What’s the best way to travel the 877 miles from the northern tip of the United Kingdom to the southernmost point of Land’s End? If you’re a member of the “Ripping Up the UK” team, and you’re raising money for charity, the answer is a “digger”—better known as a backhoe loader—built in the UK.
On Monday, May 9, “Ripping Up the UK” will take off from John o’Groats, Scotland, in a Cat® 432F2 Backhoe Loader supplied by Caterpillar and supported for the duration of the journey by Cat dealer Finning UK. Along the way, the team will make various stops to raise money for the Special Needs Adventure Playground (SNAP), a charity located in Cannock, Staffordshire, England.
Designed specifically for children with special needs, SNAP features outdoor adventure play equipment, including an aerial runway, cycle track with specially adapted bikes, sand pit, indoor soft play area, craft room and multi-sensory room. The charity hopes to use the funds to replace heavily used, damaged play equipment, update its sensory toys and add more facilities for adults and caregivers.
The “Ripping Up the UK” team has a series of fundraising and publicity events planned along the journey to meet followers and collect donations. Traveling about 120 miles a day, the Cat 432F2-led convoy should arrive in Land’s End, England, on Sunday, May 15.
Making the journey in this particular machine just made sense. Caterpillar has been manufacturing backhoes in the United Kingdom for decades and is celebrating the product line’s 30th anniversary at Bauma 2016. Back in 1982, a joint U.S./UK team began work on the new product, and the first machine—the Cat 416—rolled off the assembly line just three years later, in November 1985.
Today, Caterpillar offers a full line of backhoe loaders in Europe, ranging from the 74.9hp 427F2 all the way up to the 112hp 444F2. They’re versatile performers ideal for digging, trenching, back-filling and material handing—and even, apparently, for making cross-country journeys on behalf of a good cause.