Topless In Derbyshire.
As a bus spotter, armed with your camera and notebook, you might choose to stand somewhere along the A623 between Baslow and Calver. You may choose to lurk outside Hulleys depot …
… and watch the comings and goings whilst waiting for FOUR open top bus movements, (three northbound and one southbound) performed by THREE different open top vehicles.
The out and back bus would be Hulleys recently introduced Breezer running at weekends and during the school holidays.
fbb has already drawn his loyal readers’ attention to the excellent initiative from the local firm.
The route takes you via Grindleford, the deeply buried Grinfleford station …
… which, if it is at anywhere, is at Nether Padley just outside the western portal of Totley Tunnel.
It is a steep climb down from/up to the Breezer. The route is heavily wooded, so just plenty of trees, until you burst out near Fox House with gorgeous views of the gritstone edge …
.., and along the valley towards Castleton.
This corner (below) is called The Surprise, for obvious reasons!
Here is the Breezer coming up the hill from Hathersage on its wat back to Baslow.
One delight of the Hope Valley view is, of course, the Cement Works.
The bus follows the former A625 along the Hope Valley to Castleton where the Breezer terminates in a very small bus station.
When photographed by Sheffield correspondent Roy, there weren’t many passengers!
But posters have been ptinted!
It is early days, of course, but Hulleys are to be commended for something innovative and very different for the popular Peak District.
But Two Come Along Together …
The buses, we are told, are being prepared for the brand new Peak Sightseer service run by Stagecoach Chesterfield. This is a very different operation from that of Hulleys.
Firstly, it is not a bus service but a tour. That means the £2 minimum fare does not apply, OAP passes are not valid neither is the excellent Derbyshire Wayfarer ticket.
Fares are £6 adult, £4 child and concessions. There is a family ticket at £15 reduced to £10 if you have paid to get into Chatsworth.
The publicity has a rather poor route map.
The tour cycles continuously throughout the day but for convenience we start at Chatsworth House …
… being up-fettled when Streetview got no further thn the river bridge. The tour runs north to Baslow Bridge End (one of the many “Ends” in Baslow) and Nether End which might be called the main “interchange” point in the village.
The tour then joins Hulleys as far as Calver …
… where there is a left turn on to the B6001 to Bakewell. The scenery is pleasant but hardly spectacular!
A stop is on offer at Hassop Station (not at Hassop, of course) for walkers to join the Monsal Trail, a walk along a substantial bit of the old Midland Railway main line to Manchester.
And so into Bakewell where a peckish bus passenger can hop off for a traditional eponymous “pudding” …
… great if you like a blast of almond flavour. fbb is not so keen!
Bakewell is pleasant enough where the riverside park and walks are far nicer than the summer traffic jams.
And so along the A6 to Ashford in the Water.
Picturesque! And appropriately named although not usually IN the water!
A hairpin right turn takes the open topper through the village.
And so back to Chatsworth; but remember to hop off at Pilsley …
… to spend huge amounts of money at the Chatsworth Farm Shop where most of the produce on sale has never seen a farm at Chatsworth! The caff is excellent if you still have plenty of cash to spend.
fbb recommends one of the chippies in Bakewell for better value for money!
Stagecoach’s Peak Sightseer is a pleasant ride through rural Derbyshire with plenty of green and pleasant views.
Is it worth £6?
It would be more attractive at £2!
Hulleys scenic route is far better.
But here’s a thing.
This tour (it is not a bus service) is being subsidised by Derbyshire County Council using Bus Service Improvement grant money from H M Government – that’s from you and fbb.
Is it right that this cash should be used to subsidise a purely leisure tour charging a high prices (£6) and going nowhere that isn’t currently covered by an existing bus service!
NO IT ISN’T.
How much subsidy does Hulleys receive for their far better service (from viewing the scenery point of view) at a far better price!
There is considerable disquiet within the bus industry that Bus Service Improvement money should NOT be subsidising a commercial tour.
For the record the Peak Sightseer runs every 30 minutes until 30th September …
… then weekends until Christmas!
Positioning journeys fom Chesterfield in the morning …
… and back after the end of the non bus service …
… are included in your £6 fare.
As we saw in an earlier blog, Hulleys offer connections from their other services, as might be expected.
Stagecoach also offer connections (more experience) but only one of these routes is run by Stagecoach.
The Stagecoach route is the 65 (Sheffield to Buxton).
The 65 is a glorious ride with far better views of the Peak District than the open topper. It even used to have minimalist branding – but, alas no longer.
And it will only cost you £4 for a much longer round trip!
P.S. fbb thinks that whoever drew the Stagecoach map did not understand where the bus actually runs. It doesn’t serve Curbar, Hassop station is omitted and the map at Baslow is probably wrong.
No chocolate peanut for him – or her.
fbb Gets Carried Away
Even more planters for Peterville! There may not be room to plant them!
And What’s This?
Business Class? Where?
Maybe the GL in the reg number was intended to stand for Green Line …
… and somebody changed their mind?
Next Variety blog : Sunday 25th June