Bus buff’s pride and joy hits ditch

Shetland’s only double-decker bus wound up in a ditch on Saturday evening, causing a single track road in Sandwick to be closed.

No-one was hurt when a single wheel of the 1978 Leyland Fleetline bus caught a soft verge at Leebitton, causing owner Andy Holland to steer into the ditch. There were another three passengers on the bus with him at the time.

Having initially feared that a proper rescue job would prove to be prohibitively expensive and mean “dragging it out and forgetting the consequences”, Mr Holland was relieved when two Garriock Brothers cranes were drafted in to retrieve the bus from the ditch on Tuesday morning. They used one crane to lift the bus horizontal and another one to drag it out of the ditch, leaving only some minor superficial damage to the front corner of the bus.

“I was just taking it for a quick run before taking it back to storage,” he said. “We’d spent the day cleaning and polishing it – a complete waste of time! It’s just one of those mishaps. I expected a little damage underneath but there was nothing, thankfully.”

Police decided to close the road on Sunday and it was only able to be re-opened to traffic on Tuesday. The bus is now back in storage at Broonies Taing in Sandwick.

Mr Holland, a self-confessed “bus buff” from Birmingham, bought the vehicle for £3,200 on eBay a couple of months ago. A previous owner apparently spent around £10,000 returning the bus to its former glory.


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