All good things must come to an end, and so after a hearty breakfast we hopped on our trusty steeds one last time for the short ride to the ferry terminal. It had rained heavily during the night so the roads were wet, but almost all of our route (5 miles) was on traffic free cycle paths. The only non cycle path section was the last mile into the terminal. Once again there were no clear signs for cyclists, or where we should go. However, once we reached the foot-passenger area we were told where to leave our bikes until someone would escort us onto the ferry. Being a Sunday the ferry was far busier, so the plan that we might nab a cheap cabin went out of the window as they were all taken. It wasn’t too bad as we had reserved comfy chairs once again.
Once we landed in Scotland we were allowed off the boat first, which was nice. Also, as we hadn’t gone through the terminal building we hadn’t managed to pay for our parking before we loaded up the car. I pressed the ‘help’ button at the gate and it was opened without us paying a penny. All that was left was the three and a half our drive home. Our full route can be seen below.
It was an amazing week with almost 250 miles of cycling, as well as seeing the Giant’s Causeway and spending a night in the Republic of Ireland. It would also appear from the news this week that Brexit will make a complete mess of everything across the whole border. When taking goods across the border, you need to ensure the trade route for your goods allows for your consignment to be checked at a border inspection post (BIP) at the first EU country you enter for export. There are two BIPs in Ireland, one in Dublin and the other at Shannon Airport. If you wanted to transport goods from Strabane on the Northern Irish side to Lifford in Southern Ireland, less than 2 miles apart, you would have to drive to Belfast, take a ferry to Scotland, drive to Holyhead, another ferry to Dublin, get checked at the BIP and then drive to Lifford, without entering Northern Ireland. Completely bonkers and unworkable. People will just cross the border, which the EU will not allow, resulting in a hard border. I predict that with a hard border, Ireland will be re-unified within five years, and Scotland will also leave the UK and re-join the EU.
Despite that, we are both looking forward to visiting both Northern and Southern Ireland in the future.
If you missed any of the other blogs for this cycling adventure, links can be found below.
Day 1 here
Day 2 here
Day 3 here
Day 4 here
Day 5 here
Day 6 here