A different way to get to work. An 8 hour journey with a scenic drive across the breadth of Scotland, onto a ferry, and to one of the loveliest islands of the Inner Hebrides, the Isle of Islay. Known colloquially as the Queen of the Hebrides, and apparently regarded by many as Whisky Island, due to the 9 (some say 10, or 11?) single malt distilleries on the islands.
There are records suggesting evidence of prehistoric settlement of Islay (estimated 10,800 BC), and the first written reference may have come in the 1st century AD. The island became part of the Gaelic Kingdom of Dál Riata (or Dál Riada)during the Early Middle Ages, before being absorbed into the Norse Kingdom of the Isles, and later in history transferred into the Kingdom of Scotland under the Lordship of the Clan Donald. Eventually becoming a part of Britain, as it is now.
Aside from the renowned attractions of distilleries, the untouched wilderness, the wildlife and unique ornithology, the stunning coastlines, ancient relics and monuments, early Kirks and breathtaking scenery, Islay also has an oil distribution depot! Sadly that’s the reason we were there, not for the Malt Whiskies! A customer contacted us with a rather unique problem, or having a pumping unit dating from the 1970’s for which there is no replacement. Could we refurbish it? Yes, of course is the first answer! So, off went a man in a van across Scotland to remove the pump from its station, load into a Clover Tool van and return the same journey the next day to Aberdeen. As you can imagine 50+ years of faithful service for transferring originally heavy fuel oil, and later medium density fuel oil, created its own challenges cleaning it to find the components and their condition. We must lay considerable credit to its original manufacturer though, Hamworthy Pumps, (founded in 1889, we wondered if this was a first generation design?!). Internally the mechanics of the pump were in reasonably good condition and it had obviously earned its keep over time. It did take 3 weeks to effect all repairs, reverse engineer and manufacture new elastomeric components and small metal parts, not to mention some interesting techniques to removes 50 year old fasteners, but it went back together beautifully and left here like a new one, “like a bocht een” as we say around these parts!
Can you spot the pump Clover Tool overhauled in there somewhere?!
Then of course there was the return journey, this time with two engineers, back across Scotland, onto the ferry, offload and install the pump in its original location, aligned, signed, back in the van and back across the water and across the country again. All in a (few) days work!