Life at the end of the road

April 28, 2013

Packed once more

Filed under: boats, daily doings, shed/house — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:13 am

Just after 7:00am on a Sunday and once more the bag is packed, having not long since unpacked it and washed the contents. I’m on my travels once more this time to Aberdeen on a training course, now there’s a surprise, PSCRB no less, why do these courses always have mountains of initials, PSST, SHIPS, PAXTRIM, blah, blah blah. Anyway it’s Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats (excluding FRC), there’s another, FRC or Fast Rescue Craft, it would have to exclude that wouldn’t it, that could have been quite fun Smile

Anyway I’ve been up since 5:30, almost done the VAT return (now there’s a surprise) fed the animals and finished my packing, it’s pishing with rain and I’m now at a loose end for a couple of hours. A better morning would have seen my hauling 20 bags of coal over to Torran but I can delegate that to the ‘man of the house’ in  my stead.

Seven minutes !!!

Friday saw me at the blunt end of the ship for assisting with pulling the ship forward on to the linkspan with the capstans and winches. A fine morning it was too at 6:30 as the sun just started to poke its head above the horizon somewhere in the vicinity of Scalpay.


The sun looked great but I wasn’t too impressed with the fresh snow on Harris Sad smile


A few hours later we were in Uig, my cabin cleaned, bag packed and bridge informed, I jumped ship and headed for Portree and some potatoes.



The ‘serious’ clam divers were just heading out as I headed in so to speak, I call the Sarah’s crew serious because I’ve known them for years and the two boys on the deck usually lift as many clams in a day as could in a week Smile


Up the hill out of Uig and away towards Skye’s capital I stopped to photograph my place of work and a rainbow, the ‘Heb’ looked lovely but the ‘rainblob’ colourless by the time I’d sorted the camera.


I was hoping to catch the 10:25 ferry but that went severely ‘pear shaped’ at the Co op when armed with a few ‘Roosters’ and a bottle of wine I was told ‘your seven minutes early’ !!!!!!! Apparently the inner cities are awash with teenage binge drinkers and winos so in an attempt to curb this you can no longer buy a bottle of wine before 10:00am!!!! What is the point of that, all the friggin teenagers are either at school or in their friggin beds and how many winos do you see on the street at that time of day!!!! I’ve not had a friggin drink in a month, fancy sharing a bottle of wine with darling wife in front of the fire and to so I have to wait seven fecking minutes and miss a ferry!!!



Work was progressing at Sconser with the slates on the back of the waiting room and some guys stood on a raft ‘chipping and painting’. I think a needle gun would have been more appropriate and I bet the slates are off by next January, around the same time that the flimsy wooden doors are ripped off the shed by the first gale of west wind.

Clowns, I told them to use a roller shutter door and any fool can see that most houses in Sconser use Decra roofing as it’s the only thing that stays on there. Not only that but its a fraction of the cost and looks great, we very seriously thought about it for our new house.



Our new house having gained more of a roof in my absence




and the Storr a little ridge of white.

Anyway, that’s it, 8:10 and I need to get my act together.

April 25, 2013

It’s on the list :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, Trucks and plant — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:52 pm

Another mainly fine day on the Minch with plenty of showers but few of them landing on the ship.


This was the exit from Lochmaddy during the late afternoon but just about sums up the day, a few hundred yards making all the difference between being dry or needing oilskins.


A shower chasing us across from the Sound of Harris that just couldn’t match our speed.


Unusually I never slept very well last night but the reason for that will have to remain a secret until I write the book, this will be the one that everyone keeps asking me to write. Having already had a request from a well known publishing house and a friend in the trade then I suppose I should, but it will most certainly have to wait until I retire and ‘put my feet up’ Smile

Anyway, it was a beautiful start to the day with a cup of tea and all of deck 6 to myself, I do love the vast expanse of this open deck and the fact that the public aren’t allowed up here.



I wasn’t the only one ‘up with the larks’ Loch Duart  salmon’s two landing craft Lady Heather and the much larger Lady Catherine were getting ready for action at just after 7:00.


The pile of fish bins on the car park indicating that some harvesting was afoot.


Not so busy on the car front today but a good smattering of commercials with cargoes of all descriptions, bitumen in an insulated tanker. Unlike Highland Regional Council the Western Isles Council actually maintain their roads. There was the usual trailer load of scrap vehicles, something that would have been unheard of ten years ago. The high price of scrap has seen everything of metal stolen from electric cables to brass memorials, but one good thing is, it’s clearing of the resident rusting heaps off the crofts, something that has blighted the islands for decades.



The strangest load of the day award going to FJ 56 KCU, Barclay of Inverness’s Volvo towing an empty water tanker to North Uist and bringing another empty one back.



Out at sea there was the Cygnus ‘Cyfish’ prawn creeler Lauren Karine, with half of her transom cutaway  on the starboard side she’s obviously rigged for single handed operation.


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Just around the corner was one of the Ronja ‘well boats’,



the Pioneer at a guess.


Well to the north steaming down the east side of Lewis was this heavily laden bulk carrier,  no idea of her name though.

During the late afternoon, once everything had dried out and the ship was sailing in the right direction I got on with some painting, it is after all ‘on my list’.


The ‘list’ in my ‘training record book’ that is, this is the book that contains all the essential tasks I must complete before being ‘qualified’ Smile Obviously painting on the Heb must be different to that on the Striven Smile


Hardly what I’d describe as a ‘task’ though, it may have not been very warm and a touch draughty but the views were spectacular and I really enjoy a spot of painting on deck Smile



  Also crossing the Minch just astern of us on the last sailing to Uig was that fine landing craft the Lady Catherine, like her smaller sister, built at Noble’s in Girvan. A yard that have built a fine reputation over the years for building and repairing wooden boats but now seem to specialize in these sturdy workboats for fish farms. They don’t seem to have a website but here’s a list of the many boats they’ve built over the years . Lady Catherine was cruising along at I guess about 12 knots with her deck full of the freshly harvested salmon heading for these two Volvo’s sat on Uig pier.



The one on the left SY 54 AZW belonging to Ross Sutherland of Dingwall and a regular visitor to Raasay during the harbour construction.


Sure enough, just as we were departing Uig, Lady Catherine arrived with 50 tubs of fish on her deck.


She wasn’t the only one, as this aluminium catamaran, Shelagh Jane came in ahead of her, a different approach to the same kind of boat. Built by Alnmaritech from Blyth in Northumberland she comes from the same stable as the workboat we had on Scalpay.

Just for DrG

That was it really, we did the last run back to Harris, tied up for the night and I went out for a walk just to take some pictures for my mate in Texas Smile



Though he’s probably sick of boat pictures Smile



So here it is, Tarbert, its car park and yet another picture of a boat Sad smile



Rock beautiful rock Smile


Now this place really does belong in a frontier town,


I bet it’s full of really useful stuff like, methylated spirit, Stockholm tar, Tilley lamp spares, proper galvanized nails, caustic soda and real creosote. There’s even a pair of hand sheep clippers in the window and you can probably still buy stuff in pounds and ounces Smile This is my kind of shop, when I first moved to Raasay you could still get that sort of stuff in the ‘Finlay’s’ Smile

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