Public transport in rural Scotland can be confusing – even in areas closely surrounding our towns and cities!
For example, when making a journey by bus from Carlisle to Kettleholm, (a little village near Lockerbie and situated directly on the main Lockerbie to Annan road), I have to make a change at Gretna (about a third of the way from Carlisle to Kettleholm).
This would be fine, except the buses are run by separate operators (although they share the same number (382)) and neither operator accepts the other’s tickets. I could get an open return for Carlisle to Lockerbie from Stagecoach, but may get a warning if I try to use it on the McCall’s to my village. And vice versa. I have often got off the Stagecoach Carlisle to Lockerbie bus at the shortest distal point of about 2 miles. It is a 40-minute, green and pleasant walk home from there – and there is even more incentive to get the bus back to Carlisle from that distant stop, as the bus past our road is only a few times a day and they (McCall’s) might refuse a Stagecoach return ticket. So I have often ended up running those 2 miles………because I’m bad at timekeeping.
My last single journey cost me
£3.80 – single from Carlisle to Gretna (on the 79 Carlisle to Dumfries bus) PLUS
£2.65 single from Gretna to Kettleholm (on the 382 Gretna to Lockerbie bus) = £6.45
because I have to buy separate tickets. This was the only bus route I was able to catch that day.
£6.40 is what it normally costs for an open (28 day) RETURN from Carlisle to Kettleholm. I really had to stump-up for this luxury journey to visit my parents.
If I were to get TWO return journeys, that would cost me £4.80 return from Gretna to Kettleholm (and I seem to remember the return from Carlisle to Gretna costing £6.50 or more!)
I am paying TWICE AS MUCH to get to Kettleholm, via the different operators, compared to the £6.40 return to Lockerbie, four more miles away!
Below is a small collection of snapshots of the potholes on the main Lockerbie to Annan road, along which our village is situated. Some have been patched up recently, but the key word here is ‘patched’. Is it a sign that they don’t intend to resurface this road for another five years or more, when it desperately needs it now?! It looks almost abandoned/forgotten – and this is one of our well used tourist routes!! What a welcome!!
The Houston’s 383 Annan to Lockerbie bus only uses this main Lockerbie to Annan road twice a day, 07:10 from Lockerbie to Annan and 16:45 back during the school run. The rest of the day it uses the APR bypass road.
Motivated to use public transport
Government statistics show that, over the last four decades, public transport prices have soared while the cost of travelling by car has dropped dramatically –
People in my village mainly use their cars – public transport seems too much of a hassle (as highlighted by my experiences). To get to Dumfries from Kettleholm, first you have to catch the (rare) bus to Lockerbie, then catch a (fairly frequent) bus from Lockerbie to Dumfries. Look a bit closer, though, and a neighbouring (4 miles away) village, Dalton, has the fortune of having a bus pass through it direct to Dumfries!
Understandably, though, people see driving as so much cheaper and so much more convenient that they don’t give it a second thought.
Trains don’t often stop at Lockerbie station……… I have noticed that in the north of England there are a number of “request stops” whereby the passenger can request upon boarding that the train stop there. Could this not happen at Lockerbie?
When I got a job in Carlisle, and before finding my flat there, I had to cycle the 7 miles to Annan train station to get to work, catch the last train back and cycle 7 miles home along a country road in the dark…… I wouldn’t mind if I had a decent bike (It’s an old mountain, with a slightly bent fork and bent handlebars, which means it is not technically roadworthy !).
I have recently resigned myself to cycling the distance between Kettleholm and Carlisle. (I WOULD prefer to cycle part way and hop on the bus at a later stage, but they don’t allow bikes on board). After the first 26 plus mile journey to my parent’s home it gets easier!…. and it only took me about twice the time the bus took.
I’ll leave you with some nicer photos of the roads, taken on my bike journey home……..in daylight……