Wednesday, 31 August 2016


I've spent much of the last couple of days writing up the latest stage of my Around the Edge of England bus tour and am now about to start planning the next one, which I hope to undertake in mid-September.

The "Edge" is defined as the coastline plus the Welsh and Scottish borders but that still leaves the question of how to deal with estuaries. Should I go inland to the lowest traditional crossing point or make use of newer tunnels or bridges where these are served by bus, or should I use ferries as a short-cut where available.

Having had to make a decision very early on when the very first bus of the trip deposited me at Knott End on Sea with a choice of a ferry to Fleetwood or two buses round via Poulton-le-Fylde I decided I could be flexible. After all, it's not a competition and I've always reserved the right to vary - or ignore - the rules as I go along.  In practice I've found the ferries more interesting than the buses and have tended to use them wherever possible.

The Thames Estuary, however,  posed the greatest question of all, not least because it offered the most options. Tower Bridge is the traditionally-lowest fixed (or should that be semi-fixed) crossing point but the other options included at least three ferries, two road tunnels, two foot tunnels, a motorway bridge and a cable car!

After much thought I decided that all these cross-river options merited a trip of their own, which I will do some time in the future and for now I would stick to the lowest crossing - the Gravesend to Tilbury Ferry.  I therefore ended the last segment of the trip by crossing to Tilbury and getting a bus to Grays.

So for me (and thanks to Steve Bacon for pointing this out:  "The Only Way is Essex!"
The Gravesend to Tilbury Ferry

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