Thursday June 12th 2008
To see the pictures full size just click on the thumbnail
Stokenchurch to Land's End by your Editor
June 2nd to 5th 2008
Who could have imagined, when as a very young child and I found I had an unexplained interest in buses, that one day as a much older person, I would be able to travel the length and breadth of England for free. Of course I come from a time in history when bus travel was cheap, reliable and served by many buses on routes perhaps now long forgotten. Indeed, by companies now consigned to history.
As a young boy, one could travel around, without fear of molestation and in the safety of a country not yet full of dangers and unforeseen events. I can well remember taking a Manchester Corporation bus, as an 8 year old, with a 1d all day school holidays ticket which allowed one to hop on and off buses from 9.30am until 4.30pm without restriction. Thus your intrepid correspondent was prepared for journeys some 60 years later, which would have made a young man's mind boggle.
I spent many happy days on summer holidays in Devon and Cornwall and so not unexpectedly I chose Land's End for my first senior excursion. Having moved south earlier in my life's career in the aviation business, I was well placed for a trip south westwards in a comfortable three days.
I had to overcome the planning difficulties of using my pass, not starting before 9am. Buckinghamshire, where I live, has a 9am rule unlike other areas which have a 9.30 am limitation. Indeed I have since found out that Reading and Slough have no limits at all but since my first suitable bus service from my home was leaving at 9am there was no problem with this part of the planning.
One of the problems was to find the best place for my first night stop, as I intended using the X53 Jurassic coast service between Poole and Exeter for part of my journey on Day 2. The first suitable X53 service was going to be the 08:55 departure from Osmington Village, joining anywhere after Portesham which was passed at 09:37. Thus the explanation to why I chose Lyme Regis, this also being the furthest point west I could reasonably reach the previous evening, being the end of the first day.
My second day starting at Lyme Regis would see me passing through Exeter, Plymouth, Liskeard, Lanviet and St Austell to reach Fowey in time for dinner and an overnight in the comfort of The Fowey Hotel. This was largely achieved as planned with the exception of an early departure from Plymouth by Western Greyhound of which more in the story of Day 2.
The third day was planned to leave Fowey and either 10:04 or 12:04 depending upon the weather and passing by St Austell, Truro and Penzance, reach Land's End sometime around teatime. I would then return to Penzance for my overnight and be well placed for the start of my return home on Day 4.
A map of my outward bound journey.
Courtesy Microsoft Autoroute 2007
A map of my homeward journey.
Courtesy Microsoft Autoroute 2007
I determined that I would only use services on my concession pass was valid, thus ensuring my trip would be cost free. For my return, I accepted that if I wished to be back home by the Thursday evening, I would need to use my staff pass on a National Express service and by doing so I arrived home at 7.15 pm on Day 4 after a round trip of about 725 miles.
I found the Traveline website most helpful and indeed very accurate (http://www.traveline.info/index.htm), so much so that I ended up on a University special from Bournemouth to Dorchester, to the surprise of the driver, who it appeared had never carried a "twirly" on this service.
A word of explanation, Concession Pass travellers are often referred to as "Wrinklys" and in some place "Twirlys". Now what is a "Twirly"? This is a CP Holder who it seems often try to travel too early or before the 09:30 start time. I like "Twirly" and so this description will be used throughout my jottings.
Follow the links below to the
four days my journey took.
(when published they will appear as a link in blue)
1 Stokenchurch to Lyme Regis
published 12th June 2008
Day 2 Lyme Regis to Fowey
published 7th July 2008
Day 3 Fowey to Land's End
published 25th July 2008
published 22nd August 2008
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A note regarding photographs which show drivers faces.
Following one complaint from a bus driver in Oxford but considering the fact that the photographs are taken of the vehicle not any person,
I will blank out the face to avoid any discomfort to the individual concerned. If you are the person involved send me an email to have this action taken.
I am sure people will realise that to ask everyone in advance of publication, whose face may appear in a picture is wholly impractical in both time and practice.
I am sorry to have to mention such a matter but we now live in a world of human rights and political correctness which must be considered.