Thursday, 25 August 2016

The Puffin Bus

The Puffin Bus takes you from the harbour at Rathlin to the West Lighthouse, where the RSPB bird sanctuary is.  It's just over 4 miles, but seems like 10 since the bus tootles along a single-track road.  Like most vehicles on Rathlin the bus is well into its retirement.  It appears that there has been a bit of a war going on in Rathlin between rival bus companies - there were even stories of sabotage.  But I understand peace has broken out and the two companies now operate on alternate days.  The day we went we had Patricia as our driver - this is the sort of view you get from inside.

Patricia looks like she was giving her running commentary here - this was just before she stopped the bus.  Turns out the bus had a flat tyre, but it was OK apparently as there were two wheels at the end of each back axle.  Anyway, we slowed down even more, to walking pace and continued our journey back to the harbour.  After about 20 minutes we hadn't advanced very far, so when Patricia eventually got a signal on her mobile phone she called her dad, who came out in the other, equally decrepit bus, to rescue us.  Sure it was a grand wee adventure.
It's hard not to notice the number of abandoned cars, boats, caravans on Rathlin.  I guess the cost of taking these things off the island is just too high, so they are left to slowly rot at the mercy of the elements:

Old fishing boats, Church Bay
I'm sure the locals don't even notice these old bits and pieces any more and while there is some charm in it for us visitors you don't come to Rathlin to admire the scrap.  Perhaps the authorities (whoever they might be) should organise an amnesty on Rathlin - just do a big clear up, take all the scrap off the island for free.

"Vincents Boat", Rathlin

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