A WEYMOUTH couple endured the ‘golden wedding holiday from hell’ after having to make their own way back from Benidorm during the volcanic ash crisis.

Phil and Gill Lock spent the best part of £1,000 arranging their own transport from the Spanish resort to Calais and over the channel on a ferry after international flights were grounded.

Mr Lock said he and his wife saw scenes of chaos throughout their return journey to Weymouth as continental travel firms, car hire companies and hotels hiked their prices to capitalise on the situation.

Retired Weymouth Speedway manager Mr Lock, of High Street, Wyke Regis, said he and his wife flew to Spain with the Dorset County Bowling Association from Southampton as a treat for their golden wedding anniversary.

Mr Lock, 71, said: “After all the flights were grounded, the help we got from people was pretty well non-existent.

“We couldn’t get through to the British Consulate and we couldn’t get on to Flybe’s website to check flights.

“We looked into hiring a car but that would have cost us £3,000 a day and we couldn’t leave Spain in it.

“In the end we and some other holidaymakers chipped in to hire a coach to get back to France.”

Mr Lock said he and his wife spent 25 hours travelling to Calais.

He said: “After we arrived, the French police wouldn’t let us into the port at first but our Spanish drivers were really good and helped us to get in eventually.

“Inside the port it was just chaos, there were families with little children crying. It was heart-breaking really.”

Mr Lock said that when he came to book a ferry ticket on an automated computer screen, the system kept resetting itself to hike the price of a one-way ticket across the channel from £18 to £65.

Mr Lock said: “There must have been 5,000 to 6,000 people in the port and it was very cold.

“I saw one woman wrapped in a hypothermia blanket.”

Mr Lock said the problems did not end after he and Gill arrived in Dover.

He said there was a London red bus waiting to take him and the other passengers on to Southampton, but the 50-seater vehicle was swiftly crammed with people’s luggage.

Mr and Mrs Lock eventually made it back to Southampton to pick up their car and drove back to Weymouth, arriving at around 6am on Thursday.

Mr Lock said: “It was absolute chaos over there and we ended up having the golden wedding holiday from hell.

“I think it must have cost about £1,000 to get us back in the end.”