Life at the end of the road

July 23, 2016

Everything but the mink :-(

Thursday already and the shift is flying by but not just quickly enough for the poor hens that are being steadily picked off by the mink. They’re well cheeky now and are taking them throughout the day, though I’ve never actually seen one I’ve seen various chicken carcasses appear in the fence where they’ve tried dragging them through. Wifey also found the cosiest little mink house you’ve ever seen.

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Looks like at least one of them has been living under this large plastic tub, complete with a tunnel through into the hen run!! The hen lady found it by the smell and buzzing from inside, she lifted it up to find a rather putrid dead hen, or at least hen parts full of maggots. I reckon it had got even too smelly under there for the mink. I moved the trap from under the hen house and set it there with a nice big piece of ham, the morning after most of the ham was away bar one small crumb at the back. I left that there in case he came back and went to work, a couple of hours later Wifey phones me up to tell me there was a crow inside!!!. Dunno how it had even seen the bait, let alone got in the trap. The trap was covered with bracken and the door facing the mink’s tunnel. You just gotta admire the crow’s resourcefulness.

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Of course, much of the problem is that there’s so much cover in there for the predators but my son has started cutting that back.

So much for the heat wave

Well, that never happened did it, Saturday now and the good intention of posting on Thursday evening a dim and distant memory, along with the summer.

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Sure, we did have some sunshine one day but whilst other parts of the UK have been cooking, we’re still wearing jumpers. OK, not me personally but other members of the crew who have to spend time on deck. Me I’ve a nice warm engine room or two to scuttle down.

To be honest I’m not that fussed, the heaviest rain has been overnight and there has been enough sun on the solar panels to keep us ‘powered up’ and full of hot water. The worst days being Friday, Saturday and Sunday of last week with only 6kWh per day from a 4.75kW array Sad smile Still on those three days we’d and extra 20kWh of hydro power Smile 

The wildlife

Sadly I’m without a decent camera at the moment, the old Panasonic DMC FZ48 has died again and whilst the Olympus Tough Stylus is just that, extremely tough, it’s severely lacking in zoom. Shame really cos it’s been an awesome spell for wildlife, sea eagles and golden eagles over Glame.

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Unfortunately methinks the eagles had been picking off the young grouse chicks I’d been seeing there almost daily. I know they’re extremely well camouflaged but every day there seemed to be one less.

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Deer too have been very visible most days with some lovely hinds and a young velvet covered stag here at some place who’s name I can’t pronounce.

The none stop ‘Barbie’

The old mink is still at large, the wee devil now managing to liberate the trap of bait without springing it. Last night my son set it with fresh haddock from Bruchie the fish man, I had told him to use the hot smoked salmon but Wifey wouldn’t let him. Anyway, this time he fastened it it with a cable tie so hopefully his struggling with that will spring the trap. As usual I checked it this morning prior to leaving home but no luck, the little barstewards are supposed to be nocturnal but ours isn’t. Pretty sure he’s as fat as a pig and sleeping at night.

A few nights I’ve arrived home to the pleasant smell of barbequed chicken only to discover it’s the hen incinerator Sad smile They’re pretty stinky right enough until the feathers burn off but after that almost nice. I have a suspicion that my wifey has gone right off barbecues.

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This wee newt, I thought it was a lizard first, scuttled out from under the incinerator last time it was in operation. That’s why I thought it was a lizard, closer inspection seems to suggest a newt. I’ve never seen a newt at South Arnish, other than the ones jammed in the water pipe from North Arnish. The well at North Arnish being ‘newt heaven’, there seems to be loads of them there.

The nice days


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As you can see, there has been at least one Smile


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Brochel bay one fine day in July,


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The Hallaig and Glamaig with the clam diving boat Creachan Mor, which I guess means Big Rock or perhaps somebodies nickname as in Creachan who is a large man?


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Anyway, she’s been hard at it this last week in the Raasay Narrows, spending a night or two here and in Portree.

Well done chaps

Not only did Henry  wreck my turbine stator he also put the lights out on Raasay and the ferry off, luckily the Portree lifeboat ‘Stanley Watson Barker’ and her crew came to the rescue.

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Scottish Hydro Electric generously donating £5000 to the RLNI after the lifeboat took the linesmen over to Raasay when the ferry could not. Many thanks to the ‘Broadford Beano’ for the picture  Smile

Here we have the luxury ‘mini cruise ship’ MV Glen Etive belonging to Majestic Lines


and ‘majestic’ they are indeed. They started off with two converted fishing vessels,


Our cruise ship, Glen Massan, for Argyll and the Inner Hebrides Our cruise ship, Glen Tarsan, for Argyll and the inner Hebrides

The ‘Glen Massan’ and ‘Glen Tarsan’, business must be good because they had the Glen Etive specially built on the Clyde at Ardmaleish Boatyard We used to visit Ardmaleish boat yard every year with the old Loch Striven and I’ve seen first hand some of the boats Euan and his men have built so I’m sure the Glen Etive will be well put together. Some pictures of the build here

Well, that’s it for now,


another 5h1tty day in paradise as they say, view from the ‘office’ 20:00 23/07/2016 Smile

July 16, 2016

Great weather for ducks :-(

Filed under: boats, daily doings — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:59 pm

Well that’s it, nose back to the grinding wheel as they so, though in my case it’s more a case of back to work for a rest Smile Saturday today, the longest day on the ferry and no records broken as regards traffic that’s for sure. It’s been a pure pish day that followed the even pishier one that was Friday, rain, wind and more wind being the order of this spell in mid July.

Hebridean Celtic Festival 2016

Dunno if the tents are still standing at but one of our ‘shipmates’ is there and I’m sure he’ll be having a great time whatever the weather. If it’s windy here you can bet it’s much worse in Stornoway, maybe not quite so wet but certainly breezy.

The few reasonable days we’ve had this month have had us shipping over a hundred vehicles a day, sometimes 140 but as soon as the weather turns the traffic plummets like the barometer. A measly number so far with just one more crossing left, the 21:00 from Sconser and I can’t see that being mobbed.

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A group of bikers arrived on what was probably the busiest ferry at 17:35, the cheery Spanish students leaving in the rain half an hour earlier with a big grin on each of their twenty faces. They were there at Sconser awaiting the 8:25 ferry this morning, the only folk aboard in fact. They were not quite so happy then, the poor souls had just spent the night in the waiting room Sad smile They were due on the 17:35 the previous night but had been held up by an RTA. Sadly this year has proved to be a record breaker in the respect of road traffic incidents I’m sure, at least two people dying within ten miles of the ferry within a few weeks. One at near Sligachan and one near Broadford, however, when you see the number of ‘Muppets’ on the road it’s hardly surprising. I don’t actually spend that much time driving off Raasay and boy, have I seen some folk with an innate ‘death wish’. Don’t really care about them, the roads are safer without them, it’s the poor passengers and ‘collateral damage I grieve for.

Hard at it Smile

Most definitely indoor weather as far as ship maintenance is concerned.

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Bilge polishing and painting being the tasks of the week so far.

The harvest is over

The timber harvest around Borodale, the Home loch and Temptation hill came to end this week with the last ‘forwarder’ leaving. The cutting ended weeks ago but there was much wood left to haul out of the various stacking areas and this beast was left to do it.

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Not like the old days when they’d have used horses and one of these.

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Taken near my parents house on the mainland on Tuesday.

There’s still several hundred tons lying at the old pier for the MV Red Princess to uplift, but she’s shifting that pretty quickly.

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Much better picture of her here and a good explanation of why here .

Most people think they leave a mess,

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me, I prefer to see the back of the faceless oppressive industrial conifer plantations. The native flowers and shrubs grow madly amongst the brash which helps discourage grazing by deer, and sheep. Not to mention people and dogs tramping all over the place. The sunlight reaches places that have not seen it in years and the suffocating moss is replaced by lichens previously choked. Sure it looks a bit of a mess for a few years but ten years down the line you’ll not even remember it was there and with a bit of luck they’ll replant with a mixture of both native and conifers. 

Summer visitors

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The Hebridean Princess arrived on Wednesday in the midst of one of the many hour long deluges that plagued us all day.

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By The time everyone was soaked to the skin it cleared up and they left in almost sunshine. Bizarrely it had been lovely all day at Arnish with 20kWh of solar PV generated and 22kWh of hot water! The tanker driver who ‘bunkered’ us at Sconser around 16:00 also said he’d been driving around the mainland all day and not seen a drop of rain! One thing about the West Coast, it’s certainly unpredictable.

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Dunno who this monster RIB belongs to but it arrived from the Portree direction full of happy holiday makers the other day.

Well, that’s it I guess, almost 20:00 now, we’ll be sailing in half an hour and I’ve got stuff to do.

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