Wednesday 2 November 2011

In Praise of Nuts [2]

The Problem with Portinscale
Portinscale is a delightful, picturesque Lake District village close to the northeastern bank of Derwentwater and might, possibly, be regarded as a "suburb" of Keswick. It comes to fbb's attention following yesterdays blog about Cumbria's cunning plan to publish a winter bus timetable booklet without bus timetables (read again). The e-mail announcing this spectacular and positive development in public transport promotion commented thus:-

The County Council is very much progressing the provision of electronic based information using, for example, websites and I-apps, and the promotion of such initiatives will be very apparent in the new guide.


Idly musing on these matters fbb happened upon this ...
... namely next bus information on-line for a stop in Keswick, showing three service 86 journeys. A quick look at Cumbria's bus route map shows the 86 as terminating at Portinscale.
And so to Cumbria's comprehensive timetable listing ...
... and a confident click confirms this timetable.
This suggests (quite strongly in white on green and white on black) that the 77 / 77A and 86 only run during the summer months. AND that there is just one trip in each direction on the 86, NOT three as indicated by the so-called real time page.

So, next to "operated-by" Stagecoach Cumbria who, sad to say, don't admit to running any buses in Keswick; it's not even on their alphabetical list. Never mind, eh? All you have to do, obviously, is look under "Kendal" ...
... how silly of you not to have guessed that, ...
... where you will find buses in Keswick, including the 86.
Except there aren't any!

"What about Traveline?" We hear you cry. ("cry" is the operative word).
It offers a plethora of pertinent planning procedures, one of which is an 86 bus at 1011 to Portinscale ...
... a journey which does not appear on the printed timetable.

Because Traveline North East & Cumbria does not publish any timetables, merely referring the frustrated user to other helpful (?) places, it is impossible to find a definitive answer.
So there you have it! Only you don't. The enquirer of Cumbria's on line facilities has absolutely no idea whether there is a bus to Portinscale or not, and, furthermore, if there is, what the times might possibly be.

Before someone accuses fbb of being economical with the truth, all the other journeys shown in Traveline as running to Portinscale are on Stagecoach service X5 which follows the B5289 ...
... and the very busy A66 ...
... effectively by-passing the village. Not the best stops to use on a dark and stormy Lake District night; with the added delight of a substantial stumble down creepy and uninviting lanes to the village. Thanks, but no thanks.

N.U.T.S. (The National Union of Timetable Secrecy) is doing a really good job in Cumbria.

P.S. The summer service 77/77A offers a truly magnificent circular ride from Keswick via Butterthwaite Buttermere and lots of stunning scenery. A must, if you ever get the chance.

It also serves Portinscale!

Next blog : due Thursday November 3rd


  1. It is in fact possible to find the correct 86 timetable on the Stagecoach website by selecting 77/77A/86 (Keswick), which then displays the current timetable just for the 86.

  2. Silly of me not to look under 77 for the 86. The point of the blog was to challenge Cumbria's abandonment of printed timetables in favour of electronic sources, currently palpably wrong!
    It's not the most helpful of Stagecoach to fail to list the 86 under 86.
    But thanks for the advice.
    I will add a note to tomorrow's blog

  3. Re the 77, I am not sure whether your reference to 'Butterthwaite' was intentional. There is unfortunately no such place - although there certainly ought to be ! The 77 and 77A serve Rosthwaite, Buttermere and Braithwaite, so Butterthwaite sums up the character of the route perfectly.

  4. Senior Moment - I meant Butternere whuch is what it says on the bus!

  5. I had difficulty in finding the 77/77A/86 (Keswick) referred to in the first comment. It actually appears on the Stagecoach website as "77 77A (Keswick)" with no mention of the 86. Furthermore it is not in service number order, sandwiched as it is between the "87 (Sellafield works service)" and the "86 89 (Fleetwood)" in the drop down menu. Note the spelling of 'Rambler' when you finally get to the timetable page. The 86 (Keswick), still no timetable, is still shown appearing between the "76 (Carlisle)" and "78 (Keswick)" in said menu! Not very helpful. Also the Cumbrian Council website sorts the service numbers in an unusual way e.g 5, 50, 505 but I can't seem to access that section of the site this morning. Most unsatisfactory!