Range change
Truck & Driver|August 2021
After a gap of 13 years, Renault trucks have reappeared in the unique colours of MacRitchie Highland Distribution. T&D takes the high road to Inverness to meet owners, Donald and Catriona MacRitchie
John Henderson

At a glance

Make & Model Renault Range-T High 520 T6x2

Pusher TML tractor unit

Engine Renault DTi 13-litre Euro 6d

Power 520hp @ 1430 - 1800rpm

Torque 2550Nm @1000 - 1430rpm

Gearbox 12-speed Optidriver automated manual

Fast approaching its 20th anniversary in 2022, MacRitchie Highland Distribution has thrived by combining blue sky thinking, alongside traditional Scottish values to deliver a range of road transport services for its customer base.

Few firms based so far north operate four or five European services a week and heading in the other direction, there’s also four or five loads to the Outer Hebrides every week. Add in three Glasgow trunks per day, a busy general haulage remit, along with a daily artic supply run for the company’s Wick depot for home deliveries and you’ll get the idea that there’s no such thing as an average day here. That variety keeps owners, Donald and Catriona MacRitchie on their toes, but the couple still find time to be welcoming hosts for T&D’s visit. Outside in the yard, their six children, who all work either full-time or part-time here, are busy checking manifests to load the next trailers scheduled to depart.

Our interview takes place in the company’s boardroom cum training room, which like the rest of its “grand designs” style office building, is artistically colour coded in the firm’s white and purple corporate identity.

Donald originally hails from Ness on the Isle of Lewis and Catriona was brought up a short ferry trip away in Ullapool. The pair have built up an unrivalled knowledge of business across the Highlands and Islands since 1995. That date was pivotal for the MacRitchies, as it marked the founding of Skye Express with a Transit van, running cargo between Inverness and the misty Isle. By 2002, Skye Express employed 30 people and ran a fleet of vans. After taking stock, they sold the operation as a going concern and then started MacRitchie Highland Distribution.

Unsurprisingly, vans got the wheels of business turning again and after Catriona sat her transport manager’s CPC qualification, an ex-JCS Express 7.5-tonner was acquired. Since then it’s been onwards and upwards with progressively larger vehicles running over longer distance services.

MacRitchie’s truck parc has always been a mixed marque affair, with at least three different manufacturers’ products present at any time during the last two decades. The firm’s first Renault truck arrived in Spring 2008 and took the shape of a 450hp Premium 6x2 mid-lift tractor unit. “We based the Premium at our Bothwell depot to keep it close to Renault’s Bellshill dealership. David Quinn, who is now the depot manager there, drove the truck and it performed quite acceptably,” Donald recalls, continuing “Glenrothes-based haulier and Renault operator Gordon Hunter is a regular visitor here and he’s always saying good things about his Range-T Highs.”

Renault’s powertrain DNA was also an attraction, as MacRitchie Highland Distribution had already built up considerable experience with Volvo trucks. “Dealership location has always been a factor in our buying decisions, but of course, the back-up and service levels must be good too,” Catriona notes, adding “Renault’s service point at Elgin Truck & Van Centre Ltd is literally next door to our yard. We’ve built up a great working relationship with them through 26-tonners from another marque we operate, so we’d no hesitation in choosing Renault trucks.” Donald also mentions local Renault transport solutions executive, Keith Johnstone, who has worked hard to build trust in the business. “Keith is a great guy who has always calls in to see how we’re faring and keep up to date with how business is evolving. We were delighted to give him the order.”

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM TRUCK & DRIVERView All

Well forked Daf

Remember, we like to cover all sorts of different trucks here at T&D – like this impressive new CF rigid complete with Moffett Mounty forklift

9 mins read
Truck & Driver
August 2021

King of the hill

Moving heavy equipment off road calls for a truck with plenty of power and traction, which is why M&J Plant chose a mighty 6x4 FH16 750

9 mins read
Truck & Driver
August 2021

Time Machine 2015-2019

It’s the final part of our series on the history of UK haulage. Let’s look back at those innocent times before that pesky virus turned up

10+ mins read
Truck & Driver
August 2021

Original and best

There are few trucks which have been customised to the level of the Scania 143, but let’s not forget that the standard product was pretty awesome just as it left the factory, like this rare 420

7 mins read
Truck & Driver
August 2021

GOING ALL THE WAY

Simon Rogers got behind the wheel as soon as he was able to, and nearly 30 years later, his company is going from strength to strength, with a striking all-black, top-spec Iveco S-Way 570 the latest addition to the fleet

7 mins read
Truck & Driver
August 2021

Abnormal loads

In the distant past, when dinosaurs roamed the planet, truck drivers were a very different breed, made from sterner stuff than us mere mortals

3 mins read
Truck & Driver
August 2021

Range change

After a gap of 13 years, Renault trucks have reappeared in the unique colours of MacRitchie Highland Distribution. T&D takes the high road to Inverness to meet owners, Donald and Catriona MacRitchie

9 mins read
Truck & Driver
August 2021

Cutting a dash

Freshly showered and munching a healthy egg and cress sarnie in Gloucester North services, Chris has a Foden update

3 mins read
Truck & Driver
August 2021

Air we go!

On Saturday 29 May at 6pm, 240 drivers gathered with their trucks at South Mimms Services for a parade to raise vital money for Essex & Hertfordshire Air Ambulance

1 min read
Truck & Driver
August 2021

A Cutt Above

From coal to turf to fencing and loads more, there’s not much the Calcutt fleet hasn’t transported over the years

7 mins read
Truck & Driver
August 2021
RELATED STORIES

Turning Over

More than a decade after the original Leaf, Nissan rolls out its second EV.

2 mins read
Car and Driver
May 2022

Renault Koleos 2,5 Dynamique CVT

Renault has been doing a roaring trade in the small budget cars segment of late ... How will the upmarket Koleos be received?

4 mins read
CAR
March 2022

WATCHES - FAST TIMES

French Watch brand Bell & Ross’ collaboration with the Renault F1 Team revs up

3 mins read
Maxim
July - August 2020

FRANCE DEPLOYS $8.8 BILLION TO RESCUE AILING CAR INDUSTRY

France’s government is injecting more than 8 billion euros ($8.8 billion) to save the country’s car industry from huge losses wrought by virus lockdowns, and wants to use the crisis to make France the No. 1 producer of electric vehicles in Europe.

3 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #448

Can The Renault-Nissan Marriage Be Saved?

The automakers’ global alliance is fraying now that its architect, Carlos Ghosn, is out

5 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
January 20, 2020

Carlos Ghosn's Great Escape

The auto chief’s audacious flight to Beirut isn’t the end of his battle with Japanese prosecutors—or Nissan

7 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
January 13, 2020

The Hardest Fall

IT TOOK CARLOS GHOSN 20 YEARS TO REACH THE APEX OF GLOBAL BUSINESS—AND JUST A FEW MONTHS TO LOSE EVERYTHING

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
December 16, 2019

Carlos Ghosn Never Saw It Coming

The takedown of a globe-trotting CEO

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
February 04, 2019

LO QUE BIEN EMPIEZA...

El Renault Austral acaba de aterrizar en el mercado, pero lo hace con una madurez tan alta que solo le puede traer buenos resultados. Probamos la versión Mild Hybrid de 160 CV

5 mins read
Auto Bild España
Edición 649

Meg-nificent

Electric Renault looks a cracker

2 mins read
Sunday Express
December 18, 2022