Am I glad you were there, Murdoch – …

Comment posted Quarrying at Glensanda: aggregating aggregates by newsroom.

Am I glad you were there, Murdoch – apart from the pleasure of actually meeting.

Recent comments by newsroom

  • Clyde RIver ferry: Business Scotland interview with CalMac’s Martin Dorchester
    Thank you.
    Re your airport idea – do you know if there is a viable berthing location at the airport?
    If there were and if Loch Lomond Seaplanes [or Skye Seaplanes as it now is at its new Skye base] were interested, there has always been a lure in a high-end charter pick-up service for arrivals at the airport to fly them off to Loch Lomond, Arran, Kintyre, Oban, Islay…
    So if an airport stop was achievable and the seaplane service went for this business opportunity, that would get double value from a river bus airport pontoon. It would be logical for Glasgow City Council to put in and maintain the infrastructure – under advice from experts including Brisbane City Council – and lease it to operators.
  • CalMac: the Douglas Fraser teaser
    The CalMac experience wiht CMAL over the Ballycastle-Rathline tender was one that we had originally included in this companion piece to this article and then edited out as it distracted from the main focus on CalMac’s early-days thinking about a Clyde River ferry. [http://forargyll.com/2014/04/interesting-business-scotland-interview-with-calmacs-martin-dorchester/]
    The Rathlin tender affair could not provide better evidence that the Scottish Government allowed CMAL to behave proactivey against CalMac’s interests in fighting to retain their Rathlin contract. This underlines the essential utter independence of the two state owned Scottish companies, one from another.
    The competing bid was an unable one. The bidder did not even have and could not find a boat to serve the route.
    CMAL stepped in and OFFERED him the use of the MV Canna – the very boat that CalMac was using for the service.
    This qualified the competing bid and made it look more capable. It won the contract.
    What CMAL and the Scottish Government were up to in shafting a state owned company, wholly owned by one of them and a sister of the other, also wholly state owned – is anyone’s guess. It looked very much like a backstairs political deal between the two governments concerned, with the Irish possibly interested in ‘Irishising’ the service.
    We are aware from authoritative sources in Northern Ireland that CalMac had – and knew they had – a strong legal case to challenge the award of the contract but were instructed by their sole shareholder not to do so.
    This curious incident does, though, underscore the fact that the CMAL fleet is CMAL’s asset and CMAL’s liability – and that CalMac has no ‘ownership’ or business reason to try to help out in finding ways to deploy CMAL’s upcoming surplus and ageing tonnage – an argument we make it the companion piece linked above and which just might apply in the case of the tender possibility punted as a possible CalMac itnerest in this article here.
  • Clyde RIver ferry: Business Scotland interview with CalMac’s Martin Dorchester
    As you say, it is all about the right sort of service – and you too seem to feel that the right service could work.
  • Clyde RIver ferry: Business Scotland interview with CalMac’s Martin Dorchester
    The airport link is a great idea 0- and for arrivals, what a way into the city?
    If the right service did start and was successful, we wondered about a later extension taking it into the neglected east as far as Parkhead? Is that navigable for shallow draft vessels?
  • Tarbert VIllage Hall now a conference venue
    This is sad news.

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8 Responses to Am I glad you were there, Murdoch – …

  1. My understanding is that the ship’s conveyor boom is only used when discharging. At that time, the cargo is dropped through the hopper doors in the bottom of the holds, onto longitudinal conveyors which take the cargo to the foot of the vertical conveyor (in the un-lovely tower attached to the front of the superstructure). The vertical conveyor then dumps the cargo onto the start of the ship’s discharge conveyor belt, carried in the boom which is swung from the ship above the quay at Amsterdam, or Hamburg, or wherever.

    My understanding is that, when loading, the quarry’s own conveyer boom carries the stone chips right above the top of the hold, so that gravity does all of the rest (until the destination port), and the ship’s conveyor boom is simply swung out of the way.

    If the ship’s conveyor belt carried the new cargo on-board, you would then need some horizontal conveyors at deck level to get the cargo from the inboard end of that conveyor to the tops of the holds. That would seem to be a bigger change than has been implemented in this rebuild.

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  2. The ship loader is actually on the jetty. It is a very interesting piece of equipment, more elaborate than I had imagined. From what I could see and from what I gleaned from the quarry staff I will try and explain how it works, but I did not get to see how the conveyor collects the stone or how the belt deals with it’s outward travel.

    If you look at the two pictures in this article you will see that it’s base is a massive bridge structure that sits on a turntable/pivot at one end and travels in an arc on rails set into the jetty at the outer end, where you can see a driver’s cab is attached. The conveyor to the ship is set in a boom that travels outwards on top of this bridge. It looks like the back end is held down by rollers that will be below the bridge. The boom conveyor can reach the furthest away corner of any of the ships holds.

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  3. Would make a good set for the next James Bond movie, but ideally the baddies would disappear into the mincing machine and that would be best achieved as the ship is unloaded and the cargo sinks into the hoppers at the base of the hold.

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  4. I have no objection to the Glensanda operation whatsoever but . . .

    let no one tell you that heavy industry does not do cute

    compellingly beautiful symmetrical heap of silver crushed stone

    the very specific beauty that is part of industry

    Am I the only one who finds this eulogy to the industrialisation and total destruction of a huge swathe of countryside a bit odd after the vitriol recently poured on the wind industry?
    .

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    • Surely the difference with the wind industry is that it’s creeping over the surface of the country – and the surrounding seas – like some contagion that risks getting out of control, whereas Glensanda is an admittedly very large scale operation but in a carefully chosen area of a landscape big enough to contain it. Yes, it can be surprisingly visible – for example from the road through Glen Nant, 20 miles away – but it’s surely not the ‘total destruction of a huge swathe of countryside’, and it does have a certain grandeur in its sheer scale.

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      • Digging a mountain away in an operation like that is pretty close to total destruction, is it not?

        It may be necessary, it may be in the most appropriate place and it may be very clever technically, but Glensanda is not ‘beautiful’ by any stretch of the imagination.

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        • I suppose it depends on the imagination being stretched. Some only see natural beauty while others see beauty in man’s industrial efforts to improve his lifestyle.

          To live the lives we desire we sometimes need to move mountains, cut down trees and extract energy. It’s what we do to make good the impact and generate re-growth that is important.

          The owners and the staff at Glensanda seem to consider the environmental impact of their every action and look to have it in mind at every stage. Vegetation is evident on the “benches” left from the earlier works.

          Fifty years ago when there was a lot of road building, there were small quarries dotted along the roadsides. Today most of these are hardly noticable due to government spending on tidying up schemes, modern machinery and the healing efforts of Mother Nature.

          We can look at the ground around Glensanda and see evidence of the toil of the people who lived there before the Clearances. In the future other generations will see evidence of the toil of today’s people.

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