“It’s grim up north”, so the phrase goes. But could the same be said for the West Midlands?
The heat is on to find “Britain’s Most Scenic Bus Route”, and you can bet your bottom dollar the arguments will rage long after the winner has been announced. I’m still debating who was my favourite Spice Girl since the 90s (“Baby Spice”, since you ask – “Scary” used to frighten me…)
What caught my eye was the comment that Bus Users UK are supporting the initiative, alongside four of the “big five” groups – the notable absentee being National Express Group.
Is this a tacit admission that the gritty heartlands of Birmingham and the Black Country have no views of beauty from it’s buses? Viewing the list of nominees so far, some of the usual suspects appear from this green and pleasant land, but what about our former great industrial landscape? Granted, the sight of that great plastic monstrosity Merry Hill hardly warms the cockles of your heart as the X10 disappears down the latest pothole, but what about a fleeting glimpse of glorious countryside from the upper deck of the 257 as it negotiates ridiculously-parked white vans on it’s escapades around the Stickley Estate? Or a breathtaking view of Greater Birmingham from the Oakham Road near Dudley Golf Club? Ah. the 120 is normally single-deckers. But you get my drift.
We may once have been the workshop of the World around these parts, but we can’t be letting all these green fields and rolling countryside around Yorkshire win the day. Besides, Alex Hornby at Transdev won’t have any more room for trophies in his office.
So think on. Our Outer Circle around the outskirts of Brum may not entirely be classed as “scenic”, but who said the three hour round-trip on our most famous of bus routes won’t leave you breathless at the end of it? Beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder…
Vote for your favourite scenic route here