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May 6, 2014 2:26 AM   Subscribe

The Roader’s Digest is ‘the most complete archive of information on the British and Irish road networks on the web.’ from the A1 to the R999; from the B3306 to the B855, they probably have a description of it.

‘Whether you want roads [...], road features and designs, street furniture or mapping history, we have it covered, although not always as completely as we'd like. This is where you come in! If you find an error, omission or just feel you can add to the Wiki, why not help out?’
posted by misteraitch (20 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
I just took at the A46 which runs near me and all I have to say is...wow. There's a description of the entire route as if you were driving it - scenery, dangerous curves, prominent houses. Wow.
posted by vacapinta at 3:13 AM on May 6


Reader's Digest, lets sit down and have a chat about this A9.

The A9 needs a book to itself. The main route up to the highlands, following the route the English army followed under General Wade (Georgian barracks ruins are quite atmospheric).

Single lane in many places, carrying a combination of caravans, logging trucks going 40 mph, locals going 75, European tourists, and motorbikes going 90, with some desperate overtaking in places, a loss of all radio signal in places, and long breaks without many options to stop. Beautiful scenery though.

Just did my London to outside of Inverness 600 mile run in one straight shot, carefully timed to put me on the toughest bit of the A9 so early I'd be as alone as possible. Then I listened to the radio on Easter weekend as they shut it for hours after a motorbike hit a truck fatally.

Where do you divert hours worth of traffic in the Highlands? So glad I wasn't there.
posted by C.A.S. at 3:43 AM on May 6


That Carl Linnaeus wasn't British is one of the greatest unlikely facts of History.
posted by Marauding Ennui at 3:45 AM on May 6 [3 favorites]


Wow, amazing resource! Thanks! I'm heading to Scotland in June and will be driving for most of it.
posted by Mogur at 4:19 AM on May 6


Hmm.
Stonehenge Bottom was a very historic junction: this road junction predates the monument that names it - in fact it was because of this junction that Stonehenge was built here over 4000 years ago.
Citation needed.
posted by hjd at 4:20 AM on May 6


Needs more Margary.
posted by ursus_comiter at 5:55 AM on May 6


I've seen this amazing site before, and I have to say that it didn't surprise me one bit when I saw it.

This is the country where, given time, every single pub discussion will eventually devolve into an in-depth debate on which roads will get you to where you're going slightly faster, in which all participants will attempt to blind all others with their deep, deep knowledge of the British road network.

"I'm going to see my friends in Edinburgh next week."
"Oh? How are you getting there?"
"Up the A1."
"WHAT? You don't want to use the A1, that's for idiots, what you need to do is get to Alnwick, right, then take a left, up Fishsticks Lane for two and a half miles, then go right onto the B6291, mind the speed camera outside the Red Lion, it's a 30, then round Pocket Handkerchief Corner, half a mile up Flange Avenue, second exit at the traffic island next to the old cinema and bob's your uncle. It'll save you at least 32 seconds."
Then someone else will chime in: "Fishsticks Lane? Isn't that closed for cable repairs until June? You want to turn RIGHT, then LEFT, now you're on the A391 and head along Gropeboobs Way..."
...and so on, ad infinitum, or at least until closing time.

So, no, as a British native, the existence of Roader's Digest is not a huge surprise!
posted by winterhill at 6:07 AM on May 6 [9 favorites]


The page on the N17 totally fails to mention the well-known "N17".
posted by wenestvedt at 6:10 AM on May 6 [1 favorite]


So, no, as a British native, the existence of Roader's Digest is not a huge surprise!

I was actually shocked that it wasn't even more designed for the autism spectrum in it's laser focused attention to minutiae and useless detail. What, no chart on aggregate types and depths used in construction projects for the roads? Pft, amateurs.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:38 AM on May 6


On a related note: Pathetic Motorways.
posted by misteraitch at 7:06 AM on May 6 [1 favorite]


Aw, this post led me to revisit what was once one of my favourite sites, Chris's British Road Directory, but it looks like it's no longer updated. In fact he suggests you visit the SABRE site for up-to-date info. Guess there's only room for so many ridiculously comprehensive British Road websites.
posted by jontyjago at 7:26 AM on May 6


This is the country where, given time, every single pub discussion will eventually devolve into an in-depth debate on which roads will get you to where you're going slightly faster

This phenomenon was so deeply ingrained in my expectations vis-a-vie opening pub-conversational gambits that I had no idea it was a thing until my partner asked me why, upon visiting family back home, everyone I bumped into in the pub would ask me when I'd come up and then swiftly follow this up with the Route Question. This was normally followed by anything up to half an hour's back and forth about various roadworks, the seriousness or otherwise of rush hours around small provincial towns and some crazy suggestion from an embittered travelling salesman about driving approximately 10 degrees off the exact the opposite direction to your intended destination up round the back of the hills as, even though it's a bit longer, it's a lovely bit of road that you can really put your foot down on provided there's nothing agricultural in the way.
posted by fatfrank at 8:00 AM on May 6 [2 favorites]


More than a decade ago I drove from Land's End to John O'Groats, leaving at dawn and trying to arrive before sunset. (I did it for a bet. 'I bet that's possible,' I said to myself.) Simply mentioning this is enough to derail any discussion in any gathering into a debate on the optimum route for me to have taken as long as there is another man present. Women will be interested in the story but I've never had one get competitive about the best roads to take.
posted by Hogshead at 8:02 AM on May 6 [4 favorites]


Oh will you look at that. Just today I've learned about the Magic Roundabout in Swindon and ended up watching a few videos on youtube. From merely looking at it, I still don't get how to navigate savely through it all, which might also be due to being unfamiliar with driving on the left.
posted by bigendian at 8:37 AM on May 6


I did it for a bet. 'I bet that's possible,' I said to myself.

And?
posted by yoink at 9:26 AM on May 6


And despite one of my co-drivers putting the car in a ditch a few miles from the finish, we made it with hours to spare. Ridiculously easy. Admittedly we did it on the longest day of the year, which was also the day that England played Brazil in the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Japan, a match shown in the early morning in the UK, meaning that there was literally no traffic on the roads until we'd got past Bristol.

Or were you asking about the route?
posted by Hogshead at 10:19 AM on May 6 [4 favorites]


Oh will you look at that. Just today I've learned about the Magic Roundabout in Swindon and ended up watching a few videos on youtube. From merely looking at it, I still don't get how to navigate savely through it all, which might also be due to being unfamiliar with driving on the left.

When I visit relatives in the UK, coming as I do from somewhere where they think roundabouts are a communist plot, there are two tips that will help immensely.

1) Follow the arrows on the road surface, they will get you in the correct lane for the direction you want.
- Don't try to outsmart them, just pick the direction you want to go before entering the roundabout, get in the proper lane, and follow the markings.

2) It's ok to get off on the wrong exit.
- In any urban/suburban area, there will be another roundabout not too far down the road that you can use to turn yourself around.
posted by madajb at 10:37 AM on May 6


Or were you asking about the route?

No, just about the success/failure of the mission. Thanks for the answer.
posted by yoink at 11:35 AM on May 6


Reader's Digest, lets sit down and have a chat about this A9.

I coincidentally just started reading the novel Under The Skin which largely takes place on the A9. This is fantastic for helping me visualize the events.
posted by thedaniel at 12:03 PM on May 6


I looked up the A1 (when I was a teenager I lived a bit off the intersection of the A1 and A19) and wow, was that a nostalgia trip. As Texans, we did not find the idea of driving very far that absurd, and the high petrol prices weren't as bothersome to us since much of my dad's driving cost was reimbursed by his (American) employer. We really learned some of those roads over the course of our 2 1/2 years there.
posted by immlass at 5:10 PM on May 6


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