Monday, 2 May 2016

Day 18: Weymouth to Bournemouth

9th April 2016

Although it was a Saturday, with no restriction on bus pass use I wasn't away until 09.34 on the First X53 again, this time to Wool. Once again, my pass wasn't recognised by the reader on the bus ticket machine - something which happened on every bus today!

Lulworth Cove
For the first time this trip it rained heavily although it had largely cleared up by the time I arrived at Wool railway station, where there is excellent bus information, including real time displays provided by Dorset County Council.  Unfortunately none of that was of any help to the group of fourteen overseas students trying to join me on the bus to Lulworth Cove, which was operated by a 16-seater community bus and which already had 11 passengers on board!  The driver did his best to help and advised them of a local taxi firm who he said would send a minibus, but they were still there when we got back an hour later.

I returned from Lulworth (which turned out to be rather more over-developed and less "remote" than I expected) on the same bus and continued to Wareham via Bovingdon Camp, where  we picked up one of the few other passengers. He looked a rough sort but was quite chatty and actually had an interesting tale to tell of how he had ended up in rural Dorset after several years working on travelling fun fairs. It reminded me not to jump to conclusions about people based on first impressions!

Wareham was more interesting than I'd expected and I enjoyed an hour wandering up and down then main street and the small market by the river bridge. The town still has a 1920s cinema based in an older "Oddfellows Hall" and an interesting town museum. I was quite taken by the place even though strictly speaking it's not on the "edge".

From Wareham I got a bus to Swanage, which in contrast was a bit of a disappointment, although I'm not sure why!  I'd allowed an indeterminate time there, but was ready to leave after an hour, despite the "Steam Gala" on the preserved railway.  Go-Ahead provided an open-top double-decker for the ride to Bournemouth, although I along with most passengers, sat in the enclosed front few rows of the upper deck. 

On board the Sandbanks Ferry on the bus
 Having foregone the opportunity to cross the Torpoint Ferry on a bus I was able to make up for it on service 50, which crosses Poole Harbour on the Sandbanks Ferry - although we did have to wait for a small coaster to leave Poole Harbour across our path before we did so.

After crossing the ferry the bus follows a suburban route through to Bournemouth and although the view from the front seats was good, they were quite cramped with little leg-room so I was happy to alight in Bournemouth Square and go looking for my hotel even though at 1997.1km from the start I was less than 3 km short of the 2,000th.

That wasn't quite the end of bus riding for the day. Whatever the attractions of Bournemouth are they don;t seem to include many good pubs so with in being Saturday night I took a side trip - which doesn't count for the purposes of the trip - to Poole for the evening.

     Day 17  Seaton to Weymouth                                   Day 19  Bournemouth to Lymington

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