New heights: A Grove in the Scottish Highlands

A GMK5250L navigates tight roads and hills with ease for Scotland-based Stoddart Crane Hire. “There are specific jobs where the GMK5250L comes into a league of its own.”

Using a 42 m main boom with 80 t of counterweight, Stoddart’s GMK5250L lifts 22 t within a 24 m radius to replace canal gates on the Caledonian Canal in Scotland.

Stoddart Crane Hire is one of the leading providers of crane hire in the Scottish Highlands. Since its foundation in Muir of Ord, Ross-shire back in 2004, the family-run business has gone from strength to strength, and today offers a well-equipped modern fleet, encompassing 12 cranes, to accommodate jobs both large and small.

One of Stoddart’s busiest models is the Grove GMK5250L all-terrain crane, which it purchased two years ago. Since taking delivery of the crane, the company has deployed it on a wide variety of jobs, from unloading turbine vessel boats to replacing canal gates.

“There are specific jobs where the GMK5250L comes into a league of its own,” said Ewan Stoddart, one of the crane operators at Stoddart Crane Hire. “The boom length compared to the overall size of the crane means you can do certain jobs that you just wouldn’t be able to with the same size crane from a competitor brand.”

The 250 t (276 USt) capacity five-axle crane has an impressive 70 m (230 ft) seven-section main boom, along with a 21 m (69 ft) hydraulic swingaway jib that helps it lift higher and reach further. For added versatility, the jib can take an 8 m (26 ft) boom extension, two 8 m (26 ft) jib inserts, or a combination of both for a total possible jib length of 37.3 m (122 ft). Another benefit of the hydraulic jib is its 50° offset, compared to the usual 40°, which helps it to reach over obstacles.

Meanwhile, the 13.7 m (45 ft) chassis length, 7.8 m (26 ft) maximum outrigger width and five outrigger positions allow the GMK5250L to work comfortably on confined job sites.

“It’s extremely compact for what it is, and we often find in the Highlands that we have narrow roads to drive through and very small areas to set up in,” Stoddart said.

A smooth ride


Navigating rural roads in remote areas could pose a challenge for some cranes but not for the GMK5250L.

“I operate the crane myself and it’s a fantastic crane — so easy and comfortable. The Megatrak suspension is great for driving through uneven terrain and the VIAB fluid-driven turbo retarder clutch is good for hills, which we have a lot of in the Highlands,” he added.

The Megatrak suspension system is the best off-road driveline available on the market today and enables the GMK5250L to act as a true all-terrain crane. The independent suspension and all-wheel steer system means the wheels always remain on the ground and prevents stresses and weight from continually transferring between axles. Megatrak provides true ground clearance up to 600 mm (24 in.) where others just raise the chassis.

Furthermore, the Grove GMK5250L is the only all-terrain crane in its class to feature the VIAB turbo retarder clutch module typically found in heavy-duty trucks. It enables wear-free starting and braking, avoids overheating and burning, and reduces fuel consumption to a minimum.

Using a 70 m main boom and 21 m bi-fold swingaway jib, Stoddart’s GMK5250L carries out roof repairs within an 80 m radius to buildings in Kyle of Lochalsh on the Isle of Skye in Scotland.

A trusted partner


Manitowoc UK supplied the GMK5250L with a three-year service plan, although Stoddart has required little support beyond the scheduled maintenance.

“The crane is very reliable — we haven’t had much fault with it — but we know we can count on the Manitowoc Crane Care team if we need them. They are always quick to respond,” Stoddart said.

“We have a very good working relationship with Manitowoc and based on our success with the GMK5250L we also bought a GMK3060 and GMK5150L in 2019 — so the latest cranes we bought have all been from Manitowoc,” he continued.

All in all, the Grove GMK5250L is a good fit for Stoddart, helping the growing family business tackle challenging jobs in challenging locations, and establish its reputation within the crane hire sector for quality, reliability and technical innovation.

Visit the Manitowoc website for more information on the Grove all-terrain range and the GMK5250L-1.

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