Life at the end of the road

December 31, 2011

She’s back :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 12:18 am

21:30 and I’ve just woke up, how I’m enjoying the peace and quiet of no TV 🙂 sure the family and I have been doing stuff together. OK, it was only a wee chat then falling asleep on the couch with the ‘wee dug’ but it beats the cr4p out of River city or CSI, NCIS or whatever other drivel usually comes out of Channel 5 🙂

Course the down, or possibly upside of this is that you don’t have to spend as much time reading my drivel 🙂 Speaking of which I’ll fill you in briefly on the days doings that started with an unexpected ‘piglet encounter’. After the usual pot of coffee, quick plonk on here and daily ablutions I left the house a little earlier than usual to put fuel in the Land Rover. Stumbling about in the dark, on account of having no head torch I almost tripped over our one remaining piglet, a wee Tamworth gilt that we’re saving for the freezer.

This wee madam was left over from Bramble’s litter and is turning into a bit of a character. Millie as we’ve now named her was the runt of the litter and we thought she’d be a bit of a problem. It’s unfair to keep a single piglet and we were reluctant to put her out with the herd for fear of her, A, keeping Bramble lactating and not coming on heat and B, getting bullied by the much larger pigs.

Once we weaned her and the rest of the litter she was left on her own for a day and was so upset and frantic that we reluctantly put her out on the hill with the rest of the herd. I thought at first my worries about her preventing her mum from stopping producing milk and thus coming on heat had come to pass. The first thing she did when let out was dart under mum for a drink, however within a few days Bramble dried up and got served and the wee runty piglet settled in with the rest of the herd.

The tiny wee Millie charges about with the rest of them and gets her share of the grub and she’s just as happy to hang around with Rocky or Bracken as with her mum. I’m a little amazed by this, not just the way Millie has settled in but by the way the whole herd is interacting. There’s always a pecking order and the primary conflicts can be quite brutal but once they’ve established it and settled they’re all very civilized. Or at least they are when they’re out on the hill and fed over a large area, the same pigs fed in a field tend to hog the trough and take chunks out of each other.

Anyway, as they’ve all settled down we’ve taken to leaving the gate to the croft open out of pure laziness and of course the crappy weather. Seems to be that now they spend the day on the hill then wander back onto the croft and sleep in the barn. I had thought that they were sleeping in the old net shed then wandering around in the morning to get fed but once Millie then Bracken and Rocky turned up as I was fuelling up the land Rover I realized they’d been in there all night 🙂

Striven’s back 🙂

our own vessel the MV Loch Striven had left Tobermory just before 7:00am for the eight hour steam to Raasay.


screen so we spent the next few hours sprucing up the MV Loch Linnhe for the crew that would be taking her away.

301211 007 (Medium)



301211 006 (Medium)


Whilst we were busy with the ‘Scalex’ and power washer the ‘well boat’ Victoria lady was busy transferring fish from Loch Eynort or the Moll to the new cages at Braes.

 301211 009 (Medium) 

Vessel Identification

Viktoria Lady





Former name(s):

Aspoy (Until 2009 Aug 11)

Technical Data

Vessel type:
Fish Carrier

Gross tonnage:
1,186 tons

Summer DWT:
700 tons

53 m

13 m

5.2 m

Administrative Information

Home port:

Class society:
Det Norske Veritas

Build year:

Havyard Solstrand
Tomrefjord, Norway

Fosnavaag, Norway

Fosnavaag, Norway

301211 013 (Medium)


The mystery marag

Our own ship passed Eyre point on Raasay just after 14:30 (cheers George 🙂 )

Loch Striven

and arrived at the new harbour shortly afterwards.


301211 032 (Medium)


Just as we on the Loch Linnhe were returning from Sconser 🙂




All went well, apart from me leaving my ‘red neck hillbilly’ jacket on the Linnhe and before long the relief boat headed south (after returning my jacket, thanks chaps)


301211 019 (Medium)


Shortly afterwards she was caught on camera by ‘Oyster George’ as she headed to Mallaig ???


Loch Linnhe


It was only long after the good ship Loch Linnhe had departed south that we noticed the ‘marag dubh’, two large black puddings nestling in the otherwise bare fridge 🙂

301211 029 (Medium)

OK, it was more like one and three quarters than two but you know what I mean. Enquiries amongst the crew and passengers revealed nought, the biscuits, chocolates and booze (shh) could all be accounted for, but where had the black pudding come from ?????. Was it a Mull marag, an Oban offering or a Gourock ‘blood pud’ ???Whatever it is I’m looking forward to trying it, I only wish I hadn’t eaten all the scallops for breakfast 🙂


It’s been here since Wednesday and I’m afraid to open it, it arrived with a flash and bang on the table as if by magic.

291211 035 (Small)

OK, that’s a lie, it arrived by courier and I didn’t bring it home until last night but I’m overwhelmed and afraid to drink it.

291211 036 (Medium)

At 21 years old and with a hand written label

291211 037 (Medium)

it’s going to have to be a VERY special occasion Sue 🙂

December 29, 2011

Throttled :-(

Filed under: daily doings, weather — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 11:29 pm

Now this is my best excuse ever for not posting of late, I’ve been ‘throttled’ 😦 The recent storm force winds took out my satellite TV dish but left the larger broadband dish unscathed. Probably the loss of a television picture is akin to a death in the family in some households, not here, I hate the thing and seldom watch it. In all fairness had wifey and I not completely different tastes I probably would watch the odd documentary or bizarre film that gets aired in the early hours.

The upside of the loss of all the usual drivel that permeates through the house, for there is no getting away from the sound of it in our tiny dwelling. The upside is that we’ve all started talking to each other 🙂 the downside is that they’ve been watching loads of cr4p on YouTube and iPlayer during the day and I’ve been ‘throttled’, for the first time in three and a half years as I’ve exceeded my 8Gb monthly limit with my ISP The upshot of which is that my download and upload speeds have been slashed to 128Kbps 😦 Far better than the 28Kbps that I started ‘blogging’ on four years ago but not very good for high definition pictures and impossible for video.

So instead of spending hours last night telling you all about my extremely dull day I did some ‘bonding’ with the family, OK half the time my son was buried in his new iPod but it was most enjoyable 🙂

An early finish

The first full day back at work was a disaster from the word go, lashing rain, howling winds and no Petzl head torch got me off to a wet start at 6:30am. A defunct heater on the Land Rover turned it into a cold start and the ‘all in one’ suit that I’d had to wear for most of the day kept the rain out and the sweat in 😦

The 7:55am sailing was cancelled as the winds hovered around the force 9 level from the south west but as daylight arrived we managed next four crossings without drama 🙂

281211 001 (Medium)

Well apart from the usual blasts that seem to howl down Loch Sligachan every time the ferry arrives 🙂

281211 004 (Medium)

Squalls that had us leaving early, not through choice but because the engines would not keep us on the slipway 😦

281211 005 (Medium)

The 13:00 sailing became the 12:57 sailing and we headed for the safety of our beautiful new harbour.

 281211 006 (Medium)

Had we still been operating from Suisnish we’d not have sailed the whole day, as it was we managed to keep going until lunchtime, when most other sailings up and down the west coast had been cancelled.

291211 012 (Medium)

I even managed to get a little painting done before we called it a day.

Extra crew

Even though yesterdays maximum wind speed was only 65mph compared to the violent storm  75mph+ of Boxing day it was far worse a day. The south, south west wind has us sheltered somewhat by the mass of Raasay, the westerly and north westerly offer us no such protection and we receive its full wrath. It blasts straight over the Storr, screams across the Sound of Raasay, over Loch Arnish and hits us square on the front door 😦 Of course the good thing is it hits the wind turbine first

281211 010 (Small) 40 amps

and our Proven 2.5Kw has been belting out 2.4Kw for days now. Perhaps a new set of their carbon fibre blades would improve things but this will be its 6th winter with nothing other than routine maintenance so I can hardly complain.

As I said a little family time kept me off here, an early night had me up today fresh and ready for action :-)  Well that and the fact that I’d managed to get home a little early 🙂

The ‘wee dug’ had obviously sensed my enthusiasm for the day and was not letting me out of the house without her. In truth she was probably missing the company of all the dogs that had invaded the house over Christmas so I decided to take her to work.

291211 008

Well, not so much to work because she hates the boat, does not have the correct paperwork, medical and has not been ‘inducted’ on the Loch Linnhe 🙂 It was more a case of taking her down to visit Jessie Nicolson at School Park. The ‘wee dug’ loves Jessie (as we all do) and she’d not seen her since before Christmas, so after a few hours of keeping my ‘red neck’ hillbilly jacket warm (reluctantly) I deposited her there 🙂

291211 006 (Medium)

Molly was not the only extra crew member that we had

291211 009 (Medium)

and we made good use of him 🙂 Not a patch on the Loch Striven’s bilges but far cleaner now than they were 🙂


291211 020 (Medium)


We fuelled up at 12:30 with 3500lts of ‘MGO’ marine gas oil before getting stuck into finishing the monthly ‘PM’ or planned maintenance. This amounted to checking all of the smoke, heat  and flame detectors on board and checking  all the bilge pumps on one of the seven spaces.

291211 030

Just like her sister the Loch Striven the Loch Linnhe has two large electric pumps and one diesel that can be switched between fire and bilge pumping duties. Part of the monthly checks is to make sure that each pump can be operated in each mode on one space.

 291211 031

This is the Lister LV1 pump that is in the space that we filled with fresh water, number 3 void, just forward of the aft peak.

291211 032

This is the pump that is normally set up for bilge pumping

291211 033 (Medium)

and this the one for fire fighting.

291211 028

A little more painting

291211 024

and some spectacular views of the Cuilins just about finished the day off at work.


And with Orion to greet me as I arrived home at 19:30 🙂




OK, one of his feet was missing but there was a hill in the way 🙂

Older Posts »

Create a free website or blog at