Series following crane operators across the UK. This episode sees the team struggle with wind on a windfarm in Cornwall and the retirement of the company's oldest employee.
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Ainscough is Britain's biggest mobile crane hire company.
At dawn every day, their cranes criss-cross the country.
All right, let's go for it.
Apart from my family, this is the second love of my life.
It's a family, and then cranes.
They lift everything...
-Nice and steady.
-Get it this way, mate.
..from wind turbines
to priceless art works.
-I'm feeling a little bit nervous.
What if it slides out?
It won't. It's not going to slide out.
Their life is in our hands up there.
One wrong move up there from us, and it's game over for them.
..24 hours a day...
You've just got to get it right,
because if you don't, it could pull the crane over.
It's going to go. It's got to go.
..seven days a week.
Don't pull it, Joe.
You wouldn't get me up there, that's for sure.
Can you see it trying to twist round?
They keep Britain lifting.
-Yeah, happy on the hoist.
-Not many people can say
they've had the opportunity to work with a ship like that.
We're a small cog in a big machine,
which helps make this country better.
But facing increased competition
and having invested millions in the latest cranes,
the company is at a crossroads.
If we don't deliver, it's a bit like football management.
I guess we have some conversations about whether you get to stay for next season.
Do I have a few sleepless nights thinking about that? Yes, I do.
The company's headquarters in Preston,
the hub of a national network of 460 cranes and over 500 drivers.
Enquiries for lifts from all over Britain
go through their national call centre.
After a tough year following £100 million of investment,
orders are coming through thick and fast.
We go from John O'Groats to Land's End,
and we cover everywhere in between.
We want total domination.
We want to be the main player in the UK.
We've got to do it right first time, every time.
At the moment, it's just crackers, absolutely crackers.
It's phone call after phone call after phone call.
It doesn't even stop at the weekends. It's just mad,
absolutely mad at the moment.
Nothing gives you more pleasure than coming to work in the morning
and seeing a yard empty.
While many of the cranes are on the roads,
one of their biggest is in Scotland, working 24 hours a day.
That's the way to go to work!
I'm loving it!
Crawler driver Andy Surridge is making his daily commute.
Proper job. That's the way to go to work.
Didn't even drop the camera. That's a result.
This is the LR1300, pretty little girl.
That's a 300-tonne crawler crane. She looks so pretty.
Some of them do look a bit ropey.
-RADIO: Up easy on the wire. Up easy.
-Up easy on the wire.
Andy is working on the foundations of a new bridge
being built over the Firth of Forth.
His crane is sitting on a barge in the river,
which presents its own problems.
Driving a crane on water's a lot, lot different.
On the land, all your work is done by reference points around you,
buildings for vertical lines, and all sorts.
When you're out here on the water and it starts getting a bit bumpy,
all that just goes out the window.
Here he comes.
Are we roughly on that far corner?
Andy is working with divers who are removing debris from the sea bed.
Swing round there, and drop this in the water for the divers.
Normally what we do is find the diver's bubbles,
and see where the tides run in,
and we try and put the chains over the diver's head
and lower down gently,
because literally he can see 12 inches in front of him, if that.
RADIO: Down on the wire.
Down on the wire.
So there's a diver down now, standing underwater.
I think he's about five or six metres down.
I'm going to lower the chains down to him.
He's going to go into the bag, and then we'll bring the bag out.
You could literally carry what I'm just about to lift in one hand.
But there is a downside.
Andy is working 12-hour shifts, six days a week,
500 miles away from his home in Kent.
It's quite a long old job. Long days.
And you just sit around, you start thinking,
"Is this really the best thing I'm doing here at the minute?"
Birthdays, barbecues, you name it, we've missed it.
You think, I just need to be home.
Perhaps it is time to be doing something different.
Another day done, another shift finished. What a way to go home.
To give him some home comforts, Andy has another lady in his life.
My little darling Beverly. Welcome to the pleasure dome, guys.
Banging the head.
Yeah, so this is a little bit of home from home, basically.
Shower, toilet, everything in there.
We've got cooker, food cupboards, with Bisto gravy.
And you've got your comfy chair.
Just down there, in front of the telly,
I think I told my wife that I'd work away
until we saved up enough for a deposit for the house.
I'd say that was 25 years ago now I've been working away so...
I think we're still on honeymoon really cos I've worked away
so long, I've probably only been with her a couple of weekends
together so we're still on honeymoon, I think.
Keep it clean and tidy. Beverly makes it a lot easier.
Oh! There goes my plate.
Keeping drivers on big jobs is the key to keeping the crane
Having invested in a state-of-the-art 750-tonne crane,
the firm are keen to exploit new markets.
In Humberside, the UK's biggest power station, Drax, is being
converted to eco-friendly biofuel.
# When will we see you again? # Your lights, Mark.
Today, as part of the conversion, drivers Mark and John have brought
the new crane to the site to lift an 84-tonne roof section on to a silo.
Watch your fingers!
For us, it's a simple lift. It's a nice lift, one lump.
But, obviously, for the client, it's complicated for them.
It is a big day. It's very, very expensive.
You only need one thing to go wrong
and it basically doubles the cost of everything.
The crane can cost anything between 15 and 40k a day.
And the pressure is on to get the lift right first time.
-Shall we get going, mate?
It's 87 tonne on there now.
Just as they start the lift, an alarm in the crane gives warning
that the load is suspiciously heavy.
-Say that again.
-That's 87 tonne on there now.
Plain English, it's too heavy.
It's coming up more than they said. Take some stuff out of it, then.
Hand rail, gantry.
This sort of thing's called cheating, really.
They have took quite a bit of stuff out that's not supposed
to have been in there, believe it or not.
You know, we must have about a quarter of a tonne coming out of it now.
And we've had five of them already.
Well, this is just stuff that's stored in it.
Save them for craning up another day.
-Shall we give it another go, mate?
Three hours later than scheduled
and now three tonnes lighter, the lift finally gets under way.
OK going up, mate. You're all right, you're all clear at the minute.
Nice to see.
It's looking good, all clear, mate, keep going up.
Let's just hope it fits.
-You've got about another 1,100, 1,200 to go till you're clear.
Right, start going down the rope again, Mark, please.
He's just starting to settle it down now.
It's tricky because we've only got 25 mil of clearance all
the way around it.
Right, Mark, start going down again, mate.
Down the rope, mate, down the rope. They're pretty close.
Not far off now.
I'd say if we're anywhere between two or three mil out,
then I'd be a liar.
That's another one done. Move on to the next one.
That's the life of a crane gang.
In Scotland, crane driver Andy has packed up caravan Beverly
and is heading south to the Heavy Cranes Division HQ in Preston.
Poor old girl - she'll look like she's been through
the tumble dryer by the time I get to wherever I'm going.
He's applied for a change of job and has an interview
for a role as a lift supervisor that could bring him closer to home.
I've just given up a bloody good job on the Forth earning a bloody
good wage so... I don't know whether I've shot myself in the foot, really.
We'll have to wait and see.
We've just got to sort out exactly what this new job is
and how I'm going to get about the country
while doing it is the main thing, I suppose.
Giving up long term jobs would mean Andy would no longer need his Beverly.
There are times that it becomes bloody awkward having a caravan.
She's still there anyway, she's still following me.
Jim Fleming is the manager of operations within the Heavy Crane Division.
He's responsible for 40 operators and keeping them and their
cranes out on the road.
Is there enough room for that neck?
You are sacrificing your social life for work, basically.
Heavy crane guys are away all the time - it's very seldom that they're
back in the house so their social life and their family does suffer.
It's a big commitment for them.
Andy is one of his most experienced drivers.
I hate things like this.
Here we go.
I'm good at driving cranes, I'm not good at meetings in offices.
'They're a sought-after precious commodity'
and the company's got to try and keep the guys that they've got.
-How are you?
-Yeah, we're good, mate, we're good.
What we're planning on doing,
we're going to keep you as a spare driver...
-..with the crawler cranes,
train you up on all the rest of the crawler cranes...
and do a bit of lift supervising in-between that.
Or we move you from the crawler crane side to the mobile side
-and you'd become a lift supervisor then...
..but also doing the spare driver with the crawler cranes.
Just give me a van and I'll shoot up
and down the country all over the place all day long for you.
Right. Well, to get you a van, we'd have to swap you to the mobile side.
-I'd have to swap to the mobile side.
-Yeah. Right, cheers, Jim.
-Thank you very much.
-No worries. You take care.
-Yeah, will do.
Unlike crawlers, mobile cranes have a different job every day,
and as a lift supervisor, Andy will need a van to get about.
Something like that would be perfect.
I think he'll step up to the challenge. I think he'll be good.
He's got a good attitude and a good outlook on life.
He just needs a bit more experience on the mobile crane side
and he'll be a good lift supervisor.
Be able to get home a bit more if I have a few spare days in-between.
It's looking good.
The future's bright, eh?
London, where much of the heavy lifting is done under
the watchful eye of the Hayes depot.
-Are we stripping down for this one like we normally do?
Come on, scales.
Depot manager Di is enforcing her weekly weigh-in
called "Ballast Watch."
12st 6lb. It's gone back up. Runner-up last month was Mr Vogan.
Bring on the heavy ballast.
Kevin Vogan has stepped off the cranes to become
a contract lift manager but some old habits die hard.
Bring it on.
15, 20 years past driving cranes now but I like to keep the crane
driving tradition going so I'll eat whenever I can.
Bring it on.
-He's just lost!
It's just a bit of fun and it breaks up the week and hopefully,
makes us all a little bit healthier.
-We're all watching what we're eating, aren't we?
-Right, back to work.
-Are we done?
Kev is responsible for dealing with new business.
He's heading to Park Lane to meet a client.
This is a statue that, I've been told, weighs seven tonnes.
And it's going to be lifted, obviously,
from a vehicle by us onto a plinth outside the Dorchester Hotel.
As you can imagine, it's extremely valuable and someone's pride
The arts missed me at school
and so I've been brought up with the school of hard knocks.
I can understand how people can find it very interesting, but not for me.
Even for the big guys, a delicate touch is sometimes needed.
-Abby, how are you?
-Good, thanks, and you? Long time.
-It has been.
So this is it.
-It's the delicacy at the top.
-The delicacy, yeah.
-And so it's keeping all the strapping as free as we can.
-Shall we go and have a look at the location?
-500,000 people pass this every day.
-And so it would be just amazing for people to see it here.
-Is this where it's going?
They want us to do it on a Sunday.
They want us to come in as super- early as we can
so a sort-of 6am thing when traffic is lowest.
OK and they're going to shut off one lane completely?
-Yeah, exactly, for while we're here.
-Excellent, well done.
If it goes, there's no putting it back together so you're my man, Kevin.
-Well, I'll bring the superglue along.
-Exactly, please don't.
It's just a different side of crane hire, you know.
We have to take on the enormity of it
and understand how delicate this item is.
Cos, you know, there's no second chance.
-John, can I have wages?
-Thank you very much.
-Sorry, I'm not paying you this week.
-Oh, that's good enough.
The same as last week.
With so much work around in the capital, manager Di's job is to keep
her 32 cranes and drivers as busy as possible.
If they're in the yard, they're on a basic eight-hour day,
seven hours on a Friday, eight Monday to Thursday.
Everybody got their wage slips? Right, Ronnie.
When the crew are out working,
they can more than double their income through overtime.
They can take home 80-90,000 a year on the larger cranes.
It's just dependant on how much overtime they get.
They do get grumpy and whingey because, obviously,
they're just on a basic eight-hour day in the yard.
Transport For London has told the company that their crane drivers
must undergo a cycle awareness course
if they're to continue working in the city.
But this means a day on basic pay with all valuable work called off.
There's no point in it.
I'm not employed as a cycle driver, I'm employed as a crane driver.
Why should I do it?
I didn't run anyone over in London in a lorry so why should I do it?
Pointless. I'm not doing it.
I've had them ranting and raving at me and everything but for us to
be able to get onto these sites, they have to at least attend the course.
You need to man up, Lee. Yeah? And keep your mouth shut.
Wahey, whoa, that's not going to happen, is it?
-But either way, Lee, you have to go do the course.
-Do I get paid for it?
-It'll be on company time, won't it?
See? Lee wins.
A crane driver is not happy unless he's moaning.
That is their job - to moan.
Right, guys, gather yourselves over.
Let's just quickly run through everything, get everybody familiar.
Last year in London, HGVs were responsible for over half
the cycling fatalities, despite making up only 4% of the traffic.
I go out riding every night. Look at me.
Body's a temple, innit?
Just have a little ride around, just get familiar with them.
-It's like a ballet out there.
-I don't get it.
There we go. Observation, looking where we're going.
They need to see the road from a cyclist's point of view.
# Do you ever get one of those days
# When nothing goes right from morning to night
# Do you ever get one of them days? #
Yeah, I can't ride like this for long cos my arse is killing me.
-Where we going?
But at the back, they are not taking it seriously.
-Slow down! Trying to kill somebody.
This prompts a bit of a lecture.
We go and we have fun and we do stuff
and we're not always the brightest at what we do.
Yeah, but this is all about blaming the driver and not the cyclist.
It goes back to who's got the control of the vehicle that
has got the capacity to go fast on roads.
No, if there's ever an accident, it's always the car driver or the lorry driver that gets the blame.
It's never the cyclist.
First of all, let's look at who gets hurt in this situation - who is the one that gets hurt?
-It's not just the cyclist, it's the actual driver as well who gets mentally hurt by it.
Exactly that, OK? So, at the end of the day, regardless of where the blame lies
with this stuff, the key thing about it is that
whether you're the driver or whether you're the cyclist, you don't
want to end up in that situation.
You were joshing away there, having fun.
-Was it actually dangerous to anybody?
I'm going home. I don't want to play no more.
I don't come to work to ride a bike
and be taught how to suck eggs on the road.
It should be cyclists being taught this, not professional drivers,
But, hey-ho, let's crack on.
Part of Park Lane is to be closed
to allow the seven-tonne marble sculpture, "The Spirit Of Life",
to be lifted into its new resting place.
But things are already running late.
-PHONE: Hello, Kev.
-Hi, Kev, how are you doing?
-Yeah, we're with the people that's bought the sculpture.
I've had to widen the road up a little bit.
Yeah, you've got another good half a metre there.
Everything's got to be done as prescript.
Any rushing, slightest mistake and who knows what can go wrong?
The sculptor, Helaine Blumenfeld, has flown in from Italy
to oversee the positioning of her artwork.
Have another little lift up on the hoist, Mike.
Another little lift up on the hoist.
That's it, she's coming nice, mate. Nice and steady.
Keep it coming.
Keep it coming, mate.
God, Helaine, it's going to be amazing!
I love the trees behind.
I'm looking forward to experiencing that moment when art hits you
and you get that sense of... I don't know what that sense is, actually.
I'm waiting to find out.
Maybe I should have took a bit more interest in the art studies
rather than the art teacher.
She was very nice.
That comes over this side. It left a mark on the other side.
Having got the crate off,
the sculpture needs to be moved very slowly into position.
Hold that, hold that. Head up only, mate. Head up only now.
Really steady on the head. Just creep up on the hoist there, mate.
The thing with marble is it's so brittle
so if you knock it with a hammer,
you know, anything, you'll chip it
and then the work's ruined so, yeah, you've got to be delicate with it.
My original idea was to have it more this way
but I think having it parallel with the steel plate looks the best.
-You did so well, fantastic.
It is very thought-provoking. I can get it now.
To me, it's a flower opening and I love flowers.
I love the spring, I love daffodils.
-You've opened my eyes to art, you have.
-You really have.
The world is so formed now, isn't it?
It's so formal and so formed so we know, you know,
this is a street, that's a vehicle and then this...
-No, I think people's imaginations get lost.
I remember when I was a kid, there was a programme on the telly
called "Day of the Triffids."
That's what I'm thinking at the moment.
It's the Day of the Triffids, mate.
This is our crane here.
I do like mobile cranes, I must admit. They do look quite nice.
In Southampton, crawler driver Andy has a new van and he has a new role.
Now, a lift supervisor, you've got to...
Well, it's just completely different,
you've just got a lot more responsibilities.
If anything goes tits up or wrong, it's your job to, uh,
find a solution to the problem.
The team are waiting for a 78-foot racing yacht, Lupa,
to arrive to be weighed.
OK, Matt, I'm going to turn in.
We've just arrived from the States.
Since we've arrived, we've just been stripping the boat down
and getting it ready for the lift.
They'll be creating a single point lift for us in order for us
to get an accurate measurement of the weight of the boat
so that we can enter the Maxi Regatta in Sardinia in September.
The job will entail lifting the yacht clear out of the water.
15 tonnes six is to the bow end and then we make the adjustment on the stern end...
Technical support manager Bob "The Brain" McGrain
has spent three months planning the lift.
-Two sets of 11-tonne chains?
Yachts are regularly weighed
but this is more challenging, as the Lupa is to be lifted with her
90-foot mast in place.
This is tricky because our crane hoist lines are very,
very close to the mast.
The mast is vulnerable to damage and our hoist lines are vulnerable
to damage so we don't want the two coming together under any
circumstances but because it's very tall
and because we're slinging it in the water,
there will be a degree of movement of the yacht
and what we've got to do is make sure that that movement doesn't
cause any impacts between our crane and their yacht.
As Andy will soon be working all over the country on different lifts,
he needs to know every piece of equipment inside out.
-Which one does that go on?
It's all a different way, innit? All different.
I've just not had a lot of experience with the mobiles,
So it's all second nature to these guys.
The Royal Ocean Racing Club have sent an official to measure the weight.
Why has it not been weighed before?
Uh, it probably has been weighed before
but yachts' weights change all the time.
You know, they add things, they cut things out, they change it.
It also takes in water
so the boat actually gets heavier through its life.
-Even the plastic?
It's good for the crane hire industry that we have to
go around weighing them.
It's a pity it's only one of them here, then.
It's a load cell. It costs a lot of money.
You've got a shackle on the top, a shackle on the bottom,
and then it'll record the load, that'll put tension on it
and it tells you what load you've got on underneath it.
A-ha! Here she comes.
It's on its way now.
It's nice, innit? There's some good fun been had on that, I bet.
-Can I throw this down to you, mate?
-Yeah, do you want it wrapped round?
They're pricey things, these boats, aren't they?
So something like this, you're talking,
I don't know, near enough two million?
I don't know, even more than that?
It's scary stuff.
If we got tag lines front and back so if we can use your people
and you look after keeping it parallel to the quay edge
and we'll look after up and down.
The position of the slings is critical.
See that G is 286...
Just centimetres out and the Lupa could be badly damaged.
We're always pretty nervous about lifting boats.
It is such a huge machine.
Multimillion pounds' worth of boat and we don't want them to drop it.
I'll bring it in a bit, I'll bring it down a bit for you.
And just connect that sling onto that pin, that shackle now.
I've just gone through the boat making sure there's
nothing in there that isn't allowed to be there under the rules
so there's no sails, there's no ropes.
There's no food or water or anything like that.
If you imagine emptying your own home, it's like moving house.
They have to take everything out.
They're both the same, both on that cleat.
-They've probably moved half an inch.
-So, Bob, have you got us?
We're holding her now, yeah.
With the slings in position,
the all-clear is given to begin hoisting.
She might change her orientation a bit when the keel comes out
so we'll just watch this bulb on the bottom.
But she's come up lovely,
she's down a bit on the bow, which is what we wanted.
-Does anyone have a mobile phone on them or anything like that?
Can you switch it off, please?
He's just checking the weight off the load tail in our tackle at the top.
He just wants it to settle down because it will fluctuate a bit.
The gross weight is 33 tonnes and 110 kilos.
With the data gathered, it's a job well done.
It's cushty, that was good. It looked good so that must have been good.
It was a lot better than I expected it to be.
The boat came out of the water level so, yeah,
I'm just happy we're back in the water without any damage.
It came up exactly how we wanted it to, just a slight bit bow-heavy.
So we're all very happy with that.
Right, homeward bound!
The crane gang are busy planning lifts all over the country.
Today, they're heading to Cornwall.
The company's push into green energy is paying off.
Tomorrow morning, at what time do you intend to start?
Farmer Mark Quinn already has one wind turbine.
Now, he's bought another.
The team are here to put it together but it's taken three years to get
sufficient local support.
This actually hasn't taken too long to get through planning.
My first site took 17 years, so you have to have patience.
'We have invested a huge amount of money here.'
I have basically taken out a mortgage on my farm to buy this machine.
Being as it's a new industry, it's always a risk.
Whoo! Come in, get some lights on here. You can probably see right up.
The wind comes straight up off the sea and up the valley
and hits right on the hill here.
You can see from the trees around here, they don't grow straight,
they're growing at an angle if they grow at all.
Once plugged into the national grid, it could take as little as six years
to pay off the £1.2 million investment.
When I'm older, I'm going to save up for a wind turbine myself.
They give us money and they produce energy and...
I think they look pretty.
We can have these two off now, both 10-tonne each.
Supervisor Andy Piotrowits will be in charge of the lift and has two
days to get all the sections of the turbine safely lifted into place.
You've got the hub assembly there that the three blades go on to
and then you've got a nacelle, which is like the gearbox.
We'll take these two off now
and then we'll take the blades off just basically to get
the lorries away and then we'll look at assembling this afternoon.
You want to rebuild the crane now?
The turbine has been supplied by a Dutch firm, who send their own fitters.
-You get in these doors all right?
As wind conditions worsen, it is proving tricky.
It's borderline now.
We'll get this one off, put them on the floor
and then we'll re-assess what we're going to do as regards assembly.
That's good, Bill, keep coming like that. Keep it coming.
The blades are actually designed to catch the wind or else
there'd be no point in putting them up.
And there'd be no point putting them up in a place that wasn't windy.
The wind speeds have got up now this afternoon so unfortunately,
it's turned out that we can't do any more pre-assemble, which basically
means we can't put the blades on the hub which we would liked to have
done this afternoon, so that's going to be postponed now until tomorrow.
I'll tell you something - I think
they're bloody awful things to look at.
And I live in the countryside
and I don't really want to be looking at them.
Couple of decent power stations, mate,
instead of dicking about with this stuff.
It's now too windy to offload, it's around 18 metre...
It's nature and I can't fight nature.
Heavy lifts may be a big part of the crane hire business,
but the little ones all add up.
Ainscough Crane Hire.
Our business is lifting,
whether it be a small item or a large item, that is our business.
We can be lifting anything from even 50 kilos but because of the
ranges of where it's going to be put, only a crane can do it.
Even when we're lifting bags of sand, it's all business for us.
Hiya, Dave. Which skip is it going in? The small skip?
Yes, the small one with the high-vis jacket on it that you're
looking at now.
Oh, that's great.
At Barnsley Town Hall, an elevator is being replaced.
Keep coming down. Jib back a touch, jib back a touch.
The local depot has sent their oldest lift supervisor,
-Paul Gilpin, to oversee the job.
-Keep going, keep coming.
I've got two things on the front of my face called eyes.
'Yeah, very good.'
On the crane game, altogether, I've been doing it about 33, 34 years.
I started with crane driving. It's good, it's good.
Every lift is a different lift. And you learn every day. Even at 65.
As well as being a lift supervisor,
Paul runs the yard at the Leeds depot.
I've always liked cranes and the new ones today,
they're fantastic compared to the olden days.
30 years ago, they were animals.
Today, they're built for the driver.
And everything is computers and this, that and the other.
In those days, there weren't any computers.
These are old crane books, crikey me. These go back donkey's years.
That was a six-tonner, a six-tonne crane.
But you used to have to build everything up,
all the jib sections, on the backs and put them all on the front.
Really old cranes.
In those days, you didn't have to take a licence
because if you had a driving licence, you could drive a crane.
You just had to be 21.
Somebody would, obviously, teach you probably for a day
and then you were away.
That's an old photo. There's quite a lot of the old lads there.
Quite a few have died.
That's me there with the old Spanish 'tache.
They were good old days.
For 65, I'm quite fit actually for my...
For my age, but sometimes it gets to you.
After a bit, you get out of breath. Which is...which is normal.
After 34 years on the cranes,
Paul has decided to put in for retirement.
I've come to that time in life.
My father never got to retirement age for a start, and he was only
62 and that line of the family never reached 65, they never retired.
They all died before.
So I just want to retire and just enjoy life.
He's our superintendent, Paul. He's our key man.
I don't know how we're going to manage when he goes.
-It's not long now, Paul, is it?
-No, it's not long now.
It has a good atmosphere when Paul's here cos we have a laugh
and a joke but we still get our work done, you know what I mean?
All that'll just go now.
He'll be truly missed, the old git.
5:00am in Cornwall.
After a delay of one and a half days, the wind has finally dropped.
Plan for today will be full erection.
That'll be the two tower sections up, the generator,
assemble the hub together with the blades
and then lift that up probably later on this afternoon.
Both together now, guys, hoisting up steady. Hoisting up steady.
Despite near perfect conditions, they've hardly got started
before there's a problem.
Jib back, mate. Jib back, jib back, jib back.
Wasn't watching, was I?
But no harm done, a little bit of paintwork.
Nobody's fault but mine.
-Yeah, we're nearly there, fellas, nearly there.
-OK, slowly, cable down.
Brake is off.
Right-o, Bill, just nice and steady, mate, hoisting up.
This lift is the generator. It's the heaviest part of the turbine.
Probably one of the... Or the second critical lift, this one.
Millimetre accuracy is required to position it
so that it can be bolted from the inside.
-Very, very slowly, cable up.
OK, slowly, cable down.
They're the eyes of the crane driver now because I can't see nothing.
He's tweaking it up and down so I've got to...
It's just one millimetre...
It's depending on the skill of the ease
and gentle touch of the crane operator.
Andy, move a little.
Finally, they need to attach the blades.
Round to your right. A little bit more.
Down you come, lowering off, mate. Lowering off. Keep it going.
Right, mate, hold that, stop there.
Hold that, Bill, full stop.
Oh, Andy, you do it so excellent.
You are the best crane jib advisor I ever have seen.
-I like it when it works.
-Just take a little bit of weight.
-Just pinching up steady now.
-Pinch up steady.
The wind is very, very critical for this lift now, the blades
and rotor assembly.
There has been instances in the past with other companies in other
countries where they've been in the process of lifting and the
weather conditions have changed suddenly and it can be disastrous.
Just jib down for me, Bill. Jib it down, mate.
If the wind gusts over ten miles per hour,
then they'll begin to lose control.
INCOHERENT RADIO CHATTER
Keep the nose in line with the base of the boom.
Just give it a little pull, that's it.
It's got a little bit breezy, hasn't it? Right at the wrong time.
Put tension on it.
That's it. Just keep it like that.
They have to thread it onto the shaft
so it's ever-so-gentle movements, hoisting up,
and then booming down to get the shaft entered onto the splines
and it's just a question of millimetres at a time.
Guys at the top, on the hub, the bottom blade is very,
very close to the crane boom now.
OK, can you boom up a little bit?
Wind's caught it again, pressure's coming on.
-What was that?
-I've got no idea. Dutch?
After three days of battling the elements,
it's a moment the Dutch are keen to celebrate.
DUTCH ENGINEER CHEERS
Dutch exuberance, yeah.
It is a green energy. It doesn't pollute anything bar the scenic view.
If I had a beautiful view like you've got here
and my house was 100 yards away and then somebody decided to put a...
I don't know, I think I'd have a moan.
-Well, good job, Andy.
It'll make the farmer some money and keep him happy.
They've got enough money but he's going to have a bit more now, isn't he?
From the latest technology to some of the oldest.
Portsmouth - the home of the Royal Navy.
Nelson's flagship, the HMS Victory,
is undergoing a £50 million refurbishment
and the crane gang have been called in to clear her decks.
These are my lucky pants.
Dave and Lee are both former crane drivers who have worked
together since leaving school.
They're now specialist lift supervisors in charge
of the most challenging jobs.
There ain't no water in here, that ain't no good.
Their nickname, "Chuckles", reveals their unique way of working.
Oh, this is well cool.
It's smart, innit? Imagine living in here.
And with the doors of the HMS Victory closed to the public,
they get a crash course in the history they are lifting.
-Oh, it's the sleeping quarters.
-That's the jail, innit?
-Yeah, look, it's the old jail.
-No, it's not a jail.
-It must be.
-What is it then?
-A medicine thing.
-Oh, yeah, look. Bullet extractor.
-Where's the bullet extractor?
Number six. Oh, it's like a pair of tweezers.
Number seven, an amputation knife.
-They were a lot smaller, weren't they?
In 300 years, they weren't as tall as we are.
-What you mean what we are?
-Well, I'm well tall.
It's unbelievable. It's a mystery down there.
Today, they're responsible for attaching the loads to the
crane and making sure everything is lifted without causing damage.
The job is the lifeboats off the HMS Victory, picking them up,
putting them on the dock down the bottom there.
There should be three or four of these and cannons as well
so...should be pretty interesting. All ready to go, yeah?
Just pinching to see how she's sitting, mate.
Every item on the deck is a valuable piece of British heritage
so has to be handled with care.
Whoa, that don't sound too healthy.
-Think it was just stuck on the paint, wasn't it?
-Yeah, it was.
We all good, yeah? Yeah, good.
Yeah. That's better.
That's sound, that. That's it.
What we'll do is we'll just lift it and see how she sits before
she's right clear of the cradle. We'll know when she comes up.
-It's time for the second boat.
-Off you go.
No! No, stop.
Oh, it's mullered it. Look.
Yeah. Yeah, it's very flimsy.
In the company's depot in Leeds...
..before yard manager Paul Gilpin retires,
he wants one last go in a crane.
Sat in the yard is the state-of-the-art
self-erecting tower crane.
When you look at it, it's like some kind of monster.
This type of mobile crane is unique, as the driver can
raise his cab to the top.
OK, here we go.
You can see for miles.
Pennines, everything. Motorway, beautiful.
The planes are flying about. It's a fantastic view.
A lot of people don't like it when you're up here but I love it,
absolutely love it.
And you don't know, really, what's going off down there.
That's the only thing I don't like about it.
Can you come in with it, love?
I need you in here. I need some stuff loading.
OK, love. All right, bye.
I've just been Tipp-Exing his name out of the book
and it's very strange.
It's his last day.
Yeah, it's very sad. You can ring him up and say "Can you do this?
"Can you do that?" And he does it. So he is going to be missed.
And I'm sure he'll miss us as well.
Right. I'm summoned.
Oh, very, very good.
-Thank you very much.
"Irreplaceable" is the word I think we need to be looking for.
In more ways than one.
He'll be sadly missed.
Good health to everybody and thanks very much. Very nice.
The old ones are the best, as they say.
Not saying owt about the young ones but they still haven't got the
dedication that the old ones have got and Paul's the last of a breed.
We'll never get any more like him.
-So you looking forward to it?
-Right, Michael, you look after yourself.
-You and all, Paul.
-It's been nice knowing you.
-You and all, Paul. You take care, yeah?
-Don't be a stranger.
-Right, I'll see you, Dawn. You take care.
-Take care, will do.
-You look after yourself.
-And you, yes.
-No tears, no tears.
You take care.
-Keep in touch, will you?
-Yeah, I will. You look after yourself.
And that's it.
In Portsmouth on HMS Victory,
to prevent any further damage to the lifeboat,
the ship's carpenter is summoned.
Here we go.
You can have that.
Dave's using the wooden strut to keep the slings
from putting pressure on the delicate boat.
-Right, yeah. Up on the hoist.
-Up on the hoist.
OK, there, mate.
That's about as much as you're going to get there, I should think.
The boat delay means
they are now lifting in front of a gathering crowd.
There's always a bit of a delay,
you just have to manage things as they happen, really.
I've always got my eye open looking for a problem.
When the visitors are coming in is probably
when it gets a little bit stressful.
Dave and Lee are both qualified to work as supervisors.
They take it in turns to run the lift or be the slinger.
I'm in charge.
Watch, look. Oi!
Do as you're told!
If you ignore him, then he goes away, yeah.
-Just ignore him, he goes away.
-The best thing to do is to ignore him.
-Did you want me?
That's better, that's what I thought.
Yeah, he's moody. SAM, they call him. Small angry man.
Smaller - I have to work harder, I should be on more money.
-He don't like being wrong, that's what it is.
Got guns and that to come down now.
MILITARY BAND PLAY
At 11:00am, an hour after the lift was due to finish,
they're almost done.
It's got a Japanese flag on the back of it, look.
Must be docking there, mustn't it?
Have you nailed it down? No-one'll nick it, you know?
With precious history lifted, they can relax.
Ah, this is pretty.
We are pretty lucky and very privileged, I think, a lot
of the times, for the jobs that we do do and it does come up for us really.
You know, not many people can say that they've had
-the opportunity to work with a ship like that.
-A 250-year-old ship.
Lifting the guns and, you know, bits and pieces.
It's an honour, really, innit?
And crane driver Andy can also relax as he approaches home.
We're in lovely Kent now.
You can tell we're in Kent cos we've got beautiful, blue skies.
Sunniest part of the UK, this is.
This will be the first time he's seen his wife Jacqueline
in three weeks.
Cushty! Job done!
We're very much in love.
So it is very hard for us to be apart, most of the time.
There we go. There's my tree.
There's my little garden and my grass and my grass has not been cut.
The plant's all right, the tree's all right. Oh, that's good stuff.
I always feel a bit guilty about doing this bit.
In one hand, I'm handing her some flowers and in the other hand,
I've got two bags of dirty washing.
She loves it, she loves it.
Are you in?!
Are you all right? I love you.
-I missed you tons.
-Everything all right?
You are looking better, look what you've done to your hair.
She had beautiful long hair when I left. Oh, we've got a new vase!
-So how much was the vase, then?
-It was a birthday present.
-Oh, was it?!
-Did I know it was a birthday present?
-No, you've not been home.
-Oh, of course, yeah. I missed your birthday, didn't I?
-Seems like I've been away for ages, isn't it?
-Mm-hmm. Yep, three weeks.
I'd be lost without you, wouldn't I?
I wouldn't even know how to pay the gas bill.
-No, you wouldn't.
We just look forward to when he is home, really.
Yeah, we make the most of the time we have together
and when he's gone, I can relax then until he comes home again.
And in Leeds, another driver has made it home.
This is the new adventure. This is the...
Instead of cranes, it's motor homes. And this is what we're going to do.
Lorraine and myself, we shall be touring Europe.
-No more cranes. I've had it for the last 30 years.
-Is it 30 years, yeah?
Everywhere he takes me, he'll go, "I put that up.
"I put that up." So no more talk of cranes. Life begins now.
We're off, we're away.
-Oui, oui, yes!
We will be very, very happy.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
The UK's largest mobile crane company is looking to the future. Its teams of drivers, riggers and slingers are working on the front line of new energy projects. However the installation of a wind turbine in Cornwall is brought to a halt by too much wind.
In London, the crane drivers are given cycle awareness training to help cut the risk of their HGVs to vulnerable road users. The team also face a delicate job as they are tasked with lifting the centuries-old HMS Victory in Portsmouth.
Meanwhile, two of the company's most trusted employees are looking for a change. Driver Andy Surridge gives up working six days a week on a crane floating in the Firth of Forth estuary so that he can see more of his wife. Paul Gilpin, the company's oldest employee, is retiring - but not before he has one last go in a crane.