Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The Amazing Race in the UK - Shouting at the Screen for Fun and Amusement

I and a huge fan of The Amazing Race. I've seen every one of them.
But they are rarely in places that I've been to, save for US places like San Francisco and Boston and Hawaii. Until now.

In the first episode they went to the UK, landed in Heathrow and went to Stonehenge ( to pick up a clue and on to Eastnor Castle in Herfordshire (

I've never been to Eastnor which looks lovely when someone isn't dumping water on you, but I have been to Stonehenge and in particular I've driven to Stonehenge.

I've driven in the UK on multiday trips around 3 times. Driving on the left side of the road is a significant adjustment and was a very difficult adjustment the first time I did it. While I was able to drive ok, it took me quite a while to adjust to having the entire rest of the car on my left side. The thought of a bunch of jet-lagged, rushed Americans most who have never driven in the UK, loose in cars that are not small was more than a little alarming and I'm really surprised that there weren't more issues (or accidents) that they had.

When I've driven in the UK (this is pre GPS) I used a 1/2 inch thick driving atlas. Several of them stopped and picked up a map, but that's probably not enough without help as Stonehenge is not off a major motorway, but instead on A-303 (A map is here).

If you're not in a hurry, it's fairly easy to find and a lovely drive. As you might guess our racers did not have quite the nice time. Lots of complaints about no signs which prompted much shouting from me. "They are there if you take the time to read them!"

But to be fair, looking at Streetview there are not giant "Stonehenge this way" signs. Just the highway numbers so you have to know where you want to go. And in the case of the Stonehenge turn off the highway sign is painted on the street (you can see it here.) That never occurred to me before. Your navigator has to be able to see what's painted on the streets and The Amazing Race puts the second person in the back seat to accommodate the camera people. That's a huge handicap.

Though once you get there I assure you you won't need a sign. This is what you see from the highway.

Anyway it's a great episode (the parts at Eastnor Castle are both hilarious and traumatic), and if you see this while the season is running you can watch it here:

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