As operators look forward to the summer season, our man on the English Riviera and mine of local knowledge Alan Payling considers the long and short of a couple of unlikely and wholly unsuitable destinations for day trips that sometimes appear on tour itineraries in the South West
It’s a question I often ask tour drivers when they’ve just landed in Torbay. Having handed them the information pack I distribute when they arrive at their hotel, I ask in a friendly and helpful manner: ‘So, where you off to this week then, driver? Going anywhere nice?’. Generally they are happy to tell me. Most of the time they’re going somewhere that is suitable for a coach. Even if it is suitable, but they haven’t been there before, I offer helpful advice on the best route to take, for example. But there are occasions when their answers do surprise me. Not that long ago Moretonhampstead
reared its unsuitable head a couple of times. But there was one destination for an excursion that really did surprise me: Buckfastleigh.
When I am told by a tour driver in a very new and very expensive tri-axle that he or she is heading to a place like Buckfastleigh, alarm bells start ringing. So being a diplomatic sort of chap, I try to ascertain why they are heading to such a place. There have been occasions in the past when a driver has a private group on board that has a specific reason for heading to a location that I would normally consider unsuitable for the average, and large, coach.[…]
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