RAC Route Planner
Having tried and failed for over two years to sort a situation that is a big problem for visitors to Mull (and for residents faced with an unfamiliar journey or trying to work out logistical journey times), when is the RAC going to get to grips with the fantasy land of their journey planner?
I live in Tobermory. I want to travel via Lochearnhead, Stirling to Edinburgh and points south, say Bellingham. The RAC route planner seems to be incapable of
(a) recognising that one can travel on a ferry between Fishnish on Mull and Lochaline (that place doesn't exist - it's called Morvern which is an area name and not one generally recognised unless one's local) and onto to Ardgour where you can cross on Corran Ferry to join the A82 southbound)
(b) if you type in Morvern, it directs you to take the ferry over to Lochaline and then return to Fishnish on Mull to get the Craignure to Oban ferry
(c) if you know to type in Morvern and then Ardgour, where the Corran ferry crosses to Nether Lochaber, you can be directed the long way round via Locheil to Fort William - no mention of the 5 minute Corran ferry.
Having said that, the AA route planner is only slightly better.
At the end of the day, it is locals who bear the brunt of the complaints those who probably have never ventured to such areas but have such faith in their computerised system never have to. Try dealing with folks with toddlers and babies who have been faced with over a hundred extra miles to get to their destinations because they have relied on such systems and then lose out on their accommodation because they've not met their deadline and their normal mobile phone doesn't work so they can't phone, and let's face it, mobile phone signals don't cover much of the route.
If I'm angry right now, it cost me over an hour's extra work (unpaid) to find just such a family (who had relied on a reputable organisation's supposedly good route planning system) accommodation. It ruined my family's planned evening as well. Having pointed out these issues over two years ago and since as well, nothing has been done.
I am NOT impressed! Perhaps, by raising it here, someone on the inside can get the powers that be to pull their fingers out (sorry to be rude) and get it sorted!
Not hopeful though!
Ficklejade, I have put the journey Tobermory, Lochearnhead, Stirling, Edinburgh, Bellingham into Autoroute 2005. Both the shortest and quickest route indicate using the Craignure to Oban ferry. If I change to Fishnish/Lockaline ferry, it adds time and mileage to journey. Fishnish is not shown, but the A884 leads direct to the Ferry route (labelled as Fishnish/Lockaline).
Due to the way you can manipulate routes, it may be worth your getting hold of a copy (£20 from Amazon). It is also reasonably 'user-friendly'. I was going to update to 2007 version, but at £85, I went for a SatNav.
This confusion is why I have absolutely no interest in this route-planning technology and all I ever use is the good old roadmap and reading the roadsigns. It's always worked for me, without fail.
I use the online route planners before doing a journey, to get the general route, but then I just use the roadmap and read the signs on the road. Occasionally a couple of post-it notes attached to the car radio area if it's an area I'm completely unfamiliar with; nothing more needed I find.
Example: if I want to get from Devon to Glasgow, I get to the M5, follow signs for "Birmingham". Get to M6, follow signs to "The North-West, Scotland". Get to A74, follow signs for "Glasgow". You're there.
Sure, SatNav may be useful for getting to precise city streets, but if you're traversing the country getting from one general location to another location with which you are fairly familiar, all you need is a check with the route planner (if necessary); a fundamental geographical knowledge; and to follow the signs to the relevant places.
Last edited by 98selitb; 08-05-08 at 14:09.
98selitb, I do not argue your reply, I have been using my SatNav for a few weeks now, and when I deviate from it's chosen route, it does update and amend quite quickly. This is usually because I know the traffic flow locally. Up until I bought it, I found I had to update road maps and atlases quite regularly because of new roads, road renumbering and one-way systems being introduced/changed. I still keep atlas in car, and have a quick look to work out approximate route, but as yet, my SatNav seems to be a good investment. The ability to navigate to a POI is extremely useful to me too.
The problem is that people rely totally on the Satnav rather than using it as an additional aid. It would be naive to trust a computer completely (as we all know), but if you look up the route with maps or a proper routeplanner before setting off, and then let the computer assist you on the actual journey, it's an incredibly powerful tool.
Additionally the POI's as rolebama mentioned are invaluable.
I'm very much like you Selbit - tend to use online planners for guide to journey times and distances as a rough guide. Remember many moons ago, before all the technology, getting phoned up at 11.30pm almost as far east in England as you can get and told by hubby to be at a certain hotel in Aberystwyth (sorry about spelling?) at 2.00pm next day. Quick look at map and that was it - wasn't so much m-way then, either!!
Originally Posted by 98selitb
Will have a look at Autoroute, Rolebama; it is has the flexibility to do "via" properly it could be £20 well invested.
Originally Posted by Rolebama
Now play about with the same journey calling at Morvern (by which the RAC planner seems to mean Lochaline). Then same journey again with Morvern, Ardgour and Nether Lochaber - sometimes you're lucky and Corran pops up, otherwise they take you the long hike round Loch Eil via Fort William! Sometimes you can get Lochaline up, mostly you can't. The problem is that folks know the ferry port names but get in a hopeless muddle - okay not their fault geography of the British Isles isn't taught any more.
Craignure to Oban may be shortest and potentially fastest - the minimum half hour check in period; 46 minutes of crossing, not to mention the horrors of being on the latter half of the vehicles off the boat can make a mockery of this - it is often feasible to leave Fishnish half an hour before the Craignure boat and be ahead of the Oban boat traffic at Tyndrum, without breaking the speed limit! OK, knowing the road/passing places/dodgey bits helps, but hence the need for flexibility!
Gather SATNAV has improved immensely, but some of the old post code system ones were horribly wrong! I honestly don't think I need SATNAV - ok, cities and towns are a problem but with good directions from your destination (likely to be really up to date), a road works check and a shufti at the map in advance seems to do quite well (I use Phillips Navigator - got OS grid tie up and that's very useful in what I do).
Just a grumpy old woman on this one!
Hmmm, Ficklejade, Morvern is only shown as a peak near Gobernuisgeach, and Nether Lochaber doesn't come up at all, so I can't program that route in. Does put the Ardgour/Corran ferry on route though, and what looks like a bridge at Ballchulish.
Ah, Rolebama, see what I mean. On RAC route planner you put in Morvern (an area as well as the hill) if you mean Lochaline!! . And Corran Ferry runs between Ardgour and Nether Lochaber across the Corran Narrows, hence the ferry being called Corran Ferry. There used to be a ferry at Ballachulish (at busy periods local knew if the queue had reached a certain property on either, it would be quicker to drive right round the Loch via Kinlochleven!! Those were the days!!
Just wondering what other eccentricities show up on the planner!