First of all, the scheduled departure has been delayed from South Africa several times. First of all, they had too many passengers and they couldn’t load the bike. Then obviously the dreaded snow in the UK and with Heathrow closed it meant another few days delay … but eventually it arrived in the UK on the 23rd of this month.
Eager to get back on the bike, I went straight to Heathrow’s Cargo section. On arrival I was told that the bike needs to clear customs first … no problem, done it about 15 times before. “Where is customs?”, I asked … “Their are no customs here” … what ? Heathrow that doesn’t have customs ? It’s all up in Manchester or somewhere apparently.
I was then told, I will need to use an agent and then and only then customs clearance may take about 2 days. The worst border in Africa, which is probably Egypt took about 4 hours … now they are telling me the UK customs take 2 days. Also, I can’t do it myself like I always did, I have to pay someone to do it …. just a way of making money I think.
Anyway, with no choice, I had to use an agent which charges £40 just to pick up some documents and another £45 for customs clearance. I was also told not to hang around as it wouldn’t happen on the same day, so very disappointed I went back to London again.
Luckily the next morning I got a call from the agent to tell me customs have cleared the bike and I am now free to go pick it up. Total charges were about £190 which makes this officially the most expensive border of the whole trip. For that price, luckily the staff at Virgin Atlantic cargo did uncrate it for me and disposed of all the packaging material (as seen in the photo above) …
Was good, but bloody freezing to be back on the bike again !