Life at the end of the road

March 30, 2013

Leaving ‘the triangle’

Filed under: boats, daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 11:27 pm

Well after 21:00 now and the good ship Finlaggan is taking the unusual step of berthing in Lochmaddy tonight to let our cousin the Hebrides lie in Tarbert, from where we’ve just departed. Having left the Clyde this morning after repairs to her turbo chargers the MV Hebrides is now well and truly on her way and will be ‘picking up the route’ at 9:00am tomorrow, or is that 10:00am ?? Not only do I not know the timetable but BST starts tomorrow so I’m sure there will be more than one person arrives early, or is it late, I can never remember. No, that’s not an age related thing, I’ve never been able to work it out, heaven alone knows how many times I’ve missed a tide or got a boat stuck on a beach because I got it wrong Sad smile Why on earth they just can’t leave the friggin things alone beats me. The hens still lay at the same time, the pigs still want fed at the same time and it puts me all wrong for weeks Sad smile



Anyway, as you can see the day got off to a spectacular start in North Uist this morning with a magnificent sunrise over Skye. The breathtaking  dawn being just a precursor to what was a truly beautiful day, in what, according to the BBC was the warmest place in Britain Smile Today, not only was it sunny but it was hot by comparison to the recent ‘sharp and clear’ days that have only felt warm when out of the east wind, or watching TV footage of less fortunate areas. Yes, today was a pure peach and I can only guess that many of the hundreds  of cars we shipped today must have driven from badly affected parts of the country and really felt like they were on holiday Smile 

Funnily enough I wasn’t even feeling envious at having to work, or not being on the croft, probably because I’m going to take a few days off next week instead of the usual Saturday and Sunday. Hopefully the new windows will be arriving for the house and I can spend some time with my son who seems to grow in my absence Smile Who knows I might even make a dent in that huge list that I have to do Smile


A mystery wreck

Today, no doubt due to the low spring tide, sunshine and me just happening to be on deck I spotted this wreck of an old ‘puffer’ at the entrance to Lochmaddy.




I was extremely surprised as I thought I knew where just about every wreck on the west coast was yet I’ve never come across this really obvious one sticking out of the water Sad smile



Before the advent of Ro Ro ferries and good road links these flat bottomed little steamships with their cavernous hold were the only mode of transport for the likes of coal, aggregates, building materials and many other cargoes. Even when the road networks improved they could still get to places cheaper than any other option, often just beaching on their flat bottoms and waiting for the tide to ebb before discharging to horse and cart on the sand. In my time on Raasay coal was delivered by puffer and prior to that when I lived on Scalpay we had sand and aggregate delivered by one.

Perhaps the mystery puffer ran aground one stormy night heading for the shelter of Lochmaddy??


This very one in fact, though when she came to Scalpay she was called the ‘Eilean Easdeal’ and operated by Easdale shipping. Built in 1944 as the VIC 72, VIC standing for ‘victualing inshore craft’ for she was used to carry stores out to larger navy fleet vessels.

Apparently it’s the ‘Burnside’ and she caught fire and sank in 1933. Not actually a ‘puffer’ but a slightly larger steamship but I’m not altering my text now Smile


Here’s Lochmaddy itself just a few moments later


and here some pyromaniac that’s been let loose with a box of matches on Skye Sad smile



Are those little white dots sheep leaping into the sea I wonder Smile




Just check out that smoke Sad smile



Still it wasn’t just the Sgianachs that were at it, here’s one on the mainland, or should I say three Smile



Oh well, at least the Cuilin’s weren’t on fire, yet Smile

Lochmaddy again

That’s us just arrived at Lochmaddy and judging by the Hebrides is just off Skye doing almost 17knots


so that looks like it’ll be Kennacraig tomorrow night for us and goodbye to the ‘triangle’.

Anyway, sorry it’s a little disjointed but I’ve only just got an internet connection so I’m going to post this now before I make even more of a mess and go to bed.

Still ‘Good Friday’

Filed under: daily doings, Trucks and plant — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 5:55 am

This will of course make no sense whatsoever unless you read first but bear with me. It’s 21:00 and the MV Finlaggan has just departed the port of Lochmaddy on North Uist for an extra sailing to pick up traffic from Uig on Skye. Both the Finlaggan and I, should by rights be on the Islay route right now but a series of unfortunate events leaves us both in the Minch Sad smile Hence my lack of internet and the extra trip to Skye, the MV Hebrides who was due to take our place suffered mechanical problems on the way north and had to divert to the Clyde. She can take 15 more cars than us so, on this, probably the busiest weekend of the year we’re doing extra sailings to clear the traffic.

Not that I actually discovered any of this until this morning right enough, nope, I’d already ‘signed off’ and was expecting to join the ‘Heb’ after spending last night at my parents on the mainland.



Leaving Finlaggan on Thursday morning along with a load of trucks Smile


A tropical Uig Smile



The ‘Five Sisters’ of Kintail.



Sunrise at Loch Duich around 6:30 on a very ‘Good Friday’



Drum na Cloiche



Usually this view means ‘almost home’ for it’s the Sound of Raasay from Drum na Cloiche with our harbour on the right and Skye on the left, but not today.



Raasay’s very own ‘park and ride’, just imagine being dropped off here by the bus in a blizzard Sad smile not even a bus shelter or tree Sad smile let alone a toilet.


Though I did stop briefly at Sconser to admire ‘the wall from Donegal’



and have a word with Charlie our ‘port assistant’, who informed me that the Finlaggan was still at Uig.


That’s just about as much snow as I can cope with, well up on the mountains out of harms way Smile



Three of DR Macleod’s immaculate Volvo’s all towing new refrigerated trailers



and here they come.

The rest of the day was spent between a wee job on the deck and a bigger job in the workshop. The ‘wee job’ being a duff speaker and the ‘big job’ overhauling some injectors off one of the Mitsubishi generators that was having a major service.


027 028 029

Despite having learned how to do this some thirty years ago I’ve never actually done it as it requires specialist tools,



like this pump for setting the opening pressure, some 5000psi on this particular injector. Methinks I’ll bring the injectors off the Land Rover in to check them Smile

Anyway, that’s it, we’re halfway across the Minch now, it’s 22:00 and I’m going to turn in to enjoy the lovely swaying motion of the ship with my eyes closed.

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »

Blog at