Morecambe's days as a seaside resort are well behind it and the town can look a bit sad and run-down at times, but it can still come to life on a warm and sunny Summer's day - particularly if there is something special on to bring the crowds in.
Spring Bank Holiday weekend sees two such events - The Nice 'n Sleazy Punk Festival, which certainly livens the place up, and - more to my taste - the Ribble Vehicle Preservation Trust's Bus Running Day on the promenade.
"Ribble" was the name of the area's bus company in the days before Stagecoach and the like came along and a "running day" is an event when you can not only see the preserved buses but ride on them as well, in this case along the seafront from Heysham to Carnforth. There was also a second service to the Morecambe suburb of "Bare" well-known for its (fictional) Women's Institute that's twinned with the (real) Idle Working Men's Club.
|Preserved vehicles of Ribble Motor Services at Morecambe Winter Gardens|
I took a trip to Heysham and back on a Routemaster, followed by a ride to Bare on the bus shown on the left in the image above that went via Happy Mount Park where, on a summer Sunday, the brass band still "plays tiddley-om-pom-pom". After that I went up to Carnforth on a 1960s Preston Corporation single-decker and called in at "The Snug" micro pub on the station for a pint. I was glad I did because it meant that my final journey, back to Morecambe, would be on this bus:
|Fishwick's Leyland Titan PD2 at Carnforth|
A Leyland Titan PD2 with a lowbridge body identical to those I used to ride on as a boy in South Wales. This one belonged to a Leyland operator J Fishwick & Sons, which still runs buses between Leyland and Preston today and still paints them in this colour scheme.
I'll be back on the cut soon!