Trunk road calls: mobile users calling from layby

Phone users are only able to get a signal in the layby

MOBILE phone users are parking in a lay-by on Scotland’s most deadly road to make calls after a transmitter mast was blown down.

Residents of Dunkeld, Perthshire, have not been able to get a Vodafone signal for more than a week since gales knocked over the mast.

So some have taken to driving a few hundred metres north of town on the notorious A9 and pulling over at a lay-by barely big enough for three cars.

Around 200 accidents are recorded annually on the road between Perth and Inverness, including numerous fatalities. The Scottish Government is under intense pressure to take action.

But the risks are not deterring locals such as Mary MacDougall, who said she relies entirely on her 24-month smartphone contract with the phone company.

She said: “I’ve been waiting for business calls and don’t have a land line so I’ve had to stop in a lay-by beside the A9 for a week now. I was waiting for financial calls and to hear about a part-time job application.

“We’ve been over a week without mobile phone reception and various businesses are being affected by this. It’s very frustrating and just not good enough.


“People have been phoning the helpdesk and have been told the mast was down and they were trying to fix it.

“I know of a joiner and a quantity surveyor who rely on their phones for business and haven’t been able to use them, who knows what they might have lost?”

Another businesswoman, who asked not to be named, said: “Every call I miss loses me money and I’m getting as bit fed up now. Because we have no idea what the problem is, we have no idea when it will be fixed.

“You come to rely on these services, and when they’re taken away it’s hard to live with.

A Vodafone spokeswoman said: “I have looked into thingsa and there does seem to be a problem with the Vodafone site in Dunkeld.

“We are working on bringing this back to service as soon as possible and apologise to our customers in the area.”

Following the death of an American tourist in May last year, MSP Murdo Fraser said: “We know from statistics that the A9 is the most dangerous road in Scotland and here we have yet another sad fatality which has added to the figures that prove the need for investment in safety improvements on the A9.”