Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

The Joys of SatNav

Not unlike a lot of inventions, SatNav can be an excellent help in getting to a destination, so long as it`s treated as that - a help, rather than something to be relied on and trusted to the exclusion of more traditional methods.

Drivers who have no idea where they are going can come a cropper, just like the people who use calculators for all calculations, and cannot tell when they have put in a wrong figure, ending up believing that 2 plus 2 equals 40.

Of course it`s more worrying when a coach driver relies on SatNav. It suggests that he might not have much idea of where he`s going.

On one of the rare occasions when my wife Anne and I had a weekend away, we went by coach. Don`t make the assumption that it was a Woods of Leicester coach - it was a completely different company!

Shortly after we started, a passenger asked our driver when we would get to our next stop. He gave a reasonable answer, but then added "that`s what my SatNav says, anyway".

There was a hold-up along the way, caused by an incident that had happened on a nearby motorway, leading to long tailbacks.

Obviously, that wasn`t our driver`s fault, but there were several diversions he could have made. Why didn`t he? Because he was following his SatNav directions.

I mention all this because a rather hilarious incident in Norfolk has just come to light. A trade magazine calls the chief protagonist of the story "dimwitted", but I wouldn`t dream of saying anything like that.

Driving a minibus owned by a company named Streamline, he took a wrong turning at a ford while following his SatNav, and found himself in the River Nar near Castle Acre. He then drove for 200 yards along the river in darkness, before the eight-seater minibus ground to a halt on the muddy bed of the river.

As luck would have it, there were no passengers on board. He used his mobile phone to ring the office, and they sent out another vehicle with a towrope, expecting to find our hero and his minibus just off the ford.

His boss commented "It took ages to find him and we couldn`t believe it when we saw where he was. It was several hundred yards along the river. The minibus still had its engine running and headlights on and the driver was sitting in it with his trousers rolled up around his knees. I shone a torch in the river and there were fish swimming around the headlights."