Life at the end of the road

December 3, 2011

Umpteen ferries :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, food — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:15 pm

Well it’s been a ‘hard day at the office’ and I’m just unwinding prior to having a bath, then heading down for dinner with the rest of the crew. I’m not a ‘steak person’ but that’s what I’m having tonight here at the .  I seldom eat steak because, well because I don’t have a cow 🙂 being spoilt at home with venison, pork, rabbit and lamb, all of which come off our own hill I find it overrated. Or at least I did until I tried the local offering here in Bute some years ago, so impressed was I that I gave the chef a tenner thanked him profusely and made a point of having one every time I visit 🙂 Not blue, but rare, I was never really into meat that bleeds when you eat it until I started cutting up deer twenty years ago.

There was I with a hind on the kitchen table and Mrs Beaton’s cookery book open at the ‘cuts of meat’ page.


OK, it was a cow but I figured it would work 🙂 Anyway, as it was my first time it took quite a while, especially as I only had the hacksaw out of my workshop and two sharp knives. Being overcome by hunger halfway through the operation I sliced a couple of bits off and threw them on top of the hot Rayburn for a couple of seconds each side. It was a revelation, to one who preferred his meat charred this tender succulent offering was something else, and I’ve never looked back since 🙂 If the quality is there you just ruin it by overcooking it, a proper steak should melt in your mouth, not need chewing and leave even an old fart like me with teeth that don’t need picking afterwards 🙂

Campbeltown to Rothesay

Anyway I got a little sidetracked there, where was I, that’s it just leaving Campbeltown on the last leg of our journey to Bute.

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Not that I saw a great deal of it buried in the ‘fwd voith space’ cleaning out and preparing the sewage tank for removal. It would be bad enough having a hole cut in the deck to remove it, last thing I wanted was ‘jobbies’ falling out of the pipework onto the yard workers and crew. Two things I’ve learned about working with this sewage plant over the years is, firstly it’s always preferable to be above its contents and secondly, if unavoidable, always keep your mouth closed 😦

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Steaming up Kilbranan sound with the Kintyre peninsula on our  left and Arran on our right we made a minor detour into Lochranza to discharge one of our vehicles on board.

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A summer only route normally served by the MV Loch Tarbert it must have seemed quite strange to the locals to see a ferry arrive in December 🙂

After that we headed for the ‘Kyles of Bute’ , that narrowest of crossings that separates Bute from the Cowal peninsula.


Map picture


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Believe it or not the PS Waverley sails through here in the summer !!!

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Only a few hundred yards from here is the ferry crossing from Rhuboddach to Colintrive, where we called in, just ahead of the MV Loch Dunvegan to discharge our cars as there are no facilities at Rothesay.

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A few minutes later we were on our way past , our ultimate destination.

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Our much larger sister the MV Loch Alainn having already been there for a week for her annual refit.

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Within the hour we were safely tied up at Rothesay pier

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just as the MV Bute arrived from Wemys bay. It had been a great trip down that many would have paid to do 🙂 a ‘steamer dreamers’ dream 🙂 For we had in just the space of two days seen the CalMac ferries MV Eigg, MV Isle of Mull, MV Clansman, MV Loch Buie, MV Hebridean Isles, MV Loch Dunvegan, MV Loch Alainn, MV Bute and MV Courisk. Not forgetting the good ship Loch Striven and the Loch LInnhe that I’d sailed on to leave Raasay 🙂 Eleven ferries in three days, pure heaven for an anorak 🙂 The world needs more anoraks 🙂

Anyway, that’s it for now, the steak beckons,

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and if it’s anything like the scallops and chorizo starter I had and the mussels the boys had last night it will be awesome 🙂

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And it takes allot to impress me with a scallop dish 🙂



  1. You really are rubbing it in Paul. 11 ferries in 3 days and that journey I am so so jealous. I was at Lochranza a couple of weeks ago, but unlike you I had the time (and sense:)) to pop to the distillery for a wee dram. If you havent tried the Arran water of life you are really missing a treat. Enjoy the holiday ;p

    Comment by Simon — December 3, 2011 @ 7:38 pm

    • Off to Largs now Simon so will be adding the Shira to my list 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 5, 2011 @ 6:33 am

  2. Lochranza’s my home town!!! Many a calmac ferry have we seen come in there. Visited Raasay in October for a fleeting visited and enjoyed our trip on Calums Road and lunch at the hotel

    Comment by lochranza lass — December 3, 2011 @ 9:46 pm

    • Good morning Lochranza 🙂

      what a beautiful spot you have there, almost as nice as Raasay 🙂 Stayed at the campsite there a couple of years ago after the Wickerman festival, sadly it poured with rain 😦

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 5, 2011 @ 6:36 am

  3. wow.. fantastic.. my dad used me as a grease monkey when i was a kid, cleaning out the boilers and I know it was not “jobbies” but I do know all about keeping ones mouth shut! gorgeous ferries.. what great shots.. love it.. c

    Comment by ceciliag — December 3, 2011 @ 10:50 pm

    • Your dad must have been very wise Cecilia 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 5, 2011 @ 6:46 am

  4. Hi Paul

    What a feast of ferries (and fantastic food)! A trip to envy – and you are working! No wonder you described this a few weeks ago as your ‘real holiday’, sewage tanks or no.

    Enjoy the rest, and God speed to the MV Loch Scriven.


    Comment by Sue — December 4, 2011 @ 9:50 am

    • Morning Bacup,

      hope you weathered the storm OK Sue, looks like I might be going on another ‘holiday’ next week 😦

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 9, 2011 @ 3:43 am

  5. Paul, If you’re developing a taste for beef then the homemade beefburgers at the Colintraive Hotel are simply the best. Ended up in there a couple of years ago with a group of fellow sea kayakers during a paddle around Bute from Largs and after the moaning that the cheapest thing on the menu was beefburger and chips at £10.50 had died down, they all agreed it was the finest burger they’ve ever tasted. Beer’s good too.

    Here we do a burger medley for guests comprising of mini homemade baps filled with homemade lamb, venison and veggy burgers with various salsa, chunky fires and stuff. Goes down a treat

    Comment by Across the Minch — December 4, 2011 @ 10:51 am

    • Morning ATM,

      this very subject came up at the dinner table, and yes, you’re right, a first class burger at the Colintrive hotel and a pretty good steak too 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 9, 2011 @ 3:45 am

  6. Been through that slalom of buoys at the Burnt Island narrows (I think they’re called) in a yacht race which was quite a press!

    Comment by Neil King — December 4, 2011 @ 12:25 pm

    • Morning Neil,

      not much room for error is there 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 9, 2011 @ 3:47 am

  7. oh wonderful, Paul … I’ve just watched the weather forecast and they’ve got you down for snow … hope you packed your skis

    Comment by carina — December 4, 2011 @ 6:25 pm

    • Hi Carina,

      “oh wonderful, Paul … I’ve just watched the weather forecast and they’ve got you down for snow … hope you packed your skis”

      well, they were right, and me with no Land Rover 😦

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 9, 2011 @ 3:48 am

  8. i keep forgetting, and am always delighted to read of here, that there is a whole universe of shipping and sea life up there, and has been for like 10K years, what with st columba in his curricle and all. i love to read of your peregrinations and like — conditions? the shipping forecast?
    and it’s nice to think of you guys enjoying an excellent meal. do!!!

    Comment by jeannette — December 4, 2011 @ 10:00 pm

    • Morning Jeannette,

      some weather we’re having now, oh for a little bit of New Mexico, or Arizona, which reminds me, where’s Tony 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 9, 2011 @ 3:50 am

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