You might be reassured to see the likes of Winter Warrior, Snow Angel, or Sir Saats-a-lot while out on the road this winter.
The imaginative names are just some of those picked as prize-winning monikers for new additions to the council’s fleet of gritters following a schools competition.
To mark the occasion, primary pupils were today given gritter lorries of their own – albeit ones on a slightly smaller scale than usual – in recognition of their imaginative choices.
Elected members and roads officials attended the special prize-giving in the grounds of the Tingwall school, where one of the six full-size gritters recently acquired by the SIC – Winter Warrior – was on show.
The clever young man who chose that name was primary two pupil at Tingwall, Robbie Sutherland.
Robbie, who celebrated his sixth birthday only yesterday, said he felt “happy and excited” that his name was chosen as one of the winners.
The event was attended by former gritter driver Bobby Anderson and his wife Sylvia.
Mr Anderson drove gritters from 1978 until the 1980s. He was on hand with a book of old photos of gritters and HGVs he had driven over the years.
It was the couple’s grandson, Hamnavoe pupil William Anderson, who chose Sir Saats-a-lot for one of the gritters new to the fleet.
The new-to-the-isles gritters have been recently purchased to replace older vehicles in the council’s fleet of 18 winter maintenance vehicles, adding to the six replacement gritters obtained late last year.
The SIC says the replacement gritters will be deployed at locations across the isles to carry out winter road treatments and snow clearance when necessary.
In recent weeks, some of the gritters have visited local schools where staff from the council’s roads service have explained their work during the winter months.
One of the men behind the wheel of the gritters nowadays is experienced driver Richard Malcolmson.
He has been involved with gritters since the 1990s, and faced a steep learning curve by starting working on gritters during the bad winter of 1995.
“It’s a super day for it. It’s good to see the peerie ones,” he said.
“They’ve fairly enjoyed the visits around the schools.”
Chairman of the council’s environment and transport committee and transport partnership, ZetTrans, Michael Stout, was at the event.
“I’d like to congratulate all the pupils whose names were chosen, the runners-up, and all those pupils who entered the competition with creative names for our replacement gritters,” he said.
“This is the second year in a row that we have been able to replace gritters in our fleet. These new vehicles have modern control systems that allow more precise control over the spreading of road salt, and will be more reliable and cheaper to run than older vehicles. This continued investment in the assets of our roads service means we are better able to keep Shetland moving in winter when we have cold weather or significant snowfall.”
And significant snowfall is exactly what might be coming. Mr Malcolmson said he believed the signs were there of a bad winter ahead. That could make the likes of Saat Skeeter, Gritter Critter and Snaa Blaster a sight for sore eyes this winter.
The winning names were:
• Winter Warrior – Robbie Sutherland, Tingwall School
• Sir Saats-a-lot – William Anderson, Hamnavoe School
• Snow Angel – Cassie Pottinger, Hamnavoe School
• Snaa Blaster – Bobby Williamson, Ollaberry School
• Saat Skeeter –Thomas Angus, North Roe School
• Gritter Critter – Tamar Dunlop, Sandwick School
And the runners up were:
• Da Muckle Puckle – Hayden Moar, Sound Primary
• Snow Guardin – Roshik Saravanan, Scalloway Primary
• Muckle Rummeler – Rhianna Tulloch, Brae High School
• Salt Skeater – Lois Arthur, Hamnavoe Primary
• Snow Blaster – Roma Robertson, Dunrossness Primary
• Snow Blaster – Dhilan Lalla, Tingwall Primary
The pupils whose names were chosen all received ‘gritter crew’ hats and road safety goody bags, as well as a model toy gritter.
The six pupils whose names were runners-up were handed sledges, hats and goody bags.