From an early start from this morning at the CCC Delamere, it was a few minute’s stroll to Delamere railway station for the 0829 service to Chester. Today’s itinerary was timed to the minute and so leaving Delamere a few minutes late, raised a concern.
However, the train recovered lost time and arrived into Chester at 0852, in time to allow for a sprint towards the Arriva Trains Wales service at 0855 to Holyhead! Up the stairs three at a time, across the bridge and down the other side, and after all that, she was a few minutes late.
I did feel a bit more relaxed once the train to Holyhead was underway, but just over the Menai Straits and the train came to an impromptu stand – signalling problems…… I reckoned my schedule had about thirty minutes of slack in it, but these minutes were rapidly going up in smoke…. On the move again and we arrived in Holyhead at 1100, so just time to buy a ticket, check in…..
…… and get aboard the Jonathan Swift. The Holyhead port authority operates a shuttle bus from the terminal to the ferries and this gave an excellent opportunity to snap a quick shot of the HSS Stena Explorer. She is currently laid up and returns to service over the festive period – see you then old girl, you have a date!
Jonathan Swift is a twin hull, 86 metre catamaran built by Australia’s “Austal”. He cruises at 40 knots, so about 50 mph and for the previous two days, the service had been cancelled due to bad weather. I was pleased however the vessel was running as scheduled and also that sea conditions were described as “rough”. So I paid my £37 for a round trip, out on the 1150 ex Holyhead, a few minutes on Irish soil and straight back from Dublin to Holyhead on the same vessel at 1430.
The outward crossing was a true delight. Sea conditions were interesting and once outside on the outer deck, the strong winds, coupled with Jonathan’s 50 mph operating speed meant for a breath taking ride – literally! Only a few people moved about on the vessel with most remain seated, and only the hard core ventured outside, forming an elite group!
The crossing was perfect in everyway, the vessel was rolling, the sun was shining, the spray coming over the sides…. All too soon, the captain announced we would soon be alongside and disembarkation would follow.
I had to disembark and quickly check in again, collect a boarding card and rejoin Jonathan on his return crossing to Holyhead.
The weather conditions had eased somewhat, so I enjoyed an upgrade to Club Class, drinking wine and watching the world go by.
Arrival into Holyhead meant disembarkation from the “Jonathan” and a transfer to the port on the shuttle bus – this presented a wonderful view of the Stena Explorer as the evening drew in….
A dash for the train to Chester, with a connection from Chester to Delamere and back to the caravan site
Almost eleven hours travelling, with probably no more than 90 minutes stationery! A GREAT day out for which this CCC site makes a good base – even if you do have to rush a bit!