Life at the end of the road

October 18, 2019

Doubling the fleet :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings — Tags: , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:21 am

Not only does it look like another ‘peach of a day ahead’ it’s 7:25 and I’m not long out of my bed!!!!! Yesterday was a busy wee day of pottering about the North End followed by the remains of MiL’s pasta bake and a good night’s sleep Smile 

My first task, if you can call it that, was to drive south and try and catch MiL before she departed Raasay. For some reason the phones didn’t appear to be working and I couldn’t raise Wifey or her mum. Still, it was a bonny morning, a good excuse to give the Disco clutch a proper test and I’d no major projects that required my immediate attention. At some point during my ‘holiday’ I’ve a major ‘infrastructure project’ requiring much digger/dumper work but that wasn’t crucial.

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After a pleasant potter south passing deer, sea eagles and lots of damaged verges at the side of the road I arrived at the ferry terminal to find MiL long gone Sad smile It was 8:30 and she must have abandoned Raasay on the first ferry. Still, it was far from a wasted journey, the drive had been far nicer than my commute of the last fortnight from hotel to dock Smile Sure the company wasn’t as good as my chauffer Richard on those work related jaunts. Molly seems to have an uncanny sense of nearing the village and starts whining incessantly about a mile out, usually at the cattle grid by the Youth Hostel.


It was nowhere near as dark when we arrived as the picture suggests, the sun was just rising over Churchton bay as I let Molly out and went to ‘have a nosy’ Smile


There was a new addition in the harbour, Donnie Mackenzie’s replacement for the MV Lustre had finally arrived.

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The 24’ Mary M is a compact multi purpose little vessel that has just doubled the size of Raasay’s fleet of fishing boats Smile

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Powered by a 90HP Kubota (I think) based Beta marine engine with a 3:1 reduction box swinging a rather large propeller for towing a trawl but still retaining Lustre’s MacLeod of Raasay hauler for lifting creels.


Sure it’s gonna be a busy little port with Speedwell and Mary M working out of Raasay Smile 

There will be an official wee naming of Mary M today at 13:30 down at the ferry terminal so methinks that’ll be on today’s ‘to do’ list Smile


I’d kinda thought that the bin lorry was responsible for all the recent Raasay verge damage cos it’s been doing extra runs to Brochel and Arnish the last couple of months.


Then I realized it was actually the ‘SAS’ Smile in their fleet of seven vehicles moving around the island like a ‘wolf pack’ in their 4×4’s. You gotta laugh, I recently received an email asking me if I could refrain from parking at Arnish on certain days Smile Smile Smile 

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Well, it’s almost 8:30 now, full daylight and I’ll be needing to feed and let out the pigs. Arnish and Torran are looking magnificent in the ‘shades of autumn’ with the prize (for now) going to Torran’s golden aspen.


Me I’m just gonna pick some raspberries for my muesli and let out May and Snowy.

October 17, 2019

Back under the Arnish sky :-) :-)

Home at last, how many times have you heard that hey Smile It matters not where I go or what I see, ‘there’s no place like home’ and here I am at last with my ‘wee dug’.

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Molly has not let me out of her sight the whole day, insisting on ‘helping’ me drive whatever bit of machinery I’ve been on or in and sticking to me like glue with a mistrustful look in her eye. Well, I did arrive home late last night after a rather slow but uneventful journey north. The good weather seeming to bring out a swarm of poorly driven hire cars and campervans, still, I got home in one piece to a spotless house and fine supper. My MiL not only made a fine job of looking after Molly but she (as always) gave Sonas a full spring clean and made me a fine pasta bake.

Back to ‘normal’

Thursday morning now, 5:00am and things are ‘back to normal’. I gave up trying to blog around eight o clock last night and went to bed with a good book. Phil Durham’s ‘The Fuhrer led but we overtook him’ caught my eye cos the author had spent time aboard HMS Graph, the captured U-570 that was used by the Royal Navy. Phil Durham was just 18 years old and serving aboard the battleship HMS Barham in the Mediterranean when war was declared in 1939. I left him last night in 1940 on the cruiser HMS Norfolk in Narvik, what an exciting life I lead hey Smile 

After several patrols HMS Graph ended up wrecked off the island of Islay where I first dived on her almost 40 years ago after reading the (even then) long out of print ‘HM U boat’ by John D Drummond.

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So, that’s it, I’m back home with a wee dug sneaking under the covers once I fall asleep, getting up at ‘stupid o clock’ and listening to the BBC World Service despairing at what that clown in the White House has been up to Smile I rarely watch TV and only listen to the radio if in my workshop or travelling to and from work. Consequently my news is generally like my work ‘two weeks on, two weeks off’ Smile Having been chauffeured to and from the dry dock in Richard’s comfortable Jeep the last fortnight and not having fresh ‘titty papers’ delivered to Hallaig everyday I’ve been somewhat incommunicado with global events. Not that I read the newspapers either but it is difficult not to notice life changing news on the front page of the ‘red tops’ when they sit on the mess room table. You know the kind of thing, some third rate celebrity has been ‘romping’ in the jungle, or Beckingham palace has been burgled and David’s favourite pair of boxers stolen Smile

Anyway (as usual) I digress, the last week I was down at Dale’s dry dock in Troon, the former site of Ailsa Troon shipbuilders with our very own Hallaig.

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After a spell of anchor painting and ‘touching up’ with my shipmate Richard I managed to sneak away early on Sunday to go and see my Boy at University Smile

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Sure, it was work related, we went to the National Museum to study the 500ton anchor chain and a model of Hallaig Smile


An interactive Morse code display making me more homesick than usual when it spelt out my wee dugs name Sad smile


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Well, it was a peach of a day but with a far more autumnal hue than when I left a fortnight ago.

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My first serious task of the day being a puncture repair for Adam the Polish builder working next door. Unbelievably, it took me the best part of two hours to remove the tyre and repair the two holes in the tube.


The ‘wee dug’ and I delivered the repaired wheel to Torran and I was pure flabbergasted by the work Adam and his two builders had done in just seven days. A beautiful block extension with a slate roof

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sat in the place where my Mate and I had laid a concrete pad in July.

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By now, even though it was only early afternoon with the Torran aspen turning golden yellow, a stag had started bellowing from his high vantage point miles away at Arnish. Once home, ‘I put the glass on him’ and he had the look of one of Bill’s stags from Rona, with antlers as thick as a babies arm.

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Noisy beggar Smile

Discovery II clutch master cylinder

The clutch master cylinder having arrived just before I headed off with Hallaig was the next job ‘on the list’. The ‘Wife’ my Disco WFE had developed an annoying clutch problem whereby if the clutch was held down for any length of time whilst manoeuvring it would gradually start to engage. Although a classic symptom of failing master or slave cylinder this is usually accompanied by a leak on the offending cylinder. On this occasion there was no ‘tell tale’ weep of fluid so I changed the slave first last month as it as only £20 for a genuine one and an easy job. Unfortunately it didn’t cure the problem, in fact it made it worse on account of these Discoveries can be a ‘pig to bleed’. Well, I sussed that out shortly afterwards when I realized (in typical ‘Green Oval’ fashion) that the slave cylinder bleed nipple actually points slightly downwards!!!!!! So, lesson learned there, whenever you want to bleed a Disco clutch, jack up the front end Smile


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I also learned something else, the new master cylinder came with a plug in it which needed to be removed fit the ‘Traction Control’ sensor. This plug is an Allen type grub screw and is a bizarre size, it seems to be 4.5mm. Now, I have a gazillion Allen keys, Allen sockets and wrenches of every shape or form but no 4.5mm one and I doubt anyone else has either Sad smile Luckily a 30 Torx key is ever so slightly bigger and can be tapped gently into the offending grub screw allowing it to be eased out. Apart from that the job was a ‘piece of cake’ just remove some trim inside, take off the clip and remove the clevis pin from the pushrod. One 13mm nut, one 10mm bolt and the hydraulic pipe and ‘Bob’s your uncle’. Make sure the front end is high enough and bleed as normal.

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