Wully Davidson: Kerrera Misadventure
Bus Pass Rambles – 1 June, 2023
Today’s trip was supposed to take me to Kerrera island to walk a six mile loop along its southern half. Kerrera is the island a few hundred yards from Oban. The 0830 bus from Glasgow to Oban should have taken 3 hours, but there was an accident on the road. Another coach driver had tried to reverse and ended up with a back wheel in a ditch, and the coach blocking the road. Police directed smaller vehicles through, but the gap wasn’t big enough for coaches, so we were stuck there for 2.5 hours, until a recovery vehicle arrived from Dumbarton.
This scuppered the Kerrera trip, so I had to content myself with a few hours in Oban. I took a walk out to Dunollie castle. You get to it by walking to the end of the pavement going north from the town. When you reach the end, there’s a track directly across the road, leading to the castle and museum. Although well preserved, Dunollie castle is a bit unimpressive. Just a big ‘cube’, really, but the view you get from there is even better than the views from McCaig’s Tower or Pulpit Hill.
On all the bus trips I’ve done, I’ve never yet bothered to book beforehand, despite being advised to do so by drivers. On some trips, I’ve had to wait until the booked passengers boarded before being allowed on. This happened on the bus back from Oban. I had a chat with the driver about what I consider to be a pretty dysfunctional system, which also extends to trains and ferries. He informed me that he had recently had to tell several passengers in Oban that he couldn’t allow them on, because he had twelve passengers booked to board at Tyndrum and Crianlarich. In the event, only six of them showed up, so the Oban passengers were needlessly left stranded. He also told me that, on one occasion, he had attempted to get an unbooked passenger to leave the bus at Tyndrum, to make space for a booked one. Needless to say, the passenger refused to get off, as he’d paid his fare. He said he wouldn’t be doing that again, due to the ‘aggro’.
If you want to be certain of travelling, it might be necessary to book. Some destinations, such as Oban, are more popular than others, and if you were getting the 0830 bus from Glasgow to Oban on a sunny Saturday, it might be better to book. The ticket office in Buchanan bus station opens at 0800, and the booking fee is just £1. I don’t own a smartphone, but you can book that way. Also, if you’ve got a PC with a printer, you can get your ticket that way, too. I intend doing the Kerrera trip on Monday 5 June, and will book a return ticket in the ticket office. There’s a West Coast Motors shop in Oban, about 50 yards from the bus stop, where you can also book your ticket. Maybe it’s just my age, but modern life seems much more complicated than it needs to be.
Wully Davidson, 1 June, 2023.
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