28th March 2020
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Racing driver Leith questions gritting effort after experiencing ‘seriously slidy’ roads

A racing driver has compared isles roads with a race track after freezing temperatures brought black ice and resulted in several cars being left at the roadsides.

Kristian Leith’s says the skid-pan at Knockhill has more grip.

Kristian Leith, from Scalloway, says he had felt more grip on the skid-pan at the Knockhill racing circuit than on any of the routes leading to the village on Monday night.

Mr Leith, who competed and won in the Scottish Fiesta Championship at the Fife circuit this year, says the council has failed to adequately treat the roads.

He has specifically highlighted the loop road serving Scalloway’s school and health centre, where children and older people would typically be.

“I went into town through the Black Gaet and to say it was slippy is an understatement,” he said.

“I came out the North Road and from the Brig o’ Fitch to the Mill Brae was just as bad – seriously, seriously slidy. If the SIC have been gritting it must only be a teaspoon full.

“Even being on the skid pan at Knockhill is no way as slidy. It was absolutely treacherous last night.”

The council yesterday said the Met Office had issued a yellow warning of ice until 11am on Wednesday. It has also posted a video giving advice on winter roads on its website.

Bands of light rain were expected to fall on roads with sub-zero temperatures.

A statement on the council’s website read: “This is likely to result in black ice; while roads will be salted/gritted, drivers are being warned to take particular care over the next 48 hours.”

However, one councillor has praised the work of the gritters and those who operate them.

Chairman of the SIC’s environment and transport committee, Ryan Thomson, said those who drive the gritters often went without the credit they were due.

“Huge credit to the men and women on the gritters, they don’t often get the credit they deserve,” he said.

“As far as I’m concerned they should be up there in terms of gratitude with the hydro men and women who brave storm force winds to get our power back on.

“[They are] often leaving the house on treacherous roads gritting all day every day when necessary. I’m very grateful for the work they do.”

Police said they had dealt with eight incidents due to the icy roads. The Black Gaet, between the Scord and Gulberwick, was closed for about an hour and a half on Monday night because of black ice. There were no reports of injuries.

About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor has worked as a reporter since 1995, and has been at The Shetland Times since 2007, covering a wide variety of news topics. Before then he reported for other newspapers in the Highlands, where he was raised, and in Fife, where he began his career with DC Thomson. He also has experience in broadcast journalism with Grampian Television. He has lived in Shetland since 2002, where he harbours an unhealthy interest in old cars and motorbikes.

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  1. Ali Inkster

    Ah the measured political answer to criticism of a service that has suffered cuts due to political failings. Heap praise on those at the sharp end who provide the service to make it seem as if it is them that is being criticised and not the politicians whose responsibility it is, where the blame lies and who the criticism is directed at. So as to appear to the public as a righteous defender of hard pressed road men. While providing no answers and certainly no acceptance of culpability. Why am I not surprised?

    • Ryan Thomson

      My comments in this article were copied and pasted from a completely separate Facebook post praising the fantastic work that the gritter drivers do.

      As it appears to suggest in this article my comments were in no way a response to what Mr Leith said, I have not been approached by any reporter for a response to his comments.


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