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Scotland: fast ferries

by Nicky Gardner

Summary

Kintyre Express, the shipping offshoot of Scottish bus company West Coast Motors, has an ambitious plan to create a new fast ferry link between the Mull of Kintyre and the Antrim coast of Northern Ireland. We take a closer look.

The news in February 2011 that there is to be a new passenger shipping link between the Mull of Kinytre (in western Scotland) and Northern Ireland is certainly very welcome. Kintyre Express already have experience with a fast ferry link between Troon on the Ayrshire coast and Kintyre, where a 75-minute boat journey is a credible alternative to a three to four hour drive by road. Now the company is expanding its horizons with a new link from Campbeltown to Ballycastle, a 90-minute crossing that will deliver passengers directly to a very beautiful stretch of the Antrim coast.

Don’t expect cruise ferry comforts on these Kintyre Express routes, for the services are operated by fast Redbay RIBs topped off with a heated cabin. Passengers wear lifejackets at all times, so this is sea travel for travellers who are looking for something more adventurous than a traditional cross-Channel ferry. Kintyre Express’ 2011 season kicks off on 1 April with the Campbeltown to Troon route. Campbeltown to Ballycastle starts on 27 May. Both services are scheduled to run through till late September. One-way fares are from £30 (about €35).

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