Snow joke: Scotland's named gritter trucks warm hearts

·1-min read
Heavy snow has fallen in Scotland

Temperatures fell to a record minus 23 degrees Celsius (minus 9.4 Fahrenheit) in the Scottish Highlands this week, as Britain shivered in the snow and ice of a harsh Arctic cold snap.

But one thing distracting people from the big freeze -- and the coronavirus lockdown -- has been Scotland's 230-strong army of gritter lorries and snowploughs battling to keep main roads clear.

Traffic Scotland has seen a surge in clicks to its "Trunk Road Gritter Tracker" website, which allows users to follow their progress.

On Friday, "Gritney Spears" and "Spready Mercury" were making their way down the road towards the English border.

"Sir Andy Flurry" was plying a route from the city of Perth to Dunblane -- home of the British tennis star surnamed Murray -- while over the hills and far away, "Sled Zeppelin" was making the roads safe around Loch Lomond.

"Sir Salter Scott" was trundling around the Edinburgh suburbs, while "Robert Brrrns" and "Salt Disney" were out near Glasgow Airport.

The Guardian reported that in one 24-hour period last week, more than 110,000 people logged on to the site. Normally the site gets some 700,000 in a full year.

This year, the public has been asked to name dozens of new gritters and snowploughs.

Suggestions include "Coldfinger" and "You Only Grit Twice" in tribute to late James Bond actor Sean Connery.

"Snowcially distanced" was parked up in Glasgow.

In 2016, a similar public appeal for suggestions for a new British polar research ship back-fired after 120,000 voted to call it "Boaty McBoatface".

The vessel was eventually named "Sir David Attenborough" after the naturalist, although in a nod to the public vote, officials agreed to give the comedy name to its on-board yellow submarine.

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