First of all let me apologise to everyone that has no interest in boats or Land Rovers because that’s all that my day has revolved around today. If you’re into the crofty stuff then perhaps a visit to http://stonehead.wordpress.com/ Stoney over in Aberdeenshire might be more interesting. Or if you prefer something a little more islandy and nearer to home try my next door neighbour Bill http://www.isleofrona.com/ on Rona. Even nearer at home and probably just starting to bloom http://www.users.waitrose.com/~suisnish/ are Stephen’s observations of Raasay flora.
However if like me you get excited when a new boat visits Raasay or your Land Rover develops a clunk from the rear then read on 🙂
First time in anger
Miserable just about sums up the day here on Raasay weather wise, so it was just as well that the last four piglets had left yesterday because I got around the remaining five big pigs and Rocky that much quicker. Which was just as well because I wanted to set off early on the school run with my boy to see if the Loch Bhrusda had arrived. The Bhrusda being a Calmac ferry that had been specially chartered to remove, amongst other things, the big Kobelco crawler crane whose blue and white lattice gib has been such a familiar sight on Raasay this last eighteen months or so.
I’m sure other vessels have used the almost complete slip but this would be the first Calmac one, sadly not our own Loch Striven but a proper ferry nonetheless. I’d already had a look on the AIS site http://www.shipais.com/showship.php?mmsi=232002598 for her but that was out of date showing her somewhere in the Sound of Mull. However it’s only as accurate as the people who supply the info because when I also checked on the Loch Striven, her last position was given as, steaming at 17.knts ENE through the English Channel on the 18th April 😦
There she is right in the middle of the screen somewhere off Cherbourg!!!! I know I’ve been off work for a while but you think my crew mates would have least have told me they were going for a jaunt 🙂
Anyway after a hurried breakfast we headed down the 11 mile of single track to the Raasay primary school and sure enough there she was alongside the pier.
It was a long way off, pishing with rain, none of the family shared my enthusiasm for this momentous moment and gave me a strange look as I stopped the car, got out and took a picture 🙂 The only other place that you find people this sad is here http://www.shipsofcalmac.net/ 🙂 or here http://www.landrovernet.com/ 🙂 I really should get out more.
So after hastily dropping boy off at school, wife, dog and sister in law at a friends I rushed round to the harbour as fast as wifey’s wee car would carry, grabbed my hard hat and went to check it out.
I was of course greeted, as all travellers are by the happy crew 🙂
Once on board it was up to the bridge to check out, what will hopefully soon become a familiar sight, a sheltered berth and a proper slip.
Where visitors to Raasay will be welcomed Torridonian sandstone, Caithness slate, a newly rebuilt Raasay House (eventually :-)) and not the concrete remains of an old iron ore mine miles from anywhere.
Eventually, after repairing a burst hydraulic hose on the ‘low loader’ the big crane, or at least the biggest part of it was reversed on,
And once on board the Bhrusda powered off the slip on her ‘Schottel units’
and headed for Sconser.
Leaving me just time to have a look at the new waiting room being built by Lachie Gillies with its fine natural stone exterior.
After which wifey and I headed up to see Raasay’s very own back specialist, Winnie Ireland at Suisnish before heading north and home for lunch.
The afternoon, well most of it was spent under the ‘Old girl’ replacing most of the rear suspension, not that there was a great deal wrong with it other than a worn ‘A frame’ ball joint. The shockers were getting a little tired and I’d figured that my back would benefit from softer rear springs.
As you can see they’re a little thinner and variable rate, any normal person would have this job done in a couple of hours but with me it’s a couple of days 🙂
Well I had to fit a grease nipple to the ball joint and of course paint everything didn’t I!