A short walk to work!

Today saw the deployment of our brand new Remote Accommodation System (RAS) at Shelter Stone. This will allow Arran Footpaths, our first contractor team in residence, to carry out the difficult task of repairing the Beinn Meadhion footpath. over the summer.

Deployment of the Remote Accommodation System at Shelter Stone

Deployment of the Remote Accommodation System at Shelter Stone

Why use a Remote Accommodation System?

These sites all have a walk in well in excess of 1hr 30 minutes, this would have a significant impact on productivity over the length of the contract. Realistically, walk in time at this level could account for almost 40% of the total contract cost. There is also a small window of opportunity to carry out work at these sites given the weather constraints and it is therefore essential to maximise time spent on site.

Also the proposed worksite is by accepted industry standards classed as ‘remote’, As a result Health and Safety requirements alter. In the event of an injury or accident evacuation is always the preferred option. In less remotes sites with a half hour walk in or good mobile phone signal the alarm can be raised quickly and a casualty can be dealt with on site with survival blankets and basic first aid kit until help arrives. However, when a site is geographically remote and has little or no mobile phone coverage this will take the casualty out-with the ‘golden hour’ before they receive professional assistance. In addition, conditions in the Cairngorms can deteriorate rapidly and for long periods further complicating evacuation of the casualty whilst also compromising the safety of others onsite who cannot abandon their colleague. In this situation the remote accommodation provides a vital and essential emergency shelter keeping the casualty safe and secure until evacuation can be implemented.

Further a long daily walk in to and out from a worksite on rough and steep terrain can also contribute to damage of knee and ankle joints of path workers, the extent of which may be difficult to ascertain until the damage is irreversible.

Locating the remote systems in the desired location will allow contractors to maximise time spent onsite and make the best possible use of the weather window, it shall also contribute immeasurably to site safety and workers wellbeing.

So what is the Remote Accommodation System?

The Remote Accommodation System comprises four cabins each fulfilling a separate function: kitchen/dining, bunkroom, toilet and store/drying room. There are four external vermin and water proof storage containers for food and waste storage.  All cabins are elevated from direct ground contact by means of timber pads to minimise damage to vegetation through shading and compaction. Pathways between the cabins and around the camp are protected with temporary walkways to prevent trampling of the vegetation.

Power is supplied by two 15KVA generators and an inverter system with batteries to minimise fuel consumption. The generators are powered by diesel stored in two 500L double bunded oil tank and spill kits will be available on site at all times. Advice has been sought from SEPA and all fuel will be stored and transferred in accordance with their guidelines and the Scottish Oil Storage Regulations.

A waste management plan is set out in the RAS User Protocols to ensure proper management to prevent pollution of the environment, infestation and to allow correct disposal at the end of the deployment. All waste will be sorted into recyclables, general rubbish and Biolett WC Waste.The system is serviced with a Biolett composting toilet, an entirely self-contained unit which has no incoming water supply or outgoing drainage requirement. The system converts all human waste and toilet paper into dry compost granules. All compost granules are bagged, stored in a water proof container and will be removed from site at the end of the deployment. All waste will be removed at the end of the deployment. 

Dummy set up at Mar Lodge Estate

Dummy set up at Mar Lodge Estate


RAS set up at Shelter Stone

RAS set up at Shelter Stone


Thanks to the team at Mar Lodge Estate, Arran Footpaths and PDG Helicopters for their assistance in our maiden deployment.