I’ve never parked up with a frozen load on so the fridge is starting up much more frequently than on any fridge work I have done before. Not being that used to it I’ve had a pretty bad nights sleep and am feeling very tired this morning, but nevertheless I am up bright and early after a nine hour break ready to get going. I have over 500 miles to cover today. My only concern was getting around Bordeaux, which I manage easily enough before 0730. From there on it’s a fairly straightforward day to the port until I arrive to be told I was booked on last night‘s boat. This panics me to begin with, as I am worried that tonight‘s boat could be fully booked and I’ll be stuck here. As it turns out it is like a ghost town. I am able to make a reservation without any hassle and I am ready to catch the 2345 boat back to Portsmouth.
Thursday 24th December
I arrive at Portsmouth at 0645 to disembark and mercifully it’s nice and quick and I’m out of the port within 20 minutes, which most will know is very quick for Portsmouth. All that is left to do now is head back to the yard to give the truck a quick rinse off and I’m done. The reload isn’t due delivery until the 28th of December, so I’m off to enjoy Christmas with the Mrs and my little girl. Merry Christmas everyone and happy new year 🥳.
I’m up and keen to start work at 0800 hours only to find out the delivery is not until 1200 so the waiting game begins. I eventually get onto a bay and I’m unloaded by 1400. It’s 4 hours and 45 minutes drive to my delivery in Portugal so it’s going to be another late one today. As I’m heading into Portugal I am glad that 12,500kg of the load has already been delivered and all I am left with is 650 kg for the next drop as the hills here are brutal and I wouldn’t of fancied carrying any extra weight up and down them especially in the dark and foggy conditions that we have tonight. I make it to the delivery at 1830 and within 10 minutes I’m unloaded and on my way back to Spain to collect a reload from Valladolid the next afternoon. I find a nice truckstop that is open 24 hours that I am able to get food at when I arrive at 2200. I’m going to bed a happy man not having to eat a microwave meal in the cab for my tea.
Tuesday 22nd December
I wake up to the news that the French have closed the border for trucks coming back from the UK. This turns out to be good news for me, as a lot of the boats have been fully booked going back to the UK for weeks and getting a reservation has been near impossible. A lot of people from the continent started cancelling their bookings as they would not be able to return after making deliveries in the UK. I set off at 0900 and arrive in Valladolid at 12:00 for my reload of meat free meatballs…..what a grim thought!! The loading is fairly quick and I am back on my way by 1330 heading for Caen. I make it to Irun for the night where I park in one of my customers yards. The lockdown rules changed here this morning so I just about managed to sit down for some food at 1900 and have a meal before they have to close for their new curfew at 2030.
I get to spend the morning with my girlfriend and daughter taking her to visit Father Christmas which was a nice bonus getting to do that before going back to work over the weekend. At 1830 I am back in the yard ready to head to Leigh Delamere services to meet Pete who has loaded the trailer for me with one of his trucks and take it off of him to head on down to Portsmouth ready to catch the 0800 crossing in the morning.
Saturday 19th December
Up at 0600 to get checked in for the boat. Once on board I go to the restaurant for some breakfast then back to my cabin and back to sleep for a few more hours to be rested ready for late drive that evening. The boat gets in at 1530 and I am clear to hit the road straight off of the boat I head to Castets to park up for the night and make good time I managed to make the drive in 8 hours 30 which I wasn’t expecting as I’m used to doing the drive in the day and losing the best part of an hour going around Bordeaux.
Sunday 20th December
I get up for 0800 for breakfast and a shower but much to my shock the restaurant is closed now for Christmas which seems a bit early to me given that there is almost a week until Christmas day. I have to settle with a McDonald’s breakfast from across the road and will have to stop for a shower en route when in Spain. I make a quick stop at the services in Oiartzun for fuel and a shower then get straight back on the road. I feel quite tired today for some reason and haven’t done this road going straight across the northern part of Spain before. I’m not sure whether it is just because I am tired but it just seems to go on and on and I began to get quite bored in the last couple of hours of the journey and cannot wait to park up for the night and get my head down. I eventually arrives La Coruna and park just around the corner from the delivery at 2000. The only thing open for food is a Burger King so that will have to do for this evening.
Sat at our yard in Bristol patiently waiting for the clock to hit 1508 when my weekly rest is up and I can set off for Padborg in Denmark to check out some trailers I want to buy up there. Once my break is complete I set off solo to Harwich for the 2100 boat to Rotterdam the sat nav tells me it’s 4 hours 30 minutes to the port. I’m going to need to make it in one hit as there isn’t time for a 45 minute break on route. Predictably I get on the M4 and there are closures from J8 to J6. I’m feeling up against it but luckily enough I make good time anyway and arrive at the port at 1955 and check in. What I didn’t realise when I booked this crossing was that it’s a freighter which was a disappointment as I’d been looking forward to a nice draft pint and a good feed once aboard. Also I paid the same price as it would have been on the Hook of Holland boat so lesson learned there for next time! Still there’s always the Autohof tomorrow to look forward to.
Monday 14th December
A fairly straight forward and uneventful day off the boat at 0730 straight to Germany via the border at Meppen into the Hoyer autohof at Cloppenburg to top up with some nice cheap German diesel and back to it up through Hamburg before calling it a night at an autohof in Busdorf 40 km’s from the Danish border. It’s good to see in Germany that during the Covid pandemic drivers are still being treated well as we’re still allowed to come sit in the restaurant to eat on an evening and the showers have been made available to us free of charge.
Tuesday 15th December
I arrive at the trailer sales site at 0800 to begin checking over the trailers. There’s always a slight worry when buying second hand especially when you’ve had to travel 700 miles just to come look at it as it’s a long way if it turns out to be no good. The first thing I noticed is although the trailers are 9 years old they all have full sets of Michelin tyres so I get the impression the previous owners we’re happy to spend proper money maintaining them. After a couple of hours thoroughly looking over the trailers I pick out the one that I want and pay the invoice ready to get back on the road. It may seem a bit extreme to be going all the way to Denmark to buy a trailer but the reason for this is the bespoke nature of the equipment we need. The trailer I have chosen is a Krone mega coil-liner. Mega trailers are very few and far between secondhand in the UK so your best bet is usually to buy from abroad and with the current situation with Brexit and not knowing if we will get a trade deal I had to make the decision to just get on and buy one as I don’t know if I will be able to just head off into Europe and buy a trailer without any tariffs etc next year. Once the invoice is paid I set off back to Germany heading for Nettetal to collect big bags of plastic to bring back to Lydney. I head down the A7 towards Hambug and the satnav tells me there is a 19 minute delay on route and after three hours sitting in the traffic I start to question whether the satnav might be lying to me! I eventually managed to divert off of the motorway and bypass the traffic finally making it to an autohof in Bremen for the night at 2200 where I am very glad to put the handbrake on for the evening after sitting in standstill traffic for so long.
Wednesday 16th December
Up at 0600 for a quick shower then hit the road to go and collect the reload. I arrive at my reload at 1330 where they were ready and waiting for me. I was on my way by 1430 heading for the Hook of Holland to get the correct boat this time and redeem my meal I had been salivating over a couple of days before. This boat costs quite a bit extra compared to Calais and others but there are currently 30 km long queues at Calais to get onto boats and trains so it is a no-brainer to go this way as I’m keen to get the load back and delivered.
Thursday 17th December
Off the boat at 0500 and I was very lucky that I was positioned right at the front of the boat so I was out of the port within 20 minutes. I plan to pull in to South Mimms services to send off some emails and make calls to arrange work for myself and our other trucks for next week. Just before I arrive I receive a message from Pete White of Whites Transport to ask if I can do a load to La Coruna and Porto for him, leaving early on Saturday morning. After a quick look at the diary I see that I can do it on the basis someone loads the trailer and brings it to me. This way I can take a 24 hour break on Friday and with that the job is confirmed, so it is straight back to Lydney drop the trailer to the customer and back to our yard to begin my break.
Asking for a friend…. We need some help and more info on the life of a Volvo F10 with the registration number C390 BBU please. It’s current owner and restorer thinks that it used to be on for Kammac’s although we don’t have pictorial evidence. The photo of C390 BBU above suggests that the livery may have once part of the Kammac fleet if you look at the fleet colours in the photo below. Not exactly identical but that is because the photo above is when the truck was part of the Applegate Rental fleet. At the time the above photo was taken in 1990, she was 5 years old. The current owner has spoken to various people and it is thought that the truck wasn’t new when it joined Applegate. Can anyone confirm if this was a Kammac truck or not please?
We are trying to find out the vehicles heritage hence the questions. As all classic truck owners know, it’s nice to know the life of your vehicle. The most important thing to know is of course who had it from new, so if any of you bloggers know anyone who was part of the Kammac fleet or set up, can you see what you can find out please and report back.
As you can see the truck is getting the full treatment and has had a full, proper full, ground up restoration. I have to say that the quality of the work in this is tip top and a credit to the skill of the current owner. Nothing left or ignored, striped right back to the chassis rails and started again. The engine had the same treatment and now looks like new, someone at Volvo Trucks UK should be getting excited about this one!
Please let me know by email or comment below if you know anything about the life of this truck. Thank you bloggers!
Funny how you get talking to folk. I first spoke to Dylan Wren about a truck he was looking to buy, then we crossed paths again recently as he is an ex Centurion owner (#067). It took a little while for all the cigs to work but we soon realised we had spoken before. Having had a few text chats and a few telephone chats now, I could sit and listen to Dylan all day, plenty of tales from a long life transport and soon to be back in it too. Having sifted through 1000’s of photos, Dylan sent me a few over from where he started and where he ended up. Always great to see those who started on a 7.5 tonner, not quite a #littlebigcabclub member but at least he had the big trucker flags in the windscreen!
“Hello Ben its Dylan here found some serious memories today. My first truck D371DFA a Ford Cargo 31 years ago. Also you can see G930FSM a blue Volvo F12 on the net asking who owned it, we did. It’s on the net now in Stobart colours looks fab. From Bee Dee I changed it to Road Route Ltd. Remember the big tanks I told you about? you can see them on N392FWT & N391FWT – 1550 litres on a tag axle.”
“So many memories, you can see my big red Scania Topline and the other big Scania F600FKH which I bought from DS Walker with an Estepe high roof conversion.”
Now Dylan doesn’t mind me saying so, as the demise of Road Route Ltd is on the internet and was the same demise as many hauliers from the same period who were busy trying to make money from a tough industry with ever rising costs. Anyway, I love old tales and one such story Dylan told me involved one of the tag axle Volvos, 3 men in the cab, including Dylan and a rather quick run to Spain. Over to Dylan….
“It was with N392FWT, one of the Volvo FH420 tag’s. A full load of extremely urgent parts to take to the SEAT factory at Barcelona. Their were 3 of us in the cab and we left the yard on Sunday and were back in the yard by Tuesday evening. Boat out and train back in. We tipped Barcelona and collected a return load of fruit from Perpignan back to Lincolnshire. Even had time to fill up in Belgium on the way back, 1000 litres plus!?”
Well I reckon that’s pretty good going, Yorkshire, Barcelona, Yorkshire in just over 48 hours. Now don’t all start making comments and saying it can’t be done. We all know back then, there were ways and means and plenty of you will have similar stories. Thanks to Dylan for sharing these photos and details, hopefully more photos to come judging by the amount of albums full of photos I know he has!
Those who are happy enough to tell us you crazy run stories please do, just keep them believable!
I often put out requests, queries and questions for you all, as I have come to learn that if I have something I need an answer too, then one of you will know the answer. When I was driving, a good few years ago now, I often used to see the above tanker and it’s great mural on the back end. As you can imagine following this for a while leaves a memory that you remember the next time you see it, so when I found a photo I took I instantly recognised it. I don’t remember ever seeing the truck parked up anywhere or at a show, although it would never have had the trailer with it at truck shows back in the late 90’s. I put a request out on Instagram and the Facebook and low and behold timothycook702 on Instagram came up with the info.
A great looking truck, clearly an owner driver, extra lights, air horns, deep green metallic paint, euro stickers and a hazardous stainless steel tank behind. So do you recognise it?? Want to know a little more??……..well I do, so here you go;
“He traded as AMH Haulage, his name was Ian Green from Carnforth. The green DAF was his first outfit and red DAF replaced it, he’s a good friend of mine”
Now we know who’s it was and where they can from. We also now know that he moved on from one smart DAF to another smart DAF but a change of colour. Also the theme of a painted rear end continued but this time it looks to be airbrushed and a little more artistic. I think I preferred the first paint job. Also I noticed a Spanish web address on the back end which may explain the euro badges. Amazing what you can find out by asking the blog readers.
I’m not going to harp on about the CV but what has been nice is that for once, along with many other unsung professions, truck drivers have actually had some recognition and limelight. This can only be good for our industry although knowing how fickle the UK can be, as soon as the virus has past we will all be the pain in the arse we’ve always been! That said those who are still trucking about are in one way or another doing vital work for the UK’s people and economy. Also for those who run their own trucks you need to try and find new work avenues and try to keep the wheels turning to keep the company going, essential work again in my book. All in all those who can work and those who can still try to do their “normal” job have been going about their business with quiet roads and less people about to cause any issues, if only the clear road thing would stay once it’s all over! We can but hope. Along with many other hauliers, HC Wilson Transport have, as ever, tried to adapt and keep on keeping on, so here’s a little blog by driver Ady Willis on a recent run to Germany during “lock down”.
We sailed from Felixstowe to a regular destination in Holland, Vlaardingen, with a load to Germany. Once we arrive in Holland, did our passports and ensured the trailer was at the correct running height, we were away. A very quiet road network, with very few vehicles all the way to Germany, where we refuel the vehicle.
Once we’ve fuelled up we travel for a little while longer until suitable parking is found for a coffee. Even with the roads quiet some services are still not easy to access due to inconsiderate drivers. We continue to our delivery point and rest until the morning to unload. Happily we seem to be experiencing alot of politeness in the current pandemic. I’ve noticed only hand full of people in Europe not keeping to social distancing rules.
Once unloaded we head 250kms north to collect a nice new harvester to bring to back to the UK. We once again have very quiet roads from Germany back to Rotterdam. Highly unusual especially in Germany, we have seen virtually no enforcement officers on the road at all, I have only seen one in 4 days!! We get our nice shiney harvester on and secured down. We head in the direction of the ferry in Rotterdam.
Unfortunately there was no space to ship back due to restrictions on driver numbers. So I was able to relax for the rest of the journey and with 90% less traffic I was able to find some parking without the normal stress of wanting to go in services but having to be very careful as other vehicles usually block the services and abnormal load areas. During this trip I’ve noticed that service areas seem to still be open more in Europe than the UK.
We finish our rest and next morning we are back to the harbour in Rotterdam to get ferry. We are now experiencing only one driver per cabin and this is making it slightly more difficult for hauliers to get ship bookings, but 100% better for driver. We arrive in the UK and travel straight to Lincolnshire and deliver the machine. It’s offloaded and prepared for work and its then off to work straight away due to the increase in demand for UK grown produce, perhaps a plus side of the virus.
A good blog for your first one thank you Ady, not once did I say “Watch yo talking about Willis!”. It sounds pretty clear that the virus is having a huge impact across Europe and just perhaps the vast majority of the public are adhering to each countries lock down rules. Also perhaps there are just a few small silver linings to the huge dark clouds of Covid-19. Written with the kind permission of Simon Wilson.
Following on from Ireland to Sweden Part 1 earlier this week, Roland Simey gave me the follow up leg of the journey through to Sweden. Please remember the whole point of these two blogs was to highlight and remember, these international runs back in the 1970’s were very different to today. Less dual carriageways and autobahns, more borders and less driver comfort, although the 1 Series Scania would have been the number one choice for a many drivers at the time.
Having negotiated central London and got ourselves to Dover, or indeed if you had taken the alternative route to Sweden and got the boat from Immingham direct to Gothenburg, there were of course still plenty of national roads to navigate to get you to your destination, all of course without the modern aid of Satellite Navigation on even mobile phones. Younger drivers everywhere are reading in shock I can tell, as I’ve said before imagine getting in your truck and heading to Sweden with no more than a road atlas, it’s the old way and the best way as you then get learn where you actually are. Anyway Roland did a little more work and concluded with the following; “Well that got me thinking and after comparing my early 70s run and Philip’s later from Killybegs to Stockholm/ Upsalla, Both with Kelly Freight, it is plain to see who had the easier one! Roughly mileages were 660 and 1,700. That is presuming Philip went Dover Zeebrugge Nordhorn Hamburg Tondor Fredrickshaven `Gothenburg. I may be a hundred miles out though.”
Once again thank you to Roland Simey and PhilIp Hegarty for the details and photos. If you are of the older generation, pre M25 days for reference, then I’d love to hear of any routes you remember and how it changed your trips to this of today. Please do email me with tales and photos and I will happily publish them here on the blog. My email; email@example.com