Reduced-swing excavator shows its steel in the Highlands

A new Volvo ECR88D reduced-swing compact excavator has made its way to Ceannacroc Estates, based to the north west of Fort Augustus in the Scottish Highlands.

The machine, which was displayed at this year’s ScotPlant, takes over the building and maintenance of the roads and tracks on the 14,500-acre estate. It replaces a Volvo ECR88 Plus that was delivered a decade ago and an EC55B before that.

The ECR88D was supplied by Inverness-based CSM Sales, SMT GB’s utility dealer for the north of Scotland.

Estate proprietor Martin Girvan said, “I’ve been delighted with both the EC55B and the ECR88 Plus which has proved to be the right size machine for our work here on the estate. This time though I decided to opt for the latest ECR88D version with steel tracks instead of rubber for better traction on rougher ground and a better degree of flotation when working on peat. It’s also advantageous when we are mounding new trees in our plantations – the rubber tracks used to get a bit of a pounding in this way!”

Martin also opted for the ‘thumb’ device, which is hydraulically operated and mounted on the underside of the machine’s dipper arm. This works off of the hammer/shear hydraulic circuit and works independently from the bucket cylinder. “The combination of the machine and this attachment has proved to be very versatile – picking large stones and small boulders as well as handling fallen trees in our woodlands,” Martin added.

“Some of the terrain is quite tricky to deal with ranging from shale and rock to boggy peat. Our new ECR88D on steel tracks with the addition of the ‘thumb’ will easily tackle the jobs that need to get done with ease as we get further and higher into the estate.”

The ECR88D is powered by a Volvo 2.6-litre engine producing 56 hp coupled to a load-sensing hydraulic system. The machine boasts a horizontal reach of 7.3m, a dig depth of 4.5m and a lift capacity of 1,020kg at full reach across the carriage.