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Heddle quarry
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Heddle quarry

In February 1976 Orkney Builders took over Heddle quarry from Willie Smith who had spent many years working it alone. I was fortunate enough to be sent to receive OB’s new equipment as it arrived, fortunate because it gave me the opportunity to meet and spend time with Willie. Driving into Heddle quarry for the first time I found him perched precariously atop an old wooden ladder happily drilling a borehole for blasting the face. He broke off from his work and soon the kettle was boiling when we sat and enjoyed a feed of crab’s claws. Courtesy of his own creels.
The short break over, he took me to look around his crushing plant and its motor house, with a lovely big old single cylinder engine that had a massive flywheel. Willie and I stood contentedly listening to its steady, plonk, plonk, plonk. Music to the ears of Machine men. Discovering he’d got someone equally enthusiastic about old machines he took me on a tour of his equipment, at which I marvelled. Old these machines might have been but Willie had them working to perfection, a credit to his engineering skills. It was indeed a working museum.
Looking at his lorry; that had neither doors windows or even a proper seat; I was compelled to enquire: “Isn’t that rock seat a bit uncomfortable Willie?” “Och no, het’s fine fae het never gets wet yer ken.”

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Picture added on 24 October 2007
Do you have any more old photos of Heddle Quarry?
Added by James on 27 October 2007
I'll sort some out James, Watch this space-
Added by Ron Greatrix on 29 October 2007
Must have been before "Health and safety"!!!!!
Added by William Watters on 30 October 2007
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