The big Merlin arrived. The extra width and length of these MBs is very obvious compared with the RFs - which are only midibus-sized in modern times. This was my first ride on MB90, my previous hoped-for ride at Sandown Park having been frustrated.
Inside the impression of size is amplified by the huge unobstructed front window. We were quickly away, past the parked buses (including RT3228 and RF28), then heading north past the war memorial and down St John's Hill to Bat & Ball. The roadworks delays were less serious at this time of day, and we were soon heading north to Otford. We twirled round the pond, and climbed up past Otford Station before turning onto the narrow Pilgrims Way to Kemsing.
Care was extra necessary along the narrow lane, with hedges on both sides and a fair amount of traffic. But drivers were accommodating, and we progressed without problems to Kemsing. There we turned down the much wider road towards Seal, before turning east again to pass through Kemsing village.
We continued along Heaverham Road, below the face of the North Downs, to reach the little hamlet of Heaverham. (London Transport always referred to it as Heverham, unlike Kent and the Ordnance Survey)
The Merlin had to perform a reverse turn at Heaverham, next to the magnificent oast house. After turning it set back to clear the road junction.
The blinds were reset for Sevenoaks. We climbed back aboard, and headed back to Kemsing, where we threaded a way past the busy Sunday visitor trade before climbing up Childsbridge Lane to the Pilgrims Way.
We made our way west along the ancient trackway to Otford, where we turned down past the Station to the Bishops Palace and Pond, before turning south to head back into Sevenoaks. We arrived on time at five to five, pulling up behind RML2330, which was to provide my homeward ride to Bromley..
Part Six: 402 to Bromley
Photos by Ian Smith. Click on any of them for a larger picture.
Ian's Bus-stop Part One Part Two Part Three Part Four Part Six