Words & photographs: Russ Atkinson

SOME PEOPLE WILL TRY TO ASSURE YOU THAT BIGGER ISN’T ALWAYS BETTER – BUT SOMETIMES BIG JUST ISN’T QUITE BIG ENOUGH. AND IT’S TIMES LIKE THOSE THAT YOU’LL BE GLAD THAT HAULAGE TITANS FETCH & KARRIE HAVE TURNED IT UP TO ELEVEN WITH A BRAND NEW ADDITION TO THEIR FLEET.

Let’s get down to business. The crane bolted behind the cab of this truck is HIAB’s second-largest vehicle mounted offering, with the crane itself weighing in at a hefty eight and a half tonnes alone – and that’s before you even consider the behemoth it’s bolted to. Even at a reach of over 30 metres it’ll still pick up 800kg from underneath its hook, which is worlds apart from your average grab truck. Put simply, it’s a seriously serious bit of kit, and I didn’t hesitate at the chance to take a closer look at it in action.

You see, whilst the other kids at school used to look forward to a bit of Live & Kicking followed by a kick-around in the park on a Saturday morning, eight year old me was up early and itching to tag along with my old man to join him at work, because that’s where the trucks were. And eight year old me really, really liked trucks. More than dinosaurs, even. If there was a line up of stuff that boys tend to gravitate to, nothing held a candle to trucks. Twenty-five or so years later, I’d be lying if I said I’d gone off of them.

To a lot of people, Fetch & Karrie’s latest investment in equipment, which rolled off the ferry and onto island roads just a few weeks ago, would probably be seen as nothing more than something else to get stuck behind on the school run. To those in the know, though, it’s a powerful tool to have at your disposal.

Not just a heavy-hitting weight lifter, this graceful giant is also packing accuracy and flexibility that’s worlds apart from the comparatively clunky HIAB cranes I was always pleading to have a go on in my youth. Long gone are the clunky truck-mounted levers in favour of a wireless controller that allows the operator to get up close and personal with whatever it is they’re lifting, and hydraulic pumps so powerful they allow multitasking by automatically diverting pressure to where it’s needed most exactly when it’s needed to ensure not only faster, but smoother and,ultimately, safer lifting and shifting. Or should that be fetching and carrying?

Need something heavy moving? It’ll do it. Need something that’s far away moving? It’ll do it. Need a load of different things moving to different areas on the same site? It’ll do that too, all without having to reposition a handful of times – that’s the beauty of having the impressive reach that this machine offers. Just because you’ve got it, doesn’t mean you have to use it – but at least you know you can if the time comes. Having to reposition the truck less means more efficient working, which in turn means that this impressive machine will save time and money whilst simultaneously telling ‘impossible’ where to go.

I watched the operator effortlessly pluck not inconsiderably-sized branches from a tree being tended to by tree-surgeons and place them carefully down to be chipped and taken away, all at a distance and accuracy that looked so great in relation to the truck that quantifying it all was bordering the absurd. No less so given how quiet the entire operation was. Well, apart from the wood-chipping part, but I was there to find out about the crane, not the fate of a tree that’d seen better days. The noisy trucks of yesteryear that whined and hissed as the hydraulics worked away, clattering and jolting the vehicle around like a child’s toy as it earned its keep are now but a distant memory – this herculean hauler is nothing but silent and smooth. The king is dead, long live the king.