Life at the end of the road

December 17, 2011

‘Off route’ :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 11:15 pm

That’s what my ‘prat nav’ bleats when I make a wrong turning ‘off route, off route’ in her annoying drawl, I friggin hate things that speak to you, play an inane tune every time you switch them on or off or assume that you’re so feckin illiterate that you can’t spell. The default setting on my clockwork Nokia is for that ‘predictive texting malarkey and I hate it. OK, I’m not the sharpest tool in the box, my spelling aint great, my hearing is pants and my eyesight’s fading but I don’t need Google friggin instant to come up with reams of 5hite every time I do a search for something. Yes I do know that all these things can be turned off but why is the default setting to have the freakin things on ???

Anyway, sorry for the ‘wee rant’ there but it’s been a long day, a long week in fact, so long that I’ve not even had chance to post anything for days. It’s not like I’ve had nothing to say or even nothing to report, it’s just that I’ve been pure wrecked, choosing my bed over my laptop for the last few days. Basically coming home from work, eating dinner, having a bath and turning in, I just can’t ‘hack it’ these days 🙂

Back ‘on route’

If you’re a regular you’ll know that I should have been here on Tuesday night here being the Victoria hotel on Bute but the weather had other ideas and I was left on Raasay until things improved. This was OK by me and ‘damn fine splendid’ by the wife and ‘wee dug’ who, for reasons never entirely fathomed out by me actually enjoy my company 🙂 So instead of starting shift at aboard the Loch Striven it was the MV Loch Linnhe on Raasay that I joined on Wednesday morning at 7:20 am.

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With three weeks holiday, a week in dock and a ‘rest week’ behind me it was five weeks since I’d been ‘on route’ at my regular port and it was ‘interesting’ to get back. Not only a different boat but much having happened in my absence.

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The Liebherr tower crane that had become a landmark on Raasay’s skyline for the last year or so was being dismantled. Just as well, for the last twelve months it had been nothing more than a very expensive wind vane, it’s huge jib forever indicating the direction of the current blow 🙂


That image above is from it going up in September 2011

As well as progress at Raasay house,

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and there was plenty, just look at the roof, the top picture being taken on Wednesday and the bottom on Thursday. Not just the roof trusses in place but most of the sarking boards as well 🙂

Down below

The Linnhe, just like the Striven had had major surgery,

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if the ship where a person then it would have been the equivalent of an intestine transplant 🙂 For that is what the green thing in the picture is, it is the ships ‘STU’ or sewage treatment unit. A bigger piece of unnecessary crap aboard a ship I have yet to see. I mean, how many ‘jobbies’ does an inter island ferry actually deposit in the sea ??? Big deal a few turds end up floating for a moment or two in the sound of Raasay 😦 How bad is that for the environment ????  Well I’ll tell you, it’s not a tenth as bad as all the energy that goes into building and maintaining this high tech bit of useless crap that, at the end of the day has to be paid for by the customer. Not only that but the enormous carbuncle that resides in the ‘forward voith space’ with the very English sounding name of ‘Hamworthy’ is built in China 😦 A turd is a natural thing that mankind has been depositing in the sea for millennia, this thing, with all it’s embodied energy and high maintenance costs is a white elephant that sucks the life out of the planet and has to be paid for by you and I 😦

Still, despite the fact that it’s been lugged half the way around the planet, made for peanuts yet cost a fortune, the yard did make a fine job of fitting it 🙂

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Out through the car deck it came, past a multitude of hydraulic pipes and wires yet you can hardly see the joint 🙂

And speaking of waste

Probably I’m just old fashioned or I’ve just got my own version of a septic tank for a stomach but what’s all this about ???

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Two lorries, three days, one large van and Lord knows what the cost to clean the filters on Raasay’s gazillion pound water treatment plant 😦

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I swear it’s not six months since they were last over doing it. OK, I know there are harmful bugs that can give you belly ache or worse but we’ve never had them and our water comes straight off the hill. Call me a Luddite if you will but as far as I’m concerned a little dirt and a few bugs in the water is not a bad thing, after all what is a vaccine other than the odd bacteria or two 🙂 And the the only mains water ‘cock up’ that poisoned anyone that I know of was when someone got carried away adding stuff to the supply in 1988 😦 Do we really need to add chemicals to water just to make it sparkle ??? The world has gone mad 🙂

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Anyway the yard may have done a fine enough job of fitting the sewage plant but it left the rest of the space in need of a lick of paint 😦

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At some point during the morning of Friday 16th December the NLB Pole Star turned up to change the ‘starboard hand buoy’ at the shallows near Braes to an ‘east cardinal marker’

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It was a concern that this green buoy laid by the council could have been  confused with the Jackal or MacMillan’s rock markers so it was replaced by a yellow and black one.

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I know, I missed the actual change over but I was busy 🙂

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Away south

Having got word that I was about to be relieved I headed home for all that would be required for a stay on Bute.

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Brochel bay and its castle looking decidedly friendlier than the last time that I’d seen it in daylight just a few days earlier 🙂


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And the ‘Five sisters of Kintail’, under who’s shadow Id be sleeping looking magnificent 🙂 even from twenty miles or so away.

Doon the water

Well, it’s long past 22:00 and bed time, the mussel starter and sea bream main course  are digested the ‘rum ration’ is finished so I’d better cut this short and get to bed 🙂

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I left my adopted home of Raasay as the sun sun set for a bed at Kintail

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though the morning trip south was white and stressful to say the least 😦

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I finally joined the other girl in my life, after wifey and the Land Rover some time after 11:00am at Rothesay pier.


Though I have to say that I prefer Zak’s pictures from yesterday


as she came off the slip at around 15:00 zak355 well worth a look if you appreciate good photography or have an interest in his native Bute.

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Well, the poor old Loch Striven was in need of a good clean up after all her attention,



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so we just got on with it 🙂


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Retiring afterwards to a ‘room with a view’ at and a fine sea bream dinner 🙂



  1. Morning, Paul (from a very snowy Bacup)

    Glad that you managed to get back to the Loch Striven. She’ll be all ship shape Bristol fashion in a jiffy with you and your mates sorting her out.

    Raasay water and the treatment plant. I must say I preferred both the look and the taste of the water before the plant started operating. It was unmistakeable water off the hill, and I love brown bath water (before immersion) and tea made with proper water.. When I lived near Alness the water was a lovely brackish brown, never did me or mine any harm and washed the clothes wonderfully (with a liberal blow of highland air). But health and safety wins again.

    Have a successful time at Bute and enjoy the hotel food!



    Comment by Sue — December 18, 2011 @ 9:06 am

    • Hi Sue,

      the old ship is starting to look presentable once more, a few minor leaks, a lot of mess but all in all pretty good 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 18, 2011 @ 5:01 pm

  2. Bet you feel better after that rant, Paul, getting all that crap off your chest! We had murky water in Trotternish with ni ill effects, and in nnorthern Sweden we had basically Lake water pumped by the Kommun to the homes in the village, again with no problems and no additives needed! Hope you all have a fine Xmas over there, with plenty of vin rouge!

    Comment by yractual — December 18, 2011 @ 10:23 am

    • Hi Iain, having a rant doesn’t make me feel any better whatsoever, it’s knowing that I’m not alone that does the trick 🙂 How on earth did we ever end up in this situation, the world has gone mad 😦

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 18, 2011 @ 5:06 pm

  3. Spot on with the rants.Common sense has seemingly been outlawed in the UK over the last 20 years.Everything now is hyped to wring money out of it.Anyway must go, have got to change the tap water filter that filters out the chemicals, added by the water co,that make the tea taste odd.



    Comment by Andy — December 18, 2011 @ 11:00 am

    • Mind you do a ‘risk assessment’ first Andy, you could drop that filter on your toe or get some water in your eye, be careful now 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 18, 2011 @ 5:07 pm

  4. Paul,
    Why don’t you download a new voice for your ‘prat nav’? One of my friends has downloaded an Eastern European grandmother’s voice who says things like, “Oh, do what you want – you never listen to a word I say anyway!” – at least it gives you a laugh!

    Comment by Aud — December 18, 2011 @ 3:51 pm

    • Hi Aud, what I want is to download something that stops everything I posses playing some stupid tune at start up and shutdown 🙂 I’d also like to be able to drive a car that does not lock itself or require you to go through some friggin stupid on screen menu with a disclaimer on it everytime you start it up. I’d like a car that has a proper heater that you can have hot feet and a cold face and not something called ‘climate control’ that keeps the whole cabin the same temperature. I want warm feet and a cold face so I don’t fall asleep, I want a car that I can open the window on and not get a snow drift deposited inside the door pocket because modern cars don’t have gutters 😦

      I tell you I was raging on Saturday morning as I drove to work in the snow, to try and keep my feet warm I have to set the ‘climate control’ to 30 degrees but that leaves you unable to breath due to the heat. I open the window to try and let some cool air in and a big lump of snow off the roof plops straight on my lap and into the door pocket. It wouldn’t have happened on the Land Rover 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 18, 2011 @ 5:30 pm

  5. “as far as I’m concerned a little dirt and a few bugs in the water is not a bad thing” Totally agree. Whilst growing up our water supply to the croft in Lewis came from a dam in the river and we would occasionally organise a patrol to make sure there were no dead sheep further upstream! What probably gave us total immunity to everything was the magic white powder my father started using to kill all the bugs from growing vegetables and a regular weekly spraying guaranteed unblemished lettuces, cabbages etc. It was many years later, after ingesting copious amounts did we discover it was called DDT and not recommended for human consumption! Ah well it worked well for us and helped to develop cast iron stomachs and total immunity to every bug. Keep it it Paul!

    Comment by Ian Smith — December 18, 2011 @ 8:44 pm

    • Made me smile Ian, probably why the local residents seem to reach ripe old ages and seldom visit the doctor 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 20, 2011 @ 6:56 am

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