Life at the end of the road

December 8, 2011

Slipping the ‘Striven’

Filed under: boats, daily doings, weather — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:39 pm

I know, it’s been a while since I last posted, four days in fact, which is probably a record for me but I’ve just not had the time. In fact I’ve never stopped apart from sleeping, not that I actually seemed to have achieved a great deal 🙂

I think I left you after a rather long Sunday aboard the MV Loch Alainn and a glass of red wine with my duck 🙂 I thought that the steak at the was good but the duck was even nicer, especially as it was preceded by slow roasted Italian tomatoes on a bed of mozzarella cheese. Anyway, after that, and with the prospect of an even busier day on Monday we all retired early.

Monday 5th December

Arising before 7:00am to discover snow, or at least frozen hail right down at sea level with the palm trees 😦 We had a quick breakfast before wandering across the road to the MV Loch Striven, parked just a stones throw away from our hotel.

Rothesay by Scotavia images

We were berthed just between the PS Waverley and that lone white yacht, the Victoria Hotel is just to the left of that pavilion. Many thanks to Gary Brindle, a regular follower for that image 

As soon as the Striven was warmed up, we cast off and headed for Largs, our berth being required for the Loch Alainn later on in the day.


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An hour or so later we came alongside the new pier at Largs just as the MV Loch Shira  was departing for Cumbrae.

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I think that she was the last vessel built by Ferguson’s  on the Clyde, certainly the last one built for , the owner of all CalMac’s vessel’s.


Safely secured to Scotland we ordered a taxi to take us to Wemyss Bay and the next sailing to Bute on the MV Argyle . Once at Rothesay a ten minute drive north had us ready to get stuck into the last few jobs aboard the MV Loch Alainn. The 400ton vessel that was due to go in the water on the evening tide. It was a frantic day with the generators still in bits at start of work, the  two big Cummins V12s still to be run up and the Voith Schneider units still to be tested.

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I left the proper engineers to do that and tinkered about with some ‘high level bilge alarms’ until 16:30 when we all stopped for a break. The yard staff went home for a couple of hours and we retired to the dock mess room for a bite to eat,

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a spell on the crossword and a blether on the £500 phone 🙂

High water was around 20:00 so at 18:30 we all assembled in our various stations ready for the launch, shore power was cut and the MV Loch Alainn’s emergency generator flashed up to give us light to work with.



The slow journey down the ‘patent slip’, the last on the Clyde began a far cheaper method of drying out a vessel than conventional dry docking there were once dozens of these on the Clyde and other ports , alas now there are only a handful.



Snow and more snow 😦

All went well with the launch but it was a bit of a rush to get off the island afterwards, the sailings to Wemyss bay having stopped an hour previously and we only had twenty minutes to get to Rhubodach and the final boat at 20:00 😦

Staying on Bute wasn’t really an option, much as we’d have liked to, all our clothes and kit were on the Striven and we had to be back at Ardmaleish with her for the morning tide. We made the ferry with a few minutes to spare but it was only thanks to the snow tyres on my mates car and the journey from Colintrive to Dunoon was hellish. Single track,  heavy snow, a clown in front in a green Polo and on sign of a gritter, but we made it 🙂


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Catching the Western Ferries MV Sound of Shuna around 20:30??



and passing her sister the MV Sound of Scarba on the way 🙂


Loch Striven is ‘slipped’ 🙂

By the time we arrived at Largs, ‘flashed up’ the Loch Striven’s generators to breathe some life (and heat) into her, had a Chinese it was bed time. A 6:00am start being required to get us back to Ardmaleish for the mornings tide 😦

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The gaping shed and cradle being ready for us to catch the flooding tide

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that was pouring into our namesake, Loch Striven, just a mile or so to the north 🙂

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Back on  the croft

Well, I’m just going to have to tell you about that later, it’s 21:30 now and I’m wrecked 😦


So I’ll just leave you with the weather, which has seen most ferries in Scotland tied up and many roads closed, it barely went below 40mph for the whole day with plenty of gusts over 60mph and one over 70 🙂


  1. glad to hear you’re home safe and sound

    Comment by carina — December 8, 2011 @ 10:11 pm

    • Home safe and sound right enough Carina, but the nerves are shot 😦

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 9, 2011 @ 3:54 am

  2. nice photo of L.S. from the sea … TUT TUT you’ve missed some bits when painting !

    Comment by Deoch'nDorus — December 9, 2011 @ 5:47 pm

    • That’ll be my fellow ‘snapper Zak’ who’s photo’s are well worth a look 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 10, 2011 @ 10:44 pm

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