Island View: Fear of mainland driving

Driving on Bute is very different from on the mainland.
Driving on Bute is very different from on the mainland.

Having earned my full driving licence only a few days before moving to Bute, most of the unaccompanied driving I’ve done has been on the island.

And I have heard stories of people older than me who have never driven a car on the mainland, having no experience of driving on a motorway or even a dual carriageway.

Then there is the phenomenon of people who have driven all their lives before moving to Bute, who now prefer to catch a lift or use public transport when off the island.

A big part of this is probably the prohibitive cost of taking a car on the ferry to Wemyss Bay, and there is also the congestion in and around Glasgow to take into consideration.

These often mean it is just sensible to leave the car behind when making a trip to the mainland.

But I’m beginning to think there is also a sort of mental block that develops after a period of only driving on Bute.

Especially in Rothesay, it’s extremely rare to get above 30mph, and the somewhat lax attitudes to parking and the prevalence of cars parked on both sides of the road makes junctions a very different proposition.

I’ve previously spoken about how driving on Bute has many of its own quirks, but it was only during a recent trip to Glasgow that I realised how a long period of being behind the wheel on the island has made me more nervous when using the roads on the mainland.

Roundabouts in Greenock and Port Glasgow had become intimidating, and it took me a while to keep up on the motorway after being used to much lower speed limits.

Island and mainland driving are seemingly very different disciplines, and it can be hard to transition between them!