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Lyr Add: Don't Go on the 8-3-0 (McCalmans)

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Joe Offer 13 Oct 15 - 02:01 AM
Megan L 13 Oct 15 - 02:41 AM
Joe Offer 13 Oct 15 - 02:51 AM
Tattie Bogle 13 Oct 15 - 03:13 PM
Jim Dixon 16 Oct 15 - 11:37 PM
Tattie Bogle 17 Oct 15 - 04:44 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: Don't Go on the 8-3-0 (McCalmans)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Oct 15 - 02:01 AM

Megan L posted this link on the thread about Janie's broken leg, and it intrigued me:



The song intrigued me, because I followed almost the same route from Mallaig to Fort William in June - but I rode in comfort on the Jacobite steam train. It's a beautiful trip, but I can imagine the highway would be treacherous. We took a similarly treacherous trip in a motor coach on the A890, a one-lane road on a cliff above Loch Carron on the way to Plockton. You should have seen the terror in the faces of car drivers coming up to us in the opposite direction - they had to back up long distances along a narrow cliffside road. I imagine our intrepid bus driver, Graham, drove our bus along the 830 from Mallaig to pick us up at Fort William. I'm glad I took the train. Two days later, as he was leaving us, Graham played "King of the Road" for us on his tuba-like instrument. A fitting song for a fearless bus driver, I'd say.

I found the lyrics here:

THE 8-3-0
(Ian McCalman)

He was driving up to Mallaig, Glenfinnan by Lochshiel
Heading for Lochailort content behind the wheel
The road was getting narrower the sign said slow
It's the highland daily dodgems it's the 8-3-0

There is a natural assumption that A-roads are wide
Enough to take a car and one the other side
Tourist information will never ever tell
It's like driving through heaven on a road made for hell

CHORUS:
On a single track you can't turn back the stories are all the same
Of tourists leaving Corpach
Never seen again
Don't go on the 8-3-0
Don't go on the 8-3-0


Whoever called this road 'a road' is telling little lies
The 8-3-0's a sheep track, in very thin disguise
Italian caravanettes, driving on the right
Meeting Wallace Arnold Coaches in the middle of the night

On a single track you can't turn back a nightmare without end
It's eyes ahead for David Coulthard's waiting round the bend
Don't go on the 8-3-0
There's a man in the highlands, the theory's going round
That he runs the biggest breaker's yard this side of Mallaig town
You can see him in the gloaming towing wrecks from where they lie
And he turns them into girders for the bridge across to Skye

And it's a single track he's in Mallaig and now he feels no pain
He's dumped the car he's in the bar he's steaming back by train
On a single track you can's turn back the moral's very plain
If you want to visit Mallaig, it's safer by MacBrayne's
Don't go on the 8-3-0

The 8-3-0
© Ian McCalman MCPS/PRS
From album - 'Honest Poverty' (Greentrax 1993 CDTRAX067)
'McCalman Singular' (Greentrax CDTRAX269)


Here's a map: (click)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Don't Go on the 8-3-0 (McCalmans)
From: Megan L
Date: 13 Oct 15 - 02:41 AM

I did it once on the old 830 a few years ago they started adding width the whole route not sure if its finished.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Don't Go on the 8-3-0 (McCalmans)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Oct 15 - 02:51 AM

Was it one lane or two, Megan? The A890 is one very narrow lane, but an absolutely beautiful ride.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Don't Go on the 8-3-0 (McCalmans)
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 13 Oct 15 - 03:13 PM

Think Megan's right: less of the "single track with passing places" than there was when the song was written! The biggest problem was people with towing caravans who didn't know how to reverse (you have to turn the wheel in the opposite direction from what you'd think!)


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Subject: Lyr Add: DON'T GO ON THE 8-3-0 (McCalmans)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 16 Oct 15 - 11:37 PM

Here's how I hear it. I heard it on Spotify:


DON'T GO ON THE 8-3-01
(Ian McCalman)
As recorded by The McCalmans on "Honest Poverty" (1993)

1. He was driving up to Mallaig,2 Glenfinnan3 by Loch Shiel,4
Heading for Lochailort,5 content behind the wheel.
The road was getting narrower; the sign said "Slow."
It's the Highland6 daily dodgems;7 it's the 8-3-0.

2. There is a natural assumption that A roads8 are wide
Enough to take a car and one the other side.
Tourist information will never, never tell.
It's like driving through heaven on a road made for hell.

CHORUS: 'Cause it's a single track; you can't turn back; the stories are all the same
Of the tourists leaving Corpach9, never seen again.
Don't go on the 8-3-0.
Don't go on the 8-3-0.

3. There's a joke in the Highlands; it's called a passing place,10
Where French stay for chips and English stay for days and days and days.
When lorries lose control you've one last wish:
"Don't let me die under twenty tons of fish!"


CHORUS: 'Cause it's single track; you can't turn back; a nightmare without end.
Eyes ahead, 'cause Nigel Mansell's11 waiting round the bend.
Don't go on the 8-3-0.
Don't go on the 8-3-0.

4. Whoever called this road a road was telling little lies.
The 8-3-0's a sheep track, in very thin disguise—
Italian caravanettes,12 driving on the right,
Meeting Wallace Arnold13 coaches in the middle of the night.

5. Of the man that's stopping progress, a theory's going round
That he owns the biggest breaker's yard14 this side of Mallaig town.
You can see him in the gloaming, towing wrecks from where they lie,
And he turns them into girders for the bridge across to Skye.15

CHORUS: And it's a single track; he's in Mallaig, and now he feels no pain.
He's dumped the car; he's in the bar; he's steaming back by train.
On a single track, you can's turn back; the moral's very plain:
It's grand to visit Mallaig; it's safer by MacBrayne.16
Don't go on the 8-3-0.
Don't go on the 8-3-0.
Don't go on the 8-3-0.


NOTES: 1. A830. 2. Mallaig. 3. Glenfinnan. 4. Loch_Shiel. 5. Lochailort. 6. Highlands. 7. dodgems. 8. A roads. 9. Corpach. 10. passing place. 11. Nigel Mansell. 12. caravanette. 13. Wallace_Arnold. 14. breaker's yard. 15. Skye. 16. MacBrayne.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Don't Go on the 8-3-0 (McCalmans)
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 17 Oct 15 - 04:44 AM

Seems the last section of single track road was only upgraded to 2-track in 2009. So the song can be consigned to fascinating history.
More info here: http://www.sabre-roads.org.uk/wiki/index.php?title=A830


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