First Person - with Kevin McRoberts

Kevin McRoberts
Kevin McRoberts

I HOPE I’m not speaking too soon about this, but has anyone else noticed how well Fife Council has managed to cope with the latest wintry weather?

Usually, when the snow starts to fall, the flak starts to fly in the Council’s direction. Snow flurries tend to be accompanied by flurries of complaints over failures to keep roads clear, and lack of gritting of roads and pavements.

However, this time, it seems the Council has been quick off the mark and was well prepared to cope with whatever bad weather hit the Kingdom.

Admittedly, the snow wasn’t as bad as we’ve seen in previous years – and Kirkcaldy escaped much of the wintry blast – but roads and pavements in other towns, including Dunfermline and Glenrothes, which were hit by reasonable downfalls, and were generally kept clear.

Perhaps after being caught out in the past and then stockpiling loads of grit and salt for last winter, only to find they didn’t really need it, the Council’s winter maintenance teams were desperate to create some space in their giant warehouses.

True grit

Not only were main roads regularly gritted, but secondary routes and even some side streets were given the treatment.

In the really bad winter of a couple of years ago, it was several weeks before my small cul-de-sac finally saw a snow plough. This time, when the snow fell on Friday night and Saturday morning, not only had the roads been gritted, but teams were clearing the pavements too.

It didn’t all go smoothly, though, as I did witness a pair of workers who were clearing a path with some contraption which had a plough on the front and a grit spreader on the back. It was only after they’d been along half the street that they realised they’d run out of grit. They then spent several minutes staring back down the street, contemplating what to do next. To their credit, after filling the grit spreader, they returned to the start of the street to finish the job properly.

And the swift response of the Council nearly caught out a few neighbours in our street. Most folk are usually quite good at clearing their paths and the road in front of their homes, and this was done by many on Saturday morning. A couple of guys had just started spreading grit from the bin at the end of the road, when the Council’s gritting lorry appeared round the corner and completed the job for them. Great timing.

Safe journeys

It left more time to head to the park and join the kids for some sledging fun and a massive snowball fight.

While I’m in the mood to pass out plaudits, I’d also like to praise bus drivers in Fife. As I was preparing to return to work on Monday morning, snow was falling heavily and the prospect of driving to work didn’t appeal, so I decided to leave the car at home and take the bus instead.

I absolutely hate driving in snow, so I was happy to pass the responsibility of getting me to work through a blizzard on to someone else. I had to set out a bit earlier, but that more than compensated for the fact I wasn’t going to be behind the wheel.

Despite the difficult conditions the bus made it to its destination on schedule and I made it to the office on time without feeling totally stressed out by the experience.

The journey home was fine too. Again, just as the bus was leaving, a blizzard started again and some sections of the road quickly turned white, but the journey was completed safely and on time. After a short walk from the bus station, I was back in the house to enjoy my tea ... just 10 to 15 minutes later than I would normally have made it home.

So, from one grateful Fifer, thanks to everyone who has made it easier for me to cope with the snowy weather. Hopefully the same high standards will be maintained throughout the rest of the winter.