Hillhead/QMJ 2024
Digger Man

Digger Man Blog

by Nick Drew  |  Fri 16 Feb 2024

Cat-ching up with Coles Plant

I travel up and down the country and around the world to see machines and attachments in action, but every now and then something appears right on my doorstep.

Cat-ching up with Coles Plant

A new site has opened up at the top of our village, and while driving by I noticed what looked like a brand-new Next Generation Caterpillar 323 working on the job. I decided to pop back later to grab some shots and footage for the blog.

To my delight, operating the machine was Coles Plant family member Stephen Coles, who I last caught up with in 2013 on the Hooe Lake job on the outskirts of Plymouth, where he was operating a Cat 320E model, with the companies 50th anniversary logo on the counterweight.

Photo: Steve's previous machine on site in 2013. (Digger Man Blog Archives) 

Last year was the 60th year in business for the North Devon based family firm and although the milestone passed relatively quietly the company is busier than ever, with more machines and an increasing number of trucks on the road including no less than 17 tippers.

Coles has always been well-known for running Caterpillar equipment over the years however, they had more recently been purchasing Volvo excavators. Stephen pointed out that they are now increasingly returning to Cat as their preferred excavator brand.

Although I thought Stephen’s 323 was brand new, he informed me that its actually 12 months old now, a real credit to the man for keeping her in such wonderful condition.

Stephen said, “Its all looking good with Cat again now, we have a new Finning UK Sales Rep in Krista Barden, and she’s doing a great job, us operators do love our Cat’s".

It was great catching up with Stephen again after so long and it’s about time I paid the firm another site visit for Earthmovers Magazine, so I will be looking into arranging something in the summer if all goes well.

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