A fine day it’s been here in the Minch, perhaps a tiny wee shower or two but not enough to spoil your day or even ruin a paint job. There’s still been a good hash of west wind but not enough to ‘rock the boat’ or even require extra mooring ropes. In short it’s been a lovely day to be at sea and I could think of far worse things to be doing, like being at college
The morning got off to a busy enough start with what I guess must be the largest marshalling of articulated lorries ever seen at 7:00am on a Harris car park. There were eight in all, seven from DSV, returning empty, having delivered a new football stadium to Back FC http://www.backfc.com/ ,
though there’s no mention of it on their website but one of the drivers definitely said ‘Back FC’, perhaps its a secret stadium
There was also the mobile cinema, ‘Screen Machine’ http://www.screenmachine.co.uk/ a regular visitor to the Highlands and islands. Finally the gas tanker and a dozen or so cars and vans, so all in all a pretty full load.
The sea seemed far less crowded today with just the odd warship and plane, though that could well have been because I only had one shot on the helm. A lovely sailing from Uig to Lochmaddy with the sun behind and the wind on the nose, a good 20 or so knots of westerly that had brilliant white horses scudding across an emerald coloured sea. Actually it was blue but emerald sounds better and the tide race off Waternish point was like a whole cavalry charge of stallions but I think I’m getting a little carried away now Seriously though it was beautiful and I was confident enough at the helm now to actually enjoy it, something in evidence by the lack of sweaty palms on the knob. That will be the disappointingly small knob that you steer this 5000 ton lump of steel with.
Anyway in between the ports we managed to get a little painting done, something that I took to with great enthusiasm, it was just like being back on the good ship Loch Striven.
With scraper, chipping hammer, wire brush and paint roller we set about prepping and painting the hydraulic cabinets on the FRC’s (fast rescue craft). It’s almost eight months since I’ve whiffed the sweet smell of ‘Interprime’ 198, I was as happy as a pig in 5h1t
Mind you, on a sunny day out here it’s hard to be anything but, there’s something about Harris that I really like, perhaps it’s all that rock. It is after all very similar to the north end of Raasay and the environs of my home, Arnish may be a little oasis of birch, hazel and rowan but all around is the ancient igneous gneiss like this lump of Scalpay. That will be Scalpay off Harris with its red and white light, not my former home off Skye http://www.isleofscalpay.com/ .
Yup, there’s something about this place that I love and I’ve barely set foot on it, well not for around twelve years anyway. This will be an Evance 5kW wind turbine on the island of Scotsay which is on your starboard side as you approach Tarbert. The owner of this small private island also used to own the Scalpay but gave it to the locals last year http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2229229/English-businessman-gives-picturesque-Scottish-island-locals-gift.html . In a typical contrary island fashion several of the locals didn’t actually want it, just wait until the ‘Department’ try and ‘give’ Raasay to the locals
That’s it on the chart, bottom right,
that orange hook is just dangling in front of it.
Dunno which warship this was but it’s the closet one that I saw today,
unlike this plane which was lumbering slowly overhead, I know it’s got no tail but I wasn’t expecting it and did well to catch so much of it.
And if you’ve ever wondered what one of the eight MAK cylinder heads look like, well here’s one sat on a pallet
Here’s the ‘Heb’ tied alongside at Uig whilst we ‘bunker’ around 27 tons of heavy fuel (just a guess as I only saw one tanker leave).
Again, not a great picture but it’s the research vessel http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RV_Corystes RV Corystes belonging to the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture and Rural Developement.
Slightly better picture from http://www.afbini.gov.uk/index/services/facilities/coastal-science-seabed-mapping.htm .
Anyway, that’s it, 22:00 now and time for bed.