Life at the end of the road

August 3, 2013

Severely excited

Filed under: daily doings, New hybrid ferry — Tags: , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:59 am

Well, I’m home, five days earlier than expected, majorly handicapped by a ten year old malt and 2012 Grenache, but home, ‘hic’.

009 010

Having been ‘on the waggon’ since I left home on Monday, and not actually buying anything to drink on the way back today I was somewhat stunned to find four bottles of wine, one bottle of scotch and four slices of black pudding awaiting my return Smile

All of them being presents from folk who I’d ‘helped out’ in one way or another of late, none of them necessary but all of them very welcome and much appreciated, thanks everyone Smile

Back to the ‘Finlaggan’

I left home on Monday morning after a very productive weekend for the 200 odd mile drive down to Kennacraig to join the Finlaggan.



The day was lovely, the roads fairly quiet and I beat the well worn path south past a somewhat dried out Loch Cluanie. Prior to the 1950’s and the dams construction the road used to go over that hill and down towards the now flooded Glen Loyne.



I say ‘dried out’ but I’ve just seen this picture from my blog on the day I left for South Shields almost a year ago on 24/9/12

definitely more water in today Smile



Map picture

With ‘time to kill’ I’d already made my mind up to stop on the way up Glen Loyne to check out one of it’s many interesting features, something that I’ve been driving by for nigh on forty years and never stopped to admire. It’s an old wooden suspension bridge across the river Loyne that has of late deteriorated and become almost invisible due to trees growing nearby.


I suppose that before the A87 was diverted after the flooding of Glen Loyne and the Cluanie dam then this was the only way of crossing the river.



Long since abandoned it’s rapidly decaying into the rocks and terrain that anchor it

 007 008  009 010

but still worth a look before it vanishes.

No drive up the glen would be complete without stopping to admire the stones

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piled up by tourists with nothing better to do Smile No, seriously I love this phenomena and have admired it since I was a lad, not here, but in the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales or Brecon Beacons. It just takes one person to pile up half a dozen stones and before you know it you’ve got a cairn. Though for some reason here it’s multiple little piles rather than one large one Smile


Anyway, it was whilst I was stopped there that I noticed the two old A87 bridges normally underwater in Loch Loyne itself,


better pictures here



An hour later I was in Fort William just in time to see the ‘Jacobite’ or Hogwarts Express Smile 


The train journey from Fort William to Mallaig has to be the most spectacular in Britain, especially on a steam train.

What no headache Smile

Well that went a little ‘pear shaped’, the bottle of Jura proved far more interesting than finishing off the blog last night! Anyway, it’s 9:30 now on Saturday the 3rd of August and it’s miserable, half a gale of wind and pishing rain being the order of the day, typical west coast summer weather really Smile



Back to last Monday then and my drive south, this being Tarbert, a busy little fishing village off Loch Fyne



Right in the middle of the harbour is this square stone construction which has always puzzled me. I wonder if it covers a rock and was ‘squared off’ to provide extra berthing when the port was jammed full of herring boats last century.

More great postcards and pictures of Tarbert

Shortly afterwards I was parked up at Kennacraig a few miles south and ready to join Finlaggan for a week in the engine room.

MV Hallaig is almost ready Smile

It was Thursday when I got the phone call from head office telling me that I was back ‘on shift’ and to join the Hallaig in Port Glasgow next week. To say that I was excited at the prospect would have been an understatement, almost twelve months after starting this training lark we are at last going to join the worlds fist hybrid sea going Ro Ro ferry Smile


Stuart M's hybrid hull

Thanks to Stewart McMahon for that picture,


 hallaig mezzanine

CMAL, for that


Hallaig painted



and that Smile

Anyway, it’s almost 11:00am now and time for me to ‘face the elements’



  1. Fantastic news about the hallaig, Paul. At last life will be back to normal! Enjoy that Jura, you have something to celebrate now with the keeper of fine chickens. 🙂

    Comment by Lloyd — August 3, 2013 @ 10:06 am

    • Hi Lloyd, did you receive the Raasay Newsletter?? The Raasay Hotel is for sale again, it would make a fine care home 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 3, 2013 @ 10:24 am

  2. Lovely to see use of Bartholemew’s 1/2 map. A fine series, and thanks to the generosity of Bart’s in-house archivist I managed to collect a complete set for the whole UK, mostly on linen. Never leave for Scotland without them. They give fascinating insights into lost roads and railways. Always enjoy reading your blog, thanks.

    Comment by David & Margaret Gartside — August 3, 2013 @ 10:50 am

  3. Good to see you this week on Hallaig. Mon anchors and compass. Tues speed trials. Wed ramp trials and endurance run.. Trials likely to run into Thurs.

    Comment by J S — August 3, 2013 @ 1:33 pm

    • Aye JS, can’t wait myself, it’ll be a momentous occasion when she arrives at the new facilities at Sconser and Raasay.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 3, 2013 @ 9:00 pm

  4. Great blog with the old mixing with the new covering the goings on in the NW of Scotland over 200 years.
    The weather over on the Dee is a tad windy but the H2O has kept away……….so far.
    Will the Hallaig be on the Raasay route before the end of the month or is there more hands on training first?


    Comment by Arthur T Bomber Harris — August 3, 2013 @ 2:32 pm

    • End of the month is perhaps a little optimistic but you never know, would be great to have her here for the bank holiday, fingers crossed hey.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 3, 2013 @ 8:54 pm

  5. Hi Paul,
    Good news about the MV Hallaig. I understand how and why the Hallaig got it’s name, but what was the logic behind naming the MV Lochinvar. Surely not related to that tiny loch in Dumfries & Galloway?

    Comment by Green Van Man — August 3, 2013 @ 3:03 pm

    • Hi Ray,

      well it’s the ‘Scottish literary class’ so you can expect the MV Trainspotting and MV Crow Road to follow 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 3, 2013 @ 8:52 pm

  6. Brilliant news; looking forward to seeing some pictures from the new ferry

    Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — August 3, 2013 @ 5:57 pm

    • There will be plenty pictures next week matey I promise 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 3, 2013 @ 8:49 pm

  7. Great news on the ferry, sure it will be good to get back to the normal daily commute. You might even start blogging more often again! . Keep your eye out for me on Monday, might be on the Islay ferry.

    Comment by Simon — August 3, 2013 @ 8:04 pm

    • I won’t be on the Islay ferry Simon, I’m back home 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 3, 2013 @ 8:48 pm

  8. I understand the Hallaig is a hybrid, but why did you call it a “Ro Ro ” ferry? Just your luck to have to be the one to row it across once the batteries lose their charge. It will be exciting to work aboard your own ship again.

    Comment by drgeo — August 3, 2013 @ 10:22 pm

  9. Hi Paul, as always some great pictures and brilliant news re the MV Hallaig. Bit jealous of the bottle of Jura but hope you enjoyed that fine malt!

    Been away my holidays down sowf again, wedding in St Albans, long drag for the old Thomson but well worth it! Stayed on a few sites and can highly recommend the Hertford Caravan and Camping Club site with its wide open pitches and great wildlife. The Thomson was greatly admired as usual and stole the topics of conversation on the sites we visited.

    Well sitting here going through all the blogs I have missed in the last few weeks so will continue on my quest to see what the summer has had for you so far.
    Hope you and the family are all well.

    Comment by Thomson Caravans — August 4, 2013 @ 1:56 am

  10. After Langafulen then the isle of Jura is my favourite tipple. I was quiet interested to see you picture of the Paps of Jura the other day. Funny to think that George Orwell wrote one of the most dysotopian novels ” 1984 “in 1948 at Barnhill a house in the north in such wonderful country with a good view over the paps of Jura



    Comment by Yorkshire Miner — August 4, 2013 @ 7:48 am

  11. That is exciting Paul – off to join the MV Hallaig tomorrow.

    Just you boys be careful testing all that new nautical knick-knackery – we don’t want any breakages at this early stage! 🙂

    Comment by Carrie — August 4, 2013 @ 6:59 pm

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