Displaying items by tag: UK PM visits Scotland
#ScottishService - Ballyscastle, Co. Antrim not only has a ferry route to Rathlin Island but also to Scotland where the UK Prime Minister today is making a first campaign ahead of June's snap general election, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Operator, Kintyre Express since the Easter weekend resumed Scottish seasonal ‘passenger’ only services between Ballycastle and Campbeltown located close to the southernmost tip of the Mull of Kintyre. The 1 hour 30 minutes route caters for up to 12 passengers accommodated in the enclosed cabin of RedBay Stormforce 11 RIB craft.
In addition to running services to Port Ellen on Islay part of the Inner Hebrides. There is an option of a ‘Taste of the Islay tour’ where tourists can visit a whisky distillery. Those travelling with Kintyre Express can also take bikes free of charge to explore the stunning scenery of the Kintyre peninsula and that of Islay.
Pictured above is one of the operator’s craft, the KE IV berthed in the marina in Campbeltown. The marina is adjacent to the Campbeltown Fish Quay Improvement works project which was part financed by the EU’s European Regional Development Fund in partnership with the Scottish Government. The debate on the Common Fisheries Policy was one of the main vocal points raised by UKIP in advance to the Brexit vote on 23 June last year.
The sign is also a reflection of the current political situation facing Scotland, given last year’s Brexit vote of the referendum to remain on leave the EU. The majority of the Scottish electorate having voted to remain in the EU, however Theresa May is today expected to ask Scots to vote for her to "strengthen the Union", the economy and her hand in Brexit talks. Against this is the backdrop of First Minister of Scotland and SNP Leader Nicola Sturgeon who has demanded for a second referendum on Scottish independence.
Geographically the Mull of Kintyre is the closest point with Co. Antrim of 11 nautical miles. On this stretch of water a ‘car-ferry’ service had begun in 1997 linking Ballycastle and Campbeltown. The service operated by the Argyll and Antrim Steamship Packet Company, a subsidiary of Sea Containers UK, however was short-lived having run for just three seasons served by the former CalMac ferry Claymore (see related report CMAL's Canna serving Rathlin Island).
Claymore notable before her career with AA carried out a very unusual charter during the historic high-profile Irish visit in 1996 of USS John F. Kennedy aircraft carrier offshore of Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The unique visit of the 82,655 tons displacement aircraft carrier took place during the Northern Ireland Peace Process talks.
Claymore ferryied navy personnel and visitors between the anchorage in Dublin Bay and harbour. Such a sight was most odd given how out of context it was for both vessels to be in Irish waters.