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  • Writer's pictureLetters Wander


This beautiful beast is a 1948 ‘Bucyrus Erie 1150b walking dragline’ affectionately named Oddball. ⠀

Too big to be fitted with tank style caterpillar tracks... this behemoth would drag a bucket along a strip mine, peeling layer after layer of coal and earth by slowly lifting its feet and propelling itself forward... or put simply... Oddball walked. ⠀

Gifted by the United States, to aid Britain’s recovery after WWII, Oddball began its walking work in Wales, then Staffordshire... before finally ending up in LS26 in 1974. ⠀

From start to rest, it walked around dragging its bucket for over 50 years. Now Oddball sits atop the hill at St Aidans nature reserve in Swillington, keeping a watchful eye on the birds that flock on the grounds it once wandered. ⠀

That’ll do Oddball, that’ll do.

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