Life at the end of the road

July 11, 2013

Light at the end of the tunnel :-)

Hopefully this will be my penultimate week on the deck of the MV Hebrides, I say hopefully because my counting is rubbish and I wouldn’t be the first motorman to miscount his ‘sea time’. A good friend of mine who shall remain nameless was suddenly hit with the realization that he’d a couple of extra weeks to do due to a counting error. Fingers crossed though and I’ll have my sixty days notched up by this time next week, which will leave me just twenty five to do in the engine room. The engine room is a fine place to be in January, not so attractive in July though, still, at least I know what I’m doing down there Smile 

It was a fine enough day yesterday in between the odd bank of fog but Wednesday is a bunkering day in Uig so we don’t tie up in Lochmaddy until 21:00 and the internet is pants there at the best of times. Last night it was abysmal and an early night seemed in order after the busy day of painting and directing traffic.



Don’t let my mate’s expression fool you, for he is truly happy at is work Smile


The Minch was quite busy, probably no more than usual right enough but the good weather just makes all the traffic more photogenic. This being the Fraserburgh registered trawler ‘Star O Buchan’ FR 116 somewhere off Idrigill point.



The Castlebay registered catamaran ‘Harmony’ CY 777 just east of Weavers point North Uist, a very capable looking craft indeed.


That’s actually her just off the starboard bow as we approached Lochmaddy in the afternoon.


It was a little overcast there to say the least



unlike Skye and the Ascrib Islands just a few miles to the east.



Or even Harris a little later on as the SC Astrea passed by with a cargo of wind turbines,


you can just see the Scalpay light astern of her as she passes by ahead of us.


I can’t say that this morning looked very promising in Lochmaddy at 6:00am



but it got better by the minute


and by 7:00 it looked every bit as promising as it turned out to be.


Though the odd bank of fog did persist in the Minch


and clung to some of the valleys and hills of Harris


and Scalpay.

It was a busy enough day on the deck too with lots of holiday traffic and the ‘usual suspects’ in their hard working trucks.


This one being no stranger to Raasay and indeed Arnish,


for it was himself that delivered the blocks for our new house. Imagine that MacAulay blocks  from North Uist in our new house on Raasay Smile



Other traffic of a nautical nature included,


Loch Duart Salmon’s Lady Catherine alongside Uig pier at 18:00,


the Portree trawler ‘Catriona’ BRD 180



and the self discharging bulk carrier Yeoman Bontrup.



She suffered a major fire three years ago exactly at the Glensanda quarry


and had a £37 million refit in Gdansk,Bulk_carrier_Yeoman_Bontrup_%28REBUILDING%29,pid,162.html . Coincidently the same yard that built the Finlaggan for around £25 million, so you can imagine how extensive the damage was.



  1. Hi Paul
    For which ‘ticket(s)’ are you studying/doing sea time? What beautifully framed paperwork will adorn the new house – or perhaps adorn the smallest room along with that well made door bolt?

    Comment by Carrie — July 11, 2013 @ 8:18 pm

    • I’ll be a ‘Dual Purpose’ rating, marvelous hey, twelve months of my life down the toilet to do something I’ve been doing for ten years!!!!

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 12, 2013 @ 2:45 am

      • That’s the ‘modern’ way; if it’s anything like the printing industry, I can almost guarantee that a ‘youngster’ with only a year or so of experience can get the same qualification. Not that experience is everything by any means, but in some circumstances it proves to be a vital element.

        Comment by Carrie — July 12, 2013 @ 12:25 pm

      • Aye that’s the way with everything these days Carrie, I’ve still to do my ‘disability awareness’ and ‘working at heights’ courses yet 🙂 Having said that I really have enjoyed being the ‘lift man’ on the Hebrides 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 13, 2013 @ 5:54 am

      • Lift man?

        Comment by Carrie — July 13, 2013 @ 12:01 pm

      • Lift man?

        Aye Carrie, my favourite job is operating the lift for ‘people with impaired mobility’ (they’re no longer ‘disabled’)

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 13, 2013 @ 2:20 pm

  2. Oh boy the engine room is next! You will have that ship doing 60 knots in three shakes of a lamb’s tail. Alternately, you could paint the engine room.

    Comment by drgeo — July 11, 2013 @ 9:21 pm

  3. Wonderful programme on B2 last night, the start of a series ” Hebrides: Islands on the Edge” Some diving shots on The Otranto
    Although I never got there the Floriston Castle was the closest I made to it.
    Good luck with the engine room.
    The Purser’s time lapse day seems the way to work those days when you want to be somewhere else
    Enjoy the weekend

    Comment by chrisb — July 12, 2013 @ 7:57 am

    • Morning Chris, sorry I missed that one, would have liked to see the Otranto again.


      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 13, 2013 @ 5:57 am

    • Saw that as well, some cracking footage

      Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — July 13, 2013 @ 10:48 am

  4. What has the Otranto to do with the Hebrides or am I missing something ?

    Comment by SOTW — July 15, 2013 @ 5:18 pm

    • What has the Otranto to do with the Hebrides or am I missing something ?

      She was sunk in a collision off Islay with tragic loss of life just weeks before the armistice, I’ve dived on her and you’ll have seen bits of her in my garden.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 15, 2013 @ 7:29 pm

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