The life of a driller is one of hard graft, early starts and time spent away from loved ones. It’s as challenging as it is rewarding, but for the team at Borehole Solutions, one of the UK’s foremost geotechnical drilling companies (and certainly one of the friendliest!), they wouldn’t change it for the world. We talked with John Rodgman, Managing Director of Borehole, about what a typical day entails for him and his team.
How Does The Day Start?
According to John, if you want to be a driller, then you need to get used to early starts. “Most days I’m up at around 4AM,” John starts. “And this, understandably, puts a lot of people off pretty much straight away. It’s one of those things, really, you’re either able to function that early in the day, or you’re not. Our boys are just the sort of people who can haul themselves out of bed.”
After the first cup of coffee has cleared his bleary eyes, John’s out of the house and onto the road pretty quickly. The thing about working nationwide, though, is that most of the time you’re not just popping down the road. “On average, I’d say we’re travelling 80-100 miles every morning. You get to know everything about each other, including how notto wind each other up… or how to do exactly the opposite, depending on how we’re feeling” John laughs.
“The point is, any geotechnical drilling company is going to be on the road a lot. Obviously, it can be a pain when there’s traffic or an accident, but we’d rather have it that way around than be stuck in an office all day. Different strokes for different folks and all that.”
Is It A Case Of Get Wherever You Can, As Quickly As You Can?
“It is, but you’ve got to remember we’re usually towing drilling machinery, be that a cable percussion rig, a sonic drilling rig or something else. That means we’re limited, speed-wise, and you have to learn patience pretty quickly if you want to be a driller.”
We asked John whether every member of his crew were naturally patient guys? “Not at all. It definitely comes easier to some of the boys than others,” he says, chuckling. “Some of the guys hate the drives, which, in itself, ends up being pretty funny to see. Honestly, they’re like kids asking are we there yet?”
Is This The Same For Every Job?
“No, we often end up spending the week near the site for those jobs that are too far to commute to every day. We’ll stay in a hotel or B&Bs for the week,” John says. “It’s obviously a good laugh, especially given that we’re as much mates as we are colleagues, so it’s not an issue, but at the same time it’s never nice being away from family for long stints. A lot of the fellas’ have pretty young families, so it can be a real sacrifice at times.”
All Over Again… And Again… And Again…
John was keen to emphasise just how non-stop this industry truly is. It isn’t the case where you do one big job, and then put your feet up for days at a time. As soon as one is over, it’s onto the next. “There’s a lot more behind-the-scenes work that goes on, beyond simply the physical work with the drilling,” he points out. “If a borehole turns bad, then you’re there until it’s sorted, simple as that. If you’re looking for a job where you can clock off as soon as the clock hits 5, then drilling isn’t for you.”
We asked John whether he ever got tired of the lifestyle? “Not once. Obviously, there are days where it’s harder to get out of bed than others, especially in winter, but I’d not trade it for anything. It’s an honest, hard-working lifestyle and you get out what you put in. That’s always massively appealed to me as a way of approaching life, generally – not just with the drilling.”
When talking to John, it’s hard not to get caught up in his enthusiasm and passion for the industry, “Today, for instance, I was up at 2.30AM to drive down to Dover to collect an equipment parcel that had come from The Netherlands. Then, I had to be at the rig site for 8AM to recover lost tooling, run that rig all day, and then be back to the hotel at the end of the day to catch up on paperwork and other rig operations.” We felt tired just listening…
There’s no doubt that John has instilled a company-wide dedication at Borehole, and everybody knows where they stand. Above all else, however, it’s the work ethic that stands out. Many drilling companies have become more corporate in recent times; they’ve lost that grit and personal drive that truly makes a drilling firm. Borehole hasn’t. So, if you’d like to find out more about our geotechnical drilling company, then get in touch! Contact Borehole Solutions today on 01733 200501. Or to take a look at our previous work, visit our instagram page now.