BUS fanatic Alan Gurr has achieved his dream of travelling across England for nothing using his bus pass.
The 67-year-old granddad’s first attempt to traverse the country by bus failed last year because he missed a connection.
But now the divorced Didcot dad-of-two has completed his mission thanks to the national scheme, which gives free travel in England after 9.30am. And he has raised £350 for East Oxford’s Helen & Douglas House hospice in the process.
After a train up, he set off from the most northerly bus stop in England, at Berwick-upon-Tweed in Northumberland, on Monday, July 14.
The following Tuesday, eight days and 32 buses later, he arrived at the country’s most southerly bus stop at Land’s End and took the train home.
Mr Gurr, who works on the factory floor at TNT packaging warehouse at Milton Park, said: “A lot of people spend all year saving up to go on holiday to a sunny beach in the south of France.
“That would drive me crackers. I’d just get bored and sunburnt – it does not appeal.
“I really enjoy England, I like my holidays at home, I like B&Bs and I like travelling. I decided to do it by bus just to see if I could, and I could.”
Mr Gurr said: “We all had very hot weather that week except for me in the Lake District.
“With all the rain and steamed-up bus windows, I couldn’t see the beautiful scenery.
“Apart from that, it was a very enjoyable week for me, helped by the knowledge that I was raising some funds for a very worthy cause.
“All of my pre-booked B&Bs were good – some of the beers I tasted weren’t.”
He said the best evening meal he had was at Harry Ramsden’s fish and chip restaurant in Blackpool.
Last July he travelled south-to-north but missed a crucial connection and had to take a train.
He added: “It was a personal challenge. One missed bus connection meant I had to complete that day’s journey by train.
“I decided there and then to do it again, properly, with no mistakes on my part. Now I have done it, albeit in the opposite direction.”
HOW HE DID IT
- Sunday, July 13 – train from Didcot Parkway to Berwick-upon-Tweed
- Monday, 14, – Berwick, Newcastle, Carlisle, Keswick, Ambleside – 4 buses
- Tuesday, 15 – Ambleside, Lancaster, Blackpool – 2 buses
- Wednesday, 16 – Blackpool, Preston, Chorley, Wigan, Warrington, Northwich, Middlewich – 6 buses
- Thursday, 17 – Middlewich, Winsford, Crewe, Newcastle Under Lyme, Shrewsbury, Bridgnorth – 5 buses
- Friday, 18 – Bridgnorth, Kidderminster, Worcester, Hereford, Gloucester – 4 buses
- Saturday, 19 – Gloucester, Lydney, Chepstow, Bristol, Wells, Taunton, Axminster, Exeter – 7 buses (a busy day) A Sunday bus timetables meant I could not finish the trip that day
- Monday, 21 – Exeter, Wadebridge, Truro, Penzance, Land’s End – 4 buses
- Tuesday, 22 – train from Penzance to Didcot.
- Sponsor Mr Gurr at justgiving.com/Alan-Gurr
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