Back on the croft once more after a hectic week aboard the MV Hebrides, well perhaps not that ‘hectic’ for me but certainly for the rest of the crew who had to deal with all the extra sailings. Monday’s 4:30 start in Uig and midnight finish in Tarbert on Friday mean that it’s a pretty long week for the crew during the ‘high season’. OK, they’re working shifts with long breaks but it’s still a long day for all but the ‘three apprentices’ from Raasay
Anyway the thought of getting home on Friday had me up at 4:20am and on my third cup of tea before 5:00, with my cabin cleaned out long before breakfast. These long weekends mean extra crew for Friday Saturday and Sunday and they have to sleep somewhere, I just hope whoever takes over doesn’t remove the paper packing from the wardrobe There’s this rattle comes off the door that sounds like a woodpecker on speed, probably because my cabin is the one nearest the generator exhausts or ventilation fans. It’s really annoying but after various experiments of moving furniture, bags and wedging shelves I managed to sort it with some folded sheets of A4 carefully slid into the gaps at strategic points. It all looks a little untidy so if my ‘relief’ suffers from OCD he’ll probably remove them
That done and with a ‘full Scottish’ inside me I departed the ship upon our arrival in Uig, earlier than normal, but then I’d put in extra hours during the week and my cabin was needed.
The normally crystal clear waters of Loch Snizort resembling the murky river Tyne for a change, a clear sign that Skye had had far more rain than we’d seen in the Minch. Fresh water is lighter than sea water, so the peaty murk washed down Skye’s Glen Conan and from the river Rha turned Uig Bay into something resembling strong black coffee.
Over the Quirang
As soon as the gangplank was on the pier I was ‘off like a shot’ via Staffin and my good mate Lachie’s to collect his a trailer and an oil tank.
This is indeed an ethereal and spectacular route to take, with names like ‘The Needle’, ‘The Prison’, Tobar na Curra (well of the heron), Tobar na Slainte (healthy well) and at least two ancient brochs.
Lots of twists and turns later I landed at Sconser in time for the 11:25 ferry
with just enough time to admire the new Chinese fendering prior to heading back to Raasay.
An hour later I was home and it suddenly dawned on me that I’d five piglets to deliver on Saturday However, prior to that I had to unload a 2500lt bunded oil tank (far from empty) off Lachie’s trailer on my own.
Luckily I had a tree and block & tackle at hand
That done, the Hatsan loaded, another pigeon ‘dispatched’, the hens fed, the Land Rover unloaded and the piglets moved
I prepared my trailer for taking the piglets away. Or at least I did once I’d collected the eggs from underneath the roof The hens are a friggin nuisance at this time of year, the long days ensuring that they stay up later than us so consequently never get shut in. Not being confined to their run until lunchtime means that some of them start ‘laying out’ in the most bizarre places.
Next task was to fit a new windscreen washer pump to the ‘Old Girl’ in preparation for the MOT in a couple of weeks.
A simple job that severely pi55ed me off, why well because the one that arrived had the wrong terminals on!!!!
The one I ordered, the one in the picture and the one I wanted to replace had spade terminals on, the one that arrived had tiny inset terminals. No big deal in civilization, you just nip down to Halfords and swap it or go the dealer for a ‘patch lead’
that will actually cost you more money than the pump!!!! I kid you not £7.99 for the pump delivered, £8.99 plus postage for the special lead to convert it Anyway, as you can see I bodged it with a couple of tube connectors that a squeezed in the crimping pliers to fit the terminals, nonetheless, I was hopping mad.
Get well soon Calum
As soon as darling wife arrived home we got all ten Tamworths in the trailer and injected them with 1.0ml of Panomec as a precaution against worms then started to sort out the paperwork and arrangements for today. Not a great chore in reality but something that I always dread, some folk thrive on forms and checklists, me I hate them all.
Saturday dawned bright and clear with the wee dog and I dealing with a pigeon prior to going and shutting the ten piglets (and one hen!!!)
in the trailer.
The trailer is set up in such a way that the piglets have access to a field and use the it as a bed for the night, in the morning we can then close the door, lift off the roof and sort through them. We sorted out the largest three boars for a customer in Glenelg and the only two gilts for another in Applecross, putting the remaining five boars back into the field.
Then it was off to Auchtertyre to meet Marion who had two large cages set up nicely for the ‘wee darlings’ in her van.
The three remaining boars accompanied me almost all the way to my parents when they were transferred into another trailer for the last 10 miles to Glenelg. As a parting gesture one of the stinky wee boars peed all over me, something that despite a change of clothing and several washes I can still smell
A fine home made pizza and a four mile or so ‘march’ with my 83 year old pop followed before I headed back home with a bottle of Hardy’s red wine via the Broadford hospital.
My good mate and walking Gaelic dictionary Calum Don Mackay, AKA Bonk was in there and I thought I’d go and pester him. The old dog usually gives me enough stick on the ferry so I thought I’d return the favour
Well, he wasnae felling great but he was certainly much better, and the bodach was still smiling. The ‘craic’ on the Heb might be good but it’s not half as good as being in the mess room of the Striven with Calum on a Monday morning. Or better still a Friday afternoon when he brings us a pack of ‘Mr Kipling’s’ and a cake Get well soon matey.