Life at the end of the road

August 23, 2016

It’s all over now :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, New hybrid ferry — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:15 pm

Well that’s the fastest shift ever, ‘But it’s all over now’



Dunno where it went, but that’s it and a right mixed bag it’s been. Great weather, pish weather and just about everything in between.

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The ‘mixed bag’ ensuring a multitude of rainbows to keep the tourists cameras clicking.

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Not to mention the abundance of porpoises accompanying the ferry today.

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I really must get a better camera, there’s barely been a day I’ve not seen some in Loch Arnish. Even though they’re mere splodges through the binoculars, it’s good to watch them from the comfort of the living room and not be pestered by the multitude of midgies that swarm around the house  on these still and damp evenings.

I guess the reason the fortnight ‘flew by’ was the amount of traffic and people we’ve moved to and from Raasay. Some days we’ve transported double the islands population and 100 cars is not unusual these days. Not that long ago we’d have considered 60 a lot now, it’s 160!! and 163 being the record for cars.


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Despite all this and considering the, at times, inclement weather we’ve managed to get a good bit of paint splashed about the MV Hallaig.

It’s been a while

As well as the regular sailings we had a ‘wee jaunt’ on Sunday to run a few checks at full power. Had we had some fishing gear aboard we’d have tried for a few mackerel Smile but it was not to be. We had to satisfy ourselves with a blast down to Rubh na Cloiche just south of our old berth at the iron ore pier.


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For  nigh on 100 years this was where initially the ‘steamer’ called and latterly the car ferry lived, the pier that was built to ship Raasay’s low grade iron ore to the foundries of Scotland’s industrial heartland.

Exhibition Image One


The furnaces and steelwork long gone, leaving just roofless ruins, the bases of the furnaces and of course the pier itself. The sturdy reinforced concrete having been ‘sheet piled’ and infilled in the 1970’s to provided a degree of shelter to the six car ‘Island class’ vessel MV Raasay. The hardy ‘wee boat’ that was built in 1976 still ‘going strong’ some forty years later.

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Here she is in her prime discharging two ‘Dagenham dustbins’ onto the beach next to the pier. What looks like a 1.6XL MkIII Cortina followed by a ‘Table top’ Zephyr’, probably the best and worst cars that Ford ever made in that era. The ‘Z cars rust bucket bringing up the rear Smile

Couldn’t find a MkIV ‘Z car’ on YouTube, but trust me, it was there Smile I used to work at a Ford dealer then so I’m not ‘talking 5h1te’ Smile 

Many thanks to Stuart Brown for this gem of a picture.

As well as the ‘wee jaunt’, there was the usual maintenance, black out drill, and this week, checking the ‘Transitional UPS’ this has to provide full lighting to most of the vessel for 30 minutes in the event of total power failure.

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Even after half an hour the 436V bank was still reading 432V with some 10kW of lights burning!!! Pretty good I would say Smile

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Anchor away and anchor weighed was the next job, Hallaig has two and we deploy one every week, more times than required but it’s good to keep everything freed up and well greased.



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We had a visit from ‘Spindrift IV’ but I thought she’d moved to Orkney? Wonder if it’s on holiday Smile

August 20, 2016

A bit of everything

Filed under: boats, daily doings, weather — Tags: , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:41 pm

Saturday once more on the good ship Hallaig and once more the week has flown by leaving me wondering where it went.

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The promising 6:00am Monday start of sun bathing the jagged finger of the ‘Old Man of Storr’ didn’t disappoint and the tractors started moving at last.

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Having been rooted in that spot due to rain for almost a week they must have been awful pleased to see the sun.

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Pretty soon everyone had their tractors out making silage for winter feed.

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Sadly for me I spent a good part of the morning working on the ‘Aquamist’ low pressure sprinkler system. One thing about the Hallaig and her sisters they have amazing fire protection and suppression system. This one being dedicated to the accommodation, spaces and bridge sprays water onto any heat source detected below the many spray  heads throughout the vessel.

A network of piping permanently charged with fresh water is kept pressurised by two nitrogen cylinders. If a head detects a heat source and discharges the pressure in the system drops and the first pump on the right starts up. That’s usually plenty powerful to maintain a steady deluge of water to several heads. However if the pressure drops below 4Bar the smaller ‘booster’ pump on the left starts to maintain the water flow. By now though it will be pumping sea water rather than fresh.

The wee pump had started to show an indication on the bridge that it was running when it clearly wasn’t. It took a while but I eventually traced the fault to a leaky ‘flap valve’ and sorted it, of course it was under floor plates and extremely awkward to access but the help of a torch and Hoover I got done.


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Just near the Aquamist pumps are this beauty, a 15kW ‘Drencher’ system dedicated to the car deck, believe me, you don’t want to be on there when this baby is running Smile

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Stuck in the office

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Monday inevitably brings with it a mountain of paperwork and emails, the chore of which is mitigated by the view. Not sure about the other shift but this is the first time the ‘office’ window has been open all year Smile

It may have been quite carpy weather in ‘high summer’ up here but we had it great in May/June and I prefer the fresher cooler weather of the West Coast to that stifling weather folk have been getting ‘down sowf’.


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We’ve hardly had a ‘heat wave’ but the poor old skipper has been cooking on the bridge, 32 degrees the other day Sad smile


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The good weather had the customers out in force with one day seeing 160 cars 2 commercials and 450 passengers. This being the oldest vehicle we shipped. A 1961 Hotchkiss Jeep


More baling Smile


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Sunrise at Brochel on Wednesday,

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when we got into a serious painting project.

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A good scraping, cleaning and power washing of the starboard casing prior to some priming on the bare zinc and steel.


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A bit ‘stop start’ between sailings right enough but by today we had it finished

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and had managed a start on the port, complicated side.

The ‘Misty isle’

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it wasn’t all sunshine right enough, in fact on two days we only generated a few kWh of solar, a mere 10kWh yesterday and a paltry 4kWh on Thursday!!! Dunno who the big RIB belongs to, it’s been here a couple of times but I don’t think it’s from Portree.


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The vista from the hoose has been quite spectacular at times and never seems to amaze, far better than watching TV.


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This is the sun on Thursday night lying low over Skye and hour before sunset, at first I though it was the moon!!!

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This will be Fladda and in the distance surrounded by mist and Eilean Tigh behind it.

The Captain’s table

Today was forecast to be OK but it turned out beautiful and much was achieved on the painting front.


We worked so hard our Captain cooked us an amazing lasagne for lunch, gonna have to work harder if he cooks this good Smile

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Biggest I’ve seen

It may well be the cruise ship season, and it has been for as long as I can remember, with Portree getting her fair share of this expanding trade. However, the 198m long Hapag Lloyd Europa is by far the largest vessel I’ve ever seen transit the Raasay Narrows.


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Here’s the ‘electronic’ view from the bridge.


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