Logging in the lakes
Kieran Anders is a forestry contractor working in the lake district. His work involves hand cutting and extracting timber using a skidder and tractor-trailer forwarder. He has recently upgraded his equipment with the purchase of a new Farma 10 tonne trailer complete with a C7.2 crane, a Valtra T121 tractor and a new Uniforest 8.5 tonne winch.
I arranged to meet Kieran at the thinning site he was working at, near Grange over Sands, not far from Newby Bridge. The mature stand of timber, with a mix of Corsican pine, Alder, and Birch, was a private woodland belonging to the Halker estate and managed by Tilhill. Kieran and his team were carrying out selective thinning which would improve the overall health of the stand, as some of the Pine had beetle damage. It was a narrow, twisty single-track road to get to the job, but articulated timber lorries were managing to get in and out okay.
Walking through the area that had already been thinned, the forest felt light and airy compared to the area yet to be thinned. Looking up there were no large gaps in the canopy and I could see they had done an excellent job of selecting the trees to cut.
When we caught up with Kieran, he was halfway through loading the new trailer. The distinctive noise of chainsaws snedding out trees could be heard not too far away. The new Valmet tractor and Farma trailer looked a perfect match together, each complimenting the other in both size and style. The tractor has a powerful six-cylinder 133hp engine and guards had been added to the areas that were vulnerable in the forest. Offcuts and branches are incredibly clever at finding their way into places and disabling equipment unless protection is added.
The Farma T10 G2 Trailer is of a good solid design with a strongly mounted crane and robust stabilising legs. The widest and strongest side of the Kingpost is facing the load, the other side, which is narrower, gives an uncluttered view from the tractors rear window.
Kieran was loading some substantial 3m lumps of pine, the lift on the C7.2 crane was impressive, and the stabilising legs did a fine job of keeping the trailer solid when loading from the side. He is delighted with the performance of his new forwarding outfit and decided against the option of drive wheels on the trailer, any awkward areas are skidded out and crosscut to where the trailer can access them. Kieran and his team pride themselves on doing a good tidy job. Keeping the weight of the equipment they use as light as possible, helps minimize their impact on the forest floor.
Kieran opted for the stronger trailer to deal with the aftermath of the recent storms. His last trailer was a Farma T9 with a C6 crane and it served him well, but he needed a longer reach crane with a bit more lift to deal with the mature timber. The T10 has bigger wheels and a lighter impact than the T9 and has better clearance for traversing over rough ground. The unparallel frame steering is excellent for manoeuvring when in tight spaces or narrow entrances.
Kieran has another Valtra Tractor, a 6800, which is used with the new Uniforest 85 professional three-point linkage winch for skidding out wood. This winch was a like for like replacement on his previous one, has a pulling force of 8.5tonne and can be operated by a hand-held remote control which also feeds out the cable. The battery on the remote lasts about a week between charges.
Kieran can’t praise Fuelwood Warwick enough for the service and back up they offer; he pointed out that they always have the parts you need and once ordered they arrive the next day.
His two chainsaw operators joined us, Theo Kewan, and Cody Cavendish. Cody has been felling with Kieran for about a year now, while Theo has been with him for many years. As well as felling, Theo also operates the skidder when required. The last time I saw Theo he was felling alongside his partner Ailidh Camp, they have since had a child and share the childcare and work between them. Theo works for three days and Aildh covers the other two. Kieran has other trusted chainsaw operators who he can call on to help with the felling work as and when required.
Kieran started out in forestry in 2003 and decided to break out on his own in March 2020, “My timing couldn’t have been better” laughs Kieran “It was the very first day of Covid lockdown”. Despite this, he has done well, and in the short time he has been contracting he has built up an impressive resume of equipment and an even better reputation. There is still quite a lot of storm damaged trees that require clearing up and the Forestry Commission, Tilhill and Halker Estates all call on his services.
Kieran is an affable young man with a good work ethic and an astute business head on his shoulders. He can carry out large volume jobs, storm damage, as well as being perfectly placed for smaller volume parcels. All his extraction equipment is road legal and can be moved from site to site, under its own steam, saving the transport costs that come with larger equipment.
I’m sure this won’t be our last visit to see Kieran as he is a forward-thinking, reliable, young contractor who deserves every success that comes his way.
Kieran Anders Forestry:
07964 332 179
Forest Machine Magazine is written and edited by a forest professional with over 40 years hands on experience. We are dedicated to keeping you informed with all the latest news, views and reviews from our industry.
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