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From Scotland to Plymouth


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Am thinking about this winter's trip to Spain in December.  Last 3 years we did the 2 nighter to Bilbao and may do so again as we like getting on the road in Spain early morning.  Another option might be the Pont Aven from Plymouth to Santander which gets in at 13:00 Spanish time, if it's running again, and would allow us to get to an aire/campsite before dark.  We're in the Scottish Borders and normally take a couple of days to get to Portsmouth, so it wouldn't be too different to Plymouth, but we've never gone that way.  Portsmouth is easy to get to and there's a good car park at the Marina for us to wait around in before we head to the port at night.  I don't want to use the Economy.

Any thoughts, for or against, would be appreciated.

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Whether from Portsmouth or Plymouth you must just choose the timings which suit you best and the ship you prefer. Pont Aven from Plymouth at the timings you outline would be my own personal choice. I would hate the two nighter with that long boring day in between them !  But it's cheaper ! 

Plymouth is perfectly easy with ample parking in the port area and a decent bar/restaurant adjacent to the ferry check in lines where you can while away the time - it's called The Dock, upstairs in the King Point marina building - and is far nicer than the rather spartan coffee bar at Portsmouth port. 

Good luck. 

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Thanks Wortley.  I take your point about timings and ships.  I'm happy with either the Pont Aven or Cap Finistere.  Yes, the 2 nighter does get a bit boring, that's why I was looking at Plymouth, if it's on, and landing time would enable us to get to Cabarceno in the light.

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We stay in Selkirk and regularly use Plymouth there isn't too much time difference between there and Portsmouth , we stopped at Gloucester ibis the last time we went down it was decent and nice to break up the journey, the route Richard said is the one we use.

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1 hour ago, Manxscorpio said:

Plymouth is about another fifty miles or so on that windy A road after leaving the motorway. Also can be very busy with traffic and awkward overtaking !!!

Had a look on Google Maps and it seems to be a dual carriageway of a good standard (Devon Expressway).  In our motorhome we tend not to do overtaking if it can be helped O.o

Edited by Guest
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Yes it will take about 45 minutes longer to drive to Plymouth rather than Portsmouth, but Pont Aven from Plymouth arrives in Santander at 1215, which is convenient for many people going forward from there, whereas Pont  Aven from Portsmouth arrives in Santander at 1815, which may well be less so. 

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13 minutes ago, neilcvx said:

all our A roads around here are pretty bad so I'm used to it.

Yes, our road out to Yarrowford is like being on cobbles, at least on a bicycle.

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6 hours ago, Manxscorpio said:

We always tend to use Portsmouth from NW England as Plymouth is about another fifty miles or so on that windy A road after leaving the motorway. Also can be very busy with traffic and awkward overtaking !!!

Did you take the wrong road? It's dual carriageway from the M5 to Plymouth.

 

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Ah, I was reading this wrong: I thought "windy" referred to an atmospheric disturbance, whereas it meant "lots of bends"... Actually, while the A38 is often busy, it's not a bad dual carriageway and only a bit slower than the M5 in normal traffic, and it's a lovely scenic bit of road. The problems occur as you drive into Plymouth, where you have got to keep your wits about you to select the correct lane at numerous junctions. The satnav can be misleading at times! Always follow the Ferry signs. And watch the speed limits.

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One drawback might be if the sailing is cancelled, even though there are sailings to Roscoff.  Otherwise it's a trail back to Portsmouth for more options.

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47 minutes ago, Bassman said:

Ah, I was reading this wrong: I thought "windy" referred to an atmospheric disturbance, whereas it meant "lots of bends"... Actually, while the A38 is often busy, it's not a bad dual carriageway and only a bit slower than the M5 in normal traffic, and it's a lovely scenic bit of road. The problems occur as you drive into Plymouth, where you have got to keep your wits about you to select the correct lane at numerous junctions. The satnav can be misleading at times! Always follow the Ferry signs. And watch the speed limits.

It is the Sainsburys roundabout that gets me every time but I've survived so far , to be honest I'm so used to driving up the A7 from Selkirk to Edinburgh a terrible road but scenic the last bit into Plymouth doesn't bother me at all.

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On 6/3/2017 at 13:43, auchmill said:

Am thinking about this winter's trip to Spain in December.  Last 3 years we did the 2 nighter to Bilbao and may do so again as we like getting on the road in Spain early morning.  Another option might be the Pont Aven from Plymouth to Santander which gets in at 13:00 Spanish time, if it's running again, and would allow us to get to an aire/campsite before dark.  We're in the Scottish Borders and normally take a couple of days to get to Portsmouth, so it wouldn't be too different to Plymouth, but we've never gone that way.  Portsmouth is easy to get to and there's a good car park at the Marina for us to wait around in before we head to the port at night.  I don't want to use the Economy.

Any thoughts, for or against, would be appreciated.

We've always found the A38 to be quick & easy with good layby selection if you wish to pull up for a brew in your van. If you're planning to cover the distance over a few days, Riverside Caravan Park in Plymouth is handy, PL6 8LL, and is open all year. We've stayed here a few times...

There's also the option to indulge in a bit of motorhome porn at Marquis in Ivybridge too!;)

BF's winter timetable will be available in July...

Edited by jonno
a bit more info
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22 hours ago, Solo said:

Did you take the wrong road? It's dual carriageway from the M5 to Plymouth.

 

I drive it daily, and can always stick to at least 65mph. I'm confused by the slow windy comments as it Doesn't match my daily drive!

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Strange but I have used that A38 (about 45 or so miles of it) on many occasions over the last fifteen years heading for the BF Ferry from Plymouth and ninety per cent of the time found a lot traffic on both lanes - maybe all heading to the ferry port... this is why I use Portsmouth BF route....

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We have always sailed from Portsmouth, with one exception from Southampton, and from Central Scotland we have always done the trip in a single run arriving in time for the overnight sailing to France. The strangest thing we have found is that Saturday is quieter than Sunday and we just do not know the reason but it is. Even cruising at 65, Scottish meanness to save money, we usually arrive with an hour or two to spare even leaving as late as 11:00 in the morning, the beauty of a diesel with a big fuel tank is that we can get to Portsmouth on half a tank 66/70 litres.

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It's our meanness that makes us go to Plymouth as the sailings to Roscoff are usually cheaper than Portsmouth and the wife's travel sickness is always better if she hasn't traveled a long distance the day of the sailing so it's usually the Premier inn and a short drive to the port and  we've also spent the night in Gloucester and Birmingham before to break up the journey too on occasions work permitting.

My wee focus usually has about 150 miles of diesel left so we get to fill up in Saint pol de Leon.

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1 hour ago, Lembyscot said:

from Central Scotland we have always done the trip in a single run

We're too cautious to try that.  Whenever I hear the Traffic News on radio it's about the 2-day delay on the Mxx because 10 trucks have overturned or there's a 500 mile tailback on the M6 at Birmingham because a tugger lost his caravan which hit the central barrier causing a pile up of commuters tail-gating and both carriageways are closed indefinitely.  So we like to leave plenty of leeway.

Manxscorpio, If you want slow and windy with difficult overtaking try the road from Strontian to Ardnamurchan Point :D

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