Monday 19th April (and a bit of Tuesday 20th)
Breakfast was, as always, nice and early. Everyone even got the chance to have breakfast in the fancy part of the hotel!!! We had a meeting with everybody to let them know what was happening and so they could prepare to leave.
After numerous calls were made to just about everybody to see what could and couldn’t be done, we knew there was only one way to get home. We would essentially be travelling non-stop for a full day! Yep, we were due to leave the luxurious Parc Hotel at 12:00 pm and head for Calais in France. On the way, we travelled through Belgium where we had a pit-stop and enjoyed some ice cream! The next country on the list was France before we finally hit the port at Calais.
All along the way, we were fortunate to have a DVD collection depicting a group of individuals fighting some war all in support of one another! Not too sure what it was called but there was plenty of gunfire and explosions…
Anyway, the ferry to Dover was grand and only about an hour and a half. However, it was the journey from Dover to Holyhead in Wales that was almost too much for everybody! About an hour into the journey, wise old reliable John Crawley overheard what time our ferry in Holyhead was leaving at. He then looked at the time and where we were and suggested that we would be leaving it very close to catch the ferry. From there, William and myself made about a dozen phone calls to make sure that we wouldn’t miss the Ferry!
However, it was nearly too much and we were seconds from missing the Ferry. Having called the Harbour Master and asked him to delay the ferry as long as he could (which was only 5 minutes) we knew it would be close! As the roads started to twist, bend, get reduced to one lane and a bit fog started to descend, we didn’t think we would make it. But roundabouts weren’t even going to stop us from making that ferry!!!
Once we stopped we had to change bus so everyone got ready to go while still on the bus! Once we stopped, I’ve never seen a group of people transfer all their equipment from one bus to another so fast. From here, we travelled two minutes down the road to get onto the ferry where we were waved on. They were waiting for us!!! Michael of Irish Ferries had worked wonders to make sure we made it on time. He arranged three members of staff to help us load our bus and held the Ferry until we were on it!
It was fantastic and otherwise we would have had to wait 12 hours in Holyhead for the next ferry! That was never even an option that was discussed!!!
By this stage, it was early Tuesday morning and we were about three hours from Dublin. Once there, we had another bus organised that would drop everyone off at either Dublin Airport, Dundalk Ice Dome or Dundonald International Ice Bowl.
It was one heck of a journey home but it was well worth it because we brought home the GOLD…