Scotland’s hilarious gritter fleet triggers naming contests in US and Russia
The humorous names given to Scotland’s gritter fleet has inspired roads authorities from the United States to Russia to launch naming competitions for their own snowploughs.
It comes as the likes of Sir Andy Flurry, Lew-Ice Capaldi and Gritter Thunberg gaining such a following that an online tracker showing their movements has clocked up more than 100,000 hits a day.
The US states of Michigan, Minnesota and South Dakota are among those following Scotland’s lead to soliciting names for their winter fleets.
Stateside name suggestions have included Salter Mondale, Lake Snow Be Gone and Plowy McPlowface.
The return of widespread snow across Scotland last week triggered the greatest level of interest in its gritters since the Beast from the East in 2018.
Transport Scotland’s trunk road gritter tracker recorded a peak of 110,903 hits on Friday February 5 among a total of 704,992 over the past year.·
The latest names to join its 230-strong fleet include Sled Zeppelin, William Wall-ice and Gonnae Snow Dae That being announced in November.
They have joined favourites such as Gritney Spears, Spready Mercury and Buzz Iceclear.
A spokesperson for the Scottish Government agency said: “The level of interest in Scotland’s gritters ‘spreads’ far and wide and only this week we had interest from Russia and America who are looking to replicate the process.
“We’ve seen a huge increase in web traffic as a result of the international coverage and interest.
“What started out as a bit of fun – and still is – has also allowed us to engage the public, and especially schools, in learning more about winter preparations, safe driving during severe weather, and crucially, the work our operating companies do in very testing conditions.
"Anything that raises the awareness of the importance of being ready for winter is a positive development in our view.
“Of course, there is also a more serious side as well as the humour and global recognition.
"Almost every night during winter, gritter drivers and frontline staff are out working in sub-zero temperatures and doing their bit to keep Scotland moving for essential travel.”
Jake Loesch, of the Minnesota Department of Transportation, told Scotland on Sunday: “It was actually partially because of Scotland’s named plows that we decided to host this contest.
"Lots of people saw that, loved the idea, and asked if we could do something similar in Minnesota.
“We received nearly 24,000 submissions and expect to share some of the best options for public voting later this month.”
At Michigan’s Department of Transportation, spokesman Nick Schirripa said: “Inspired in part by TrafficScotland.org, we have started giving snowplows unique and creative names on the Mi Drive [traffic information] map.
"Current names include Plowasaurus Rex, Sir Salts-A-Lot, and Snowboni, and were chosen from hundreds of public offerings.
“Starting with several snowplows in our south west region, the department is hopeful to name more than 250 plows statewide in the near future.”
In South Dakota, interim transportation secretary Joel Jundt said its first Name the Snowplow Contest was designed to “engage people across the state with the Department of Transportation in a fun way” by entering “imaginative snowplow names to honour the state’s history, traditions and love of snow”.
Similar contests are being held in several Canadian towns and cities, including Guelph and Barrie, near Toronto in Ontario.
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