Life at the end of the road

September 22, 2011

Two sure signs of autumn

Filed under: daily doings, harbour — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:59 pm

It’s not been a bad day at all here on Raasay, a proper autumn day of fresh breezes, the odd shower and a smattering of sunshine. Though after yesterday’s deluge anything would seem better, not that it’s going to last, at least according to the forecast, but it is after all that time of year. Still a few tourists hoping for an Indian summer, bracken dying, leaves lying and trees turning.

I left for work at 6:30 for the second time with my lights on and arrived there early to make a start on the aft main engine oil leak, removing the guards and giving it a good clean up prior to start up. It’s far easier to do this kind of thing on a cold engine than one that’s been working hard all morning. The small oil leak that was plaguing the Volvo TAD 121C engine was nothing serious but these engines work hard 11 hours a day and even a wee drip can soon spray oil everywhere, damaging vee belts and creating a right mess.

With everything cleaned up I replaced the guard with just a couple of bolts, continued with ‘start up’ and got on with the mornings work of ferrying 🙂

Inbetween a busy morning of tourists and workers I started sorting out the required parts, new belts and an O ring for the leaky auxiliary drive gear. As we carry a spare gear and O ring in our ‘essential spares’ stock I removed the new ring off the spare drive to use as a pattern to make a new one. Better to make it now than forget about it and have to do it in an emergency.

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Our very comprehensive kit for making these seals was short of the correct size but I soon found a larger one and cut it down.

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This special jig supplied in the kit ensures you get a straight cut

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and this little jig allows you to glue the ends squarely together.

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Look at that, good as new 🙂


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After a morning of sunshine, showers and rainbows and with the main engines shut down for an hour I got ‘stuck in’

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It’s not a big job but I did end up replacing the auxiliary drive as well as the belts and O ring, the bearings felt a little rough so it would have been a little foolish to put it back when I had a new one at hand.

It would not have happened on a Lister

Once the Volvo was all ‘buttoned up’ I fired her up and checked for leaks, no problem there but as I was sat on the aft battery box admiring my handiwork something whizzed past my ear 😦 Of course I naturally assumed it was something off the aft engine, especially when I found the item on the floor and discovered it was a piece of vee belt. Bizarrely it turned out to be a bit off the ‘in service’ aft generators vee belt, and when I removed the cover this is what I saw 😦

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Now I don’t know how much these 4.4TGM Perkins generators cost nine months ago when they were fitted to replace the ailing Lister HRW6’s but we’re talking many thousands of pounds. Obviously some accountant at Perkins deemed that they could save a few pence by only fitting one drive belt to the alternator, and it is just a few pence for the crankshaft and alternator both have double pulleys. We had discussed fitting the extra belt but figured ‘Perkins knew best’, turns out they don’t, so I did 🙂

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Three woodcock and one stag

That was about it for the day at work and before long I headed north and home, being somewhat surprised to see three woodcock at Brochel. I usually see the odd one at this time of year but not three, they usually arrive in numbers after the first full moon following the vernal equinox. I was even more surprised to hear this,


not this particular one, for that video was taken in October of last year. It’s a stag roaring and is quite early for these parts as I don’t normally hear them until after the first frost, perhaps we’re in for a hard winter?



  1. Our old neighbours in Sweden are anticipating a cold winter: similar wildlife signs, it seems. We only ever had the odd Woodcock around – and most of our neighbour Swedes wouldn’t recognise them as they tended to fly high – but the Deer/Moose etc are already gearing up. Don’t know if the Bear population is hibernating early but it’s been a bumper year for Lemmings etc., and Snowy Owl/Eagle and Great Greys have all been seen in high numbers recently. Waxwing flocks are large and have also arrived earlier than usual. Maybe time to batten down the hatches up there, Paul!

    Comment by Iain — September 23, 2011 @ 6:34 am

  2. Hi Paul

    Great news about the hostel for your lad – what a difference that will make! Love the stag’s roar! Hope it doesn’t mean too hard a winter.

    What’s this about a new ferry route? I must have missed that somewhere and would love to know what to expect. I won’t be accessing your blog next week since I’ll be in hospital having a new hip fitted – I finally got fed up with the restrictions of the old one! I’ll be catching up when I’m home.



    Comment by Sue — September 23, 2011 @ 8:11 am

  3. Corbyn-colder winters forecast 2010 onwards 😦



    Comment by Andy — September 23, 2011 @ 9:55 am

    • Cheers for that Andy lets hope they’re wrong

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 24, 2011 @ 5:03 am

  4. That was close shave you had with the ‘flying’ belt! its crazy that manufacturers will spend hundreds of thousands , even millions on R and D then penny pinch with components. its slightly differnt but i used to drive trucks and one breakdown i had involved a blown air comp for the brakes. The fitter turned out and showed me that the comp was new , but the previous fitter hadnt blown the lines clear of shrapnel from the old one , so eventually the shrapnel was sucked into the new one , detonating it! talk about a false economy!
    I saw a crackin vessel in Montose basin this week, Havila Phoenix, an offshore support vessel. Impressive craft to look at. it had picked up a structure from KGV dock in Glasgow and appeared to be waiting to unload at Montrose, that harbour having recently opened new grain transfer plant.

    Comment by Gordon — September 24, 2011 @ 7:14 pm

    • Hi Gordon,

      you don’t know how right you were about the flying belt for I’d just sat down on the battery box after starting up the aft main engine when the bits came flying past my nose 🙂 Of course I thought it was from the belts I’d just fitted so was a little confused to say the least 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 24, 2011 @ 10:27 pm

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