Green enthusiast puts Borders on bus pass map

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Kelso resident Richard West is doing his bit to encourage Borderers to leave the car at home when exploring their region.

He has contributed two chapters to the recently published Bus Pass Britain, a book that describes 50 of the most interesting and scenic bus routes across Britain.

From Penzance to Thurso and illustrated in colour, the book describes points of interest along the routes, makes suggestions for refreshment stops and in some cases overnight halts, as well as providing a wealth of practical detail about timetables and operators.

Targeted partly at the over-60s bus pass generation, Richard also hopes the book will appeal to younger readers looking for a different travel experience.

Talking about his involvement, he told TheSouthern: “I came to be involved through my subscription to the magazine Hidden Europe, best described as an off-beat travel periodical that promotes slow travel and lesser known corners of Europe.

“The editors, Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries, also edited Bus Pass Britain and were looking to include more Scottish routes.

“They had suggested in a flyer in the magazine that route 67 looked interesting but as their editorial office is in Berlin it was not immediately practical for them to check it out on the ground.

“As route 67 stops just a few steps from my front door, I wrote pieces on the Perryman’s service from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Galashiels and another rural Scottish link from Pitlochry to Rannoch Station. Both appear in the book.”

Perryman’s Buses recently won the Small Bus Operator of the Year (1-30 vehicles) at an awards ceremony organised by leading trade magazine Route One, which recognises excellence in the operation of coaches, buses and minibuses.

A retired civil servant, Richard says he has never had any aspirations to be an author, so finds it very strange to see himself in print.

But he added: “If the book gets more people exploring the beauties of Scotland without a car, it will make its own modest contribution to greener travel.”

Bus Pass Britain is published by Bradt Guides and costs £15.99. It is available through Latimer’s bookshop in Kelso and other book retailers.