Digger Man

Digger Man Blog

by Nick Drew  |  Fri 19 Jun 2020

Mark Richardson: A Life in Plant

Following a recent shoutout on Instagram for interested individuals to share their stories with the Digger Man Blog, I had a very good response to the call for material and in this post, we are delighted to share Mark Richardsonís story.

Mark Richardson: A Life in Plant

Mark grew up on a farm at Watendlath in the Lake District where he could often be found driving tractors and the odd digger that was hired in when needed. His grandad used to drive plant back in the 60s and 70s before going back to farming, and plant is clearly in the blood of this family as Mark’s uncle has also driven plant since school and is currently an owner operator.

Mark takes up the story about his own journey, “I started labouring for a civil engineering company (WA Developments now known as Stobart Rail) in 2003, where I managed to save up and go 50/50 with my uncle to buy a 1998 Kubota KX161-2, which we still own today, it does odd jobs on the family farms, I also got my tickets for various plant 360, ADT, MEWP, and telehandler whilst working there”.

“I started as a full time operator at Metcalfe Plant Hire Ltd in 2007, first few years I mostly sat on a Takeuchi TB175 which I think is one of the best midi sized machines ever made, then managed to get a seat on a Doosan DX300 and was on that for a few years, doing muck shifting and some demolition, before receiving a Hyundai R 300-9 when I went up to strip for a Hydro Pipeline at Dalmally near Oban Scotland for 10 months”.

Mark has also worked on some pretty major projects over the years too including, the Temple Sowerby A66 Bypass, Carlisle Bypass, Talentire Windfarm, the airport runway upgrades at Airbus Chester, Leeds Bradford Airport, and RAF Topcliffe, so some impressive jobs for the CV there.  

Mark continues, “The company also had a contract with the Forestry Commission to do road upgrades and new roads, I went to originally cover for someone for a fortnight but ended up keeping the hire, was on an old Doosan DX225 stripping peat for a new road working alongside a Hyundai R 140-9 in RAF Spadeadam, which is part of Keilder Forest, one of the largest commercial Forests in Europe, it’s an impressive 250 square miles!”

“Following that I then received a brand new JCB JS220 Plus, with which I was still on hire to the Forestry Commission, I worked alongside my mate most of the time Kim Rotarides now on a brand new JCB 140, we did various road upgrades in Keilder Forest and in the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales”.

“I decided to leave after 11 years in 2018, and started working for S Richardson Contracting (no relation to me) based in Langholm Scottish Borders, whose work is all based on forestry, doing mounding/ground prep and road upgrades/new roads, I initially started operating the Kobelco SK75 and Hitachi ZX130LC before getting a brand new Doosan DX160LC High Track which is a fantastic machine, most stable machine I’ve driven”.

“I started documenting my work on Instagram in 2011 and Twitter 2012 which has given me some great opportunities, being invited to test drive various machines like the Menzi Master, invited by JCB to their HQ in Staffordshire to test out the new JCB 220X, and I even managed to write a couple articles for Earthmovers Magazine one of which was learning to operate a rope machine a 38-RB dragline and a 22-RB face shovel”.

You can checkout Mark’s working adventures by following his account @mditch84 on Instagram.

The Digger Man Blog would like to thank Mark for sharing his material with us.

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