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

  • Supposing CalMac lost the Clyde and Hebridean ferries contract…
    Argyll Ferries is a subsidiary company of Caledonian Macbrayne Ltd, whose parent company is David MacBrayne Limited.
    The brand name’Caledonian MacBrayne’ is owned by CMAL. Apologies for using the shortened version.
    However, we will find out if CalMac is also a registered brand owned by CMAL and will add the answer to that when we get it.
  • The Carmichael lie: another grubby pot condemns the leaking kettle
    Good question.
    The issue at the time was addressing what one could call a persistent local persecution of some ferrymen – and the council’s failure to offer robust protection to their employees.
    The conduct of the abusers was such as to fall clearly within the council’s own criterion of vexatious complainant. They had a written protocol for dealing with such complainants yet had never employed it in relation to these behaviours designed to harrass and damage their employees. On some occasions these behaviours were very much in the extreme, like pack animals ganging up on an individual.
    Several Easdale ferrymen treated in this way developed stress symptoms and had periods where they were unable to work.
    We were anxious to keep readers’ attention focused on what was an issue of serious importance.
    We felt that were we to identify this particular participant, whose behaviours were worryingly threatening, that could have become the main issue; and the less high profile issues of the undefended ferrymen could have got buried.
    The harrassment and abuse that went on, delivered by a specific group – much of which we published – was utterly unprincipled and calculated to be as personally damaging as possible. That was the heart of the matter and that was what we wanted to keep in focus.
    That was the judgment behind the anonymity used at that time.
    That need no longer exists; and the deliberate predation of Carmichael is unpleasant, self-serving and hypocritical.
  • Is David MacBrayne’s Solent enterprise the signal for the end of Calmac?
    Agreed on all points.
  • Is David MacBrayne’s Solent enterprise the signal for the end of Calmac?
    We can’t see that port management expertise can be present in David MacBrayne or in Calmac at any level at the moment – because the two companies remaining in the group are ferry operators and have no port management to do – so why would they have staff with unusable expertise?
    CMAL has been the port manager now for a considerable time.
    So DML would have to buy in specialist expertise while retaining their most senior staff to run the non-technical aspects of the operation – of which there will be many.
    Top level staff are not normal TUPE transfers since new companies generally prefer to put in their own appointments.
    If CalMac retain the Clyde and Hebridean Ferries contract, they will not be able to run Marchwood as well – because they won’t have top management staff to spare and will have to hire in even more.
    This just doesn’t fit with a state owned company because they don’t exist to make money but to provide services.
    The scenario we propose is the only one we can see making any sense.
  • Weak, nervous and unsearching: Audit Scotland report into Argyll and Bute Council ADP procurement
    This is a finely balanced point.
    What the report has said is contradictory in spirit because what they said on the lack of correspondence [implicitly of complaint] was intended to exonerate a process in dispute.
    The two third sector organisations that were unable even to bid – because of the same eccentric process that might have disadvantaged actual bidders – had been equally disadvantaged by being misled into thinking they could not responsibly bid.
    Therefore the experience of the two third sector groups provides evidence which contradicts the exoneration of the process founded on the fact that no disappointed bidder had complained to the audit team.
    Beyond that and on a different aspect of this matter – no one is entitled to assume that the lack of complaint and/or correspondence can safely be read as contentment with process.
    Given the performance of Audit Scotland in this review, there will be those who will see no point in bothering with the Commission.

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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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