Scottish Snow Plough Part 2

A relative lay in on Wednesday 30th March, up and onto the Northlink Ferry for 0815hrs ready for an 0845hrs departure and a steady and pretty calm crossing to Stromness, as you can imagine in the winter in can get a little blowy and fairly choppy but no issues for our seasoned owner drivers. actually the only complaint was they didn’t chain Van der Nunn down at the front, which meant he could have left his bull bar on for the trip, image is everything!

Once onto mainland Orkney, it was a steady trip across the island, through Kirkwall town and out the other side. Kirkwall airport is situated to the east of the town. On arrival at the airport the trucks were asked to unload near the airport equipment sheds where the current snow equipment is housed. As you can see their is quite change is the vehicles, the old Fodens and Mercedes have given near on 30 years service, they must have seen some weather in that time! Our intrepid explorers were told that the old trucks are being auctioned off, but sadly I’ve not managed to find them listed anywhere. I’d be keen to know what they go for, if anyone can shed any light??

Through my work, we did learn that only once the airport staff started to put the new equipment in its new home, did they realise that the new trucks were too tall for the shed that’s housed the old trucks. The new truck is lower than the height limit given in the tender, so I’m guessing someone at the airport needs a new tape measure as well as a new snow plough!

Empty and ready to roll by 1530hrs it gave the drivers a bit of time for a drive around as the ferry doesn’t sail back to Scrabster until 1645hrs. Of course there is always time for a photo opportunity and I have to say the pilot of S60 EGN is getting the hang of photos…..

Down into the depths and back on board for the 90 minute cruise back to Scrabster. An almost empty boat meant there was time to take in the amazing g views and coastlines, such as the Old Man of Hoy. Once back on the mainland our pair headed south for reloads not a lot coming out of Scotland at the moment. MWT had an over height, open top container pick up on the wafer deck and Tony was empty back to Hull for a load of tractors.

The second snowplough has already been delivered to Inverness Airport, this coming week the truck for the Shetland Isles leaves Suffolk so that should be another blog in a few weeks time.

Scottish Snow Plough Part 1

When anything logistics wise comes up at work, it usually comes my way to help or advise or even to sort out. So when the conversation comes about on getting four big 4×4 snowploughs plus equipment to various destinations in the Scottish Highlands and Islands, I have to say I was a little unsure how things would pan out. I really needn’t have worried as top owner driver Mike Tasker, MW Tasker Haulage, was already on the case backed up by probably the best abnormal load company in the UK, HC Wilson Transport. The first of the four snowploughs was destined for Kirkwall Airport in the Orkney Isles, in the north of Scotland. Tasker was already employed to do the job of bringing the trucks and ancillary equipment from southern Germany to Barnsley. The ancillary equipment consists of a full 13.6m flatbed load, so essentially it’s a two truck job. My involvement originally started with the leg from Barnsley, north.

Two loads you’re thinking and Tasker is on wafer bed duties, who’s on the flat bed?? Yep you guessed it, the man who operates Mike Tasker’s last truck, the one and only Tony Nunn, Van Der Nunn, Twin Tag Tony, the owner driver of EGN Transport fame, yep you all know him. V.d. Nunn has subbed for HC Wilson himself in various capacities as long as I’ve known him and has always been as professional as anyone else on the Wilson fleet, Tony certainly isn’t just about the tyre shine, he can walk the walk as well. So the ancillary parts were loaded on a flat bed in Wilson’s yard, Tony collected that and met Mike, who had gone ahead with the wafer bed. Both drivers met in Barnsley to load the truck, Tony helping Mike with the job in hand. Once loaded, both black trucks, with red trailers and yellow loads, started the drive north towards Scrabster for the ferry to Orkney.

Leaving Barnsley on a Monday lunchtime a few weeks back, the owner driver duo made it as far as Berwick Harbour for the first nights stop. An early start (0400hrs) on the Tuesday saw the pair carry on up the A1 to Edinburgh and then onwards to the A9. For those who haven’t been there, the A9 snakes it’s way all the way up the east side of Scotland from Sterling/Perth all the way up to Thurso on the north coast, it’s worth putting on your list of roads to drive, especially in the late spring as the colours are changing and the snow is only on the mountain tops!

Both the photos above and below are on the A9, you can see just how beautiful it is. The photo below was taken just north of a town called Latherton, where you turn left off the A9, onto the A9 to carry on still further north.

Tuesday was a long day, the pair ended up with a very well earned evening off and some very pleasant parking in the coastal town of Thurso, just a couple of miles from Scrabster and the ferry to Orkney.

Not such an early start on the Wednesday morning, as the mini convoy only need to travel the couple of miles to Scrabster harbour to meet the Northlink Ferry to Stromness in Orkney, that sailed at 0845hrs. A very empty harbour looking at the photos, not quite the hustle and bustle of the ports on the opposite end of the country! Part 2 of the trip on Orkney to delivery will follow in a few days time. Thanks to both Mike and Tony for the regular photos and updates during the trip, #twintaggingalong etc.

EL Mappo MAN

A week ago my good old pal Seniór Marsh messaged me to say if you’re not busy this evening then can you have a look on Google Street View for this address near Madrigal, Espania. Seniór Marsh had an address and some directions both of which to be fair didn’t give much help as to the final delivery point for the little MAN to find. To give some context, Madrigal is in the mountains due west of Madrid and due south of Salamanca. Anyway the basics came down to; Finca Santa Zita, 2.6km south of Madrigal de la Vera. Not much to go on, so I went old school and got onto Google Earth and started measuring out some distances (while sitting on the sofa in Colchester!). Spanish pop quiz; what does “Finca” mean in Spanish?

Having measure out 2.6km on the map, I basically came up with the map above. On the right of the EX384 as we look at the map, you can see two long tracks to what could both be described as “Finca’s”. Depending where you look Finca means Farm or Estate. I gave Seniór Marsh the above screen shot showing him both options. My thoughts for some reason, leaned towards the lower red mark as the entrance on Street View had this Llama/Alpaca/Deer sign…..

Not much to go on but as El Marshó had to be there early to meet the offloading team, by the wonders of modern mapping, we had narrowed it down to two options within a few hundred metres of each other. Job done and El Marshó happy enough for somewhere to aim for, hotel MAN drew its curtains and I went back to another re-run of Open All Hours on DAVE.

I woke on Friday morning to the above picture from Amigo Marshó, now I’ll leave you to zoom in on the signs……. Good team work right there, especially as I was nearly 1200 miles away. Perhaps modern maps aren’t so different from old school paper ones, but I think it could have been a different story if The only option had been twat-nav sat-nav as the shipper had given the wrong postcode! Tipped and off to his reload, Seniór Marsh was off to Marcilla just south of Pamplona to reload 2x 300kg vibrators for the UK. Nuff Said.

Weekly Italian Job

SUNDAY 16/01/22
Pick up trailer in our yard in normanton loaded for Italy at half 11.30am. Run south via North Weald customs picking up my T form. Cross via Eurotunnel and pinch an hour or so from the French driving ban park at St Dizier at 23.30.
– 12 hour day 805km covered.

MONDAY 17/01/22
Todays a very easy just driving day. After 9 hours off leave at 08.30am run the national down to Chaumont rejoin the motorway. Fuel at IDS at Le Chatelard. Run through the Mont Blanc tunnel in beautiful sunshine. Run to my normal Monday parking at pizza Piccadilly Santhia. Shower and food on my own tonight only English man. Park at 18.00.
– 9.5 hour day 671km covered.

Tuesday 18/01/22
Run to our depot in Como. We used to transit Swiss for this but since brexit we’ve had so much hassle at Chiasso as certain goods need certificates and inspections. Such as metals and food products. The time queuing at border too has made it not worth doing. I tip groupage and clear my next delivery in depot. Next drop is down near Piacenza tip this straight after they’ve had the usual 2 hour lunch. My first collection is at Novate Milanese , just above Milan. I’ve been before so straight in and on. Next collection is out in sticks a bit heading for Lecco at a small village called Missaglia I just get this on before they close and run back to Como docks to the Newly refurbed Restaurant for shower and food.
– 12.5 hour day 425km covered.

Wednesday 19/01/22
Back into depot to fill out with groupage and do all customs paperwork. Our depot here is brilliant and I’m loaded and on my way in 2 hours. I run back through Blanc in stunning blue skies and scenery that never gets old. I run up through France to safe parking at Langres. Again in for shower and food. Just as I’m getting back in truck 2 English lads I know turn up so it’s back in for a quick beer and chat.
– 11.5 hour day 535km covered.

Thursday 20/01/22
Run from langres back up the national top up diesel at IDS St Dizier. Book my parking at Ashford via app. Then go queue at eurotunnel. Takes about 3 hours today about average. Into Ashford for shower, food and a Cider.
– 11hour day 535km covered.

Friday 21/01/22
Run back up the A1 breakfast at Colsterworth. Tip one of my jobs at Cross Green in Leeds, then back to Normanton to drop my trailer and park up for weekend.
– 9 hour day 455km covered

All in all a nice steady week nothing went wrong and weather was a stunning 14 deg in Italy ☀️

By Gavin Pearson.

Centurion List – The Final 4

J727 TRO – 113M 360
J606 UOE – 113M 360
J5 LOS – 143M 500
J949 EDS – 113M 400

So what will come first 100 trucks on the list or a publisher??!

In the mean time we are now down to 4 confirmed Centurions we don’t have numbers for and amazing we have 4 empty spaces on the Centurion list. Is it a coincidence or have RP and myself (and all our informants) just about got 96 other trucks right?! Well there is a good chance as all the others are based on plenty of evidence, each number backed by at least 2-3 facts on the truck.

The above 4 trucks are all genuine Centurions, we know that for sure. Amazing we can’t get anyone with any concrete evidence on what number they were. I have even been having contact from Chris Kelly at Keltruck and even he can’t find any evidence of what number J606 UOE was and he drove it out to eastern Europa on an aid mission!

J727 TRO in Cambrian Pet food livery, but it does look a little tired in that photo.

J606 UOE. Well photographed and was a demo, but what happened to it after? Did it end up with a repaint and on the SEAS fleet after they parted company with #100? Just a thought.

J5 LOS. Perfect looking 143, we know a lot about it and have original photos from the owner before and after sig writing but no number!

J949 EDS. Had quite a few owners including Thomas Douglas Haulage from Glasgow. Still no one knows the number.

The remaining 4 numbers in the Centurion list we can’t allocate to a truck or a reg number are: #037 / #043 / #054 / #068.

No need to go over old ground but if you know anything on these 4 trucks or a Centurion number rings a bell as you’ve seen a certificate from Scania in a transport office, please, please let us know. Comment below or email me; ben@truckblog.co.uk

…..now where the yellow pages…. P for publisher….

It’s a New Year MAN

Spare a thought for all the lorry drivers who had to work over new year said a small article in one the papers. There was me wishing I had a reason to get away from the chaos of kids and big family do’s over the festive period!!

Our regular blog favourite Steve Marsh was in Dover in the early hours of New Year’s Day getting on the boat to Dunkerque and off to Germany, no rest for the wicked as they say!

Having managed to get himself most of the way to Aschersleben, Germany on Saturday after a good run. It was time to park up until today where Steve has cleared customs in Aschersleben. Having waited nearly all day today for clearance, Steve is now on his way to Hannover for first delivery tomorrow after a delivery to Munich was cancelled. Then it’ll be back to Blankenberg for another drop and on to a reload. A nice quick trip to get the new year going, Marshy spends a lot of time in and out of England. Often on routes to Ireland as well as mainland Europe. I really should give him a plug as he is the best in Express work and dedicated hot shot loads. If you have such a requirement please call him as he or his team of dedicated subbies will genuinely give you unrivalled service.

If needed please email Steve at; cab@stevemarshexpress.co.uk

Or visit his website for full contact details; www.stevemarshexpress.co.uk

Trucks of The Year 2021

It’s been another funny old year and I haven’t actually done many shows sadly. There have been plenty of new trucks about despite the various cancellations and seemingly endless restrictions, and a lot of shows were still able to go ahead as they were outside. My annual trip to a foreign show was once again put on hold, but hopefully next year I can take my own truck abroad for the first time since UJN 509V back in 2009! Anyway I digress. Trucks of Year really comes following the week in trucks idea, which despite contrary belief first came about on TB and not elsewhere. I wanted to point out a few stand out trucks for me this year in the hope you will all share photos of some of your favourites too in the comments below.

I’ll start with Coles & Sons New Old Skool. Coles never disappoint and they really are no show ponies, they spend a lot of time abroad and do a lot of high profile work. For me I found this truck to take Coles back to their roots and back to the family business colours, but at the same time wowing us all as always. Just for info the Coles & Sons page released the first photos and videos of the truck back in January this year and have since had over half a million views, most of which came in the first week.

Next one worth a mention is this Volvo FH V1 restoration my Bert De Mooij and Bert De Mooij. I love the Retro Truck Show in September and for me this truck is 100% what it’s all about. The retro trucking scene is for trucks that have been restored and put into the glory of years gone by, perhaps with a modern twist. If we cast ourselves back to 1993 when Volvo launched the version 1 FH, this truck would have been spot on for a Dutch flower truck. Not over the top by any means, just clever use of paint (of course it’s Dutch!) and a few accessories that are easily accepted as being period. It looks spot on for me, love it.

©️Tim Andrew

Next a couple of personal favourites. The above Actros Edition 2 special Edition with all the boxes ticked is an amazing truck. Once again MB Trucks are pioneering the way with technology, which whether you like it or not is coming now the majority of manufacturers are now copying and offering similar. This Actros is my favourite new truck delivery of the year. Everyone loves new truck day, but perhaps because of how passionate Wilkin & Sons are about Mercs or perhaps because it was the first Edition 2 on the road in the UK, for me my favourite work related truck.

Next up…. The Gr814. My own truck, bought and imported from Germany in February. I love little sleeper cabs, I love mini tractor units and when I bought my first truck in 1997 I couldn’t afford an 814! This has had two owners since 1989 and has done a genuine 260,000km from new. It has nearly all the available factory options from the time, which really just leaves me only to do a little titivating and then hopefully get it painted before 2022’s show season.

Next a proper big hitter and a worthy truck of the year mention. This DAF by Paul Cecil is simply awesome. Even if you’re not a DAF fan, or a fan or green trucks you have to appreciate this Gloucestershire beauty. I don’t know Paul too well but we have the odd chat and I remember a few years back at Assen, Paul saying the truck was in build and was having a few paint issues, but those have all been overcome and the result I’m sure is exactly what Paul and family were after. One thing to remember is that building a show winner takes time and patience people. That said it is a hard working truck, it covers all of Europe on a regular basis and is cleaner than nearly any other truck you’ll see. It is also clearly appreciated by the European show circuit too, picking up trophies at both the Nordic Trophy and the Powertruck Show in its first year. Well done Paul.

Attention to detail.

For me I think this is my truck of the year 2021. A boy hood dream and poster truck for lots of us. I have been doing the Centurion list with Richard Payne and hopeful of getting a publisher for ‘22, but finding out this truck was being restored back to its original glory and then seeing her in September will take some beating. I have spoken to Michael Taylor during the restoration and was also privy to seeing the artwork being done by Matt during the painting process. I have even spoken to John Philips and he is over the moon with it too. The truck is as good as I’d hoped, the attention to detail is everywhere. Note the Keltruck mudflap’s have the 1991 phone number not the current one. I also love the artwork, we all know Matt is a true artist and should be recognised in the art world for his masterpieces. I also like that the artwork is a modern take on the original, as in the images aren’t quite as they were in 1991 but are Matts take on them. A real dream truck for me and once again well done to Michael and all involved, I really look forward to seeing again in 2022. They say you shouldn’t meet your hero’s…… certainly not trucking true in this case.

My son took my picture next to the truck I had on my wall as a boy.

Outback Explosion

Always good to hear from the other side of the world even if it is a quickie. Ex HC Wilson’ Sunnis Martin Minshall is these days trucking about over in Australia. Ozzie trucks always look like they have done or could do a good days works, this one looks to have done a good few days work judging by the little bit of road dirt!!

This Kenworth does do a fairly impressive job. Marginally less hazardous in the wet season perhaps but even so carrying 52 tons of explosive emulsion is not for the faint hearted. This 2 trailer trip was Queensland – Northern Territory – Queensland. Thanks for pics Martin, looking forward to the next snippet.

Manton European Freezer Freight Part 11

Well once again the magical world of Manton European has reared its very interesting head. In fact this is an additional line, as since this blog was planned to be published, last night, another Manton blog was created and will be published soon enough. Back to this one…..

I had an email from a Alasdair Cowan, who has recently bought a classic race motorbike to restore and get back to its glory days (much the same as MEFF Part 12!). Alasdair is trying to find old photos and any information on the bike as it was in the above photo so he can get it back to how it used to be. If anyone knows the current where about’s of Dave Manton, would they mind of ask Dave he minds getting in contact with myself and I can pass on Alasdair’s details. Interestingly, when I was sent a load of photos from Rich Tilford, there was one of a Scania rigid, painted up in race team colours. Not unusual to have a company supplying transport or a vehicle for a race team, so I didn’t ask any further questions. As was the nature of Manton’s livery, the green and yellow stands out from the crowd, where ever it goes. Did you see the race team anywhere, are you secret biker?! I wouldn’t worry I’m not about to change to Bikeblog, this only gets on to the blog due to the Manton connection.

Taken by Rich Tilford.