Thursday, 17 May 2012

2012 - Day Out 09: Hereford and Hay-On-Wye

Date: Saturday 28 April 2012

It was time for another day out, and this time we were going to visit a couple of new locations, being Hay-On-Wye and Ross-On-Wye, the first location being a destination of the 1989 ITV series, The Interceptor .

Hereford Cathedral
It is an early start and just before 6.30am, I make my way to Wollaston. As I make my way up towards the village, the rain starts coming down, luckily I haven't long to wait and can wait under cover. I suffer from some more good luck as the first National Express West Midlands service 276 arrives a few minutes early and the driver lets me board so I can stay dry. At 06.36am, the bus pulls away, and after a couple of minutes, I send a text to Mr UKBuses, sorry Mikey, to let him know that I am on the way. As we arrive in Norton, Mikey boards and this will be the first trip that we actually use the new Stourbridge Interchange. As we arrive at the interchange, we have a break with tradition and alight, changing onto the "Stourbridge Dodger" to takes us to Stourbridge Junction. As we arrive at the junction, we change platforms and I realise why I don't wear "The Interceptor coat" that often when I nearly trip up the steps up to Platform 3. Mikey has a little warm in the waiting room as I spend a few minutes having some "fresh air" before our London Midland train arrives at 0735am. We are on our way and out of the rain and as we make our way through Kidderminster and Droitwich Spa, it doesn't take us long before we arrive at Worcester Foregate Street. We have a bit of time to spare, so Mikey makes use of Tesco Express next door to the station, and he also gets the wallet out to take some "Map Allowance" out of the cash machine.
Cheers from The Kings Fee!
The first leg of the journey is out of the way and we make our way back into Worcester Foregate Street where we catch 0830am London Midland service, which takes us to our first proper destination of the day, Hereford, where we arrive at 0919am. As we arrive the rain has got worse, so we have a little walk up to the town but on our way we find a J D Wetherspoons, "The Kings Fee", pictured right, where we decide to have a break for a bit and stay dry. After a couple of drinks, we decide to brave the elements and have a walk around the town centre, stopping off at the bus station by the Tesco store and also we pay a quick visit to the First in Worcester and Herefordshire depot in Friar Street. We have a walk back through the town centre, but have a quick bladder break at the Shire Hall, before making our way back across town to the Country Bus Station round the corner from the Railway Station. There are not a lot of vehicles currently at the bus station, so we decide to take shelter once more at "The Kings Fee" for a quick drink before we make our way back to the Country Bus Station to catch our bus to Interceptor country at Hay-On-Wye. At 11.40 our bus arrives and we board the Stagecoach South Wales Service 39 bus which will take us to our next destination, the blue course, and after passing through Kingstone and Peterchurch with the journey taking us just under an hour we arrive at Hay-On-Wye.
Cheers from The Kilvert Hotel
We alight in Hay-On-Wye and as we alight, the heavens start to burst again, so we have a little scout around and find the Kilverts Hotel, where we take cover. It is my round and we decide to have an Interceptor drink, a pint of Guinness, and I get stung at £4.00 a pint (I know who is buying at The Pulpit in Portland Bill this year), I decide to cut my losses and tell the barmaid to keep the change. We spend a while at the hotel whilst we sup our Guinness, see picture left, but the rain dies down a bit so we finish our drinks and we go in search of a famous bridge, the bridge that The Interceptor once stood, see picture below. After a short walk we find the famous bridge, and whilst Mikey stands on the bridge, I get into Interceptor mode and run down the path at the side pretending to zap one of "Annabel's rabbits". Zapping over, we decide to find somewhere to eat (we did think about a meal at The Kilverts, until we saw the prices in the menu). Mikey has spent his map allowance wisely and he spots a chip shop. We decide to stay indoors and eat them inside the shop and as Mikey finishes his fish and chips, I go outside for a "fresh air" break. As I'm walking up the street, this man turns round to me and says "Who do you think you are, The Interceptor?", at this point I wanted to put my arms out and squeal, but I let him carry on walking down the street whilst I wander if he actually saw the real one all them years ago (twenty years to be correct). Mikey has finished his lunch and comes outside, we decide to find our way back to the bus stop so that we can get our bus back to Hereford enabling us to get to our second "Wye" location of the day.  As we make our way back to the bus stop Mikey points out where Annabel was guiding her "rabbits" around the course for them to get their keys. We arrive at the bus stop and have about ten minutes to wait, but we have to take shelter as the rain is starting to fall again. Our Stagecoach South Wales Service 39 eventually turns up and we get comfortable towards the back as we make our way back to Hereford. As we continue on our journey, the rain starts to fall faster and harder, so when we arrive at Hereford, we decide to get off at the railway station and abandon the trip. Luckily as we walk onto the platform, a First Great Western train is waiting to depart, so we board and takes our seats, after about ten minutes the train departs and we arrive back in Worcester and alight at Worcester Foregate Street Station.

Aha, I Like it!We have a few minutes to spare so we make our way back to ground level so that I can have a "fresh air" break. We make our way back to the platform and decide to wait in the waiting room. Apart from the seating, it seemed like we went back in time, but at least we are in the warmth as the temperature outside has taken a nosedive. Our London Midland train arrives on time and we board and get ready for the second leg of the train journey back home. We pass through Droitwich Spa and Kidderminster before we arrive at Stourbridge Junction. We alight and are straight onto the "Stourbridge Dodger", which takes us back to Stourbridge Town. Upon arrival we decide to have a drink in another Wetherspoons, "The Chequers Inn", before we go back home. We finish our drinks, I say goodbye to Mikey as I decide to use the facilities and then do a bit of shopping, which means that I don't have to come into town the next day as the weather looks like it won't give up. Shopping done, it is back to the Stourbridge Interchange so that I can catch National Express West Midlands Service 276 back home.

Despite the awful weather, the day out was good because of the good company. We didn't get as far as Ross-On-Wye, but I am sure that we will visit Herefordshire again and complete the rest of the trip in the future.