Sunday, 21 February 2016

Day 11: Wadebridge to St. Ives

3rd February 2016

First bus of the day: Plymouth Citybus 11A in Wadebridge

For the second day running I had to make a pre-0930 start meaning I had a fare to pay. Unlike yesterday's relatively benign £3.30 from Ilfracombe to Woolacombe today's 30-minute ride on Plymouth Citybus service 11A to Padstow set me back an eye-watering £4.75, reminding me just how much this trip would have cost without a bus pass.

In Padstow, buses terminate at the old railway station, being no more able to penetrate the narrow streets of the town than the trains before them were, but leaving passengers with a lengthy walk into the town.
In recent years Padstow has gained a reputation as a bit of a "foodies" place, thanks to "celebrity chef" Rick Stein. In one of his establishments in the town I could have enjoyed a meal of "fish, chips and peas" for only £16!  (perhaps bus passengers from Wadebridge would think that reasonable?). However there other delicacies to be had - as this picture of the High Street shows.
Never far from a pasty in Padstow

The plan was to take First's 56 service on to Newquay at 10.25, but the bus stop timetable case was advertising a 10.15 journey over a very similar route by "A2B Travel", so I cut short my tour of the town to get back to the bus stop in time for this.  It didn't show - being either a seasonal service or one that had been withdrawn without the display being updated! So it was back to Plan A and a ride on a First double-decker, which I was glad I'd taken after all given the spectacular descents into  - and alpine climbs out of -  some of the coastal villages served. There was also a brief visit to "Newquay Airport" where despite the paucity of planes we did pick up a couple of passengers.
Great views from the 56 heading for Newquay. . .
. . . and some challenges for the driver.
Newquay bus station was a depressing sight. Half the stands are out of action and the enquiry office closed and shuttered. The rest of the town wasn't much better. I think it's only the surfing that keeps it alive which probably explains the "18 to 40s Surf Lodge and Retro Bar" that we passed on the way in.

Hopley's 315 after dropping me off at Redruth Station
First provided another elderly double-decker for the 87 on to St. Agnes - a much smaller place than I'd anticipated and where the main bus stop is at the "Miners and Mechanics Institute" - a reminder that we were know within the old tin and copper mining area of Cornwall.  I had a tight connection here onto the next bus and we were running seven minutes late - but so was Hopley's 315 on to Redruth so no harm done.  The 315 ran through more of the former mining area with many former mines and winding houses being evident before dropping me outside Redruth railway station where there was time for a cup of tea in the buffet before the next bus on to Camborne.

Trace the route of the 47 and compare it with the 14 or 18
There are several different services linking Redruth and Camborne but none is as indirect as service 47, which takes 45 minutes via an extremely circuitous route, at one point executing a 20-minute loop out to the coast at Portreath before returning to to the same point at Illogan. One couple stayed on the bus for the whole loop before alighting - 20 minutes later - just one stop further on!

Camborne turned out rather more interesting than I expected.  A (former) industrial town but now with lots of seemingly thriving small business and local shops that seemed to be doing much better than similar-sized places I'd encountered so far on this trip. It still has an old-fashioned bus station where passengers "MUST" keep behind the barriers at all times: and woe-betide them if they don't - as I found out!

One of the shops in the main street now functions as the local offices for the Labour Party and displays this replica poster, which is still relevant today. (Sorry about the image quality).
Now they use more subtle means of undermining it.
My last bus of the day was another First bus - this time a 14 that I could have caught in Camborne to take me through to St. Ives.  St Ives is another Cornish town that buses can't penetrate due to the narrow streets and bus terminate at the "Malakoff Bus Station" overlooking the harbour, which buses have to make a very tight turn to get into and - once in - to turn round to get out again. Waiting passengers have to keep behind the barrier again, but this time whilst supervised by a banksman, although those alighting are left to their own devices.
Malakoff Bus Station, St. Ives. The parked cars don't help.

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