Dancing on the A7 ice

Driving to work in my company vehicle on December 10 was an experience to behold.

I’ve heard of “Dancing on Ice”, but dancing using a car on the A7 at 5.30am was terrifying.

The roads were an utter disgrace from the moment I drove onto the A7 at Stow to the moment I crossed into the boundary area of Midlothian Council (where, I may add, the roads were perfectly gritted).

There were no visible gritters at all on that road and while accepting Scottish Borders Council (SBC) has a larger area than Midlothian to cover with many more minor roads, this should be taken into consideration when allocating gritter lorries for the winter. Scottish Borders Council doesn’t have enough.

I guessed that the northern boundary between the SBC gritting area and Midlothian was somewhere around Falahill as this is where one can see a considerable change in road surfaces during winter. My guess was confirmed when I went into the Midlothian depot that morning at 6am (after skidding and sliding there in my car from Stow) to discuss why their section was clear and SBC’s was black ice. They informed me that their gritters turn around between the Dug Inn bend and Falahill, but often carry on to Heriot because the Borders surface is so bad.

If SBC doesn’t have enough gritters to service the Borders, why can’t it work a deal with other councils to come further into this region if their roads are clear and the Borders is not?

Michael Boyle