Tuesday 17 June 2014

Is it Nuts? Or Necessary? [2]

a reminder of the geography
Penzance is off the map, top right

Lamorna Lament!
Our intrepid travellers, the virtual Eric and Mavis Smail, have been wrestling with First Kernow's complicated timetable for services 1, 1A, 1B and 1C. Their plan to do a big tour via Lands End has been partly scuppered by lack of buses to Lamorna. We will continue our theoretical tale as the Smails arrive at Lamorna at 1241.
No cove; no sea; no cafe. But there is a pub.
The Lamorna Wink was one of the original Kiddleywinks – alehouses that could be opened by anyone willing to pay the £20 required by the Beer Act of 1830. Spirits were banned but a “wink” would get you a contraband brandy over the counter.,Today The Wink retains close links not only to its smuggling history but also its maritime background. Outside it appears the typical Cornish pub – mottled granite stonework, small windows dotted about, but step inside and you can’t help but notice the nautical memorabilia.

Framed black and white photographs, charts & maps, brass plaques, a ships wheel above the open fire, the bell to call last orders – just some of the many pieces that all reflect both the coastline and the pubs links with the sea.

First Bus seems to think this is the "Wink Inn" at Lamorna. It isn't! The pub is called the "Lamorna Wink" and, as it is at Lamorna, maybe the timetable should show    "Lamorna Lamorna Wink" ? This is the terminus of Eric and Mavis' service 1B. From here there is a long-ish trek down a narrow lane ...
... and a steep hill to the Cove itself; ...
... where there is a car park (but no bus turning point, hence using the Wink's car park) some houses and a disappointingly modern shop and cafe.
We remember that our virtual couple were intending to continue from Lamorna to Lands End, as proposed on the new First Kernow network map.
"When's the bus to Land End?" asks Eric with polite suspicion.

"There isn't one, we go back to Penzance,"** replies the helpful driver. "You can catch a bus back at the main road."

"When's the next bus back up the hill then?"

"There isn't one, this is the last bus back to Penzance."

After some sotto voce asperity and a heated debate with Mavis, Eric decided to stay on the bus and go back to the top  of the road for their onward journey to Land's End. Lamorna Cove is cancelled.

"Never mind, dear," pacifies Mavis, "we can come back here another day."

"Not (expletive deleted) likely!" Is Eric's prompt and brusque rejoinder.

One has to assume that First Bus (or is it Cornwall Council) see no value in encouraging bus travel to Lamorna Cove; just let more amd more cars clog up the lane.

Seeing the Smail's distress, the driver did not charge them for the trip back to Lamorna turn ...
... where there is a 15 minute wait for their bus to Lands End. There is even a stop sign, a timetable frame with timetable and a comfy block of concrete to sit on. Or is it a charmingly rustioc chunk of timber?
Unfortunately Eric chose this trip to have a little snooze, whilst Mavis, unaware of the niceties of their plan, just enjoyed the ride. Thus neither of them noticed that this trip ran via Sennen Cove to Land's End. Sadly, by the time they arrived at the end of the land (Western end, southern end is at the Lizard) the sea mists had rolled in.

Nevertheless, they were able to enjoy the luxurious terminal facilities provided by the dynamic partnership of First Bus, Cornwall Council and the owners of the Lands End "attractions".
Yep, that's it! Bus facilities at one of the country's major (?) tourist sites. Not even a shelter!

But the views from the cliff top are gorgeous ...
... or would have been if the sun were shining.
Sadly, the Smails were totally underwhelmed by the quaint Cornish appurtenances of Lands End ...
... so after a ludicrously expensive cream tea ...
... at £6.95 (EACH) because they didn't have a service 300 ticket to show; and in view of the deteriorating weather, they returned  on the 1441 bus and thence back to their digs to watch telly.

If only they had planned the day more carefully. If only they had understood the timetable.

A day rover ticket, even at the high price of £10 each would have saved them money. Their unplanned fares for the day were (EACH!):-

SINGLE Penzance to Lamorna Wink £4 adult
SINGLE Lamorna Turn to Land End £5 adult
SINGLE Land End to Penzance £5 adult


But, has fbb's light hearted description of Eric and Mavis Smails' unhappy experience be an exaggeration? Would real people set off on a day trip with such a display of misplaced innocence? The answer, from several years' experience trying to run an open top bus from Ryde sea front ...
... is, definitely, YES. Many folk do not plan in advance; they assume that things will be straightforward and are then disappointed, even very cross, when the aren't. Above all, holiday makers and occasional visitors struggle with complicated timetables.

So what IS wrong with the 1, 1A, 1B and 1C?

**To be pedantic, there are two buses a day from Lamorna to Lands End. They are diverted 1As at 1533 and 1810. There is no return working via Lamorna, however, after the 1244 back to Penzance.

 Next bus blog : Wednesday 18th June 


  1. Digging in the depth's of Cornwall Council's website, it would seem that the public highway runs out at the pub. Therefore the traffic to and from the cove doesn't seem to be the council's responsibility, as it is not its road. I wonder who it does belong to?

  2. Did buses ever run down to the Cove in the past? Whoever "owns" the road it would seem to be in the interests of First, Cornwall and the traders to get buses down to the sea side. There are plenty of cars down there!

  3. Buses never ran down to the Cove. In fact the old Western National turning point (now) someone's driveway) was a bit further up the road, but still called "Lamorna Cove".

    Western Greyhound's now withdrawn 504 (PZ-Lamorna-Lands End-St Just) used to serve Lamorna Cove/Wink and the 1/1A/1B have only operated there since November as a compromise, as at that time it looked like there would be no replacement for the 504.

  4. Thanks, Steve. Very helpful background. I did spot the 504 on an old map, but, by the time I started researching, it had gorn!

  5. The 2015 summer timetable shows open toppers on the 1740 from Penzance, which diverts via Lamorna. I'd always assumed this journey would be a midi as I didn't think you could get a double decker down the lane - or turn a full size bus at the pub. Can anyone confirm whether First do in fact operate deckers on this journey? If so, I hope they've pruned the trees!