|Louth Bus Station|
One of the shorter days as far as bus travel was concerned, with only one two-hour bus ride. Most of the day was taken up with getting back to Skegness from an overnight stop with friends in Leicester. Of course I made the most of the journey - a bus to Loughborough, then another - the "South Notts" to Nottingham (one of my favourites) before a two-hour train ride out to the coast.
Buses and trains at Skegness are skillfully timed not to connect with each other, with trains from Nottingham arriving four minutes after the hourly buses to Skegness are due to leave. But we did seem to be a minute or two early arriving, so I though it was worth making my way as quickly as possible to the adjacent bus station and, sure enough, I arrived at the right stand just in time to see the bus to Louth pull away!
Just to make things worse the "hourly" service to Louth has a 90-minute gap in mid-afternoon but I had expected this and was already resigned to spending what was definitely a "winter" afternoon in the town.
I was rewarded though, both by the fact that the bus I did actually catch was a rather more comfortable model than the one I'd missed and because the rain had stopped and most of the cloud lifted, thus making for a more enjoyable journey. Service 9 runs due north along the coast past that Butlins Holiday
Camp (sorry, "Holiday Centre") and then on to Mabelthorpe (where I was glad I didn't have to get out of the bus), passing "Fantasy Island" (as post-Brexit Britain is to be renamed).and running through very flat, but not unpleasant countryside to the small market town of Louth.
I'd been to Louth before and thought I would remember it, but memory plays many tricks and I found
I couldn't remmember it all, not even the bus station, although that did seem to have been rebuilt within the last ten years or so.
Anyone following the route on a map will realise that Louth is not on the coast, but the vagaries of Lincolnshire's bus network leave a five mile gap to the north of Mabelthorpe, accessible only by "dial-a-ride" type services, which promise to take you anywhere you want to go but which require registeration as a user, twenty-four hours notice to book a journey and even then can't guarantee they will be able to transport you at the time you request. Not much good if you need to connect with a twice-a-day bus to continue your journey.
So the section of coast between Mabelthorpe and Cleethorpes remained unvisited, but the consolation prize of a visit to what is a very interesting and seemingly-thriving Lincolnshire market town.