Published 27 November 2020

West Dunbartonshire Council’s eight gritters are all set for winter  – after getting their new names for 2020.

Residents were asked to use their imagination to come up with inventive names for the vehicles for a Council competition last month.

After more than 300 entries received, the winning titles are:

  • Ben Snowmond, nominated by Jen Watt
  • Humphry Clinker the Grit Sprinkler nominated by George McKeown
  • Singer Salting Machine, nominated by Sheila Donnelly
  • George Plowie, nominated by John Mcinally
  • The Spreadable Hulk, nominated by Adam Ramage
  • Grit Down On it, nominated by Mhairi Halliday
  • Saltasaurus, nominated by Sam Lyle
  • Sharleen Griteri , nominated by Jacqui Edwards

Many of the names were picked due to the local interest, including Humprhy Clinker the Grit Sprinkler, named after a character in one of Renton author and Poet Tobias Smollet’s books, and Sharleen Griteri, after Texas frontwoman Sharleen Spiteri, who was brought up in Balloch and attended Vale of Leven Academy.

Singer Salting Machine pays tribute to the sewing machine company, who set up their UK base in Clydebank, distributing sewing machines around the world from the edge of the Clyde.

The newly-branded trucks will be out gritting West Dunbartonshire’s roads all through winter.

Councillor Iain McLaren, Convener of Infrastructure, Regeneration and Economic Development, said: “A big thank you to everyone who took the time to enter the competition, especially our winners. With more than 300 entries, it was extremely difficult to pick just eight names, and so many of the suggestions really made us laugh.

“I hope the winners feel proud when they see the gritter they named out on the streets of West Dunbartonshire, keeping us all moving through the worst of the winter weather.

“Of course, if severe weather hits, then some disruptions may be inevitable, but a lot of work has gone into preparations for winter, and we will do everything we can to keep this to a minimum.”

Councillor Marie McNair, Vice Convener of Infrastructure, Regeneration and Economic Development, said: “Well done to all our winners and entrants. It was so nice to see the community get behind this competition, during what has been a challenging year for everyone. I hope seeing these names as the gritters make their way around our streets makes them smile.

 “Our Roads team work tirelessly every winter and this year will be no different. Often the weather can turn quickly and without much advance notice, so I would encourage all residents to think about what they can do now to prepare, before any bouts of severe weather hit.  I would also ask residents to think of what they can do to help in their area during bad weather, including checking on any elderly or vulnerable neighbours.”

More than 4000 tonnes of rock salt is available to help keep West Dunbartonshire moving this winter.

The Roads team’s fleet of gritters will continue to regularly treat every primary route, and secondary routes during longer periods of adverse weather.

The teams have been on 24-hour standby since October, reacting when temperatures dip below freezing or if there is a risk of ice.

When severe weather conditions are forecast, the Council grits over 60 per cent of West Dunbartonshire’s public road network.

The Greenspace team work to ensure footpaths near schools, care homes, hospitals and other priority routes are kept clear, with additional footway gritting  on priority footways including near schools, healthcare centres, sheltered housing complexes and transport hubs,  continuing throughout 2020/21.

West Dunbartonshire has more than 450 roadside grit bins across the area, meaning that generally no home is more than 300 metres from a supply should it become necessary. This level of provision is one of the highest per heads of population in Scotland.

A map detailing gritting routes and locations of grit bins is available on the Council website.