With a price tag of £250,000 and weighing in at just over 15 tonnes, it’s fair to say that Paul Allen drives a truly monster motor.
But the 29-year-old Kielder Forest worker doesn’t mind – as well as being able to harvest 200 trees in a single day, it also has a CD player in the cab so he can listen to his favourite music.
And the public will now be able to see the beast for themselves, thanks to a series of behind-the-scenes tours being arranged by the Forestry Commission at the 62,000-hectare wilderness.
Each Tuesday until August 28, visitors will get a grandstand view of Paul’s hi-tech timber harvester in action.
It takes intensive training to learn the ropes, aided by use of computer simulators and a stint on a specialist machine operators’ course in Dumfries.
Recently promoted to works supervisor, Paul said: “I’ve worked in every part of Kielder and mechanical harvesters are the backbone of the operation.
“It’s not so many years ago that every tree had to be felled by hand, which would have been a daunting challenge. I always wanted an outdoor job and it doesn’t get much more spectacular than Kielder.”
Paul will also explain how timber production is balanced with recreation, conservation and extensive re-planting.
Booking is essential on 01434 250209. Meets 2pm at Kielder Castle Visitor Centre, cost £10 for adults. Bring stout footwear, no dogs allowed.