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davidfowler2000 last won the day on June 28 2016

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About davidfowler2000

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  1. One week 'till Scranningtons. That's a one week roll call for Scranningtons! Usual place. New time (7 for 7:30).
  2. Aye. Why not have another couple. Getting close to the end of the list now. Tibshelf Location: M1 Type: One on each side. No connecting bridge. Roadchef Petrol Station: Shell Hotel: Days Inn Pros: Nice. Leafy. Feels out the way. Cons: Nothing outstanding. Comments: Another 1980s build this one so it feels quite modern. The one time I stopped here for a quick pee on the northbound trip from last year's Festival of the Unexceptional I noticed how green the grounds were. The car park is simple and you can drive both ways up each bit of it. The amenities building is laid out like a 1980s shopping centre, but smaller. It's close but quite cosy. Conclusion: Would like to visit again Watford Gap Location: M1 Type: One on each side. Connecting bridge. Roadchef Petrol Station: BP Hotel: Days Inn Pros:Historical value? Cons: Everything. Comments: Watford Gap was one of the original 5 services built with the first motorways. It's quite small and retains none of it's charm from the glory days and it's got to be one of the last words in misery. The last time I was in the car park looked as if it had been rearranged and repainted about 3 times without removing the old paint. Conclusion: Grim. In the truest sense of the word. Northampton Location: M1 Type: One on each side. Connecting bridge. Roadchef Petrol Station: BP Hotel: None Pros: N/A Cons: N/A Comments: I only ever stopped here for fuel bringing the Olympian up from Purfleet so cannot comment. Conclusion: N/A Newport Pagnell Location: M1 Type: One on each side. Connecting bridge. Welcome Break Petrol Station: Shell Hotel: None Pros: Big car park. The connecting bridge is quite impressive Cons: Busy Comments: The oldest services in the UK. I stopped here to get pain killers on the way home from FoTU '18 so I was slightly blinkered by a purpose during my visit. It's quite small and crowded but not too unpleasant with it. I was most impressed by the man in the car park who was amazed to see "an old car" (the 740) and had to bring his two very young daughters over to see it. I had a mission so I didn't have time to talk to him and he was gone by the time I got back. Conclusion: Not too terrible.
  3. Sorry Sam. For the next little bit it's back north again. Be prepared for exploding Jim Bells... Scotch Corner Location: A1(M) / A66 Type: One site for both carriageways. Moto Petrol Station: Esso Hotel: Travelodge Pros: Nothing really special. Tradition more than anything Cons: Small, cramped. Known feeder point for tour coaches Comments: This is almost a tradition, old charter or something when traversing the A66 and A1(M) as it's about 2:45hrs from Glasgow. The parking is decent but the amenities building is quite small, as is the toilets. When you wander in you'll see an enormous seating area but last time I was there it was for Costa customers only. Burger King customers are herded off in to a little den right at the end. Conclusion: Not great. I'll not plan a journey around stopping here. Wetherby Location: A1(M) Type: One site for each carriageway. Moto Petrol Station: BP Hotel: Days Inn Pros: None Cons: Access is a pain. Extremely busy Comments: This is another one of those gargantuan airport style services with one big long building and only one way in and out. As seems to be the way with them, the access is a pain in the hole with Wetherby not being helped by being the same junction as the north town access to the motorway. I've never tried to go round the roundabout at peak time but it must be fucking woeful. This one seems well situated to attract a LOT of patronage so it's always busy. Conclusion: Avoid unless absolutely necessary. Bilbrough and Bilbrough Top Location: A64 Type: Bilbrough (Eastbound only) has fuel and hotel. Bilbrough Top (Both directions) is the main site Petrol Station: BP Hotel: Travelodge (Eastbound only), Premier Inn Pros: Not too busy. Separate east and westbounds. Saves going to Wetherby if you're heading east from the A1(M) Cons: Cramped depending who's in. Comments: I only ever stopped here once coming back from Scarborough in a convoy of 4 brand new 15m coaches to top up the water in one of them. There's no designated coach or HGV parking so we took up the whole site. The main site has access to both carriageways with a road bridge from the eastbound carriageway rather than being off a roundabout like any other one-sided services which keeps traffic flowing. There's a McDonald's and a fish and chip shop so you can get some eats while you're in. Conclusion: Not too shabby Blyth Location: A1(M) Type: One side for both carriageways. Moto Petrol Station: Esso Hotel: Travelodge Pros: None. Potentially quiet. Cons: Small Comments: As will be the case with a lot of the east coast stuff, I only ever stopped here once on the one day round trip to London to get those hi fi speakers I won on eBay. Looking at maps, Blyth services was at the roundabout where the A1(M) finished and the A1 started so the access was pretty sensisble off the A1 southbound and exit back on to the roundabout. Now the roundabout has been removed and the roads continue in to each other so everything got re-jigged at the services. It's weird. From memory you come in, drive through the truck park, double back on yourself and then in to the parking where you are greeted with what felt like a glorified Portakabin™. It was something daft like 9am on a Sunday morning when I rocked up so it was dead however I was still not impressed. The inside is really close and cramped even with noone in it. God knows what it must be like when it's busy. Conclusion: Come in, go for a pee, get out.
  4. Still off work. Yet another lazy day. Tea has been made, Pop Tarts consumed. Let's continue. "The" Warwick Location: M40 Type: One on each side. No connecting bridge. Welcome Break Petrol Station: BP Hotel: Days Inn Pros: Fresh interior. Cons: Car park is easily navigable but mostly ruined by idiots that can't navigate Comments: I don't think I've ever met anyone who is a car enthusiast or drives for work who doesn't refer to Warwick Services as "The Warwick Services" and I can't think of any other that arbitrarily gets the word "The" applied as a prefix. Generally nice layout with the drive thru away from the main building, nice interior looks to have been reasonably freshly refurbed. Can't speak for the northbound but I can imagine it being the same as south. Conclusion: Not bad at all. Cherwell Valley Location: M40 Type: One site for both carriageways. Moto. Petrol Station: Esso Hotel: Travelodge Pros: Massive. Lots of parking. Cons: Still offensively busy. Will likely burn down and kill you. Access from the motorway is a pain. Comments: This is one of those gargantuan services that appear to be popping up. Styled like an airport, you drive up to the building but the access is only at one end of it which is usually the other end from the toilets. According to Mr chaseracer this services also apparently burns down every couple of days so if you ever go, you'll likely die. One thing car drivers will never notice is the largest truck park I've ever seen outside a truck stop. Buses and caravans have to drive through it to get out and it's a noticeable amount of digits on the odometer to go right round it. It's so large there is a drive through, automatic truckwash. The access roundabouts are always busy so even if you use the toilet in the petrol station it still takes a lot of time to go in and get out again. Conclusion: Avoid if you can. Use The Warwick or Oxford for a toilet stop. Chieveley Location: M4 / A34 Type: One site for both carriageways. Moto Petrol Station: BP Hotel: Travelodge Pros: Not much else on the A34 Cons: Feels claustrophobic. Generally terrible. Comments: I've only ever used this from the A34 so I don't know what alternatives there are on the M4. This services feels tiny but it really isn't. The car park doesn't flow and the amenities building is really cramped. There's about 4 or 5 stalls outside selling stuff about 6 feet away from the front door so you are constantly bumping in to people. There's also 3 Costas. WHO NEEDS THAT MUCH COFFEE? Conclusion: Not good but there's not much alternative travelling between Oxford and Southampton unless you go in to a town. I think that about covers me for everything west of London and the M1. Until I remember something after I hit post.
  5. Right ok. I wasn't sure if I'd include this but it's worthy of a post for completeness. Balhaldie Location: A9 Type: Petrol station Petrol Station: Shell (Southbound only) Hotel: None Pros: Easy to access. Cons: Almost not a services Comments: This is a weird site. Situated a couple of miles north of Dunblane. It has almost always been southbound only for fuel with a Little Chef on both sides - the northbound being literally JUST a Little Chef with northbound fuel located at Auchterarder. Both Little Chefs closed fairly early with the collapse of that chain which left the northbound services abandoned. You could still get in to the car park for a while but it eventually got blocked off. It reopened with an independant eatery chain (Oliver's Grill and Diner). It never gained traction and closed soon after with the car park being blocked up again. A couple of years ago, a Subway opened with a resurfaced the car park and new fencing to make it look a bit more appealing. The southbound side faired a bit better with folk actually using the Little Chef probably because it was attached to a petrol station. In fact, the Balhaldie Little Chef being the last one in Scotland to close. That Little Chef is now closed but the building is still there and the Little Chef signage still being in place last time I was up that way. Conclusion: Handy fuel stop before making a non-stop break for it through the central belt.
  6. More I hear you ask? No? Tough. Anyways time to skip back north of the border to go over a couple I had forgot about and to finish off the Scottish stuff. Until I remember something else I forgot. Dutch House Location: Kilmarnock Road, Monkton Type: Petrol station with Brewer's Fayre Petrol Station: BP Hotel: Premier Inn Pros: Nothing special. Cons: Again, nothing to note. Comments: Just off the Dutch House roundabout where the A77 and A78 meet. Mostly just a petrol station but is signed as services on the A77 southbound. Next door to the Dutch House caravan park. It's the first place that resembles a services that you come to after coming off the Belfast ferry at Cairnryan. Driving up the A77 you do go through some towns and villages that will have local stuff but they all shut at about a quater past 1954. Conclusion: Handy. Good for a quick whazz before the last leg of the A77 / M77 to Glasgow coming north from the ferries. Bellfield Interchange Location: Riccarton Road (A71) and A76, Kilmarnock Type: Petrol station with McDonald's Petrol Station: BP Hotel: Travelodge Pros: Sits between the A71 and A76 just before the Bellfield roundabout so can be used to dodge the roundabout if you want to go between Hurlford and A76 to Cumnock. Cons: Small car park. The Bellfield roundabout is a bastard at peak times. Comments: Locally referred to as the Q8 as that was the petrol station that used to be there when it opened. The new McD's also sits on the site of the old Little Chef that appeared to have noone in it any time I went past. Only appears to be signposted as a services on the A77 southbound. Conclusion: I can't think of a reason to visit this one. Then again nothing in particular comes to mind regarding avoiding it. Other than being in Kilmarnock. Get out of Killie at all costs. Heart of Scotland (Harthill) Location: M8 Type: One on each side. Connecting bridge. Petrol Station: BP Hotel: None Pros: The only services between Glasgow and Edinburgh. Cons: It doesn't offer anything other than a bog that you can't find less than 15 mins away. Comments: Harthill used to be a proper services but it's now just a petrol station and a bus stop which just shows what kind of patronage it gets. It's also a large site and you can still access all the old bits of the car parks where the buldings used to be which just makes it a dismal hole in the earth. Harthill is basically just a Park and Ride for Citylink and Stagecoach services between Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dunfermline. Conclusion: Avoid. You might just catch Harthill. South Queensferry / Forth Bridge / Ferrymuir Location: A90 Type: Multiple facilities dotted around a junction Petrol Station: BP (South Queensfery), Shell (Forth Bridge) and Tesco (Ferrymuir) Hotel: Premier Inn (South Queensferry) and Hotel Dakota (Ferrymuir) Pros: Lots of choice. Much quieter now the M90 has been finished on to the new bridge Cons: All over the place Comments: These services are at the first junction south of the old Forth Road Bridge and is simply signposted as "Services". The 3 sites are arranged around the roundabout so you get the choice but it's only if you know what's where. It's all a bit redundant now anyways because the old bridge is for buses and 125cc bikes so you don't really get much access from the new road. I only ever used the Shell garage if I needed fuel as it was the easiest to get to so I can't speak for the rest of it. Conclusion: Local services for local people Musselburgh Location: A1 / A720 Type: One site for multiple routes. Petrol Station: BP Hotel: Travelodge Pros: None Cons: All of them Comments: I had to do some research on this dump to get an idea of how it got the way it did. Musselburgh services is fairly new. Built in 1989 to coincide with the opening of the A720 Edinburgh bypass and the A1 Musselburgh bypass so you'd think it'd be reasonably nice. It was originally a Granada with Granada Shop, Granada Kitchen Restaurant and Granada Lodge. The shop became a Burger King, the Country Kitchen became Scotland's only AJs then a Little Chef and the lodge became a Travelodge. The site was run by Moto as well at one point. Since then Burger King and Little Chef have gone leaving the amenities building completely redundant since 2010. Said amenities building is now boarded up and there are various sign posts from the Granada days with no signs on them, some bits of Burger King signs and gateway signage on the way in to the Travelodge with bits missing out of them. The Travelodge and petrol forecourt are still open for business but the whole site feels deserted and MUCH older than it actually is. I dare say if it wasn't for the Travelodge and the fact it's right at the A720 / A1 junction this place would have shut down years ago seeing as The Jewel and Fort Kinnaird are less than 5 minutes up the road. Conclusion: This place is outstandingly fucking grim. Definitely worth a visit just to have a wander round the site.
  7. Meh. Hungover tae fuck from 2 days drinking. Just a couple for now. Gordano Location: M5 Type: One side for both carriageways. Welcome Break. Petrol Station: Shell Hotel: Ramada Pros: It's a decent size, I suppose. Cons: Traffic managed car park. Queues to get out it's so popular. Fake fact: Named after the inventor of the service station, Gordon O'Services Comments: Fuck me what an absolute hole. Queues to get in. Drive past a half empty car park that takes forever to go to because of traffic management. Toilets woeful. Conclusion: Nope. Bridgwater Location: M5 Type: Off carriageway. In an industrial estate. Moto Petrol Station: BP Hotel: Travelodge Pros: None Cons: Cramped. Shit. Way off the motorway yet still charges full service station prices for fuel. Comments: Been reading up on this shit hole. It's the smallest footprint of any full motorway services. It has a ridiculously tight multi storey car park, a ridiculously tight access road and the hotel is in the same building as the actual services. When you go in all you do is bump in to people, the "What is there to do" pamphlet stand looked as if a bomb had gone off behind it. Mr cms206 managed to get wheelslip on the ramp to the top deck of the parking. Looks like there has been an application put forward to build a new service station on the other side of the motorway that will be a lot bigger but no plans to close the current site. Conclusion: Go once just to see how bad it is then never go again.
  8. This thing has had problems for about 30 years. Since I claimed ownership 18 months ago, I've been meaning to get it fixed. I eventually had to take it to an Italian man in Edinburgh. Problems fixed AND sounding noticably better.
  9. Ahh yes. Victoryguy also known as Mr Donald MacRae. A well known, if not the most well known, bus perv in all of the north east of Scotland. Good friend of myself and Mr cms206. He's the guy in the green t-shirt in this pic taken in Hong Kong. Don't know by who but any excuse to share my favourite bus picture of all time.
  10. Seeing as I'm going north to south at the minute, I've kinda skipped past this one seeing as it's off to one side a bit... Chester Location: M56 Type: One site for each carriageway. Roadchef Petrol Station: Shell Hotel: Travelodge Pros: Seeing M'Coli trying to bump start his own car Cons: Too small Comments: The car park feels just about the right size for the amount of patronage however the actual building feels about half the size it needs to be and getting to the bogs involves walking round everything. You can't do anything at any reasonable pace at Chester services and you just end up getting angry and wishing you'd kept going. Also rml2345 struggles between the distinction between M56 east and M56 west coming back out Conclusion: Avoid unless you're desperate. Keep going to Lymm.
  11. It's a quiet afternoon. Weather is shit and I'm getting cold just sitting in front tof the tv so let's get the fingers moving to heat up a bit. Keele Location: M6 Type: One on each side. Connecting bridge. Welcome Break. Petrol Station: Shell Hotel: None Pros: The approach sign. Cons: None really Comments: Keele services has my favourite sign on the entire motorway network owing to it's oldness, political uncorrectness ("Facilities for The Disabled") and the fact it's in the central reservation. Not the worst place I've even been to and that was even before it was mildly refurbed. I've only ever used the toilet at the petrol station since then. Conclusion: All things considered, not bad. Stafford Location: M6 Type: One on each side. No connecting bridge. Petrol Station: BP (Northbound), Esso (Southbound) Hotel: Travelodge (Northbound), Days Inn (Southbound) Pros: Quite modern. Set well back off the motorway Cons: None Comments: Stafford was opened in the mid to late 90s so it doesn't suffer from that grim factor like the others further north on the M6 that are all 60s and 70s jobs. There used to be a really bad tranny that worked in WH Smith on the northbound so a visit was usually worth it just for a look. Northbound has an excellent long sweeping access road. Conclusion: Worth a visit. Norton Canes Location: M6 Toll Type: One side for each carriageway. Roadchef Petrol Station: BP Hotel: Travelodge Pros: Large car park. Usually not too mobbed due to not everyone using the toll road. Cons: Won't give you a coach toll voucher unless you're a Roadchef club memeber. Comments: Probably the first of the millenial style service I ever visited - you know, the ones designed to look like an airport departure lounge. Conclusion: Pretty bland. Not somewhere I generally aim for if I know I'm going to have to stop somewhere. Corley Location: M6 Type: One of each side. Connecting bridge. Welcome Break. Petrol Station: Shell Hotel: None Pros: It's not Watford Gap Cons: It's Corley Comments: This one is particularly grim if I remember correctly. I've only ever used it as an emergency toilet stop. I do remember it being quite quiet as it's close enough to Brum that folk just don't bother. I also got photographed bringing the yellow Olympian back north by a couple of bus nutters waiting for me at Corley. Conclusion: Avoid. It's shit. Frankley Location: M5 Type: One on each side. No connecting bridge. Moto Petrol Station: BP Hotel: Travelodge (Southbound only) Pros: N/A Cons: N/A Comments: I only ever stopped here once when the Volvo shat it's alternator on the way back from The Electric Train museum so I don't rate this place highly. Conclusion: Avoid. Hopwood Park Location: M42 Type: One site for each carriageway. Petrol Station: Shell Hotel: None Pros: Pretty modern. Opened 1999 Cons: Mr FPB7 hates it. Toilets upstairs. Comments: Quite swish by the standards of the likes of Knutsford - it's got a Waitrose for a start. Airy interior. Was quiet the one time I visited. Conclusion: Not bad. Would visit again.
  12. I've been looking at insurance for the Golf tonight. It's upsetting me. I'll do another couple on here. Charnock Richard Location: M6 Type: One on each side. Connecting bridge. Welcome Break Petrol Station: Shell Hotel: Ramada Pros: The eatery is on the bridge. Cons: Not the biggest. Can be busy. Comments: Another of the old school style services common across the north west of England. The eatery being on the bridge is a nice novelty as a viewing platform which makes it slightly more interesting than Forton's shut tower. Conclusion: Not the worst place I've ever been. Lymm Truck Stop Location: Cliff Lane, Appleton - M6 and M56 access Type: Off carriageway. Moto Petrol Station: BP Hotel: ibis Budget Pros: Quirky design. Car drivers welcome. On site barbers. The shop sells CB radios. Cons: Access off the M6 is a bit confusing. Comments: Lymm was clearly an independant at one point with a weird layout. The main services is laid out like a courtyard with the shops and toilets located around a wee square. Being a truck stop, the commercial parking is massive and the wee shop sells truck related stuff like air horns, CB radios and hi-vis jackets. Also being a truck stop, the facilities are a bit... utilitarian. Conclusion: Definitely worth a visit just to see the quirky layout. Knutsford Location: M6 Type: One on each side. Connecting bridge. Moto Petrol Station: BP Hotel: Travelodge Pros: None I can think of. Cons: Small car park. Small commercial parking. Busy. Comments: Knutsford is just in the right place to attract a lot of people doing long journeys so it gets really busy. The car park isn't that big and the truck parking is tiny to the point if all you want to do is go for the toilet in the petrol station, you can't get parked for the trucks. The facilities inside are pretty grim as well. Conclusion: Grim. Not recommended. Sandbach Location: M6 Type: One on each side. Connecting bridge. Roadchef Petrol Station: BP Hotel: None Pros: N/A Cons: N/A Comments: God it's been a long time since I've been in here. In fact it may be the one I've visited the longest time ago. From memory it wasn't great. Conclusion: No comment
  13. Dishes done, tea made. Let's do another few... Southwaite Location: M6 south of Carlisle. Type: One on each side. Connecting bridge. Moto Petrol Station: BP Hotel: Travelodge Pros: Usually quite quiet Cons: Comments: It's been a seriously long time since I went in to the actual services here so I can't really comment. From memory the fact it is usually quiet makes it bearable. Conclusion: Potentially shit, can't remember Tebay Location: M6 Type: One on each side. No connecting bridge. Westmorland Group. Petrol Station: Esso Hotel: Westmorland Hotel and seasonal camping Pros: Large car park. Farm shop. Good eatery. Free tyre compressor. Free to use ATM. Cons: Used to be 100% better than any other services at about 20% extra cost. Now it's the other way about. Riding the name a bit? Comments: Standard SVM stageing point for southbound journeys. Decent breakfast, nice outlooks and a wander round the farm shop is usually a good way to kill 5 mins. Main eatery and shop shuts at night but the takeaway counter stays open for teas and sandwiches. Approx half way between Cannock and Glasgow. Conclusion: Definite must visit - Tradition, Old Charter or something. Killington Lake Location: M6 Type: Southbound only. Roadchef Petrol Station: BP Hotel: Days Inn Pros: Quiet. Out the way. Nice outlook. Cons: Only 10 miles or so away from Tebay. What's the point? Comments: Sits on Killington Reservoir and is well off the motorway so is remarkably peaceful. Feels like it's only there because it has to be. Conclusion: Not bad. Good if you need to stop and Tebay is mobbed. Burton in Kendall Location: M6 Type: Northbound only. Moto Petrol Station: BP Hotel: Travelodge Pros: None Cons: Small. Terrible toilets. Comments: This is another one I've only visited in desperation. Notably that time I ate a packet of sugar free sherbet lemons and had to stop 8 times between Coventry and Glasgow. The toilets are bloody awful and the access appears to have originally been on the outside of the bulding which is now within a glass conservatory. Conclusion: Just don't. Keep going to Tebay. Forton Location: M6 south of Lancaster Type: One on each side. Connecting bridge. Moto Petrol Station: BP Hotel: Travelodge Pros: The tower. Eatery is a viewing gallery for the motorway. Cons: You can't get in to the tower. Everything else is a bit naff. Toilets are on the second level. Can be extremely busy particularly southbound. Comments: Looks very space age with the tower. Good parking which is easy to get in and out of. Can't comment on the southbound side as it's usually queueing on the to motorway when I go past. Conclusion: Good on the northbound. Worth a visit. Avoid southbound.
  14. That'll be because it's a Westmorland. Same as Tebay and Cairn Lodge.
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