COLUMN: My plan to travel England’s coast on a bus pass

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By Viv Scott

Belper resident

I recently found an interesting book “Bus Pass Britain” describing some of the UK’s best bus journeys, not just for pensioners but for anyone who likes a day out without the stress of driving. It is the result of a competition amongst U3A members to find the 50 most popular routes and includes three Peak District buses.

Recommended are the 214 or 215 from Matlock to Sheffield, the Buxton Flyer to Hanley in Staffordshire and the 58 from Buxton to Macclesfield.

All these journeys give wonderful rides with splendid views. But I wonder how many people see travelling by bus as a pleasure? In 2008 bus passes were extended to allow travel across the length and breadth of the country and perhaps this has influenced older people to think about taking a free bus ride for sheer enjoyment. If your knees are no longer up to walking Wainwright’s coast-to-coast path you can always do it by bus pass!

A few years ago a friend and I set off from St Bees, jumping on and off local bus services we made our way across Cumbria, the Yorkshire Dales and over the moors. At Robin Hood’s Bay we dipped our toes in the North Sea. My latest project is to travel the length of England’s coastline.

This long journey may take a few years to complete and my friend and I sometimes wonder if we have bitten off more than we can chew! But they say a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step and so our journey started with a short bus ride from Berwick on Tweed to Holy Island.

Then on to the Farne Islands, Newcastle and the Yorkshire coast, into Lincolnshire.. From King’s Lynn to Cromer we rode the Coasthopper, then on to Southwold and Aldeburgh before reaching Ipswich. Next time we’ll go through Essex towards the south coast with plenty of nice seaside resorts to enjoy.

It’s a long way to go, but it if we ever get to Carlisle we will have learned a lot about our beautiful country. I’ve come to some conclusions about bus travel.

It is disappointing that so many bus stations are horribly cold draughty places, badly designed and uncomfortable as waiting areas, but on the positive side, bus drivers are friendly and helpful and buses are reliable and generally run on time, which is good news for bus pass users.