Sunday, August 07, 2016

Market Harborough to Melton Mowbray by bus

My most recent Six of the Best included an article by John Disney that says our rural bus services are in meltdown.

Judging from Market Harborough he is right. In the last couple of years we have lost a bus that served Northamptonshire villages on the way to Clipton and our service to Wilbarston, Corby and Gretton. Even the mighty 44 has been reduced in frequency.

Given that background, I have long been intrigued by the 303, which claims to run from Rothwell via Market Harborough to Melton Mowbray on the first Tuesday of every month.

Finding myself at a loose end last Tuesday - the first Tuesday in August - I had a mind to catch it.

So unlikely did the service sound that I rang Hamiltons & Buckbys Coaches the day before to make sure it was running.

They assured me it was. Where it stopped in Harborough was a slight mystery, but my mother said she had caught a bus to Melton years ago and her memory of where she had got on it coincided with my theory.

So I presented myself at the bus stop on Northampton Road shortly before 9.30. By the time the bus was due I had been joined by half a dozen old ladies and when it arrived it proved to be the mighty beast you see in the photo above.

We followed the B road through High Leicestershire from Market Harborough to Melton, taking in little-visited settlements like Three Gates and New Inn. It would have been an education to those who tell me the Midlands are flat and uninteresting - as would my ultimate destination Burrough Hill.

The 303 appears to be a purely commercial venture to take the active pensioners of Rothwell to Melton Mowbray market. I wish it well.

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