Like a motorway
I'm looking forward to The Secret Life of the Motorway, which starts on BBC Four on Tuesday. I've been reading up on the British road system for a while but have been too ashamed to admit it for fear of reaching a new level of geekdom. It was for research on my favourite road, the B7076/7078 for Nothing To See Here. It used to be the main route from Glasgow down to the border and now it's a strange ghost road - a B-class dual carriageway. Driving along it evokes an era of big open roads and fewer cars. A step back in time.
Out and about it's easy to spot relics of the short period when motorways were the glamour boys of transportation. The famous Pennine Tower at Forton Services emulates air travel, not road travel. In 1965, the M6 was that exotic. The best seats in the restaurant give you a great view of the motorway, whereas services today are designed to shield you from the road and make you think you're in the country. Forton is a relic of a time when motorways were really exciting and new, an emotion also captured in numerous "boring" postcards of the period like the one from LA above.
Roads are another brilliant everyday thing that everyone seems to take for granted. How I love them. For me hearing the traffic news about the Hanger Lane Gyratory System or the A939 from Cockbridge to Tomintoul holds more romance than the shipping forecast.
Fellow enthusiasts may enjoy:
- CBRD (Chris's British Roads Directory) - an excellent, exhaustive site about Britain's road network
- SABRE - The Society for All British Road Enthusiasts - including The Roader's Digest.
- The Motorway Archive
- Pathetic Motorways - "dedicated to those motorways within the United Kingdom and Ireland that are not perhaps, the greatest feats of engineering ever seen".
- The Motorway Map - motorways drawn out like the London Underground map.
- The Motorway Service Area Trivia Site - with wonderul photos and tales of bad food.