A sunny morning was enough to send ideas of improving on my Buxton photo collection into my head and me off on a spot of local travelling. The pondering carried on and designs on traveling to Bakewell came on steam too. They were strong enough to get me picking up a £10 Wayfarer ticket from Macclesfield’s train station before hailing a very full service 58 to Buxton. Much to my surprise, most stayed on it until Buxton itself because I might have expected most to disembark on the way up Buxton Road before leaving Macclesfield.
The day was largely grey by the time that I reached Buxton so no Buxton photos for me then. Inspection of bus timetables sent the idea of going to Ashbourne into my head. After all, it is a part of Derbyshire where I hadn’t gone before and a cloudy day is a chance to see somewhere new. A lack of sun and a chilly breeze were enough to send me onto the next service 42 (like the 58, also operated by Bowers). Along the way, the day cheered up again and I was surprised to see it leaving the A515 for a narrow lane but this was the deviation that serves the pretty place that is Tissington village. That was the only time that it left the A515 until Ashbourne was reached with the terminus being a collection of stances that passes as a bus station.
After spending an hour around a sunny Ashbourne and sampling a little piece of the Tissington Trail, it was onto the last stage of the journey: the 108 from Ashbourne to Macclesfield operated by Clowes with the support of councils in Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire. That service left with just two passengers on board but more were to join in Leek and near Bosley so it didn’t stay that empty all of the way. The route stuck with the A52 for longer than might be expected and there were some strange twists and turns before it passed Cauldon to join the A523 at Waterhouses. From there, it was all direct through to Leek and Macclesfield though it started to feel before Leek came into view.
All the buses on which I travelled were well used though none was as full as the Optare Solo that took me away from Macclesfield in the first place. That was the one conveying young families along with the now habitual contingent of bus pass holders and others like myself. In fact, all services were used by both young and old alike with the 42 dropping off some Indians in Tissington.
With its YJ05 registration, the Optare was the newest bus that I used and the age profile of the others was such that they dated from the mid/late 1990’s. Both were Mercedes midibuses that once were common around Macclesfield with a P-reg one operating the 42 and an M-reg one working the 108. Ride on all of these, even the older ones, was better than on some recent journeys between Wilmslow and Macclesfield on Arriva’s 130. In fact, the Clowes bus still retains its welcome sign and seat upholstery from its time in Arriva hands.
All buses operated pretty much to time and the timetables made it all work even when things were being worked out on the hoof rather than being planned beforehand. Now that I have seen how to get to Ashbourne, exploring the countryside surrounding the town is more of a possibility. Who knows what might come of that?