TRANSPORT: Use bus service or risk losing it

Spirit bus in Rothbury.
Spirit bus in Rothbury.

Once again, I am writing to praise the Spirit Bus which covers Coquetdale and goes across to Alnwick and Alnmouth Station.

Seizing the chance of an unusually lovely day, my husband and I caught the 10.45 bus from Rothbury.

We enjoyed the scenery on the way to Alwinton where we got off and walked up Clennell Street, returning just in time for the 3.15 bus back to Rothbury.

Another couple who were on the same buses told us that they had spent the four hours at Alwinton having a little walk and a lovely lunch at the Rose and Thistle in Alwinton.

The two drivers of the buses are very skilful, negotiating hazards, such as roadworks and tractors on the narrow roads, the buses run exactly on time and are comfortable with good visibility.

I believe that Steve Hurst, who runs the bus service, does not get funding from anywhere and has invested all his own money into this enterprise.

Inevitably, a lot of the users of the service have bus passes and he only receives half the fare back from the Northumberland County Council.

We were pleased to see that people got on and off the bus at various places along the route and some had been or were going as far as Alnwick so the service is obviously serving the rural community very well.

There needs to be much more use of the service, however, if it is to survive and I urge people to get on the bus.

You can go from Rothbury to Alnwick, have two or four hours there and then travel home in comfort, saving fuel and wear and tear on your car and your nerves.

Alternatively, you can have a lovely day out – at Alwinton (and other points along the way), Wallington Hall, Elsdon or even anywhere on the East Coast train line.

Go online or pick up a very attractively-produced timetable and get out there and enjoy our special part of Northumberland.

Once you have done this, share your experience with others, encourage visitors to use the buses to see the countryside and help to keep this innovative and useful service running.

We must use it or lose it.

Heather Lister,

Silverton Terrace,