Life at the end of the road

December 17, 2012

The MV Hallaig launch and lunch :-)

Filed under: daily doings, New hybrid ferry — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:32 pm

I have to say peeps that ‘I’m buzzing’ Smile for today I was at the launch of our new hybrid ferry, the MV Hallaig at Ferguson’s shipyard on the Clyde. Attending the launch of any vessel is quite special, being there when the very first hybrid sea going Ro Ro ferry in the world slips effortlessly into the Clyde is something else. Especially when it’s the first complete ship built on this magnificent river in five years, a river that spawned the saying ‘Clyde built’ something that became synonymous for generations with  anything that was durable, strong, long lasting and tough.

Me, well I can’t help thinking, how on earth did I arrive here !!!! Not that long ago I’m just this eccentric old git that keeps pigs writes carp on his blog in the evenings and today I’m shaking hands with Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s deputy first minister. Fifteen years ago I took great pride in launching the 24’ MV Conqueror with my good mate Willie Eyre and now I’m watching 700tons of steel and aluminium slip into the Clyde, it’s all a little overwhelming Smile


  conqueror rebuild_0003

There are certain moments in a persons life when you can look back and say ‘it has all been worthwhile’ the moment when the solicitor told me that my offer for 3 South Arnish had been accepted was one. Seeing the MV Conqueror slip in the water after I salved her from 18m of water and spent two years rebuilding her was another. The day my wife proposed to me in the ‘Sarry Hied’ after a Morcheeba gig


at the Barrowlands was another and today, well today may not have been ‘life changing’ but it was certainly very special.



My darling wife was at home looking after the croft but it was a pleasure to have her mum accompany me in her stead Smile

Ferguson’s yard being a mere 30 minutes drive from her house where I’ve been staying since my return from Holland. Arriving there early we met up with the rest of the Loch Striven’s  crew and had a coffee before the launch.


And I’m probably going to get ‘hung drawn and quartered’ for posting these Smile



but it’s so long since I’ve seen anyone smile that I don’t ‘give a fig’ Smile

After ‘mingling’ for a while we all went down to see the ship in the flesh so to speak


and I have to say, I was impressed. She will be a fine replacement for the trusty Loch Striven who I’ve come to know and love these past ten years. With double the capacity it should mean no more ‘short shipped’ vehicles and her diesel electric propulsion should make her far quieter and pleasanter to travel aboard for passengers and crew alike.



014  013


Whilst all the dignitary’s, TV crews and suits milled about, Ferguson’s engineers and carpenters  got on with the serious business of sliding 700 plus tons of ship into the sea.




This will be the ‘box coolers’ for the generators and electric drive, yes, the electric motors and inverters really are water cooled.


003 (2)

That’s 1000hp sat there on those girders Smile


Anyway after a couple of  speeches and a dedication by the reverend Andrew Maclean the MV Hallaig was sent down the slipway with a bottle of Talisker  single malt courtesy of Nicola Sturgeon


and a rendition of ‘Over the sea to Skye’ on the pipes  by an MSP who’s name I forget, which is dreadful for his father worked at this very yard Sad smile



Photo’s courtesy of mum in law Smile






Once our good ship had been launched and the ‘dust had settled’




we drove up to the Gleddoch house hotel for a three course lunch Smile




038 039

and I have to say that I was ‘well out of my depth’ Smile However the lunch was spectacular, MiL had a ball and we all received a beautiful gift from CMAL of a glass paperweight depicting the MV Hallaig.


something that will really become a family heirloom Smile

Even better pictures here



  1. You wearing a suit and a tie, a very special day indeed 😉 Looks like you had a cracker of a day, I am sure she will be the best looked after boat in the fleet thanks to your hands Paul.

    Comment by Simon. — December 17, 2012 @ 10:54 pm

  2. Saw the launch on the news! Shouted out ‘It’s our ferry!’ And sat with abig grin watching. Good that you and the others were there (loved the ties). No mention on the news that it was for Raasay – maybe better in Scottish news.

    What excitement!


    Comment by Sue — December 17, 2012 @ 10:55 pm

  3. What a wonderful day for everyone, no wonder you feel overwhelmed!!

    Comment by Brenda Menzies — December 17, 2012 @ 10:58 pm

  4. Happy New Boat! i used to be a motorman on the rigs and loved it : )

    Comment by robin — December 17, 2012 @ 11:24 pm

    • Hi Robin, us ‘motormen’ have to stick together 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 21, 2012 @ 11:29 pm

  5. So if you have the glass paperweight, does this mean mere mortals must call you “sir” and pipe you aboard each time you arrive at work?

    Comment by Drgeo — December 18, 2012 @ 4:38 am

    • No ‘sir’ required DrG, Oi will do just fine 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 21, 2012 @ 11:30 pm

  6. Well Paul your coverage of the day is far better than either the BBC,s or STV but then again to those of us who follow your blog that is of no surprise!
    Mil certainly seems to have had a great day out and no doubt a welcome break for her too!
    Long life and happiness to all who sail on the MV Hallaig.

    BBC News –
    STV –

    Comment by Thomson Caravans — December 18, 2012 @ 5:54 am

    • Aye Graham, it was a pure joy, pleasure and honour to take MiL to the event, I really don’t know where all these MiL jokes come from, mine is an angel 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 21, 2012 @ 11:32 pm

      • I can honestly say my wife’s MIL was one in a million! 😉

        Comment by Thomson Caravans — December 22, 2012 @ 1:24 am

      • I can honestly say my wife’s MIL was one in a million! Mine too Graham 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 23, 2012 @ 7:32 am

  7. Paul,
    Excellent news and what an event to witness, she looks grand, a great boost for ship building jobs, you could see that with the litle blonde lass on Grahams STV clip. Not long now till you will be creating mouth watering meals onboard.
    Shame to use a good bottle of Talisker, I never realised that was the Scottish way I thought all ships were launched with French pop.
    Did make me smile watching the chaps remove the supports underneath and then the chap with the paint roller touching up areas with a little paint.

    Comment by Arthur T Bomber Harris — December 18, 2012 @ 8:45 am

  8. You scrub up really well Paul. I shed a little tear as I watched the launch. Now can’t wait until she comes into service.

    Comment by Frances G — December 18, 2012 @ 9:04 am

  9. XLNT news Paul, been following it avidly, it even got coverage on the UK news on the beeb!
    You can expect to have a few more followers as I’ve posted this up on facebook and am away to see where I can put it on Newsnetscotland too!

    Comment by caadfael — December 18, 2012 @ 10:12 am

  10. Brill to see everyone smiling. Looked for it on TV but missed it. Must have a go on it when we get some time

    Comment by altinnlife — December 18, 2012 @ 11:29 am

  11. hi there i am a big fan of calmac and cmal i was going to go to launch but i found out i couldnt and i was looking at your pics and when i seen that you got hat light weight of hallaig i was upset so i am wondering if i could buy it off you?

    Comment by Christine Shaw — December 18, 2012 @ 12:43 pm

    • What ! And sell it on EBay ! Leave the ornament to Paul, to remind him of a moment of history making, and, you get back under your stone…

      Comment by SOTW — December 18, 2012 @ 7:17 pm

      • Well said she.

        Comment by Carole and Finnie — December 21, 2012 @ 7:02 pm

      • What ! And sell it on EBay ! Leave the ornament to Paul, to remind him of a moment of history making, and, you get back under your stone…

        🙂 🙂 priceless She

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 21, 2012 @ 11:45 pm

    • Aye Christine, that’ll be right 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 21, 2012 @ 11:34 pm

  12. Great to see the new ferry in the water. When is it going to be arriving for the Sconser – Raasay crossing, and if it can take twice as many vehicles, does that mean there will be less sailings? Looks like you all had a good day, but now your days of travelling are over, and I bet you’re looking forward to being back at the end of the road!!

    Comment by francesp — December 18, 2012 @ 1:16 pm

    • Same number of sailings but twice as many cars Frances 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 21, 2012 @ 11:35 pm

  13. Great to see the new ship in the water.Certainly is the icing on the cake regarding the whole Raasay ferry-service upgrade.Clyde built too.Must have been a very special day for you all, what with you wearing a suit and tie 🙂 I will even wager a bet you used a soup-spoon during the meal 🙂

    Comment by Andy — December 18, 2012 @ 1:36 pm

    • No soup in sight Andy, just the trusty haggis 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 21, 2012 @ 11:38 pm

  14. Good to see you yesterday Paul. You scrubbed up well.
    Looking fwd to seeing Hallaig become a ship in the coming months and we’ ll no doubt see you in the ” dirty wee port” again soon

    Comment by John S — December 18, 2012 @ 1:43 pm

    • Hi John, can’t even begin to tell you what a pleasure it was to be there with wifey’s mum to see the new boat slip into the Clyde.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 21, 2012 @ 11:40 pm

  15. Congratulations to all the crew and Raasay folk as well – can’t wait to sail on her. Great stuff!

    All the ACFA archaeologist bunch who have travelled on the old ‘drive on-reverse off’ ferry send their best wishes too.

    Anne Macdonald

    Comment by Anne Macdonald — December 18, 2012 @ 6:22 pm

  16. Fabulous Paul – the ship that is! Although as others have commented, you brush up well yourself; after the stress and sadness of the last weeks Mrs C’s Mum looks to have relaxed and enjoyed the day.
    Also, isn’t it great that the yard has started training apprentices again – long may that continue. The country needs some ‘proper’ jobs at home.
    Once she’s fitted out, will the skippers and the crew be part of the sea trials? Is that in your training package? I imagine steering/manoeuvring with a Voith Schneider is going to feel quite different to a conventional prop (I’m still trying to get my head around the diagrams). It would be seriously embarrassing to pile all that technology up on the slipway first time out. 🙂
    Safe journey home.

    Comment by Carrie — December 18, 2012 @ 7:22 pm

    • Voith Schneiders are normal on CalMac’s wee ships, most of the Loch class have them. They suit the requirements of the job where the ships are held against the slipways under power whilst the ramp is down to load, rather than tying up against a link-span like their big sisters do.

      Comment by Phil Cook — December 18, 2012 @ 10:37 pm

      • Oh well, then that’s one less excuse for any scuffs on what might pass for modern-day brightwork.

        Comment by Carrie — December 19, 2012 @ 7:17 pm

  17. Fab post Paul, pleasec try not to bend Hallaig when they let you loose on her! 🙂 (like that posh new submarine not so long ago)

    Comment by Lloyd — December 18, 2012 @ 7:48 pm

  18. Hi Paul, Loved the coverage of the launch. It’s grand to think of the pipes skirling and the excitment of the launch while down here in relatively unexciting calm of Somerset England

    Comment by heathermkw — December 19, 2012 @ 6:05 pm

  19. i didn’t realize the ferry was named after the lost village of raasay. wow, i’m thrilled. here’s the poem:

    Comment by jeannettesmyth — December 20, 2012 @ 9:24 pm

    • Hallaig isn’t lost, Jeanette, just emptied of its people like all the other settlements which ringed Raasay for centuries until the people were found to be less valuable than sheep and cleared from the land in the 19th century. You can still walk the path to Hallaig and wander round the ruins – mostly just foundations now, humps in the grass.

      Comment by Anne Macdonald — December 21, 2012 @ 7:55 pm

  20. Read your blog everyday…more than a newspaper, and more interesting… As a new CalMac vessel is “born”, thought you might be interested in news about the “Suilven”, a former ship from your shores.

    All the best
    Doug Miller

    Comment by Doug Miller — January 6, 2013 @ 11:37 am

    • Many thanks for that Doug, I’m sure you’ll have seen that youTube video of her in the New Zealand straits in heavy weather. I often wondered why CalMac sold her at the relatively young age of 21, was she not suitable or too small or something?

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 6, 2013 @ 11:47 am

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