Life at the end of the road

October 27, 2012

Still in Barrhead :-(

Filed under: boats, daily doings, South Shields, wind turbine — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:04 pm

Not for long right enough as I’m getting the train back to South Shields tomorrow before another spell at the MSTC on the banks of the Tyne. Quite looking forward to it to be honest after my little practice on the Newcastle Metro, well apart from all the people plugged into iPods and wearing their thumbs out texting Smile Still I’ve got my laptop, bag of washing, red neck hillbilly jacket for company so I’m sure I’ll be just fine Smile

Search around for the best tariff !!!

I keep hearing this carp on the radio being spouted out by the representatives of energy companies and I have to say it makes me smile and feel a little smug. The only way is up as far as the energy companies are concerned, but me being self sufficient takes little notice. The only time that I’ve taken anything to do with it was trying to work out the price per Kwh that my mum was paying and nowhere could I actually find out, from her bill or the dozen or various options she’d been given. Why on earth can they not just sell the stuff at a price per unit or at least have tariffs that people can understand?? Which brings me onto the subject of train journeys, what a friggin performance it is buying a ticket with prices for the same journey on the same day varying by some £60 or £70 and the prices changing both up and down throughout the day Sad smile

I checked the first three companies that come up via Google when you key in ‘Glasgow to Newcastle’ on Friday morning and it was £24 for the 7:50, £36 for a couple of the later trains £56 for one in the middle of the day and £97 first class on one Sad smile Bit unfair to ask the in laws to take me into the station at that time thought I but it would save me £12 Smile I’ll run it by them later thinks I, upon checking a few hours later the 7:50 was up to £30 and most of the others down to the same price !!! ‘I give in’ thought I and ordered one quick before it changed it’s mind for the worse. Which is where the fun really started, I keyed in to my departure box ‘Glasgow central’ and my arrival as ‘Newcastle Metro’ now instead of telling you that the train does not actually leave from Glasgow central but in fact it actually departs from Glasgow Queen st it tells you collect your ticket from one station then walk to the other Sad smile A quick phone call to India sorted it out but it struck me as a little bit bonkers, like the journey’s end, it’s not actually at Newcastle Metro but at Newcastle central and you have to walk. Not an issue for me but then I don’t have two large suitcases, crutches, a wheelchair or white stick Smile

A bit of old iron

I’ve only been out a couple of times today despite the nice crisp morning and mainly bonny day, there is plenty to do here but I’ve done all the museums to death over the years and without a son to share them with it seemed a little pointless. Not only that but it would have meant driving and I’m not really up to it, however I did find a ‘museum piece’ of sorts almost on my doorstep when I got lost.


This beauty of an old wind pump resides just of Aurs road in Barrhead near the back of Barr farm, which I’m guessing it once served.



Manufactured in East Kilbride by ‘W Dickie & son’ at their Victoria works these were apparently a common sight in Scotland at one time, somthing confirmed by a quick Google as there are many still around.

 Dickie Windpump

Here’s one at the museum of rural life in East Kilbride one that I haven’t visited Smile photograph from courtesy of

Dickie Windpump

An antique Dickie windpump at the Museum of Rural Life in East Kilbride. The company which made these, and other agricultural items, was founded in 1872 by William Wilson Dickie – my great-great-great-great uncle.

who just happens to be related Smile


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Just check out the braking and furling mechanism on this, It’s kind of hard to make out but there’s a brake band just behind the hub operated by that lever and chain attached to the tail.

005  006

Just click on the images to enlarge them.


wind pump

Not exactly the same, the diagram uses a drum rather than a brake band but the principle is the same, as the tail furls in the wind it actuates the brake via levers and springs.

A bit of ‘new iron’

Sadly I’ll be missing my spell at Ardmaliesh this year with the MV Loch Striven but I have just received news via Zak of  zak355 about the launch of a second land craft there for When I was at the yard last December they were just putting the finishing touches to ‘Clare Anne’

031211 031

who was launched a few weeks later

Clare Anne was obviously a success for her sister Lady Charlotte has just been launched.


Published on Friday 26 October 2012 17:00

The latest new ship to be built at the Ardmaleish Boatbuilding Company on Bute hit the water for the first time on Friday.

The Lady Charlotte is the second vessel built by the workforce at the Port Bannatyne yard for the Scottish Salmon Company’s operations on the country’s west coast.

Named after a pupil at Shieldaig Primary School near Loch Torridon, where the vessel will be based, the Lady Charlotte is of largely similar design to her SSC sister ship Clare Anne, which was launched at Ardmaleish in January.

The Lady Charlotte is the sixth new vessel to be built at Ardmaleish in the last eleven years, and follows in the wake of the Clare Anne, the trawlers Spes Bona V and Scotia Star, the replica puffer Maryhill and the landing craft and cattle carrier Marnock – the latter two built for Lord Smith of Kelvin, who owns the island of Inchmarnock off Bute’s west coast.

The Port Bannatyne firm also has a contract to overhaul 11 of Caledonian MacBrayne’s smaller vessels each winter, and has carried out maintenance work on the other members of the SSC fleet for several years.


Named after a pupil at Shieldaig primary school where the new boat will be based Lady Charlotte will hopefully be making her way there soon.

Again many thanks to Zak of Bute for supplying the images and info more pictures of both launches at the bottom of the page.

Meanwhile in Barrhead :-)

Filed under: daily doings, New hybrid ferry, South Shields — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 2:35 pm

Thursday was a pretty ‘full on’ day at in South Shields. The ‘hot work’ of the previous three days fire fighting being ‘washed down’ by a spell in the pool doing ‘PST’ or personal survival techniques.  Now this is what I call useful work, after a month of filing, hacksawing and drilling, we have at last been doing something useful and enjoyable, well to most of us at least Smile So after a spell in the classroom learning how to fend off sharks, drink turtle blood and remove the eyes from fish we went swimming Smile  This is the kind of stuff that the ‘Marine Safety Training Centre’ in South Shields excel at, with great staff to guide you through what for some can be a terrifying experience. Not everyone likes water or enclosed spaces, especially when they can make waves, wind, and rain in the pool and fill your enclosed space with fire and smoke Sad smile



This is the last man being ‘airlifted’ out of the pool, it looks bright and calm now but prior to this the lights had been turned down, we were being sprayed from above by jets of water, blasted by fans of cold air and the pool was anything but flat due to the ‘wave machine’ Sad smile



When all that was over I hitched a lift to Glasgow to spend a couple of nights with the wife’s family, arriving there at 19:15 just as the lights went out Sad smile Apparently the result of an explosion, perhaps in a transformer? whatever it was the power was not restored until 4:05am the following day. Not an unusual occurrence on Raasay in the winter but rare indeed during fine weather in Barrhead I’m sure.

A cold old war relic

The town as you all know is not my natural environment so the first thing that I did after the normal morning stuff was look for a reason to get out of it with Charlie. That’ll be Charlie the ‘wee dug’, one of Molly and Buster’s offspring, a quick ‘Google’ of ‘ROC bunker Barrhead’ turned up this so I thought I’d go and check it out. If you live in Britain, then the chances are there is one near you as some 1500 where built during the early sixties all to the same design.


roc4 roc5

Fifteen feet long by seven foot six inches wide there purpose was to monitor nuclear strikes by the Soviet Union.



The one near Barrhead is in a beautiful spot overlooking the town, just 10 minutes walk from the station, up Graham road, through the gap in the houses then just a few yards off the path before you arrive at the golf course.



Many thanks to the Ordnance Survey for that map Smile

Of course we had to walk through the town to get there but even that was a joy in the fine autumn weather



over a couple of old iron bridges that crossed the Leven water that eventually joins a couple of other rivers and ends up in the Clyde.


Only minutes after letting Charlie off his lead and just yards into the green fields of the Glenifer Braes I saw four hinds, something that would have been unusual on Raasay at this time of day let alone near the town centre.



They were literally just on the path here in front and looked like they’d just come out of someone’s back garden. Not as large as red deer but looking very similar with a white rump I’m guessing they were roe deer. Funnily enough Raasay’s name means ‘the island of the roe deer’ though in twenty three years I’ve never actually seen one Smile



The post itself has now been sealed up and welded shut



but would have provided some fine views of Armageddon had it arrived Smile


Only ten years ago the post was still very much intact


roc 1

untidy but all there,


sadly the local neds have reduced it to this and the place is now well and truly gutted Sad smile

Meanwhile ‘oop north’

News from home is that the first snow has arrived on Raasay


cheers George. Not so obvious in this view of the Cuilins but wifey reported lying snow at Glam yesterday and the odd slip on the pothole strewn roads of Raasay, which the council now seem to be neglecting more than ever.

Our local community newsletter arrived recently full of the latest developments about the community Co-op


Update from Local Development Officers
A public meeting was held by the local development officers to set up the Community
Co-operative. There was a good turnout from the Raasay Community who showed
strong support for becoming members of a Community retail Cooperative. An
introduction and case studies of other successful Community run shops were
delivered and a management committee was confirmed.  This was followed by a
presentation on the different legal structures available for forming such co-operatives
varying from dividend shares being paid out to shareholders, to shares going back
into Community benefit.  In-depth discussions took place on the different
membership types but it was made clear by all that regardless of what legal structure
was chosen the shop must remain open and everyone agreed to the cost of one

share being set at £50.00.  The constitution for the Community of Raasay Retail Co-operative should be in place by 30th
Whilst the Development Officers are busy sourcing funding to support this venture,
through agencies such as Big Lottery and The Prince’s Countryside Fund there are
no guarantees that full funding will be found.  Alternative funding and loans require to
be sourced.  As taking over the shop is likely to be an expensive business we will
require all the help we can from you.  Membership is open to everyone including
those aged 16 or younger who can buy a Junior share for £10.00. It is hoped that as
many people as possible can invest in shares in order for the Community to secure a
shop for Raasay.

plus more news from Seamus on the Hallaig.

Seamas Nicolson has been able to give us this latest update on the new ferry and
has sent us some pictures showing how construction is coming along. Here is what
Seamas reported:
“On the 9th October, 2012 I was able to visit the newly named “MV Hallaig” which is
under construction in Port Glasgow. Since my last visit in May, there  has been a lot
of work done and it is starting to look like a ship. The passenger lounge is currently
being constructed from pre-fabricated sections which are built in the various sheds at
the yard. Aluminium is being used where possible to save weight.    The major
machinery is beginning to arrive including the generators, sewage plant,  propulsion
units  along with a watertight door to separate the two engine rooms, windows and
lots of tins of paint!  The ramps are on a ship on their way from Poland where they
were manufactured. The launch date is currently set for the 17th December, so
hopefully there will be no delays allowing them to remain on schedule”.

and some pictures.

hallaig 271012



sewage plant

It also contained a damning report on the dreadful condition of local roads

The recent survey carried out by Development Officers of locals and visitors using

the Raasay roads, showed up no surprises by road users.  Out of 48 Questionnaires

69% of road users found the conditions of the Raasay roads to be extremely poor

while 43% of visitors to Raasay stated the poor road conditions would prevent them

from a return visit – this is alarming for the economy of the Island!

Listed below are copies of some of the many comments submitted in the


  Roads are dreadfully neglected. Potholes in potholes. Weeds in centre of

carriageway. Loose gravel/rocks. Badly maintained verges.

  The state of the roads on Raasay is a major factor for me and my family not


  The condition of the roads are ridiculous and people have to use them, there is no choice

and elected members must respond to the people who elect them to represent the

residents of the Island of Raasay.

  Calum’s Road is incredible. Road from Inverarish to Calum’s Road is terrible, caused an

accident as loose tarmac meant safe cycling was impossible. Damaged knee, awaiting

medical attention.

  Lovely Island shame about the roads.

and some great news about Raasay Primary school who raised £2157.70p on the coffee day despite many islanders being away that day.

A fabulous day out was recently enjoyed by all at Raasay Primary School’s annual
Coffee Day where the whopping sum of  £2,157.70  was raised for school funds.
Events on the day included the popular Digger Challenge, Archery, Guess the weight
of the Cake, Guess the Bear’s name, face painting, roll the dice, hit the pound .   The
Parent Council had a busy day running the kitchen and café and turned out the usual
delicious lunches of soup, macaroni, chicken curry, chilli  and home baking.  The live
auction added to the day’s entertainment  and although regular auctioneer Donnie
Oliphant was absent,  David Croy managed to raise the school funds even higher
with his wise-cracks!!

contact Lloyd or Joan on 01478 660358 if you like more info or a copy emailing to you.

Another sad loss

News came to me last night that Bella Macleod, died of a stroke at Budhmor care home yesterday, Bella was the last surviving sibling of Calum Macleod who built the world famous road to Arnish. At 91 (92 in January) she would, I think have been the oldest living person born on Raasay, but had lived in Portree for many years with her brother Charlie, who sadly passed away in March. Named after an earlier sister, Bella Dolly, who died in the 1919 Spanish flu epidemic, Bella lived in my house (her grand parents) at Arnish for many years before moving to Bayfield in Portree with Charlie. Though I never really knew her other than a brief smile on the ferry as passenger in Charlie’s car my thoughts are with the family at this tragic time so soon after their previous loss. I’m not sure when or where the funeral is but I’m thinking it will be in Portree, perhaps on Friday.

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