2024-03-08 (Day 068) Telford Bridge, Bannockburn

I have no idea how I managed to have lived in Bannockburn for over a year and I never was aware of this amazing bridge!

The river is actually the Bannock Burn, and there is a case to be made that the steep slope on the left bank of the Burn is “the great ditch” that hampered the escape of the English forces – many soldiers being slaughtered as they found themselves stuck between the hills and an angry enemy army.

The amazing structure made me start thinking about infrastructure. Recently I saw a photograph of a services tunnel underground in Dubai. A man was standing up in the tunnel – the ceiling a good couple of feet above his head. To one side of the tunnel, pipes carried on holders screwed into the wall. On the other, multiple trays with neatly labelled cables.

I was thinking about this as I was waiting for the temporary traffic lights to change on the main road through the Braes. Every utility seems to go along this road. In narrow ducts. Every time anyone needs to change anything, they need to dig up the road, put in temporary traffic lights, slow down traffic and generally cause delays.

As we go into the future, how can we hope to compete with places designed and built from scratch with future requirements in mind?

We cancel our High Speed Rail projects; they were too ambitious. They went all the way from somewhere vaguely London-ish to Manchester. Too ambitious? Hell, that’s no ambition whatsoever! We should be planning to build high speed rail from the Channel Tunnel to Thurso! Let’s make Edinburgh to London take two hours, no more. Let’s really open up the country, make proper use of the talents of all our people. Let us all be able to contribute, and spread that increased wealth around the country!

Without wanting to get political, it seems to me that Government’s job is to give people an environment in which they can excel, then largely get the hell out of the way. And Infrastructure seems to me to be the key to c