Crazy people

140211_ Whitelee Windfarm #1
Image by Headphonaught via Flickr

It’s all about the crazy people today. And as a mum of 3 sons under the age of 7 I have a remarkably high threshold for crazy. A 20 minute conversation about winged puppies and cars with chickens instead of wheels, anyone?

To kick off, earlier on I was undertaken by a [insert expletive of choice here] motorcyclist whilst I was in the act of deciding if I had sufficient room to safely overtake 2 cyclists. This, in the face of oncoming traffic and as we all drove through an (admittedly fairly wide) concrete motorway underpass. Nutter. I just hope he had extremely good eyesight and could lip-read backwards.

The other crazies encountered today were not just one, but two learner drivers, honing their burgeoning driving skills on the Eaglesham Moor Road. This could be the definition of insanity.

I think perhaps some background is required. The Eaglesham Moor Road is, um, unique. It boasts a multitude of blind summits and dips. At this time of year, when it’s not shrouded in mist, it can be treacherously icy, and in the late afternoon its low winter sun is blinding. When visible, the scenery is stunning – distractingly so. Between hovering kestrels, the stark emptiness of the moor, lochans glimpsed behind hillocks, and the visually striking wind farm it’s fairly common to see motorists quickly swerving back from a potential collision.

I can remember, as a youngster, thinking Eaglesham was famous: Every winter, if the words “a lorry has jack-knifed” emitted from the radio or TV, they were more often than not followed by “on the Eaglesham Moor Road”. The only other places I knew of back then that out-famed us were London and Timbuktu. (We also had Covenanters and, albeit briefly, Rudolf Hess.)

A few years back a local bypass was built which, as one intended by-product, drastically cut the road’s traffic. Local officials decided to turn the road into ‘a local access road with cycling and pedestrian facilities’.

They did this, bizarrely, by marking the road as though it was single-track, complete with ‘passing places’ (marked out with white paint) interrupting the cycle lanes on either side of the single lane. These I have yet to witness being used. In one sense it made the road safer for people who are not idiots, because it’s just so darn easy to spot dangerously stupid drivers. E.g. the ones who obey the road markings and drive clean up the centre of the road even in the face of ‘Blind Summit!’ signage…

A couple of years after the new markings were adopted the Ayrshire end of the road was re-painted back to normality, possibly because their officials had been through the ‘Moor Road Experience’ (MRE) themselves one time too many.

Throw into the mix a large number of speedy cyclists, frequently in pairs or bunches and, at weekends especially, often taking part in competitions.

In the face of all the above, I still use the road regularly. However, I am forearmed with knowledge of its pitfalls and always use a buffer car if one is available (this is like a steel wrapped human shield against oncoming stupid and reckless drivers).

For the life of me, however, I couldn’t think why anyone would choose to teach a learner driver on this particular stretch. Quite apart from the real dangers of the road, as far as I am aware there is not another road remotely like it within Scotland (and single track roads don’t count, because They. Are. Not. Imaginary), so learners are being taught… what?

I’ve developed a few theories:

  • The tutor has identified their student as a dreadful driver, and is using the MRE to put said student off driving forever.
  • The tutor has identified their student as a dreadful driver, and is using the MRE to show said student they are not alone in this affliction.
  • The tutor has a grudge against cyclists and/or their student and/or a deathwish.

There is only one other plausible theory, which is that the student lives in one of the three or so dwellings along the road and is being driven to or from their lesson. This clears the tutor from any charge of nutterdom.

Not so, if this is indeed the case, the student, who has chosen to live isolated, on a desolate and occasionally cut-off stretch of road surrounded by either moor or dense woodland. So, perhaps an exemplary driver-to-be (werewolves permitting) but a nutter nonetheless.

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