Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

Letter from Europe

  • — Issue 2012/30 posted by hidden europe on

Let's speak of buses. Can we set you a challenge? Could you pen some words for us? Britain benefits from a fabulous network of local bus routes. True, there are worries in many communities about how government cuts may affect subsidies for bus services, particularly outside peak hours. But that said, it is still possible to criss-cross Britain using just local buses to an extent that would be quite impossible in many other European countries. Last year, in a collaboration with Bradt Travel Guides, we edited a volume called Bus-Pass Britain. Over forty members of the public rose to the challenge of writing with passion and enthusiasm about bus routes in England, Scotland and Wales that are in some way special. Now, we are working with Bradt on a follow-up volume for publication in 2013.

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UPDATE (31 October 2012)

We are particularly keen to get strong proposals for bus routes in areas of Britain where few suggestions have so far come forward. These are. Wales; Cumbria, Northumbria and Durham; the northern half of Scotland (including the Orkneys, Shetland and Outer Hebrides); Somerset; Merseyside; Lincolnshire. That said, we still welcome good ideas from across Britain.

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Dear fellow travellers

“The time has come,” the Walrus said...

Yes, the time has come. But we'll speak not of shoes, nor ships, nor sealing wax — and not of cabbages and kings.

Let's speak of buses. Can we set you a challenge? Could you pen some words for us?

Britain benefits from a fabulous network of local bus routes. True, there are worries in many communities about how government cuts may affect subsidies for bus services, particularly outside peak hours. But that said, it is still possible to criss-cross Britain using just local buses to an extent that would be quite impossible in many other European countries.

Now we are looking for readers of hidden europe magazine (and recipients of our Letter from Europe or visitors to our website) who might be willing to write a short piece about their favourite British bus route.

Last year, in a collaboration with Bradt Travel Guides, we edited a volume called Bus-Pass Britain. Over forty members of the public rose to the challenge of writing with passion and enthusiasm about bus routes in England, Scotland and Wales that are in some way special.

Now, we are working with Bradt on a follow-up volume for publication in 2013. It will be called Bus-Pass Britain Rides Again. Can you help? At the moment we are looking for proposals from would-be contributors to the book. Those selected for inclusion will receive a full briefing on exactly what is needed - but, as a general guideline, each text will be approximately 1200 words long. The publisher will of course pay a small fee for each text accepted for inclusion in the book.

We are looking for a good mix of ideas - from rural rides that nicely capture elements of the English, Welsh and Scottish countryside through to gritty urban explorations. We would like to include some of Britain's super-long local bus routes - journeys that extend to two or three hours or more. And we want to make space for really quirky routes, improbable journeys that defy expectation. We would also like to include some routes operated by smaller bus companies, but of course we also welcome proposals for routes run by the big players. We are interested in routes that include opportunities for walks and sightseeing as well as routes full of urban colour.

In short we would like to receive submissions that showcase the splendid variety of British bus routes.

The route you write about may have personal meaning for you. It could be a journey you have regularly made over many years. It may be a bus route that passes your front door. Or it could be a route you have used on holiday. All we ask is that you know the route well and be prepared to write about it.

How to submit your ideas

If you are up for the challenge, please let us know by Thursday 15 November. You can contact us at buspassbritain [at] bradtguides [dot] com or at our regular address at editors [at] hiddeneurope [dot] co [dot] uk

We would ideally like to receive ideas as a Word document attached to your e-mail. Please tell us the following information:

1. Your full name, postal address, telephone number and e-mail address. If you wish, tell us a few words about yourself.

2. The number of the bus route you would like to write about and the name of the company operating the route.

3. The start and finish points of the bus route.

4. The duration of the journey and the frequency of the service. (Infrequent and / or seasonal services can certainly be included).

5. A paragraph (let's say a maximum of 100 words) explaining what makes the proposed route worth including.

6. A descriptive passage (no more than 200 words) of just one part of your proposed route.

7. Please particularly mention where you first heard about this project (so for example, via hidden europe if you first saw it here or in our “Letter from Europe”).

We are expecting a flood of good ideas from you all, so you can make our life easier by putting the start and end point of your proposed bus route in the subject line of your e-mail (eg. Hull to Selby). If your route is one that lies within a single city, just put the name of that city in the subject line (eg. Birmingham).

We will generally not repeat routes that were included in the 2011 book. You can see the table of contents of that book on the Bradt website.

You can suggest more than one route and of course we shall respond to every proposal. We expect to make the final selection of routes in late November. Those invited to write up their routes for inclusion in the book will then have until the end of February to produce their final text for publication.

Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries
(editors, hidden europe magazine)

This article was published in Letter from Europe.

About The Authors

hidden europe

and Susanne Kries manage hidden europe, a Berlin-based editorial bureau that supplies text and images to media across Europe. Together they edit hidden europe magazine. Nicky and Susanne are dedicated slow travellers. They delight in discovering the exotic in the everyday.