Life at the end of the road

December 20, 2011

Trials and tribulations :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:14 pm

It’s over, it’s done, I’m finished and Christmas is just around the corner 🙂 OK, I’m still 200 miles and two ferries away from home but it’s all downhill from here 🙂 My shift is over, the good ship Loch Striven passed her ‘sea trials’ and I’m heading north tomorrow.

This annual ‘dry docking’ and inevitable ‘sea trial’ afterwards has to be up there with the marriage, moving house, divorce and MOT on the stress graph. You just know, the boat has been functioning perfectly for twelve months, it’s been in dock for ten days to have major surgery, so if something is going to go ‘pear shaped’ this is when it will happen 😦 Not as it comes off the slip or afterwards when alongside at the pier, but when the Lloyds inspectors or the MCA are on board for the annual ‘sea trial’, a sort of MOT with teeth 🙂 And a one with much more at stake, not just a forty minute once over on the ramp checking springs, ball joints, seat belts and lights but a half day job with three or four seasoned inspectors all over you like a rash 🙂 (sorry chaps but it really is scary) Paperwork to be checked, certificates to be looked at, all manner of safety and fire equipment to be tested and bilge pumps to be run.

No wonder then that I didn’t have a great sleep last night before, wandering over to the ship some time before 8:00am to ‘flash her up’. None of this forty minute drive down ‘Calum’s road’ here, just a leisurely saunter over the road from the to Rothesay pier 🙂 That was of course after a fine breakfast of bacon and poached eggs for me and kippers for my compatriot 🙂

Once onboard, the ship started to fill up with crew, electricians, engineers, gaffers and then the inspectors from Lloyds and the MCA, who, after a few formalities (and breakfast 🙂 ) ordered us out to sea to commence the trials. As soon as we’d left the berth the technician from Thomas Gunn started ‘boxing the compass’ or at least checking it’s accuracy 



GPS, chart plotters and electronic wizardry may be ‘the order of the day’ but when all goes ‘tits up’ it’s the compass that will get you home 🙂

That done the good ship Loch Striven headed up Loch Striven

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past the RFA Wave Ruler

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before making an ‘about turn’ for Rothesay

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past the huge sheds of where the boat had just been ‘re fitted’ and back to town.



Once back alongside at Rothesay,




and if you’re wondering how I took that picture, well I didn’t 🙂 Zak was waiting on the pier for us with a proper camera 🙂 Sadly ‘pressure of work’ prevented more than the briefest of greetings, so if you’re reading this mate, sorry for lifting your picture and see you next year 🙂


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Firmly tied up we commenced the many drills, and equipment tests required by the inspectors, boat launch, Bilge and fire pump tests to name but a few.

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Ramp movements were conducted with in attendance, all went well and the mood began to lighten.

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Perhaps it began to lighten too much,

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the trouble is, ‘you just can’t get the staff’ these days

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Seriously though, it had been a long and stressful morning, our ship had got the ‘green light’ and we all earned a decent break 🙂


  1. No problem, I saw you had a ship full! at least you got your ear protectors back though haha

    Comment by Zak — December 20, 2011 @ 10:27 pm

    • Cheers Zak,

      one day I’ll get to have a proper conversation with you 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 20, 2011 @ 10:53 pm

  2. “GPS, chart plotters and electronic wizardry may be ‘the order of the day’ but when it all goes ‘tits up’ it’s the compass that will get you home”

    Whe I was sea kayaking in Cape Breton, Canada, back in the summer, the fog came down and I said to our guide, Mike, “have you got your GPS with you?” he said “No, but I’ve got my compass, that will get us back”.

    Comment by francesp — December 21, 2011 @ 10:06 am

    • Aye Frances, nothing beats the compass 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 23, 2011 @ 11:35 pm

  3. Modern technology is great but at the end of the day you can’t beat the tried and tested methods of old. Safe Journey home Paul!

    As usual I will be saying a prayer for all those at sea this Christmas as and in particular to those great heros who are ready to help when things do go ‘tits up’, as you say, the RNLI ( God bless this band of volunteers who have so often given the ultimate sacrifice when others are in peril on the sea. God bless them and their families.

    Comment by Graham Thompson — December 21, 2011 @ 1:52 pm

  4. Yep, long live the compass. What got me to the top (and back down again) on Creag Meagaidh on Saturday in near white out conditions – my mate’s GPS or my 20 yr old Silva compass – the compass of course. It was so cold that the batteries failed and the GPS froze !!

    Merry Christmas

    Comment by alan macdonald — December 22, 2011 @ 9:02 am

    • Merry Christmas Alan, the thought of a frozen GPS fills me with dread, it’s probably 5 degrees outside and that’s plenty cold enough for me 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 23, 2011 @ 11:50 pm

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