24th March 2017
|First bus of the day at Louth|
In contrast to yesterday today was to be a bit of a marathon, with no fewer than six buses to ride on and unusually for this trip all of them from the same operator: Stagecoach.
First ride of the day was on the 51 from Louth bus station, on which I needed to reach Cleethorpes. Although a Stagecoach service, the bus carried the stylish purple-and-white "Interconnect" livery that Lincolnshire County Council arranges for operators on its core interurban network to use. Louth is one of the connecting points, with buses from Grimsby, Skegness and Lincoln meeting up regularly throughout the day. But the 51 doesn't serve Cleethorpes, bypassing it in its hurry to get its passengers to the thriving metropolis of, er...., Grimsby!
To reach Cleethorpes it is necessary to change at somewhere described as "New Waltham", although from the map "middle of nowhere" might be a better description. Despite there only being eight minutes between the connecting buses - and with the 51 running a few minutes late notwithstanding a fast run along the A17 with minimal diversions "round the houses" - the connection was made. Service 8, however, only takes the Cleethorpes-bound passenger as far as "North Sea Lane", which is the very southernmost part of the town. To reach the town centre you need another bus - the 10 - although what the timetable doesn't tell you, but the driver will - is that your "8" magically becomes a "10" on arrival at North Sea Lane; waiting just a few minutes before continuing to Cleethorpes. Actually, it continues all the way to Grimsby but I wanted at least half-an-hour by the seaside, so split my journey just before the 10 turned inland on arrival at Cleethorpes town.
I spent some of that time waiting to see a group ("troop?" "possee?") of army cadets attempting in the strong winds to
|The memorial to World War II aircrew at Cleethorpes|
raise a few flags (perhaps to half-mast?) at a nearby war memorial but the next number 10 arrived before they managed it, so I never found out whether it was anything to do with the "terrorist" attack in London the day before.
Today's timetable was rather hectic in places, none more so than in Grimsby, where I had 10 minutes to find my next bus, not helped by the bus station having been closed and buses relocated to different adjacent streets (and further confused by roadside timetables being out of date). But I managed to locate service 5 to Immingham, which I'm afraid I have to say was probably the most depressing place I've so far encountered on this trip. This picture of the "town centre" will help explain why!
|Immingham Town Centre (all of it!)|
I had been looking forward to 45 minutes or so at the "County Hotel" terminus of my next bus, but it didn't look exactly as I'd expected and then I realised I'd been confusing it with the Berkeley Arms in Scunthorpe and it was not a perfectly-preserved Art Deco roadhouse dating from 1940 after all. Neither did it have any cask beer. Oh well!
|Immingham Oil Refineries seen from the bus|
Service 450 took me on to Barton-upon-Humber with some fine views of Immingham's extensive oil refineries that stretch for at least a mile along the road on the way. I hadn't expected a double-decker on this three-times-a-day service, so it was an added bonus to get one and to enjoy the views.
|Approaching the Humber Bridge on service 350|
So far, the major estuaries en-route have been crossed by tunnel (the Mersey) or ferry (the Thames) or I've gone the long way round (the Severn) so the opportunity to cross the Humber by the Humber Bridge was too good to miss. My last bus of the day, service 350 - also billed as the "Fast Cat" (although its just an ordinary bus) took me across and on to Hull, where we arrived a few minutes late (the only irregular running of the day) but in time for a meal and a pint before getting the train home to Lancaster.