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What methods are available (in the UK) to get building supplies (listed below) to a site at the end of a steep (1 in 2.25 in parts) grass track. Given that a lorry or van would have a near zero chance of traversing the track in its current state, as the grass is far too slippery.

I will access the property day to day by quad-bike with large shallow tread tyres to prevent the track turning into a mud slide. As this domestic only access will mean at most a couple of trips a day, the track shouldn't get churned up. However repeated trips in quick succession with vehicles carrying heavy building materials would quickly damaged the grass track. I would like to keep the grass track at all costs, so laying down a concrete or aggregate surface is not a popular option with me.

The project is a renovation. The building that is on site is in relatively good repair (awaiting structural survey) and only internal work will be required (fingers crossed).

The property is 520 metres (±15 metres), as the crow flies, from the nearest public road. From the road there is an overall vertical drop of 35 metres (±2 metres). Any zip wire would have to cross a valley which at its deepest would be 60 metres (±2 metres) below the height of the zip wire. Such a zip wire passes over the land of a landowner who is happy to have a zip wire flying overhead but not with any structure on the ground that interrupts their grazing animals. (Added this detail in response to A. I. Breveleri's greatly appreciated answer.)

I would be grateful if you could provide these 3 things: A description of the solution, An order of magnitude cost, Any other information or experience you feel is relevant.

The building supplies will likely include:

  1. Windows [I am most nervous of this]
  2. Small timbers, for floor support
  3. Breeze blocks
  4. Concrete (in it's liquid form) for flooring
  5. White goods
  6. A kitchen (Not pre-assembled obviously! However funny for everyone watching that would be.)
  7. Doors
  8. Carpets

The building supplies will not include:

  1. Bricks or stone for external stonework (there is a building on site already)
  2. Roof tiles/slates (the roof on the building is in a good state of repair)

The (possibly crackpot) ideas that I have had are:

  1. Cover the track in a temporary road surface, which would provide grip and hopefully prevent the grass from being damaged.
  2. A zip wire of sorts with a bucket or other container to hold materials.(There is line of sight between a public highway and the property)
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    4. Concrete can be done by a pump truck. Have seen conveyor belts used. Some may be doable by manpower. Will you have a driveway eventually? Perhaps consider the start of work for a driveway before everything else ? – D-on Sep 21 '16 at 15:45
  • @D-on Thanks for the comment. The problem with this is the fact that from the road there is a small (but considerable) valley in between the nearest road and the property. so a conveyor belt may be difficult to support over such a valley. I will edit more relevant details into the question itself. – o.comp Sep 21 '16 at 15:50
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    Concrete in its liquid state is a very tall order for a remote site. How long is this track, or how far from the highway is the site? Dry bagged cement, aggregate, and a mixer on site are likely going to be a lot more practical. Some sort of tracked hauler seems the most likely solution, but not being in the UK I don't know how easily you can find such a thing or how expensive it might be. Military surplus? Anywhere near a ski area? – Ecnerwal Sep 21 '16 at 15:51
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    Another idea, no idea the cost but pack all your supplies into a shipping container and have a helicopter lift it off the truck and drop it at the job site. – Tyson Sep 21 '16 at 17:58
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    Do you own the steep grassy slope? If so, why not use construction mats to provide traction (matraxinc.com/construction-matting-portable-roads/…). I know this isn't a UK company but their must be something similar. – LasersMatter Sep 21 '16 at 19:59
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This may seem a bit 'out there', but you could consider helicopter delivery if you can get all the materials assembled for a single day's move (multiple smaller deliveries would be more expensive).

This is often used for path building in remote areas of Scotland, like the Cairngorms

Supplies would need to be packaged up appropriately- e.g. helicopter bags

I don't have details on costs, but heard a report recently on Radio Scotland about path building and remember thinking costs sounded surprisingly reasonable compared to the alternatives.

Particularly if you have an airfield relatively nearby (to keep transit costs to a minimum), it might be worth investigating.

  • Thanks for the answer. I have contacted a company for a budget estimate. I will post on that estimate here for future reference for others. – o.comp Sep 22 '16 at 18:31
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    The estimate I received was for £35 per trip across the valley, with £350 per day for ground crew and £2000 maximum for location fee. The location fee could be reduced by waiting for the company to have other jobs in the area, to around £800. Each lift would be for a max of 950kg. – o.comp Sep 23 '16 at 17:05
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    Thanks for returning with the details, that's a useful summary. I presume the variable 'location fee' is the transit cost to get helicopter and ground crew to you. – rolinger Sep 26 '16 at 10:55
  • No Problem. You are correct with regards to the location fee. – o.comp Sep 26 '16 at 10:56
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I suggest a temporary wooden track and a heavy cart, with a winch at one end and a pulley at the other.

temporary track and ferry winch

You'll need to make about 525 to 530 meters of temporary track.

temporary track design suggestion

Build the track to accommodate the width of the cart wheels. This picture is only a suggestion; you should make the track out of material that can be re-used in your renovation if possible.

You'll need about 1050 meters of rope.

Build the track from the road end, and use the cart to transport track material to the unfinished end. Once the track is laid, the first load over it should be the winch. Depending on its design, the winch might be able to pull itself up the slope to the site.

The winch can be rented, probably at the same place where you get the cement mixer. They may be able to rent you the rope too.

  • I. Brevelen I appreciate your answer greatly (loving the diagrams!) However, the problems I foresee with this is that the elevation profile means that at it's steepest the track would be steeper than 1 in 2. Also unfortunately the track would have to run over land owned by a third party who is unlikely to be accepting of a railway being put up over their land without exorbitant payment. – o.comp Sep 21 '16 at 19:21
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    Too bad about the intervening pasture land. I guess you'll have to fall back on the plan to deliver the cement by trebuchet. - O wait, did I forget to mention the trebuchet? – A. I. Breveleri Sep 21 '16 at 23:18

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