A courier from South Lanarkshire has gone the extra mile to ensure vital deliveries were kept on track after a village was cut adrift due to road closures. It was full steam ahead for Michael Houston as he jumped on-board the Leadhills and Wanlockhead Railway (L&WR) to deliver parcels for Hermes.
When the local council decided to resurface the B797 between Leadhills and Wanlockhead, meaning that the road would be shut for two weeks in July, residents wanting to travel between the two villages faced a 50-mile detour. This drove train enthusiasts from the area to produce a daily timetable for the L&WR, which traditionally runs as a tourist attraction at weekends. For the duration of the roadworks the narrow gauge railway operated a regular daily service, prompting Michael to take advantage.
He said: “I deliver to many pensioners and people without cars so it is vital that they get their goods on time, as you never know how important the contents of the package could be!”
During the roadworks, Michael, who lives in Thornhill, used the L&WR three times to deliver 20 parcels in total. He added: “Being a rural courier ensures I play an important role within the community. People know who I am and what my van looks like, while some villagers get in touch on Facebook. People are so pleased with my service that they ask which retailers Hermes delivers for, so they can order exclusively from them and I get to deliver the parcels! That’s a nice compliment.”
Michael has work as a self-employed courier for nine years, delivering parcels for Hermes, whose customers including many of the UK’s leading retailers.
“I really enjoy my work, especially the flexibility, which suits me down to the ground. I pick up my parcels from the depot each morning at 9am, normally between 50 and 60 packages, and then I have the rest of the day to deliver them. Therefore I can take the time to pick the kids up from school or run other errands. This allows me to make a good living on my own terms.”