News From the Road - Days Three & Four

 

Part Three - Written by Nick Taylor
Coach Owner & Driver

The Coach of Love continues on its journey.  We hesitate for a moment - do we call in to a Coach Operator on the way who has offered to clean her?  Yes we do and what a great decision.  Bibby's of Ingleton is just yards off our route and we drive into their yard.    Six of their staff descend on to the coach and polish her.  Clearly they know what to do as the shine is well beyond what I have achieved.  Mugs of tea and a time to compare our Bedford OB with their Bedford OB.  They are remarkably alike and even have the same original moquette on the seats. Clare Bibby says  "The coaches make us money but the Bedford OB makes us happy".  What a great thing to say.  

I wonder how the moment could be even better then Peter Bibby announces that the Flying Scotsman is passing by in an hour!   The entire staff of Bibby joins us including Stuart their mechanic who brings his mug of tea on board.  His overalls are stained with oil and crease, and now tea. We drive both coaches to a remote spot on a country lane and park next to the railway track.  The video clip shares with you the experience and for once I am lost for words.  I am continually in a state of bliss and it's not only those we pass who are smiling.  Thank you Bibby's it was a great stop.  

We drive on into the Lake District and it's like going back in time, twisty country roads with stunning views and no traffic (for a moment I have forgotten that there is a two mile back up of cars behind us).  Grasmere is our choice of stop and we spend a couple of hours here. Some shop (I remembered gingerbread) while others walk around the lake.  For the last few miles to our overnight stop we are joined by Harold, a dear old friend who is on his own personal journey at the moment and we are delighted he is on board.  Tom cooks supper and I reflect on my wise choice to bring a chef with us.  

The next morning it is raining but we have a long way to go so just put our foot down, not that it made any difference we could still only manage 10 miles per hour up the steep hill out of Keswick.  We have another decision, do we stop by the Old Blacksmith in Gretna Green?  A couple of local guys join us and insist that we do. "We have 6,000 weddings a year here" one says.  That wasn't persuasive but indeed we do stop.  Another of these moments when I think 'what would make this better?'  A bride and her new husband come around the corner and pose for pictures by the coach.  Wonderful moment and we wish them well.  A coach load of Japanese tourists are spotted and we make a hasty get away.  We were close to being a permanent photo fixture.  

Galloway and Dumfries is an area I have never travelled through but can highly recommend it.  Rolling attractive countryside but without the crowds of the Lake District.  John Bennett a local funeral director and coach company in Kilwinning hosts us to a tasty BBQ.  A wonderfully dour looking Scotsman and generous in his hospitality and support.  Thank you John, your family and staff for a really enjoyable evening.  We are off to the highlands today.  More tales later.

Nick