In the Scottish Borders once off the ‘A’ roads, you’re in for a very mixed bag of driving conditions. It is, without a doubt these roads that add to the charm of the area, but can be an eye-opener for the newbie, not to mention life threatening to the locals if you happen upon a Superhero out for a drive.
Below are the four types of road my wife and I travel on regularly:-
- Standard narrow two lane winding roads with potholes
- Single lane winding road with potholes
- Extra skinny single winding potholes with a bit of road thrown in just to show willing.
- Christ how did anyone sign off on this even being a road and where did all these sheep come from?
I’m sure the original road builders in the Borders were paid by the mile, as straight roads here are few and far between. I’m Ok with all the above it’s just country living and is not a real problem. I drive slowly take every turn as if it’s my last and if the Gods are pleased with me I get home alive without a need to scrub out my underpants. Things, however, take a real turn for the apocalyptic when you meet one of our many Superhero drivers. These like superheroes do appear out of nowhere and are gone before you can say ‘You Clucking Runt’ or something that sounds like that. After a year studying Superheroes, I can tell you with confidence that they come in all ages and drive all kinds of vehicles from bikes to 10-ton logging trucks. I have called them super heroes because unlike most ’normal’ drivers they can travel at speeds that require the lightning reflexes of a fighter jet pilot, Superman x-ray vision and infallible space shuttle grade brakes, and tyres. I mean no one would be so unbelievably stupid and selfish to travel at these speeds on these roads without all these things right?
I make mock of the serious problem because what else can you do, it scares the crap out of me and I’ve been driving since I was 17 on some of the busiest roads in the UK and USA. The fact is every day on every corner or bridge across the Borders you’re just milliseconds away from being injured or killed should you come across one of these unthinking or uncaring people. I fully appreciate over our driving life we all make stupid mistakes, but driving down poorly maintained roads with limited to no oncoming visibility at high speed is beyond stupidity.
I will concede that maybe they know the roads like the back of their hands, but unless they can see through walls, hedges, and trees or are omnipotent, they simply have no clue what is around the next corner, another car, a walker, or just a stray sheep or deer. Sure many of the roads I have mentioned above get very little traffic on them, but that is absolutely no reason to believe that nothing is ever going to be around the next corner, indeed the more times you drive down roads and don’t see anyone the odds rise that sooner or later you will.
The sad truth is these death-wish drivers do meet things coming the other way all the time, multiple dead animals, smashed walls and bridges, motorbikes and cars totalled in fields and peoples gardens are a testament to that fact, so these speed junkies really aren’t that super after all. As I have said these are not just the usual testosterone boy racers showing off to mates, these are often people long in the tooth like me, that should know better. I’d love to know where all these people are going in such a rush ? beats me, but sure hope it’s worth killing and dying for.
The Scottish Borders is a beautiful place to live and visit, but the roads in many areas are far from ideal. Under investment, lack of speed signs and control, plus a world wide cultural glorification of speed makes for a deadly mix. The truth is absolutely no one is invincible, even the most confidant driver can have a split second of bad judgement that can haunt them or their victims for a life time.