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Musicians hire fishing boat to beat France quarantine

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Musicians from Dunedin Consort hired a fishing boat to return to the UK
A group of musicians beat the France quarantine rules with just 10 minutes to spare - after chartering a fishing boat to get them back to the UK. After a five hour Channel crossing, eight members of the Scotland-based Dunedin Consort arrived at Hayling Island in Hampshire at 03:50. They made the last-minute dash after a performance in Lessay Abbey, Normandy, on Friday night. It was the first concert by the baroque ensemble since lockdown began in March. They were among thousands of British people who were trying to get home before the 14-day quarantine requirement came into force at 04:00.
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Jo Buckley, the Dunedin Consort's chief executive, told BBC Scotland they knew quarantine was a risk as they travelled to France on Wednesday. But after four months in lockdown, the musicians were desperate to play together again.And if they had withdrawn from the concert on the basis of speculation about new restrictions, the organisation would have lost "many thousands of pounds", she added. "This is the impossibility of planning concerts amidst all the changing rules and regulations," Ms Buckley said.
The Dunedin Consort performed at the Lessay Abbey before embarking on their marathon trip home
When the quarantine rules were announced late on Thursday night, the group spent hours online trying to find ways to get home before the deadline. As self-employed musicians who have been hit hard economically during lockdown, they needed to return home to work. Amongst other things, they are lined up to work with the online Edinburgh Festival next week. "We looked into ferries, the Eurotunnel, flights, even chartering a private jet — you name it, we tried it, but we couldn't find any way of doing the concert and getting home before the quarantine curfew," she said. Eventually - on Friday morning - they tracked down a firm which hired out a boat for fishing trips from Hayling Island. Once they finished the concert at 22:30 local time (21:30 BST), eight of the 13-strong group boarded a coach to Cherbourg where they met the Valkyrie boat.
Musicians from Dunedin Consort hired a fishing boat to return to the UK
They left the French port shortly before midnight and arrived in the UK about five hours later. "It was lovely," Ms Buckley said. "The boat was very comfortable. We were all able to have a little sleep inside even though we were all quite excited when we got on board. "It was a calm night so it was a very easy crossing."With just minutes to spare until the new restrictions came into force, they arrived in Hampshire. They were taken to London Euston by minibus and from there the musicians were able to make the final leg of the marathon journey home.
Musicians hire fishing boat to beat France quarantine

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