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Police, Passages, Pals, and Pints

By Rev. Mick!

Day 3

This is a ferry day. For me it always feels like an adventure when there is a ferry involved. It just means you're definitely off to somewhere else. So after an early start and much petting of Annette’s guide dog away I zoom round the corner into Ravenhill road - easy up to the port. No, turn the corner into a road closed sign and a PSNI road block at which point Molly Google is getting very insistent I go up the Ravenhill Road. I ride up to a PSNI motorcycle officer. “Can I get up the road?”. “No” he says “It’s closed for the Belfast Half Marathon”. 

Memories of a conversation last night coming drifting back. “Poop!” says I “I need to get to the Stena Terminal up at the port”. He looks at me and then says “The runners are ages away. Keep close and follow me I need to check the course”. So off we whizz, thank you. Did feel slightly awkward driving behind a PSNI officer with my RoI registration plates. Not I am sure as strange as for the gathered spectators.

“Get your self up on the M3 you’ll see the signs”. So as I can see the sea it’s on my right, and this is five lanes all going in one direction, I get in the far right hand lane. As the turn off is in the far left hand lane all I can say is Belfast Sunday drivers are incredibly courteous to an Innova suddenly changing four lanes at 40mph. Thanks guys. All of which means I am at the Stena terminal at 09.32 for an 11.30 ferry.

Lots of Lambretta scooter boys in the queue too. They have been to the 5 Nations Scooter Rally in Carlingford. What nice guys.

A line of scooters with camping gear in the queue at Belfast's Stena Terminal
One scooter has panel removed showing the engine, another we see with the camping gear

Now I must admit they were great lads and serious craic but at some points it was scooter nerd. Anyhow we all boarded and had a great scooter, bike and cyclists crossing. The Brotherhood of wheels less than three (we would have had the craic with any monocyclists too). 

Land in Cairnryan and the nice man let our brotherhood off first. So up the A77 and later up the A78. 

This is my one bit of political activism, I am sorry if this offends. I’d had two cups of tea on the boat and I have an ageing bladder so some while afterwards I was bursting for a gentleman’s stop (or as our Indian military liaison officer would say “a tiger shoot”). Miles were passing and we got to Troon. All I can say is I have done the same as a hooker in a Moscow hotel. (You may need to do some research)

Then much relieved I zoomed up to Wemyss Bay. I am sure I passed a famous motorcycle and adventure journalist and his diminutive better half. They however were far too cool to nod, raise a finger or twitch an upper lip towards some scruffy ne’er do well on an aging Innova.

Arrived at Wemyss at 17.00 which amazingly is the time I told my buddy Drew I would be there. Only he wasn’t. “I’m in the ferry car park. Where are you?”. “Up in the Community Centre car park. Wrestling the scooter of the rack”. “It’s £3 a day down there”.

While waiting I went into Wemyss Bay station to use the Gents. I can only say that Sharon is quite correct what am amazing gorgeous railway station.

The steel trellis and glass roof is a splendid example of Victorian engineering at Wemyss Bay Train Station

Soon the sound and sight of a candy apple green Vespa GT200 joined the queue for the Bute ferry.

The ferry's bow is open for loading and we see the bay at Wemyss

We landed in Bute as the evening fell. Found our lovely B&B, carrying camping gear would have made it a different, and far heavier trip. We went out and had a nice meal and shot pints before retiring to bed before 10. It was a long day of two ferry’s but as fun as could be.

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Holy Water On Departure It's Rev. Mick!'s day of departure, in spite of his wife's misgivings. He's crossing Ireland and he's already lost in his own country.
Countryside, Culture And Carlingford Lough Rev. Mick! is finding a ferry and fascinating sights as he makes his way northbound towards Belfast. A good day all in all but there may be just one small hiccup ahead.
Police, Passages, Pals, and Pints Rev. Mick! is escorted by the police, hangs out with Scooter types and catches TWO ferries. It seems he can't have an "ordinary" day.
Ferries And Fun But No Food It's all ferries and frolics for Rev. Mick! as he gets deep into The Highlands and islands. The riding and crossings are good but there's a problem with acquiring sustenance.
Motorcycle Meditation In The Wild And Wet Rev. Mick! is having one hell of a day. The Hebridean weather is throwing it's worst at them as they make their way northbound to their raison d'etre.
Lovely Lewis And Chilled Chums Rev. Mick! finds today to be much calmer and enjoyable rather than endurable. A tour of the northern half of Lewis and some good company sees Mick swinging and snoring.
A Laid Back, Easy Day On Lewis While their hosts are working Rev. Mick! and Drew enjoy and easy mooch around. There's just that one place Rev. Mick! still hasn't managed to reach.
Homeward Bound From Lewis To Mallaig It's way too early for Rev. Mick! this morning but needs must. Sadly it's time to head homeward but that won't spoil a good day looking around Skye.
Veggie Brekkie, Bikes And A Blast Rev. Mick!'s enjoying a day through some classic Highland scenery then pondering the past, present and a future yet to come.
The End of the Fellowship With the parting of the pals comes a tinge of remorse yet Rev. Mick! still has many more miles to cover before his heroic return to home. Did anyone notice he'd even left?

Reader's Comments

Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
What date was this day Rev. Mick!? We may have passed on the road but it's possible I was dining in a posh high end eatery, chomping on caviar and fois gras and sipping tea with my pinky stuck out.

I'm rather developing a soft spot for the Ayrshire area. It's not as grand as The Highlands but it's easier to get to and - as you'll read on my Scottish report soon - quieter in places.
05/11/2022 16:26:15 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
Thank you Reverend. I can almost visualise it.
I love Bute, so easy to get to, yet a real island experience.
Nice. You know I'm tempted to post a picture, but that would be a thread hijack.
05/11/2022 18:04:19 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
I don't care. I'm weckless and wuthless.

Posted Image
05/11/2022 18:08:40 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Whereabouts on Bute was that piccy taken Upt'?
06/11/2022 21:44:20 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
It was just off Bute Ed, we went off on the chain ferry in the North and turned off the A road down to Loch Ruel. That was about 10 to 11 in the morning I think and was already 80 degrees. Scotland at its very best. The roads were empty all the way upto Lomond.
07/11/2022 00:49:16 UTC
Rev. Mick! said :-
Will look out that date later.

The Argyll coast is one of my favourite bits of Scotland. All up that coast to Oban and Mallaig. It is trees that make the difference! Those sweeping loch and sea shore bends with the trees spilling down off the hills heavenly.

Currently in Spain trying not to die on a mountain or downs canyon.
07/11/2022 08:05:25 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Are we talking of the ferry from Rhubodach to Colintraive Upt'? I've been on that there ferry - I don't recall it being a chain ferry. Maybe it was back in't good ole' days when you was there. Lovely area and as you point out most accessible.
08/11/2022 11:35:38 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
Ed, when you're right, you're right. I had wrongly assumed with the fact it takes about 30 seconds to cross the water it was chain, but no.
MV Loch Dunvegan (Scottish Gaelic: Loch Dunbheagan) is a Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited car ferry built for the Isle of Skye crossing and now operating in the Kyles of Bute, Argyll and Bute, Scotland. She is operated by Caledonian MacBrayne.
It wasn't up to the Skye crossing apparently and was relegated to the more peaceful life on Bute.
I feel all edumicated.
08/11/2022 16:31:56 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
You've caused me to feel edumicated too Upt', it's a most peculiar feeling. All this talk is just making me want to return to Bute.
09/11/2022 09:21:20 UTC
Rev. Mick! said :-

That date was Sunday the 18th of September.
16/11/2022 21:33:55 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Aaaahhh... on Sunday 18th September we started the day north of Gretna Green and made our way home. Close, so very close, but no cigar. We've never been seen in the same county... or the same room... perhaps we are secretly the same person?
17/11/2022 09:53:56 UTC

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