Life at the end of the road

March 8, 2012

THREE ferries!!!! :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, harbour — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:09 pm

Well the day got off to a nice start, not half as much wind as forecast and with no rain at all, so after a shower at 5:30 I donned my ‘lucky underpants’ in readiness for work 🙂 Not that I usually wear the rainbow striped boxers that wifey bought me very often and rarely for work. However the MCA  were due on board today and whilst all my paperwork was in order and I was primed for any number of drills, it’s always good to have something in reserve 🙂

Some mariners trust to not mentioning pigs, rabbits, salmon, ministers of the cloth or turning a certain way when leaving port. Me I eat a lot of rabbit, keep pigs and used to manage a salmon farm so should by rights have drowned years ago so I’ll stick with my wacky underwear 🙂

Anyway it was a busy, fresh and eventful day but I’ll not bore you with the details, in fact I wouldn’t be on here at all were it not for the great excitement of THREE FERRIES tied up to Raasay pier 🙂 But I’m getting a little ahead of myself.

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The immaculate ‘well boat’ Ronja Pioneer arrived at the Braes fish farm during the morning. I’m guessing at this time of year and so lightly laden that she’d most likely be carrying smolts to stock the cages on the left.

Vessel’s Details

Ship Type: Fish carrier
Year Built: 2006
Length x Breadth: 57 m X 12 m
Gross Tonnage: 1256, DeadWeight: 1250 t
Speed recorded (Max / Average): 14.1 / 10.7 knots
Flag: Norway [NO]
Call Sign: LAGT
IMO: 9345520, MMSI: 259433000

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Six years old and still looking like new, these Norwegians certainly look after their ships 🙂

We also had a couple of commercials for Raasay House, one of them carrying some interesting beams for Raasay House from KDL one of the contractors. Their website is well look for some of the beautiful and innovative projects that they’ve bee involved in. The Muck community hall for one and I have to say that I much prefer the ‘crinkly tin’ look


 of black ‘fibre cement’ to the Siberian larch of Raasay’s 🙂 But then I would, living as I do under corrugated iron 🙂

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There was not much water left at the end of the slip as Patterson’s  lorry drove off

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it would have been just about ‘chart datum’ at low water, as  this was taken half an hour later as we returned from Sconser after the 13:00, low tide being around 12:50.

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That took us up to lunchtime whereupon I had a wee sleep, the paperwork was in order, all was tidy and we were due to pick up the MCA man at 15:00 🙂

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Well we were if we could get in next to the barge

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because it was kind of fresh 🙂



The barge was till fairly high up the beach so we managed to do all but the last sailing, tying up sometime after 17:00 with the Loch Bhrusda and Loch Linnhe ahead of us.

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The Bhrusda must certainly have had an interesting passage across The Minch from Berneray 🙂

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Sadly I never got chance to find out as we all spent the next couple of hours with the MCA man.

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Luckily I found a man who could take charge of my camera,


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Cheers, Angus 🙂



  1. you’re getting more Calmac visitors than Bute at the moment! (although we did get Loch Portain the other day…)

    Comment by Zak — March 8, 2012 @ 10:29 pm

    • Morning Zak,

      I think the plan is to take Loch Linnhe to Tobermory to pick up the Tob to Kilchohan route, then take MV Raasay from Tob to Oban so the Eigg can leave the Lismore run to dry dock in Corpach.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 9, 2012 @ 6:16 am

  2. Where do the crew stay on visits like that?

    Comment by Stuart McMahon — March 8, 2012 @ 10:50 pm

    • Morning Stuart, the crew will normally stay on board to get an early start, not to mention ‘over night allowance’ 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 9, 2012 @ 6:17 am

  3. The men over at the ships of calmac forum will not be able to contain themselves. Three loch class tied up on raasay. I can’t really talk, because I have travelled on all 3, but only one o$ them was kind enough to make me a cup of tea.!!

    Comment by simon — March 8, 2012 @ 10:57 pm

    • Morning Simon, great excitement all round, looks like we could be a regular ‘staging post’ 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 9, 2012 @ 6:18 am

  4. Three ferries! We’ve been suffering from no ferries recently and we’ll soon be out of milk. Could you send one up to Lewis please?

    Comment by Tony — March 9, 2012 @ 12:00 am

    • Morning Tony, we’ve missed one or two ourselves of late but that’s been more to do with the ‘spud leg’ barge than the weather 😦

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 9, 2012 @ 6:20 am

  5. Wish i was at home now! At least the pier is being put to good use!

    Comment by seumasraasay — March 9, 2012 @ 3:22 am

    • Morning Seumas,

      aye it’s great indeed to see the harbour getting used, just a pity it was made smaller to ‘protect the view from Raasay House’ what a load of pish that was 😦

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 9, 2012 @ 6:22 am

  6. Morning Paul

    The Ronja Pioneer is a fine ship – I remember watching her through binoculars as she sailed up the Sound last year, and also her sister ship the Ronja Commando (I think that’s right), and noticing the Norwegian flag. Must watch out for the MV Raasay when next in Oban – would be good to see her again.



    Comment by Sue — March 9, 2012 @ 8:49 am

    • Morning Bacup 🙂

      That’ll be the Roja Commander, there’s also at least one more but her name escapes me at 6:50am 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 11, 2012 @ 6:52 am

  7. Hi Paul
    Random not related to today’s blog comment! I would really appreciate your views on Portree High School and the accommodation that you son stays in. We have bought land at Aird on Skye (just past Ardvasar) and have full planning permission for our dream house, and rather than it be a holiday home we are now considering a permanent move to Skye. Our daughter is in Year 4 (nearly 9) and obviously one of the (many) big things to consider is her education! I would welcome your opinion of your son’s first year at Portree and whether you think the hostel is a good environment?! I know you may not want to comment openly on the comment page, so if not I can provide you with my email – if you can’t access it? I am also very keenly watching your house recommendations – the windows look great. We are building with Beco blocks so want the best insulation possible to take full advantage. Many thanks in advance. Jo

    Comment by Jo Cohen — March 9, 2012 @ 11:00 am

    • Morning Jo,

      no worries about the Portree hostel, both it and the staff are top notch, the food is good, well apart from the pork which my son says is like leather, but then he’s been spoiled. The staff are fantastic and helped greatly when we were struggling to get him a place.

      Good luck with the build and keep us informed of progress.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 11, 2012 @ 6:56 am

  8. Great photos – Calmac are getting inventive at new places to hide their vessels

    Comment by Nigel Macleod — March 9, 2012 @ 12:36 pm

    • Morning Nigel and welcome aboard, I hope they ‘hide’ more of them here, it brings a little extra revenue to the island and it’s great to see the valuable asset we now have in a decent berth being used.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 11, 2012 @ 6:58 am

  9. Hi Paul
    What a session you must have had with the meeting of the three boats and their crew. I can just see the TV news bulletin. Three skippers, crew and their boats take Raasay in “storm”. Hope you all had a good chin wag and swopping of stories.

    Comment by politescouser — March 9, 2012 @ 5:28 pm

    • Morning Walter,

      not as good or as long a ‘chinwag’ as I’d have liked 😦

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 11, 2012 @ 6:59 am

  10. The Hall on Muck is stunning … slightly smaller than the Raasay version. We were supposed to play a concert in it last october but it wasn’t quite ready so we ended up in the very crowded tea shop and had a ball of an evening!

    Comment by Sarah — March 10, 2012 @ 12:43 pm

    • Yes Sarah, that hall is far more in keeping with its environment than ours and all done by local contractors in about a third the time it took to build ours. Quite an achievement for such a remote location. Did you spot the “a tracked machine arrived from another island, Raasay (12 hour round trip on Spanish John), and started shaping the football pitch at the front of the building and car park to the side.” That will be our very own Hugh Mackay AKA ‘Grumpy digger driver’ who made the epic trip in horrendous weather

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 11, 2012 @ 7:06 am

      • When I was there Paul – the ‘football pitch’ was more of a mudbath where they could have held Tartan Heart festival round two and the carpark was all up as they were laying the drainage themselves. They should be very proud of the hall … and I know they are enjoying it as I had an email from saying that it had already been used for a christmas day service, the new years eve celebrations and burns night supper.
        As for horrendous weather … I can relate to our grumpy digger driver’s experience. We did the concert after a trip in a whale spotting boat in a force 8 gale!

        Comment by Sarah — March 15, 2012 @ 6:42 pm

      • Hi Sarah, must try and get over to the Small isles myself some day and have a look, after all I get over free 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 15, 2012 @ 8:00 pm

  11. Hi Paul
    Don’t know how these blogs work, but am trying to get in contact with you
    send us an email (
    been researching reconditioning proven spring set ups and found a forum you had conversations on – did you ever any joy about the spring manufacturer ?
    Just replaced a broken spring on mine with old sets I had cobbled tigether and have been quoted 450 for complete spring units from Kingspan – but I reckon you only need new springs, not whole units ????
    be good to pick your brains
    all the best

    Comment by John White — March 12, 2012 @ 10:42 pm

    • Good morning Chalkie,

      I’ve lost the address of the company in Bristol but was thinking of getting back on the case shortly. Aye Chalkie you probably will be just fine with springs only but the eyes do wear out and the springs can be tricky to assemble (they have a nylon spacer inside) this is worth a look Chalkie

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 13, 2012 @ 6:23 am

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