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

  • Alan Reid, Jamie McGrigor and the righting of a serious wrong
    Don’t be silly.
    We simply did our bit, as best and as resourcefully as we were able.
    Some highly knowledgeable and angry people clearly thought we were a worthy contributor to the campaign and gave us help – which allowed us to be a much more effective component of a very wide ranging campaign than we would otherwise have been.
    In effect, what they did brought the heart of the actual evidence home to a source emanating from Argyll, where a specific audience would pay attention to it.
    We feel – but cannot know – that these people were the effective heart of the entire campaign and judiciously managed it; and that we were picked up as a strategically useful element.
    But whatever anyone does, it takes politicians and governments to be willing to listen – and, cruciallly, to act.
    We asked politicians relevant to Argyll – Alan Reid And Jamie McGrigor- to get pre-election assurances from their parties that if they were in power they would commit to getting the evidence in the open and the dead pilots’ names cleared. The pre-election period is always the best time for this sort of pressure.
    They got those assurances – and we published at the time that they had been given.
    And Liam Fox delivered for right as well as for justice for Jonathan Tapper and Rick Cook – a month or so over 17 years after they died.
    The standard bearers are those shadowy champions of right somewhere in the defence sector whose persistent campaign support over so long a period of time eventually succeeded,
    Everyone else, at whatever level, was a committed bit player. It is to this group of people that the families of the pilots owe so much of the relief of an unequivocal reprieve for their innocent lost sons.
  • Alan Reid, Jamie McGrigor and the righting of a serious wrong
    It didn’t have to fly through fog at low altitude. It had to get to Fort George and was online for there.
    The navigational controls of the Mk2 Chinook were also known to be unreliable.
    The likelihood is that the pilots were starting the climb to clear the south west of the Mull of Kintyre when FADEC did what FADEC had done on several previous occasions and threw the engine into sudden uncontrollable speed. With no manual override on main or back up systems – that was it for all 29 on board.
    Remember that the pilots had not wanted to fly this aircraft. They did not trust it. The helicopter was seen heading over to the Mull by a yacht before it reached the coastal fog – and was flying normally and at normal speed.
    It is inconceivable that two experienced pilots would deliberately accelerate once they were within heavy fog – and to the speed the aircraft must been flying at when it crashed. The debris told that story in a general sense, for lack of any flight data recorders.
    The ‘game of golf’ story is improbable as these people were from a range of different forces and would not have been likely co-socialisers. It is logical that they were together for an intelligence conference at Fort George; while it is not logical that the MoD flew them there all together in a single aircraft.
    This crash wiped out a major swathe of the UK”s top military and police intelligence service at a time of internal war.
    Even if the ‘game of golf’ yarn were correct, does it mean they deserved to die? What is the point of it?
    The issue is the crash, the cause of the crash and the meticulous assembly and analysis of evidence by civilians over a period of years – by default – in the face of the RAF’s and the MoD’s self-interested determination to keep it cloaked and let the dead pilots take the blame.
  • Alan Reid, Jamie McGrigor and the righting of a serious wrong
    We hold no brief for the MoD.
    They told us a direct lie on an occasion [MACC's community buy out of the former RAF base at Machrihanish] when we had documented evidence to the contrary to hand – from documents of their own we had got under FoI. When we quoted this, they simply went silent and hung up.
    And that’s before we look at their sending soldiers to Iraq and Afghanistan, known to be wholly ineffectively kitted out.
    And that’s before we look at their incompetent, inadequate and extravagant procurement record – including the Nimrod AWACS replacement mess.
    Then there is Police Scotland’s damaging record here – arming wthout notification to government and stopping and searching children when this practice was alleged to have stopped – shaming the Scottish Government.
    Perhaps there are certain types of power that inevitably corrupt, wherever they are?
    It is juvenile to attempt to make this very different issue into part of a convenient binary opposition of a squeaky clean culture of a would-be indy Scotland versus an unrelievedly nasty dirty UK culture – from which the virgin Scotland coincidentally wishes to create apparent reasons to separate.
  • Gallipoli: An Irish voice sings of Australian casualties on a Turkish peninsula in a western war
    And 20 year old Private Robert McLaren of the Black Watch from Kintra on the Ross of Mull was killed in Helmand four weeks after joining the Regiment, fresh out of training.
    The procession of the repatriated military dead in Iraq and Afghanistan through Wootton Basset painfully underlined the enhanced vulnerability of the young in warfare, almost always in the forward positions.
  • Gallipoli: An Irish voice sings of Australian casualties on a Turkish peninsula in a western war
    Thank you for this.

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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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