years since the 'Truck Push' began. Since then, I've forgotten most of the names of the people involved and a lot of the stories that happened along the way. |
If anyone involved in the Truck Push finds this page, please and help me to complete the story. I'd like to know where everyone is now, share some stories and hopefully add some of your photos to this gallery too!
Sheffield Star - August 2nd, 1986|
'Pushing The Limits' - This is one of the early newspaper articles trying to drum up support for the Truck Push. There was already a solid crew by this time, we had already pushed the truck hundreds of miles in training, but we still needed more people if we were going to push it another 1,000 miles.
Sheffield Star - September 10th, 1986|
As with all best-laid plans, something always goes wrong at the last minute. Because most of the volunteers on the Truck Push were unemployed(who else could spare 2 months for this), unemployment benefits were cut to them the day before we left.
I personally wasn't affected by this - (I had quit my job the week before so I couldn't claim unemployment benefits anyway), but a lot of people were facing some tough times ahead.
|September 11th, 1986.
Everyone gathers at Sheffield Auto Hire ready to leave. |
About 80 people had joined the team at this point, most had been training for 2-3 months previously, but others had joined at the last minute. Along with the team that would push the truck, there were also cooks, drivers, mechanics and a Doctor.
|Two days later, we arrived at John O'Groats. Everyone had traveled there in the back of support trucks, sat on top of tents and food that would keep us going for the next 9 weeks. It was a grueling trip, so we were just glad to be there.|
|With little to do while we waited to start, everyone just hangs out. I think the only reason these people were outside was because the pub was closed.|
Minutes later, they had mysteriously disappeared.
|Frank Didsbury (right) is the owner of Sheffield Auto Hire and the main organizer of the whole record attempt. His inspiration was 12-year-old Rodney Creasey, a deaf boy he knew in Sheffield.|
Eric Wallace (left) also coordinated the Truck Push. He worked with Frank for several months to raise sponsorship money, find equipment and publicise the trip.
|There's really nothing to see in John O'Groats, except a pub and this car park. And we didn't spend too much time in the car park.||The first of many fields that would become home for a night. The following morning, after spending just one day there, we were ready to start pushing.|
|A few stop for a photo in front of our support truck, the 'Roadrunner'. |
The original plan was to have two groups of pushers who worked in shifts, pushing for a couple of hours and then riding in the support truck to rest. But most preferred to just push the truck all day, so this support truck turned into a tent truck, driving ahead of the pushers each day to find campsites.
|The framework is assembled that will be attached to the back of the truck.
This framework allowed up to 54 people to push the truck at any one time. On the flat, the truck could be moved easily with 15-20 people, but on the steeper hills, 54 never felt like enough.|
A plan to build this frame out of aluminium tubing (to keep it lightweight) never worked out since it was too soft and would bend. So the scaffolding we used probably added another half ton to the weight of the Truck.
|Cold, wet and windy. The first few days after leaving John O'Groats were the toughest of the entire trip. Pouring rain and strong winds made pushing the truck up the steep hills of Scotland almost impossible.||Sheffield Star - September 18th, 1986|
The bad weather during the first days definitely took its toll, and the hills in Scotland were steeper than anything we had been up before. What could be worse than pushing an 8 1/2 truck up steep hills in the rain and cold? Well, not much really.
|After 13 days of pushing, everyone gathers for a group photo on the back on the truck.
To the left, you can see the push-frame disconnected and parked. |
At the end of each day this frame would left by the side of the road at the point where pushing ended, while everyone drove off to the nearest campsite.
The next day, we drove back to the same spot, connected the frame and started pushing again.
|The red traffic light you see was not an inconvenience to us, in fact we planned it that way. Someone would always run ahead of the truck and
press the button to make the lights change, forcing us to stop. |
This would cause a lot of people to cross the street in front of the truck and stop to see what we were doing. Then we would ask every one of them for a donation. Sneaky, but we collected a lot more money this way.
|Sheffield Star - September, 1986|
When the going gets tough...sure there were a few problems when we first started and some of the claims in this story are actually true (I do remember getting soaked). But these unforeseen problems were quickly fixed.
No one can be blamed for dropping out in the early stages because no one knew what to expect. But those who remained had already worked so hard to get to Edinburgh, there was no stopping them.
|Police escorts were with us on every mile of the route. But as we entered each city, extra police were on duty as we could easily bring traffic to a halt.|
Navigating the smaller streets could be difficult, getting stuck in a tight bend and pushing the truck in reverse was not an option.
|'FD1' rolls down the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. We were 16 days and 300 miles from John O'Groats.||Sheffield Star - September, 1986|
This appeal did bring new volunteers, who were driven up to Scotland to join us.