JAMES Brown of Port Charlotte is the lifting king of Islay and it’s not just his renowned ability as Champion of Islay in the annual ‘sheaf tossing’ event.
His Manitou MT1840 is the ‘Swiss army knife’ for the Islanders as James explained: “Whatever the lift the Manitou can handle it. Life on the Island can often call for mechanical lifting which is why the MT1840 is the ideal machine as it is a multi-purpose forklift. Primarily I utilise the Manitou on my mixed farm handling silage and straw bales but its true strength is to tackle the wide variety of lifting jobs on the Island.”
The Manitou earns its keep working across the Island loading and unloading lorries and containers, lifting generators into position to maintain power supplies across Islay, erecting steel girder framework for new farm buildings and storage facilities, handling self build ‘house kits’ for contractors and general maintenance duties such as replacing the pagoda roof at Ochtomore Distillery.
James has a connection with the distillery. “Our barley crop is supplied to the distillery and the natural source of spring water is located on my farm and this is used by Ochtomore to produce their distinctive ‘peaty’ whisky, famous all around the world.”
James is a real enthusiast for his Manitou machine: “It is very reliable and easy to use and always starts on the button, even in our sometimes adverse weather conditions! And despite the distance from the mainland we enjoy a good service support from the Manitou dealer, AT Best Handlers.”
Usually associated with construction as a telehandler, James uses it for all types of work. His 400 acreage of pasture supports cattle, used to produce high quality meat for Island hotels plus selected mainland restaurants. Being successful in an Island community relies on self resilience and James has other revenue streams with three holiday homes.
Just like his Manitou fulfilling multi purpose roles so has James as he has been Islay Special Constable, Lighthouse keeper to Port Charlotte lighthouse and won titles in the ‘swing the hammer’ and ‘toss the caber’.
It is difficult to categorise James Brown but his Manitou will always being lending a hand.