Life at the end of the road

October 16, 2017

Holed up in the ‘toon’ :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, New hybrid ferry — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:34 pm

An early start on Saturday had us stemming the tide for six hours somewhere south of the ‘Slate Islands’ of Easdale, Belnahua, Luing et al. I cannae be for sure cos yours truly was busy down below with the troublesome ‘number 3DG’ and sewage tank.


The tank was getting its annual service and diffuser change, the scarf aint for the smell, cos it doesn’t. I learned long ago to keep my mouth shut when dealing with sewage tanks Smile

We got a fair old pasting west of the Kintyre peninsula and at times were down to 4.5 knots with both wind and tide against us.


However, this was all part of the ‘voyage plan’ based on the current forecast and it worked out a treat. The gale force south wind ‘on the nose’ and northerly tide (see graph white line for speed) slowed us down from our regular 8 knots but then as we arrived at the dreaded ‘Mull’ the wind fell away to a light westerly and with the tide now with us we were whizzing along at 12knots.


The relative calm allowing us to collect the broken crockery and contents of the bins off the floor.

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Salted smoke stacks and Sanda Island Ailsa Craig in the background. Both islands having interesting histories, one for granite curling stones and the other for many shipwrecks and a remote pub.


At this point we are far nearer Ireland than home.


By 18:30 we were firmly fastened to Scotland with extra ropes for today’s storm Ophelia.

We were all pretty shattered after our 12 hour passage and I for one retired before 21:00 ready for today’s tasks.

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The boys getting on with replacing lifejacket lights and putting down floor coverings whilst I toiled away with paperwork and door repairs.


Well she swept across Ireland leaving a trail of destruction but we got off lightly.

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By the evening it was a good force 9 and the FV Deliverance really struggled getting alongside astern of us. Luckily someone saw her plight and drove down to catch ropes for her, even so it was hard work.

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The rest of the fishing fleet having tied up long before and there to the left of the picture is our last ferry but one, the MV Raasay who is now 41 years old. I love this ‘rose tinted quote’ from Wikipedia.

She never missed a full day’s sailings on that route Smile

Well, aye but she only made three return trips a day when the schools were off and never sailed on a Sunday. The Hallaig does some 118 crossings a week Smile now!!!!!!


October 15, 2017

A night with the buoys :-)

Golly gosh, it’s that time of year again! doesn’t seem that long since I was last in Oban 51 weeks exactly, though this time no haircut in the Sound of Mull.


Yup, it’s the annual dry docking for the good ship Hallaig and once more we’re alongside the ‘Northern Lights’ pier on a beautiful night awaiting the morning for our passage to the ‘toon’. That will be Cambelltown on the Kintyre peninsula where we’ll probably be ‘holed up for a couple of nights on account of the weather. Monday afternoon looks pretty grim, though I think Ireland will bare the brunt of it Sad smile

Anyways, before I delve into what is going down just now I’ll just have a wee trawl through some of the very few pictures I’ve taken of late. I really must try and get back into this blogging ‘carry on’, it’ll be coming up ten years shortly and the the last few of them have been pretty ‘thin on the ground’. You’ll have to excuse me but this new ‘taking it easy’ regime really does eat into my laptop time. I’m sure there are less hours in the day than there used to be.

The last ‘rest period’

I had a pretty productive spell around the croft last time I was off.

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I got another cube or so of concrete mixed in the latest extension to my ‘hard standing’ around the house. Also started on another small patch of garden that we’ll be able to use once we are finally deer proof’. I did manage quite a bit of deer fencing but it was in the pishing rain and not very conducive to photography.

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These serious rocks will form the border of wee flower bed or something once we can stop the deer encroaching onto the croft. There’s a lovely young stag bellowing just now with a small harem of 3 or 4 hinds. I call him the ‘Pale Rider’ as he’s unusually lightly coloured,not a hint of red in him at all. Luckily out house is so well insulated that we can barely hear them but they’re driving the neighbours mad Smile Sure it’s a novelty at first but when they start outside the bedroom window or rubbing against the gas cylinders it’s a sure recipe for sleepless nights.


Arnish, Loch Arnish, Torran, Grian a Sgier, Brothers Point and Kilt Rock from the garden gate.


I’ve heard it called the ‘Dutchman’s Cap’ too, which makes sense, cos there’s one near Mull and that looks pretty similar.

Bac Mòr Dutchman's Cap-edit.jpg

I remember the one off Mull ‘donkeys years’ ago when I stayed at Huann . When I stayed there in the 70’s there was no electricity and it belonged to some ‘old dears’ one of whom had been a ‘lady in waiting’ for the queen, (whatever that is). It was all oil lamps and ‘no mod cons’ but we loved it. Totally different now judging by the website and much more professional, I believe they now have power and a wind turbine like ours.


Just check out the views, awesome!!!

So, after a manic spell of fencing, rock moving and concreting back home we decided to go to a party, a friends 40th, well it was awesome catching up with folk we’d not seen in years but it took the pair of us almost a week to recover Sad smile I just cannae do it any more Sad smile

Back at work aboard the good ship Hallaig it was pretty ‘full on’ getting everything ready for the annual ‘dry dock’, which is like an MOT but a gazillion times worse. The ‘tightest ship in the fleet’ MV Loch Bhursda came up to relieve us and ‘picked up the service’ early on account of a ‘wee snag’ last night.

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The Bhrusda is a cracking wee ship, her squat profile and twin V12 Cummins diesels making her something of a legend in the power and seakeeping department. However she burns more fuel in two days than the Hallaig does in a week and can only take 18 small cars. Still, the ‘wee snag’ which turned out to be a burst hose on a generator was soon sorted and at 6:30 this morning wee headed for Oban.


I can’t say that it was a pleasant trip cos t was grey, grim and pretty murky

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but it could have been a lot worse Smile That’s us passing though the Narrows at Kyle Rhea, not that I saw much of it as I was buried in the engine room Smile

The tide here is legendary in it’s ferocity but we’d timed it for pretty near ‘slack water’ so breezed through at 9 knots. The long haul south after that was pretty unexciting really. I spent much of it working on a generator that had burst a coolant hose,


Luckily we have two more and a lot of batteries Smile

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I did keep ‘coming up for air’, this time just in time to wave goodbye to Skye.

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A trawler off Eigg.

After taking a bit of a pasting around Ardnamurchan we entered the sheltered Sound of Mull and saw a few friends.

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The Lochinvar busy plying between Fishnish on Mull and Lochaline on the mainland, no doubt full of MkII Escorts for the Isle of Mull rally

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The MV Isle of Lewis out near Rubh na Gall light at the northern end of the sound.


A small coaster the Aasf Jord at the southern, just approaching the Lady Rock light. This was the last resting place of the PS Mountaineer.


Pictures from a great website She sat there for a couple of weeks then broke her back, some remains lie on the north side in shallow water. I did dive on them in the early eighties, don’t remember much about the wreck other than seeing a couple of very large lobsters.


The MV Isle of Arran just entering the Sound too.

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Just as planned we arrived at the ‘Lighthouse Pier’ at 18:00 and tied up amidst hunners of buoys ‘in for a service’ I guess.

It was great to get ashore and stretch my legs, returning just in time to see our old MV  Loch Striven heading for her berth across Oban Bay at the North Pier.

Loch Striven

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