Page last updated at 10:09 GMT, Tuesday, 12 May 2009 11:09 UK

Pensioners pen bus pass trip book

Olwen Leebrook and Margaret Lewis
The friends have written a book called Have Bus Pas Will Travel

Two pensioners who used their free bus passes to travel 500 miles on a holiday around Wales have turned their journey into a book.

Olwen Leebrook, 84, and Margaret Lewis, 85, boarded a bus from their homes in Bryncoch, Neath, and visited all 13 of the old counties of Wales in 12 days.

They stuck to service routes catching a total of 25 different buses.

Mrs Leebrook said: "On local buses you go to places you would never go to if you were driving a car."

Travelling clock-wise around Wales they spent their first night in Haverfordwest while further stops included Aberystwyth, Caernarfon, Rhyl, Wrexham, Welshpool and Abergavenny.

The trip was the idea of great-grand-mother Mrs Leebrook and the pair completed it two years ago.

Since then Mrs Leebrook has travelled almost as many miles again recounting their outing to pensioners' clubs, church groups, WI meetings and others - 34 in total and some in England.

She also recorded a three part series for her local talking newspaper for the blind and has now written the book - complete with maps and holiday snaps - with a limited number printed for family and friends.

Location map
The round Wales trip took in several towns

Titled 'Have Bus Pass Will Travel' she said writing it had brought back many happy memories.

With just a small suitcase each, they stayed the nights in hotels and bed and breakfasts.

Mrs Leebrook said due to media coverage of their journey at the time they were often recognised on their travels.

In Haverfordwest a 92-year-old woman was so taken with their adventure she wanted to tag along.

When they were stranded at Powis Castle near Welshpool on a sightseeing trip a doctor and his wife also visiting the landmark recognised them and gave them a lift back to their hotel.

"One bus company had put up one of the articles in the depot and the drivers were asked to keep an eye out and give us all the help you could,'" she added.

"It was brilliant - we met kindness all the way," she added.

"We were very impressed by the young people where ever we went - they were so helpful.

"We saw Wales at its best because we did not have any rain and the sun was always shining.

"I was fascinated going through all the old counties. Every one was very different and yet each one was beautiful."

She said the highlight for her was travelling through north Wales as she was unfamiliar with the area.

"It was a new experience for me. The high mountains - that was really something to see."

Mrs Leebrook said they were both impressed with the bus network.

"Every bus was on time. We never missed a connection," she added.



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