Spring Travel: Carbon-free bus travel
This month, bus operator Stagecoach launched a fully-electric network across Dunfermline, with 11 zero-emissions vehicles, as part of a £14 million-plus investment by the firm into public transport in the east of the country.
Visitors to Scotland’s newest city, in Fife, can journey through the ancient streets of one of the most important locations in the country’s history without costing the planet.
Dunfermline, of course, was once Scotland’s Capital and has many historic points of interest. The city’s Heritage Quarter is home to many sites of immense historical interest, including Dunfermline Abbey, which dates back to the 11th Century and presents the most impressive example of Romanesque architecture in Scotland.
Following a fire in 1303, Robert the Bruce financed the rebuilding of the abbey and was interred there before the high altar 26 years later. His remains are now within the new church at the site and his tomb is marked by a full size brass.
Visitors to the abbey can also investigate its Lost Tomb Exhibition and wonder at the remarkable stained glass windows throughout.
While Dunfermline is famed for its links to the Bruce, it is also renowned for being the cradle of another world-famous Scot. The Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum, on Moodie Street, features the humble cottage where the steel tycoon philanthropist was born and spent the first formative years of his life.
The free-to-enter exhibition allows visitors to discover how he established his US-based business empire, and why he went on to give away 90 per cent of his wealth... and also buy souvenirs at the gift shop.
For those thinking of heading north, Stagecoach has also recently established the UK’s first fully-electric city bus network across Inverness.
There are now 25 zero-emission buses operating on the Highland Capital’s’s city centre routes following the network launch last month, attended by Jenny Gilruth MSP, Scotland’s minister for transport.
The vehicles can run from morning to evening on a single daily charge and feature USB charging points at each seat, LED interior lights, and contactless payment facilities.
With no engine noise or vibration, passengers can enjoy a relaxing experience as they travel between the city’s many sights and attractions.
The 19th Century Inverness Castle, perched high above the River Ness, is a must-see. Although the main building is not open to the public, visitors can admire the stunning red sandstone architecture, an exhibition, and an unmatched panoramic cityscape.
The city’s history and culture can be explored further at Inverness Museum and Art Gallery on Castle Wynd. Some of the intriguing items in its collection include the famous Pictish Ardross Wolf Stone, and the Freedom of the Burgh of Inverness, a civic honour with mediaeval origins. Its two galleries host year-round exhibitions of contemporary art.
Currently showing are mixed media artist Fiona Percy’s collection, Unravelling: Reflections, Remembrance and Regeneration, and textile artist Mark Lomax’s Lost Threads and Severed Ties.
The people of Perth will also be able to enjoy sustainable bus travel soon when Stagecoach launches a similar network there.
On the Inverness launch, Jenny Gilruth said: “I’m pleased that the Scottish Government has been able to support the ambitions of Stagecoach in Inverness, as part of our Mission Zero for Transport, by providing
£5.8 million through our Scottish Zero Emission Bus Scheme.
“In addition to better air quality and reduced noise pollution, these modern zero-emission buses will offer an improved customer experience and help more people in Inverness to choose buses.”