Sometimes, smart ideas…


…don’t make you feel inspired, they make you feel dumb, as in, how dumb am I not to have thought of that before? I had one of those today. Fortunately, for my wounded feelings of smartness, it turned out the idea was impractical in the first place.

It’s all about a day out. Last summer, I got from Manchester to Glenridding and back, including trips each way on the Ullswater Steamer, in a day. I started thinking about whether I could get even further afield. It appeared that Buttermere was possible, and would even be very easy if I were to go up one afternoon and stay in either Penrith or Keswick overnight.

At the moment, it looks like being something that I can’t free up time for until July and the start of the new holiday year.

Then, thinking about it this morning, I suddenly thought: You Idiot! The mainline through Ambleside and Penrith isn’t the only railway line through the Lakes, there’s the coast line, through places like Whitehaven and Workington: the bus journeys from there to Buttermere will be so much shorter and easier (if not quite so appealing in terms of the countryside you pass through).

What a maroon. What an ultra-maroon.

This was a brilliant idea. Until I checked Cumbria County Council’s Bus Timetables and learned there are NO bus services from Whitehaven or Workington into Buttermere. As far as I can tell, the only bus service to Buttermere comes from Keswick over Honister Pass.

Back to Square one, people.

6 thoughts on “Sometimes, smart ideas…

  1. I can still just about remember the bus station in Keswick, before they sold it off and built over it….back when my friend Val was still alive and I used to go stay at her mum’s guest house for free. At that time Val (who was a typist for solicitors!) worked in Penrith. There was still Keswick station, but it was a hotel I think, and the railway line had been axed by stupid bloody Doctor Beecham thinking why would anyone want to go Keswick? Or why would Keswick people need to work in Penrith? Don’t worry, ‘they’ said, we will keep a comparable bus service to replace the train. Except, of course, they didn’t. Come Mrs Thatcher – who obviously hated public transport – how many times did she ever go by train? Once, maybe? – and the last bus from Penrith to Keswick left at 4.30. If, as Val and others did, you worked to 5 – tough! They used to have go quarters on a shared taxi. No trains, virtually no buses. No wonder everyone came by car, clogging the town streets. That typified the ‘clever’, forward thinking of the powers-that-be running this bloody country – then and now. The sheer stupidity and short-sightedness of some of those railway line cuts! Even so, I can remember being able to hop on trains and gad off to the seaside or the Midlands or East Anglia from London, or even later, after the 1980s, about the country from Southampton popping up to London, or Kent, or Dorset, without rail works, emergency bus services, cancellations, delays,, cows on the line, etc., making getting from A to B a logistical nightmare. Oh, happy days!

    1. I could just about make Buttermere and back in a day but I’d have to get up painfully early and pay the inflated fares required to travel before peak time. A leisurely journey the night before, a night in Penrith – or better yet Keswick if the prices aren’t prohibitive in July, maybe a three day jaunt, two nights in Keswick, that would be bloody lovely…

      I remember haviing a car and I’d unashamedly go back to that freedom any day. Without one, there are places in Lakeland I’ll never see again for how else could i get to Wasdale and see Great Gable from the front?

      i’d better start planning dates…

    1. Thanks for the recommendation. To be honest, I’m a bit chary of starting a youth hostel career at my age and knee mobility, and the idea of staying in Keswick again is too good to pass up. Practicalities will, as always dictate.

      1. They’re not like they used to be and most offer private rooms if the idea of a dorm doesn’t appeal. Then again, you can’t really go wrong staying Keswick and getting the rambler bus down through Borrowdale. Worth it for the journey alone!

  2. That’s the thing, George. If there had been a Whitehaven/Buttermere service it would have been incredibly convenient, but to miss the Jaws, Borrowdale, Honister? Isn’t that too big a price to pay?

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