Life at the end of the road

December 21, 2012

Back on the road again :-(

Filed under: boats, daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 11:21 pm

Well that was a short stay in Arnish Sad smile exactly twelve hours with my wife to be precise before I was once more ‘on the road’ in my old truck. I left Barrhead at 9:00am and arrived home exactly ten hours later, after what was on the whole a pleasant drive north. Pleasant as in fairly quiet, mainly daylight and stress free, it was certainly something I could have done without.


Still at least I wasn’t driving a lorry or coach Sad smile How on earth in this day an age do we let our politicians and authorities get away with the A82 down Loch Lomond side ???? The main arterial road to the west coast of Scotland and yet two large vehicles can not actually pass each other without touching. I dunno how long this pair had been stuck but there was a very long queue behind the coach, luckily I was in no rush, listening as I was to an audio tape of Dracula having just finished six hours of Agatha Christies Poirot  Smile Probably not how you spell it but you know, that man with the silly moustache Smile

Of course it isn’t normally a twelve hour trip from Barrhead to Arnish, not even for me but I had a few errands to do on the way, priority one being drink from Lidl in Fort William, followed by a visit to Harbro  at Corpach.



Though when I got there the agricultural feed merchant that used to reside in this building and one or two others had vanished Sad smile  This part of Corpach was the machine, repair shop and even rifle range for the nearby  HMS St Christopher, that being the name of the RN base here during WWII. If you want much more interesting info on wartime Fort William then check out Martin Briscoe’s blog . From what I remember the headquarters were in the Highland Hotel and it was a centre for MTB’s, ML’s and MGB’s (motor torpedo boats, motor launches and motor gunboats ). This particular building being for repairing and testing torpedoes, hence the huge water tank on the roof.


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There’s a large manually operated gantry that still works and a circular bricked up hole in the wall furthest away from the door but I can’t think what it would be for. The room behind it is hardly large enough to store any torpedoes. Just check out the size of those ‘H’ beams to support the water tank.





Glen Garry had totally vanished in the mist but the sun and trees prevented any decent pictures.




Light was much better past the summit of the pass that winds from Invergarry to Glen Moriston so the wee dug and I stopped at the bizarre collection of stones above Loch Loyne.


Managing to arrive at my parents house before the light failed Smile







and leaving me with a couple of hours of ‘quality time’ before dashing off once more to catch something.




I made the last ferry to Raasay and managed to get home for 19:00, leaving me a full twelve hours with my darling wife, OK, for most of it I was asleep and my son was still in Portree Sad smile 

On the waggon Smile

After all too brief a time with half my family, and without even a glimpse of our hens or piglets, the alarm went off at 6:30am and it was time to ‘hit the road’ once more.


This time it was to catch the 7:55 ferry ‘Loch Linnhe’ to join the 9:40 ferry ‘Finlaggan’ at Uig, bound for, well to be honest I’m not actually sure where it was heading for, either Tarbert in Harris or Lochmaddy in North Uist. I’m not certain because I was destined for the engine room so would see little of either Smile CMAL’s  newest vessel, the Polish built MV Finlaggan   is on the ‘triangle’ Uig, Tarbert, Lochmaddy route whilst the regular MV Hebrides is in dry dock, and the Raasay crew are doing some training on it. Built especially for the Islay route this fine ship has been called by some the ‘Bin Waggon’ Smile I honestly can’t see how she acquired such a derogatory name for she is indeed a fine ship, OK, she had a few ‘teething problems’ but what ship doesn’t ?


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OK, the last picture wasn’t actually my cabin but the first two were Smile 


It’s even got a play area (for the passengers not the crew) Smile and a gym for the crew.



A ‘quiet lounge’ Smile



A noisy lounge with about six TV’s Smile


and a posh one with leather arm chairs, seriously, if this was a hotel it would be a few hundred quid a night Smile


Not that I actually saw much of it, buried as I was in the bowels of the ship Smile


This will be what I call ‘the stairway to heaven’ Smile there are an awful lot of stairs on the MV Finlaggan Sad smile mind you, you need them to work off all the grub that you get fed Smile


Anyway, I’ve had neither the time nor internet access to post but here’s Lochmaddy on North Uist


and I can’t believe that anyone would want to leave such a place Smile Well unless you liked trees that is Smile OK, it might be a little like the Falkland islands but there’s plenty of wind for a turbine, no midges, lots of scallops and probably quite a few lobsters Smile 

I have to say that I wasn’t actually looking forward to joining the ‘big boats’ but really enjoyed my three day stint and will not be dismayed to be going back there after the New Year. Starting something that is 4000Kw like the two  Wartsila  8L32’s that power the Finlaggan is a little more involved than the Loch Striven’s 300Kw Volvo’s Smile In fact the Mitsubishi generators on Finlaggan are bigger than the Raasay ferry’s main engines Smile

Anyway, now I’m back home and going to bed Smile



  1. To me she feels more like a floating casino and I don’t like the rather limited options to go outside on a nice day, still, once you’re done with her up there can you send her back to the Islay route safely? 😉

    Comment by Armin — December 22, 2012 @ 12:10 am

    • Morning and welcome Armin To me she feels more like a floating casino 🙂 yes I can see where you’re coming from, I forgot to mention the fruit machines 😦 A sign of the times I’m afraid, still I do like her and she’s well fitted out. Excellent blog of yours too I’ve ‘dipped in’ once or twice having spent quite a bit of time diving wrecks there in the 70’s It really is a beautiful place.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 23, 2012 @ 7:30 am

  2. Paul, You are a busy lad jetsetting about Northern Europe & Scotland. I agree with you on the A82 in this day and age when they can give the M25 4 or 5 lanes in each direction, this fails to cater for the simple fact that folk are unable to move over to the left lane once thay have overtaken someone. All they need to do is make the road another 10′ wide and make the odd overtaking lane. There again how long has it taken to get rid of some of the single track road North of Portree
    Interesting pictures of the MV Finlaggan, never imagined it would have been so plush, like a ‘Pimps Pad’.
    Lovely picture above Glen Garry, certainly looked fresh at your folks.
    How are the piglets?


    Comment by Arthur T Bomber Harris — December 22, 2012 @ 12:20 am

  3. You certainly have had a busy few days again and I am pleased to hear you are now back at home, hopefully you will be able to spend some quality time there before you are off again. You have probably covered more mileage in the last 4 months than you have in the last 4 or so years!
    All the best

    Comment by Thomson Caravans — December 22, 2012 @ 1:27 am

  4. Glad you are home for the holidays! I assume the Dude must shave twice daily now and Molly has adopted the neighbor. Perhaps some of the chickens remember you. It will be good to capture the familiar again, and shelter a bit from the wind in the warmth.

    Comment by Drgeo — December 22, 2012 @ 3:33 am

    • Holidays my foot DrG 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 23, 2012 @ 7:33 am

  5. 4000Kw

    Pah i’ve sailed with a on a ship that had a bigger compressor then that. But it was an LNG ship with a re-liquefaction plant which was driven by a 6Mw electric motor.

    Comment by thinfourth — December 22, 2012 @ 8:02 am

    • Morning Thinforth, glad you’re still paying attention 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 23, 2012 @ 7:35 am

  6. Great photo of the A82 – that stretch between Tarbet and Ardlui must be one of the worst remaining in Scotland.
    By the way , Hebrides is running around the West Coast doing relief.
    Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year to you and your family – I have very much enjoyed your blog over the past year.

    Comment by Nigel Macleod — December 24, 2012 @ 1:20 pm

    • Merry Christmas to you too Nigel, that scene on the A82 is becoming far too common. As has been said it just needs to be 3m wider and a few overtaking lanes.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 25, 2012 @ 11:45 am

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