David McCullough from Kilmarnock has enjoyed the panoramic views from his crane cabin for the last 18 months, when he started working on the St. James project on Leith Street in December, 2017.
At 24-years-old, David is the youngest operator on site and, as well as managing the other operators, controls the 35 metre high TC7 crane, the second heaviest lifter in the fleet.
The video shows David spinning the slew of the crane around 360 degrees, revealing magnificent views of Calton Hill, Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh Castle and across the Firth of Forth.
The video was said to give a sneak preview of what will be the views from the hotel and apartment buildings due to be completed in 2021.
With roughly a ten minute climb from the ground to the crane’s cabin, the job of an operator is a physically demanding one. However, the long days and early starts do come with some perks.
“You get to see nice sunrises and sunsets. On a clear day you can see right over the Firth of Forth all the way over to Fife - it’s incredible,” said David.
Irene Gibson, Community Liaison & Sustainability Leader, said: “It requires a unique skill set to be able to work at that height. Not everyone can just go up there.”
However, David did not seem phased by the unique challenges working above Edinburgh’s skyline might bring.
He said: “I’ve never had a problem with heights. I’ve always liked them.
“At the start it does take you but as it goes on you get used to it. It’s just part of the job, isn’t it?”
Seeing the city from above in all of its glory has given David a new-found appreciation for the capital.
He said: “It is a pretty nice view. I am from Scotland but I've never really been in Edinburgh. I’ve been a few times but slowly but surely I've began to fall in love with it. It is a lovely city.”
“It's good going between different cranes because you can see the different views. Some cranes are higher than others, so you see a different angle of the city every time.”
With a total of nine cranes on the job, the largest crane is TC1, which at 72 metres is the largest of its kind in Europe.
The cranes are visible from across the city and have been said to attract some attention from bystanders.
“You get a lot of people stopping and taking pictures,” said David.
The £1 billion investment project is on track to include 85 new stores, over 30 restaurants, 152 apartments, Edinburgh’s first Everyman cinema, a 12-storey W Edinburgh, a 75 room Roomzzz Aparthotel, and three new public squares.
The 850,000 square foot mixed-use facility is said to completely revolutionise and regenerate the city’s East End.
The retail and leisure elements of St. James are due to open in 2020.