The mower itself has an emergency stop button, which triggers a complete power-down and features a fail-safe motor brake which operates even when the machine is unpowered.As well as the 13.5hp petrol engine, the mower also has electric motors to enable the machine to be moved, say for refuelling or loading/unloading, without running the engine.
So, we set about finding a way to keep the slopes cut without the risks associated with strimming and looked at remote-controlled mowers that would allow a single operator to mow the banks from the safety of flat ground below.
The Mc Murtry RC-01 was the only one that really suited our needs it is not too bulky and runs on tracks not wheels, which means it copes better with rough terrain.
Its 610mm cut width makes short work of banks that used to take the Eastbourne College grounds team hours to cut and, most importantly, it can be operated remotely, leaving the operator standing safely on flat ground.
The radio control unit is small, light and easy to operate, with simple controls to drive the mower and a number of safety features, including remote control blade engagement, which allows the operator to start cutting only when the RC-01 is at a safe distance from people, animals and property.
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It really is a great tool.”He adds: “I do realise that every year we will produce a certain amount of organic matter and as long as I can keep it at an acceptable level we can maintain the greens in the condition we have now.
It has to be an ongoing thing if you want to maintain the quality.
We trialled a couple of Mc Murtrys and involved the Bursar at Eastbourne College and St.
Andrews as well as both ground care teams to ensure everyone was happy that this solution would deliver on safety and provide good value for money.
Safety was the most important criterion when we chose the Mc Murtry mower, says Richard, but we have gained other benefits as well. I can now send one man out to cut a bank with the mower on his own, while all the other groundsmen can be usefully employed on other tasks and the job is done in a fraction of the time it used to take to complete using strimmers. Lets face it nobody likes getting hot, sweaty and dirty and risking an accident on a slippery, steep slope - and now nobody has to!