Fact Check

Does Scotland Give Its National Snow Plow Fleet Funny Names?

Not to worry, "Spready Mercury" is hard at work, keeping Scotland's roads clear.

Published Dec. 15, 2020

ABINGTON, SCOTLAND - JANUARY 17:  A snow plough clears snow on a slip road next to the M74 following motorist spending the night stranded on the motorway on January 17, 2018 in Abington, Scotland. Mountain rescue teams spent the night helping drivers following heavy snowfall in the Dumfries and Galloway region, Scotland.  (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images) (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Image Via Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Scotland gives its national snow plow fleet hilarious names.

On Dec. 10, 2020, radio and podcast producer Jackie Sojico posted a charming observation she made on Twitter — namely that she had noticed Scotland gives names to vehicles in its national snow plow fleet, and the names are pretty funny.

Scotland keeps a live tracking map online showing approximately where its snow plows (known to the Scottish as "gritters") are at work, keeping the country's road network clear.

Some of the names are pretty straightforward, like "Mr. Plow." Others are more creative, like "Gangsta Granny Gritter," "BFG Big Friendly Gritter," and "Sir Grits-A-Lot." And let's not forget "Spready Mercury."

Although Scotland has gotten the most international media attention for its names, giving snow plows amusing nicknames appears to be something of a tradition in the United Kingdom. Doncaster, a town in England's South Yorkshire, held a contest for residents to submit names for two new snow plows, and they came up with "Gritsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Anti-Slip Machiney" and "David Plowie."

In Manchester, when the city's government asked for snow plow names on Twitter, they came away with winners like "Basil Salty," named after main character Basil Fawlty in the British TV comedy "Fawlty Towers," "Snowbi-Gone Kenobi" for "Star Wars" character Obi Wan Kenobi, and "Slushay Away," a spin on RuPaul's catch phrase "sashay away."

Bethania Palma is a journalist from the Los Angeles area who started her career as a daily newspaper reporter and has covered everything from crime to government to national politics. She has written for ... read more