Life at the end of the road

January 8, 2013

Four thirty, Lochmaddy :-)

Filed under: daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 5:24 am

Half past four in the morning tied up alongside the pier at Lochmaddy in North Uist. I can’t tell you what it’s like outside as I’ve no window in my comfortable little cabin and it’s always ‘T shirt weather’ inside this rather comfortable ship, which has more in common with a cruise liner than inter island ferry.

I’m not actually on duty for another hour but was in my bed early last night after a rather long day and ‘slept like the dead’ up until half an hour ago. Pretty amazing really as I’ve been toiling to get out of bed at 7:30 of late in these dark and driech mornings of deepest January, perhaps that’s why, one thing about life on the Finlaggan, it’s all air conditioned and permanent daylight.

Anyway, internet access and phone signal is dubious here, far better tonight in Tarbert in the south of Harris where we tie up for the night, so with a bit of luck I’ll spend a bit more time ‘on line’ later. Who knows I might even have lost a little more weight by then Smile no kidding I managed to fasten my trousers this morning, something of a miracle considering the grub you get served here Smile


That was lunch, grilled salmon with herbs and lemon, some delicious boiled spuds and broccoli Smile Of course the lack of half a bottle of wine to wash it down and all the stairs and ladders on this ship might also have helped Smile



For that’s what I spent a good part of the day doing was refamiliarizing my self with everything on the ship, this being one of the escape routes up through four decks out of the engine room. OK I know I’ve only been away two weeks but I’ve a memory like a hen and the exercise did me good Smile

001  002

I dunno how many Trucks DR Macleod of Stornoway have but there always seems to be one or two on the ferry and they’re all well kept.



And this will be Tarbert, who’s sparse soil and Lewisian gneiss remind me of home, or at least part of it, for we have far more trees than the winswept outer isles.


A nice clean and tidy little port with not a pothole in sight on the black freshly tarmacked roads, something that our own dear island is in sad need of.



Quite how the manse has enough soil to support all those trees is beyond me, I can only guess at divine intervention, for that monkey puzzle must be 50’ tall Smile

Anyway, that’s it really, it’s 5:20 now so I’ll wander up to the ‘quiet lounge’ and see if I can get online before going down below to assist with ‘start up’ of the two Watsila 8L32 main engines.



  1. What a great way to make a living!! you are indeed blessed : )

    Comment by v8mbo — January 8, 2013 @ 6:41 am

  2. re “how the manse has enough soil” … maybe the parishioners had to donate a handful of soil every Sunday

    Comment by cazinatutu — January 8, 2013 @ 10:23 am

    • re “how the manse has enough soil” … maybe the parishioners had to donate a handful of soil every Sunday 🙂 🙂 🙂 you could well be right

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 8, 2013 @ 8:39 pm

  3. Spent a few hours in the Calmac waiting room at Tarbert at end of October waiting for a bus to Lochboisdale! Nice and warm and comfy while it rained outside – no shelter in the bus station – no, there is one but doesn’t have any seats! Whilst doing a bit of research for a holiday in N Ireland later in the year, came upon this thought it might interest you Paul – and maybe others too.

    Comment by francesp — January 8, 2013 @ 11:21 am

    • Cheers for the link Frances. The Canna was operated on that route by CalMac for a while but I didn’t realize she was still on it. I know there is talk of putting a larger, possibly ‘Loch Class’ vessel on the route when the ‘hybrids’ come on stream here in Scotland.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 8, 2013 @ 8:42 pm

  4. Great to have an update on life on one of the major vessels.

    Comment by Nigel Macleod — January 8, 2013 @ 12:17 pm

    • Great to be on one of the major vessels Nigel 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 8, 2013 @ 8:42 pm

  5. Nice to be back at work and enjoying the meals. Safe travel my friend.
    As always great pictures of places I have only ever dreamed of seeing. 😀

    Comment by Thomson Caravans — January 8, 2013 @ 6:25 pm

    • Aye Graham, you don’t want to be caravaning here just now though 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 8, 2013 @ 8:43 pm

      • Don’t want to be caravanning anywhere at the moment with the forecast going pear shaped for the next wee while! Sat here building a model kit I got for my birthday of a WW2 Tiger IV. Makes a change from my usual leisure time pursuits! 🙂

        Comment by Thomson Caravans — January 10, 2013 @ 8:14 am

      • Morning Graham, enjoy the model, it’s a long time since I made one, well apart from in Lego 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 12, 2013 @ 8:42 am

      • Yes fair enjoying building the model, not much left to do on it now but it has been relaxing and enjoyable, looking for one to do next! Just not sure what yet!
        Ah Lego, that wonderful invention that has kept all my kids and grandkids happy for hours! One of the best toys ever produced!

        Comment by Thomson Caravans — January 14, 2013 @ 4:23 am

  6. Love the photo of the ladder going up through the ice cave. Happy New Year from the East Coast!

    Comment by kingdomcat — January 8, 2013 @ 9:32 pm

    • Happy New Year to you too KC, ‘ice cave’ love it, much of the ship is covered with that insulation, looks like a spaceship in some places 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 12, 2013 @ 8:50 am

  7. Took a look at Finlaggan on the AIS she certainly moves faster than the Loch Striven – How they would love a ferry like her down here – with Scillonian III not sailing in the Winter and having a massive re-fit – waterlogged runway at Lands End and fog again today so far this Winter has been a difficult one on The Isles of Scilly ! Still the roads are in better conditions than Raasay !

    Comment by Sue Mason — January 9, 2013 @ 3:55 pm

    • Morning Sue, aye the Scillonians would be well served by her right enough, make sure you keep your wellies and brolly at hand 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 12, 2013 @ 8:47 am

  8. Hi Paul
    See your back in your groove and enjoying it, just one question how come your on Finlaggan and not Loch Striven?

    Comment by Polite Scouser — January 9, 2013 @ 4:28 pm

    • Morning Walter,

      the Loch Striven is full of crew right now 🙂 they Raasay crew are all on the Finlaggan for the ‘experience’ and on the whole thoroughly enjoying it 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 12, 2013 @ 8:46 am

  9. you have far too much time on your hands taking all these pictures lol. you told me you worked for living!!!!!

    Comment by ian jeffrey — January 11, 2013 @ 11:03 am

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