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

  • MV Loch Seaforth for Stornoway-Ullapool: a tale of public sector ‘management’
    This is what we thought would be the case.
    The correction was not aggressive but concerned that blurring the very real distinctions between these companies and their respective responsibilities [which 'CMAL/CalMac' unintentionally does do] perpetuates a problem in the public understanding of an issue which is going to be very important for the west coast and islands over the following 14 months.
  • MV Loch Seaforth for Stornoway-Ullapool: a tale of public sector ‘management’
    On a point of information: you cannot refer to ‘CMAL/CalMac’ or ‘CMAL’CalMac boards’. The companies are not associated other than as supplier and client; and as being the property of the Scottish Government of the day..
    CMAL is an incorporated, supposedly ‘arms-length’, state owned company. It is a standalone, with no affiliated corporate junion or senior companies.
    Caledonian MacBrayne is an incorporated, supposedly ‘arms-length’, state owned company – but is one of the state owned David MacBrayne Limited group of companies.
    NorthLink Ferries used to be a member of this group, also as a supposedly ‘arms-length’ state owned company, until the Northern Isles Ferry Services contract was awarded instead to Serco, at which point the NorthLink brand stayed with the service and the company itself went out of existence.
    Argyll Ferries, a subsidiary company of Caledonian MacBrayne and part of the David MacBrayne Limited group, is also a supposedly ‘arms-length’ state owned company.
    CMAL and CalMac are therefore both owned by the Scottish Government [as 'Scottish Ministers'] but there is no corporate realtionship between them. They are not sister companies. Their Boards are zeparately appointed.
    There is no great affinity between them either, with a key incident in the recent past being a cause of it. This is a matter which we disclosed a couple of years ago having learned of it from sources in Northern Irealand; and is something which we will revisit.
    The last paragraph of your comment below is tripping on the same confusion:
    ‘However, not only did CMAL/Calmac emasculate the last tender, but they also ensured that the winner of the current tender was obligated to a continuum, by taking on CMaL’s vessels, and their associated costs.’
    The Scottish Government through Transport Scotland, is the procuring agency and therefore manages the tender process, not either CMAL or CalMac.
    To date, CMAL has not had to compete to supply ships to the operator of the Clyde and Hebridean Ferry Services [CHFS]. The tender has required the successful bidder to take the entire CMAL fleet. This prescription is the responsibility of CMAL’s owner and the end owner of the vessels, the Scottish Government – and protects its investment.
    On the other hand, CalMac has to compete with other bidders to operate the Clyde and Hebridean services.
    It has seen the Scottish Government bin its sister company, NorthLink Ferries and hand the Northern Isles ferry services – and their brand – to the now disgraced privateer, Serco,
    CalMac will know the score.
    Like NorthLink Ferries, CalMac is an operator. As with NorthLink, if CalMac were to lose the CHFS contract, certain types of jobs would be lost. The Scottish Government appears to prefer to protect its investment in the ships than its investment in some types of jobs and in the protection which its status as a government offers other types pf jobs.
  • Ascot to Scottish Tourism Week: Argyll and the Isles Tourism Cooperative
    There is an issue here. we were unable to see the logic of the Ascot presence and our questions on the strategy involved went unanaswered.
    We have been – and remain – concerned by a loss of concentrated strategic focus that appears to have stricken AITC, ironically since it was granted council and HIE funding.
    The flair’s not there and any hard or soft edged marketing needs flair – the one indispensable.
    We think back to a seminal period which has not been taken into the development drive whose promise it exuded – the Tourism Summit at Portavadie.
    That was packed with commitment, ideas, initiatives, energy, hope and fun.
    Kintyre Express came in from the sea in tribute to the location. Brian Keating was pushing issues like air PSOs. The Scottish RYA was putting a hard edged business case for leisure sailing facilities and stepping stones of marinas through Argyll waters….
    There was hope – there was a shedload of buy-in from the industry, there was static electricity everywhere.
    At this stage we felt AITC was taking off and towing Argyll upwards behind it. The council was starting to loosen its stays and feel imaginative. We were on the way. Everyone was on board.
    Now somehow, for whatever reason, the heart, lungs and mind don’t seem to be there.
    We continue to hope but we need to be convinced.
  • Ascot to Scottish Tourism Week: Argyll and the Isles Tourism Cooperative
    That is a serious issue.
    Public money is always at a discount in the public sector.
  • Conservatives suggest new network of recovery centres to treat drunks outwith overpressed A&E
    The SNP Scottish Government’s plan for minimum pricing of alcohol was strategic, brave and rated as a serious contributor to the address to the issue you correctly identify.
    It is a major loss that this plan was deliberately derailed – largely by the immensely well funded lobbying power of drinks giant, Diageo, whose profits are swollen by the misery of the vulnerable whom they exploit.
    They fronted their campaign on the visceral romance of Scotch whisky – which was already beyond the minimum price that was planned and would have remained unaffected.
    What they really wanted to protect was the profit margin on their cheap alcopops and vodka – the major stepping stones in developing a drink habit in teenagers and thereby protecting profits well ibto the future.
    Diageo too played a major part in taking down the later attempt by the UK government to introduce the same ‘measure’.

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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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