Life at the end of the road

September 27, 2010

Getting in a flap

Filed under: boats, daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:51 pm

Now don’t laugh all you regular travellers on the good ship Loch Striven but I’ve actually broke out in a sweat today 🙂 It’s just been one of those days where you want to do things, probably the moon, planets or lay lines were all joined together, whatever it was it started early, very early in fact, 4:15 am to be precise, for that’s when I got up 😦 I’d been awake for ages and could not sleep so I arose and plonked away on here for a couple of hours before eagerly heading for work. I say eagerly because it promised to be a pure ‘peach’ ( there’s that word again ) of a day and as I’d spent a good deal of the week down below I wanted to make the most of it.

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And yes I know the horizon is squint but so was the picnic table that I rested my camera on to take it and I don’t have a spirit level on my camera. I know I can flip it but it’s late and much easier to tilt my head 🙂 Anyway that’s the Applecross peninsula and the Crowlin islands across the water.

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Taken from ‘Calum’s cairn’ just north of Brochel at the start of his amazing road that leads to Arnish.

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As I was early for work I stopped and took some photos from the roof of the Land Rover of the back of Raasay house, that fine 18th century mansion that was tragically destroyed by fire in January 2009. It was good to see some roof trusses on the east wing at last.

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This is what it looked like at 2:00am on that fateful night and I  know the picture is cr4p but I was rushing to go and start up the ferry to fetch reinforcements for Raasay’s overwhelmed fire crew, who despite intense heat had managed to prevent the fire spreading to the west wing.

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As you can see in this picture taken a week later the west wing is virtually unscathed.

Anyway, as it was such a nice and calm day I decided to spend most of it adjusting the ‘finger flaps’ on the forward ramp that had drooped somewhat recently. These six steel flaps on each ramp are held on by large 36mm high tensile bolts.

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These bolts require removing periodically, cleaning up and re threading with a ‘die nut’ so the flaps can be adjusted to the correct height.

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It requires very large spanners a safety harness and lots of effort

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but on a day like today it was a pure joy to be up there

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and see some of the sights 🙂

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Like the Raasay house sgoth and this crane leaving.

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My old friend ‘The Storr’ 10 miles or so to the north,

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and Raasay’s very own volcanic plug Dun Caan illuminated in the dying sun 🙂

All the hard work had made the day fly by and before I knew it the last sailing was done and it was time to secure ourselves to Scotland and head home.

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And it was a pure joy to see a working fishing boat tied up alongside a Raasay pier for the night, I don’t think that has happened since I traded in my life on board the Conqueror some eight or nine years ago.

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It’s not often I miss my fishing days but today really was a perfect day for clam diving 🙂

September 26, 2010

Making the most of it

Filed under: animals, boats, daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:36 pm

What a day it’s been here on Raasay, pure peachy as I’m always saying 🙂 Of course being a Sunday it’s always peachy, Sunday is my favourite day on board the good ship Loch Striven as means that Saturday is history and i get a chance to see the pigs 🙂 It also means a wee lie in before I go out to feed everyone and do the now twice daily ritual of checking the output of my hydro turbine. Which was down a little at 300w but that’s still 7.2Kwh per day and your average house requires around 9kwh so pretty good, especially as there was no wind 🙂

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With all the morning chores done I set off down ‘Calum’s road’ on a day that would have done June proud and the first day this shift in full and glorious daylight. My daily commute will be in darkness for the next six months, apart of course from Sunday’s 🙂 though in December and January I’ll need my lights even on the Sabbath 😦


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But that’s a whole season away and so far (only two days in) autumn has been ‘peachy’ 🙂

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Not only that but the midge has vanished 🙂

The day onboard consisted of the usual bout of cleaning after the first sailing then a drill, today’s being ‘terrorist alert or bomb warning’, well you never know. Anyway once the imaginary passengers were mustered on the top deck the real coastguard informed and we’d searched the ship from stem to stern we knocked off for lunch leaving the imaginary passengers with their imaginary life jackets basking in the sun whilst we ate a sausage sandwich 🙂 After which I got on with the most important task of the day, an oil change, on the Land Rover 🙂


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I am something of a sad case when it comes to the Old Girl, changing her oil every 3000 miles and filter every 6000, she’s 24 years old and does everything I require from a vehicle so I look after her 🙂 No stupid immobilizers that mean if you loose the keys it’s cheaper to scrap the car, no silly electronics that require a £gazillion machine at a main dealer to fix a flashing light on your dash. If this baby breaks down I can fix her 🙂

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Anyway after giving her the fortnightly clean and power wash then doing some painting on deck in the sunshine and a few odd jobs in the engine room it was time for off. Off as in the 16:00 from Raasay which was unusually busy

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with a ‘swap over’ of children visiting, the group just leaving had had some fine sailing weather and it looks like the group just arriving will be in for a good spell too, at least according to UKWind

Before long I was back on the croft and made the most of it by cutting fresh bedding whilst wifey cleaned out the arcs,

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though I did have a little help from Bracken and her five wains 🙂

Once everyone, including myself was fed I headed over to to switch the ‘Harris turbine’ onto a smaller nozzle.

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It would be empty for a few days so there was no point boiling the batteries or heating the water.


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Actually I just wanted an excuse to admire the views over Loch Arnish 🙂

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