Life at the end of the road

April 11, 2009

What a week!

Filed under: boats, daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:25 pm

Well I just don’t know where to start it’s been a helluva week altogether, I know I left you some time on Thursday morning with a load of pictures and the promise of some text later but things kind of got a bit hectic. The pictures were from Wednesday which was a nice if not typical showery April day, the kind of day where if your in the wrong place you can get peed on all day but if your lucky to be in the right place you’ll get the odd spot of rain and see lots of rainbows. It was very busy on the ferry with lots of wedding related traffic coming in and lots of water treatment traffic going out. Me, I’m of the school that a little dirt is good for you and would rather have the odd worm in my water supply than bucket fulls of chlorine, still that’s me and I’ve got a stomach like a septic tank so appreciate that it does not work for everyone. I did however despair somewhat at the sight of that large red truck with the trailer on the back, a 14m lorry, several vans and half a dozen guys changing the filter medium on the Raasay water treatment works, not that I’m any kind of expert but it struck me as odd that a plant that took 2 years to build, cost several million pounds, treats water that people have been drinking for generations with no ill effects and only serves 100 permenant addresses should need it’s filters changing only 1 year after it was commissioned. Now I could be talking pure cr4p but I did mention this to the driver of the big truck who smiled and then proceeded to tell me how his own spring water had been condemed by a water company as unfit to drink yet the previous inhabitant of his house had lived well into her nineties and now they had ‘proper’ water it tasted rubbish!

Not your average wedding

The much anticipated wedding day of JWG and KR arrived at last despite many set backs, like the original venue burning down, a total lack of accomadation and doubts about the village hall being ready for the BIG BASH in the evening. The disasterous fire at had meant that the wedding and reception were going to take place at the the logistics of which must have been a nightmare for the bride and groom. However on the day all seemed fine, the hall was finished and the forecast good

Good luck!

Good luck!

well when I say say good I mean good as in not blowing a gale and good enough for us to put up the flags for the happy couple, which spelled out ‘good luck’ in the international code of signals flags. It also spells out

G, I require a pilot

O, man overboard

O, woman overboard 🙂

D, keep clear I’ve difficulty manouvering


U, you are running into danger

C, affermative

K, I wish to communicate with you.

All of which must have been very confusing for the fisheries cruiser Minna

Fisheries cruiser Minna

Fisheries cruiser Minna

which passed by shortly after we raised the flags!

Anyway the wedding party got away from Raasay safely and the Minna continued on her way, the day however just seemed to get worse and worse at this end. UKWind was giving a max of force 6 ThW was giving a max of force 5 and the crew of the Loch Striven were looking forward to greeting the bride and groom on their way back from the wedding of the century!

Brathain and Kathrine

Brathain and Kathrine

I’d given my camera to a friend to take pictures of the happy event.

Proud parents, husbands and wives

Proud parents, husbands and wives

And sisters and brothers in law!

And sisters and brothers in law!

And we’d all got on with the business of ferrying between Raasay and Skye. Contrary to all forecasts the wind continued to freshen and we sailed from Sconser at 17:40 instead of 17:35 with a full car deck so as we’d not be lying at the exposed Raasay slip any longer than necessary. The 38  passengers on board being comprised mainly of the wedding party with probably an equal amount awaiting the next and last ferry at 18:45.

The longest crossing

Even before we were anywhere near the exposed and battered slip on the Raasay shore it was plainly obvious that we would not be able to land due to the seas breaking over the far too narrow slipway. By now the wind was blowing a steady 40knts from the south with gusts approaching 48knts, however as it was supposed to moderate and we still had a ferry load waiting at Sconser which included the bride and groom the skipper decided to stand off the pier until such time as it was safe to berth and we went to tell the passengers what was happening. After an hour of waiting a few hundred yards off shore with no let up in the wind we went round the passengers again to see if everyone was OK, after all it is only a 15 minuet crossing and we’d now been bobbing up and down for well over an hour. All on board were fine and in good spirits, prefering to sit it out at sea rather than return to Sconser. Well all apart from one ‘master mariner’ on board who wanted to go back and join in the party that was going on in the bus at Sconser but he was a Cal Mac employee so his oppinion didn’t count 🙂  Surely it would  moderate at 19:45 when the tide turned, well it didn’t, the tide turned and the wind stayed, the rain came and the wind stayed! By now the wedding party at Sconser had moved their party in the bus to the hotel a couple of miles up the road from the ferry terminal and we were yet again doing the rounds of the very patient passengers who after more than two hours were still happy to wait for the much anticipated easing of the gale. Finally after almost 2 and three quarter hours the wind dropped below 30knts for long enough to ease the sea running on the shore and we discharged our precious cargo at 20:20.

A double bash

The moderation however was only temporary and as we’d been in regular contact with the rest of the party on Skye we went into the berth alongside the Raasay pier to await the decrease in wind. After all the Village hall had it’s first liscence and half of Raasay were waiting for the bride and groom, not to mention the band that had been booked for the bash. We sat alongside the pier until after 21:30 in anticipation of the calm that never came and I think we’d have stayed longer had the ‘hours of work’ regs not prevented us from working the day after. So somwhat deflated we tied up the Loch Striven for the night and all went home to our beds 😦 The bride, groom and stranded guests giving it YEHAR at the Sligachan Hotel

Right party, wrong venue!

Right party, wrong venue!

And the rest of Raasay living it up at the village hall! By all accounts it was a great night on both sides of the sea despite the Raasay party having no band and only 3 CDs 🙂

and now it’s 6:30am and I have to go and catch some piglets!

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