Life at the end of the road

June 6, 2011

More ‘old iron’ :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, harbour, hydro — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:16 pm

It’s already after 22:00 so the chances of lots of pros are slim but I’ll try and get a few pictures on here before my bed beckons. Our neighbour has just left, I phoned up the police station in Portree about the camera so I’ll try and get it to the police station before we go to on Friday, so here goes.


From what I recall it was not a bad day and I left early towing my blue recycling bins behind me to try and get some pictures of JSTs coaster Fingal who’d arrived on Friday to load timber.

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Unfortunately she’d departed at 1:00am so all I got was a snap of this Liebherr moving some logs 🙂 Which is almost a really arty farty picture because there’s a feint rainbow under the boom with Glamaig in the background.

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Luckily my good friend and workmate ‘The Purser’ had been along on Friday night to take these,

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this one clearly showing the extending bridge

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that can be lowered to negotiate bridges.

From what I remember it was a busy enough day, the highlight of which was two fine pieces of old British iron,

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in the form of a circa 1936 Rudge Ulster I’m no expert but as this one had the bronze cylinder head and exposed valve gear it must have been made before EMI bought the struggling company in that year.

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The other beauty was a HRD Vincent

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and when you consider that Vincent went bust in 1955, and they were still the fastest thing on two wheels in the early 1970s it gives you an idea of how special these machines were.

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OK, they pished out oil and often had to be pushed to be started but they were very quick 🙂


My favourite day started with the usual round of pig feeding before going to check on the hydro turbine,

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which needed a little ‘tweaking’ before I set off for work,

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my ‘multi pennstock’ system is fully automatic but a few extra watts can be squeezed out of it by shutting off some of the valves down at the turbine.

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As the water flow increases it rises up the header tank and fills the next pennstock, however a little more power can be had by juggling about with the valves on the ‘Stream Engine’. I normally don’t bother but with little wind forecast I deemed it sensible to tune it to the max.

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Once at work and the first run of the day was out of the way we had a fire on the car deck 😦 OK, it wasn’t a real fire but we did do a simulation drill 🙂

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Then we did some minor modifications on the ‘freeing ports’ before launching the ‘Fast Rescue Craft’ and going for a jaunt, sorry test run 🙂

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Heading around to North Bay

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where you can still see the remains of some steps from what was once a beach hut for Victorian ladies to get changed in 🙂

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Just check out those windswept larch trees 🙂

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Here’s the Loch Striven seen through the gap between the Arduish and Goat Island on the way way back, a gap that should have been filled in when the harbour was built 😦 Just check out the neat lines where the forest used to be behind the ferry.

Once the working day was done I had to go and have a look at my mates hydro turbine which had suffered a blockage.

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Not exactly an onerous task, even though it is a bit of a trek, for just look at the view from up there, Dun Caan and the Inner Sound on the left and Portree and the Sound of Raasay on the right 🙂


Another fine but cool day

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with the fish farm supply vessel Fame heading south

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and Donnie Oliphant fitting yet another fine bench 🙂

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this time in front of the ‘Steading’ 🙂

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There’s one thing for sure, anyone visiting Raasay will have plenty of fine places to sit and contemplate the magnificent views 🙂



  1. Dear Paul,
    I see that the Fingal is flying a Dutch flag obviously for the inland waterways with the hydraulic bridge that can be lowered to deck level and a mast that can be lowered as well. I have worked on similar vessels over the years installing bow pushers. The skippers are a delightful hard working lot usually very religious with most being Calvinist. Did you know that they even have a boat done up as a church. They are usually crewed by a man and wife and a deck hand and the accommodation is invariably spotless,and would put a five star hotel too shame, one I went on once had a marble bathroom. It will be interesting to see if it goes too the same destination on the Albert canal in Belgium to be turned into chip board or crap furniture for IKEA. The wife by the way only works a mile or so from where the last one docked.

    Liked the pictures of the Vincent always wanted a black shadow, but could never afford one. When I lived in Denmark I had to settle for one of these, most likely never heard of them, but just as pleasant too ride

    notice the lack of rear suspension. The firm stopped building them at about the same time as Vincent. The firm is still around though, started to make vacuum cleaners, perhaps you have heard of them, Nilfisk, built like there motor bikes to last for ever.

    Deep Regards

    Yorkshire Miner

    Comment by Yorkshire Miner — June 7, 2011 @ 6:11 am

    • Good morning Dave,

      funnily enough and by complete chance I came across the Wiki page on the Nimbus recently, it was quite a machine by all accounts. Didn’t know that they still made vacuum cleaners though.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 8, 2011 @ 5:19 am

      • Nilfisk I think is the largest industrial vacuum cleaner manufacturer in the world. They don’t seem to breakdown mine is over 30 old and could still suck nails out of old floorboards. The boss of the firm was one of those excentric engineers He was still alive when I was living in Denmark in the 70s and he was over 100 then, The first model was nicknamed Karklovenrog because the petrol tank was made out of a stove pipe. All were built like the proverbial brick toilet. You had to take it very carefully for the first few miles to warm up the oil otherwise there was a good chance that the piston rod ended up protruding out of the crankcase, They were built for sidecars so the first two gears were low and there was a big gap between 2nd and 3th. You would be waiting at the trafic lights with one of those Japanese sewingmachines and you would leave him in the dust, but it didn’t take him long before he came past. The Danish Army had a complete batalion of the things with machine guns mounted on the side car.

        I like the Danes but then I should do as I have a Danish daughter and grand kids. A little known fact is that there have been 15 Victoria Crosses awarded to foreigners and 5 of them have been awarded to Danes, and there can’t much wrong with a country that brews such great beer.



        Comment by Yorkshire Miner — June 8, 2011 @ 8:35 pm

  2. Hi Paul
    Thought all the motor bikes are in the Isle of Man, where I live at the end of the M62 we get the passing hoards on the way to the ferry it’s fantastic to see. Like your photo’s. As a Publican I notice that you like a variety of drinks one in particular Morgans Spiced Rum.
    Seeing your off on your jollies soon, I recommend this little cocktail LINK for Morgans Hope you enjoy your festival look forward to your vids and photo cover of the jolly.

    Comment by politescouser — June 7, 2011 @ 7:37 am

    • No need to explain ‘jollies’ to a Lancashire lad Walter 🙂 Jeez, that’s some amount of Morgan’s cocktails 🙂 Thanks

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 8, 2011 @ 5:20 am

      • I didn’t doubt you Paul, Jolly Good.

        Comment by politescouser — June 8, 2011 @ 8:17 pm

  3. Love the old iron! Very distinctive crack from the exhaust when pushed a bit, lucky to see one or two of a summer out here!

    Comment by Mike — June 7, 2011 @ 3:53 pm

    • Aye Mike, brought back lots of memories to me, when I was a lad there were still plenty of these lurking in sheds and garages and there was a guy locally who used to break them in an old Mill at Padiham in Lancashire. Bill Wadsworth, I think his name was and the leaky old place was full of Panther’s, Jame’s, Norton’s and Lord knows what else.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 8, 2011 @ 5:31 am

  4. Hi, Paul

    Love the bikes – real motor bikes, not like some of the cars on two wheels that we get today.

    Will be on the 4.15 ferry, all being well, on Saturday, but you’ll be at Rockness. Have a great time, and maybe see you later in the week on the ferry.



    Comment by Sue — June 7, 2011 @ 5:10 pm

    • Good morning Sue,

      looks like the weather is improving, see you next week 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 8, 2011 @ 5:37 am

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