juliet: (round the world)
[personal profile] doop & I are in Northern Ireland for the week, visiting his family. We travelled up yesterday; given my well-known antipathy to flying, this meant bike/train/ferry. And it all went incredibly smoothly. All the trains were bang on time, there were bike spaces available (we booked in advance but in fact were not asked for our bike-tickets, although I STRONGLY RECOMMEND booking on Intercity-type services[0]), & they let us on the earlier ferry at Cairnryan when we arrived 4hrs before our booked tickets[1]. All a very positive experience.

Plus we found a lovely cafe in Stranraer for lunch -- McCoag's Bistro, Charlotte St, strongly recommended for v tasty beanburger & chips, fantastic home-cooked chocolate cake, and a friendly proprietor. Then there was a splendid 6 mi ride up the road to Cairnryan (where I beat doop to the ferry terminal! I did have a head start when he stopped to take his jacket off, BUT STILL); then 13 mi around the water from Larne on the other side, which was admittedly a little hilly. We stopped to watch the local starlings doing their murmuration thing on the way, which was gorgeous against the dusk over the loch.

Plans for this week: Giant's Causeway, trip into Belfast, lots of sitting around being lazy.

[0] Ideally, book at the time you buy your own ticket, from NXEastCoast, who have a "bikes" tickybox, bless them. Otherwise, in person with your human-tickets to hand at any mainline station. London Bridge are helpful but often have to spend 15 min working out how to do this; KX/Euston/Paddington are more knowledgable & thus faster.
[1] We booked on the 8pm ferry with the intention of leaving London at 11am or something; then discovered that the 11am train was going to cost about £200 as we hadn't booked early enough. The 0539 was £25 each, London-Stranraer, which was a bit more reasonable, but would have left us with 6 hrs to kill in Stranraer had they been more intransigent at the ferry terminal. 0539 is admittedly not my *favourite* time to have to be at Euston for.

September 2017



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