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From Scotland to Plymouth


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The worst section of motorway is always south of Manchester on the M6 from junctions 18 to the junction for the M6 toll (11A) or the junction for the M5 (8). We don't know why but it's about a 50:50 chance of a delay here, we had a 2½ hour delay just 2 weeks ago returning from South Wales, we covered 5 miles in that queue. We normally allow 10/11 hours for the 450 miles to Portsmouth allowing for comfort breaks and possible delays and we haven't missed a ferry yet in 25 years, I hope I am not tempting fate as we are heading south in 4 weeks, we normally cruise at around 65mph but if we think we might have problems I am quite happy to run nearer 75mph, but that doesn't happen very often. I hope this helps.

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The worst journey down south we had was actually one of the rare occasions when we were heading to Portsmouth (not that it would have made any difference) there was a lorry that had caught fire and melted the tarmac we had to take the extremely busy small roads that run parallel to the M6 for about 60 miles ,we eventually got to the Travelodge about 3 hours later than planned,that was a Saturday, things like that are rare though.

The worst part of our journey is always when you turn of the M6 at Carlisle and get on that awful bit of the A7 to Selkirk 50 odd miles of sheep ridden single lane road.

 

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8 hours ago, Lembyscot said:

The worst section of motorway is always south of Manchester on the M6 from junctions 18 to the junction for the M6 toll (11A) or the junction for the M5 (8). We don't know why but it's about a 50:50 chance of a delay here, we had a 2½ hour delay just 2 weeks ago returning from South Wales, we covered 5 miles in that queue. We normally allow 10/11 hours for the 450 miles to Portsmouth allowing for comfort breaks and possible delays and we haven't missed a ferry yet in 25 years, I hope I am not tempting fate as we are heading south in 4 weeks, we normally cruise at around 65mph but if we think we might have problems I am quite happy to run nearer 75mph, but that doesn't happen very often. I hope this helps.

Yes that section of the M6 is a busy one. we have used the Toll road going south to avoid the queues but coming back north we always get delayed. So different arriving Santander and travelling south to Malaga (600 miles) in just nine hours....

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On 05/06/2017 at 18:59, Manxscorpio said:

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....

Maybe it's  the time of day you're using it or you've been unfortunate. Around Plymouth it gets slow between 0745 and 0915, and again from around 1630 to 1830. The other 40 miles is fine. 

I commute it daily as opposed to your occasional trips to Plymouth, which can't be that often as you use Portsmouth.... 

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26 minutes ago, richwarwicker said:

Maybe it's  the time of day you're using it or you've been unfortunate. Around Plymouth it gets slow between 0745 and 0915, and again from around 1630 to 1830. The other 40 miles is fine. 

I commute it daily as opposed to your occasional trips to Plymouth, which can't be that often as you use Portsmouth.... 

That's the problem with Plymouth compared with Portsmouth, especially with towing a caravan: the last few miles after turning off the A38 towards the ferry terminal and arriving off the ferry from Santander at 4.15 on a Thursday afternoon into horrendous traffic heading towards Exeter.

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Ah, but when you come off the ferry at Plymouth follow the signs for Cornwall instead - even though that's  completely counter intuitive if you want to go to Exeter, but it works. That way you miss a lot of the city streets, you reach the A38 dual carriageway at a different point, turn right for Exeter when you get to the A38,   and that way you will drive high above Sainsbury's without having to negotiate that enormous Marsh Mills roundabout at all.  Job done as they say! 

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12 minutes ago, wortley said:

Ah, but when you come off the ferry at Plymouth follow the signs for Cornwall instead - even though that's  completely counter intuitive if you want to go to Exeter, but it works. That way you miss a lot of the city streets, you reach the A38 dual carriageway at a different point, turn right for Exeter when you get to the A38,   and that way you will drive high above Sainsbury's without having to negotiate that enormous Marsh Mills roundabout at all.  Job done as they say! 

You can also do the same in reverse to get to the ferryport, heading past Marsh Mills and turning off left on the A386, following signs to Plymouth Albion Football ground, and then turning right just past the ground towards Millbay docks. It's not always a clear road by any means, but it's not as convoluted as the marked route from Marsh Mills.

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I don't think they really thought about drivers when they changed the arrival to 4.15, who wants to be put in a city at the start of rush hour?

As Wortley said it's easier to head west, skirting around the city centre instead of driving right through it.

Having said this we can get to our daughters in 10 minutes, she lives on the hill overlooking Marsh Mills roundabout.

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We use the M6 Toll always for Portsmouth - discount with Caravan Club for our motorhome.  I think we will go out via Plymouth and return via Portsmouth as there's a decent stopover nearby if we arrive late.  (assuming timetable is similar to current one)

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7 hours ago, wortley said:

Ah, but when you come off the ferry at Plymouth follow the signs for Cornwall instead - even though that's  completely counter intuitive if you want to go to Exeter, but it works. That way you miss a lot of the city streets, you reach the A38 dual carriageway at a different point, turn right for Exeter when you get to the A38,   and that way you will drive high above Sainsbury's without having to negotiate that enormous Marsh Mills roundabout at all.  Job done as they say! 

Past the torpoint ferries, then past the navy yard, through keyham out to western mill is always quiet, except at kick out at the navy yard which is not inline with rush hour.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Doesn't look like we'll be going from Plymouth this December, as an answer in the Discussion forum suggests sailings end beginning of November.

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