When I first started I was tractor driving operating their tractor-trailer forwarder rig and part-time hand-cutting. As time has gone on, we've got more mechanised, when we first started hand-cutting the thought never crossed my mind that I would ever be able to drive a purpose-built forwarder, it just wasn't ever on my radar… to be able to drive a tractor out in the woods was just a dream for me and then to get the opportunity to drive these, I just had no clue of how I would ever get on that machine ladder really. So it was really chuffed to be able to get driving out in the woods.
Our technology's changed so much over the years in the woods from starting off with a chainsaw and extracting timber with a tractor rig, to now having high-tech harvesters and forwarders. We’ve now got satellite tracking machines that are capturing the data from every log cut, and then in real-time sends that to the forwarder.
The data from timber maps also gets shared with the office, so between the office, the harvester and the forwarder all can share the same information to keep efficient works.
A typical days harvesting is quite challenging to say how much I cut, it would vary between three metres to seventy-five metres an hour because such a variation in terrain, weather conditions and tree sizes and species and that's partly what keeps the job interesting… Because there's so much variation.
You're working on your own a lot so you need to be self-motivated, enjoy your own company. It's a very rewarding and satisfying job. The bits I love about forestry contracting… you get to travel around the country and get to visit some lovely bits of countryside that otherwise you wouldn't get to see as there's no public access.
It's lovely going back visiting estates year on year. Nice to see the previous work that's been done and see how it's grown and progressed. I feel lucky to be able to do a job that I enjoy so much.