At last, the all clear for sustainable transport! When lockdown in the UK was eased in late June, Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged us to drive, walk or cycle if we couldn’t stay home. In the weeks that followed, the Lake District welcomed day-trippers, picnickers and more recently Staycationers flooding in by car and camper van, while buses and trains into the Lakes remained all but empty. With public transport set aside for key workers and essential travel only, non-drivers and anyone other than the truly energetic has been waiting patiently – or in my case, impatiently! – for the right time to travel into the Lake District.
My wait is almost over. One week ago, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that anyone can now use public transport at any time in England, removing previous restrictions. Shortly after, Stagecoach Cumbria issued its summer bus timetable, joining rail (National Rail) and boat operators (Windermere Lake Cruises) and tour and private-hire operators Mountain Goat in offering socially-distanced pre-bookable services to customers. With another month of lazy summer days ahead, the timing is perfect for my first long longed-for bus-ride from Kendal back into the Lakes. Now all I need is for my back to heal so that I can get about once I’m there, having hurt myself a month ago tackling an overgrown lawn with a lawnmower!
This video of the view from the #599 open top Stagecoach bus linking Bowness, Ambleside and Grasmere was taken by one of my guests (thanks again, Eriko-san!) back in March, before Covid-19 closed the UK and with it, the Lake District National Park. Look out for gentle Rydal Water, beloved of William and Dorothy Wordsworth, and don’t miss Ambleside’s iconic Bridge House – one of the smallest houses in England, built over a river as a tax dodge back in the 17th century, and home at one point to a family of eight. Blink and you’ll miss it!