleased I wasn’t there to listen to the whingeing. Meanwhile, over in Sherburn, Alex was having a sulk, as he’d realised the coach would be setting off before the bacon butty shop opened. However, the early departure did mean that we arrived on time for our guided tour of Bletchley Park, where Alan Turing had led a team of code breakers, deciphering messages encrypted by the German Enigma machine during World War II, thereby shortening the war by around two years. Nick Hill gave us an entertaining introduction to the story of Britain's main decryption centre and, after a buffet lunch, we had a few more hours to shiver around the rest of the site. The Marriott Hotel in Huntingdon was about an hour away from Bletchley Park. I think this may have been too far for some of us; I could hear people behind me muttering about going via Newcastle. It was worth the wait though, as I think we were all impressed with the rooms and facilities. We had a slight hiccup sorting out the rooms, as Javier, our Spanish ‘meeter and greeter’, didn’t pronounce some of the names very well. I managed to claim the Harvey envelope before he handed it over to Angela Harding, but I didn’t intervene fast enough to avoid confusion between Clark and Clegg. By the time we were aware of the error Marie had already unpacked everything and was about to step into the shower. There was time, however, for some people to have a quick swim in the hotel pool before we met for dinner at 7.30. We had three options to choose from in each of the three courses and the food both looked and tasted great. The wine was very good too, but at £28 a bottle you’d expect it to be.

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