Northern Ireland to Scotland

We awoke to a peach of a morning and this got me really exited as it would mean that the Kintyre Express would run.

Nemo ready to take to the sea – thanks to Steffy-Lea my granddaughter!!!

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Now all that needed to happen was that it would cross enough times to eliminate the backlog because some passengers had been waiting since Sunday. We were very keen to cross so we presented ourselves each time the ferry docked in case someone did not arrive and we managed to get on the last one for the day at 16h00. The crossing to Campbelltown takes 90 minutes at a cost of £35 per person and was money well spent.

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The skipper, Hayden, was great and shared a lot of the local history of Campbelltown with us in particular the whiskey trade. At the height of the trade in whiskey Campbelltown had 34 distilleries and there were many in the vicinity such as on the Isle of Isla. Hayden also told us about a mad South African who’s name he could not recall that swam the 11 mile gap from Scotland to Northern Ireland and spent more than12 hours in 4 degree water, Atlantic on the one side and Irish sea on the other. This creates incredibly strong currents and he was swept out to the Atlantic for six hours then the tide turned and he was dragged back to the Irish sea. Just before making land on the Irish coast the tide turned again so instead of landing at Ballycastle as planned he ended up spending another hour in the water to land near Giant’s Causeway. He remains the only person to have made the swim across this gap.

Our first close up view of the southern tip of the mull of Kintyre. Rod Stewart’s song kept going through my head!!!

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Campbelltown was perfectly positioned to trade into the Americas but prohibition closed down many of the old distilleries. Only three are currently producing whiskey and notably Campbell’s that is available in SA.

On arrival we went to find a hostel and this proves to be quite a challenge each time. The hostel was new and located in an old church building and had no signage out yet so that even the locals could not direct us. Luckily Campbelltown is not too large and we soon enough found it. The cost per person is noticeable higher in Scotland and with the rand at almost 20 to the pound it hurts. I intend spending a month in the UK so I will definitely be couch surfing a lot.

Next stop Oban.

Eugene on a bike somewhere in the world