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Aloft Skyline rigging
Forestry Memories
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No: 4301   Contributor: Norman Davidson   Year: 1970
Aloft Skyline rigging

The photograph is courtesy of Glenbranter Forest office staff with particular thanks to Ian Adams who has stored these old files for many years.

Not a stunt at the Ingliston Show ground but Jimmy Gillies up a skyline support tree somewhere in the Cowal area, possibly around 1970.

Jimmy had attached to this photograph a written a note as a thank you for his retirement gift from the District office staff.

‘‘Many thanks to everyone in Cowal Forest District for the time and effort put into making my final Forestry day such a good one.

An extra thank you to the ladies of the office for their usual excellent cuisine.

Old tyme photo

Head – no hard hat
Feet – no safety boots
Clothing – rags
Gloves – probably no

Signed – Jimmy Gillies’’

As to the action on the photograph it can be seen that Jimmy is using a tree climbing bicycle to ascend the skyline support tree. Whether he is actually rigging it or dismantling the system is not certain. As the larch(?) tree has been stripped of its branches and topped we must assume that Jimmy may have done this at an earlier point.

The pulley block is firmly anchored to the top of the support tree but is perhaps not being used to hold up the skyline intermediate support arm and blade. It looks as though it is tied directly to the tree.

The skyline is under tension and work would normally only be done when it was in a slack position. The support tree looks undamaged as it would inevitably be if loads were passing that close to the stem. It may be that Jimmy is trying to see if the support arm can be eased off a little to give more passing room for the loads.

A great image and any other comments, observations or details would be very welcome.
Perhaps someone will recognise the support type and say if it is from a James Jones Igland winch kit?
Was topping tree from a tree bicycle a common action?

See PDF for hand written note and photo together.
Picture added on 28 November 2018 at 08:45
add commentComments:
Are you sure it's Jimmy Gillies? The guy in the picture doesn't have a pipe. :-)
I remember seeing that same climbing apparatus lying in a store one day at Benmore and I asked what it was. When I was told, I thought "don't be ridiculous".
There was nothing for it to try it out.
A telephone pole outside the store was selected and up I went. When I got to the top eventually, the next problem arose. How do I get back down again? As if that wasn't enough, a forester had turned up and gave me such a bollocking. I was very happy to get my feet on the ground again and the tree bicycle was never seen again.
A grim determination to defy gravity was all it took to climb a tree safely.

Added by Andy MacNicol on 28 November 2018.
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