Life at the end of the road

September 8, 2013

Soaked once more :-(

Filed under: boats, daily doings, New hybrid ferry — Tags: , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:23 pm

Seven thirty in the evening and once more I’m shivering after a good soaking on the bike, only this time I managed to get a little further along the Clyde. Had I known it was going to rain I’d have stayed put, but all the weather forecasts lied and told me it wouldn’t precipitate, so, after a good day at Ferguson’s I set forth on me bike. OK, not my bike but my mates, and it’s now sitting at the end of my bed having been cleaned, dried and wheeled through the kitchen. Living in a flat must be hard work if you’ve acquired as much carp as I have, I can just see me carrying the odd piglet up here to warm in front of the fire. Only there is no fire, or generator and the gas comes from a pipe and not out of a bottle, not only that but the water in the toilet is ‘see through’ ours has a brownish tinge even before you use it Smile

Still, give me ‘life in the sticks’ anytime, much as I like being able to get anchovies on demand, a good selection of salamis, Weston’s cloudy cider and cheap petrol. Even a ‘Srewfix’ around the corner and two Lidl’s within six miles couldn’t persuade me to move to civilization Smile

This morning, no doubt assisted by that good dram of ‘Superstition’ last night I managed to stay in bed until 7:00am before doing my morning ablutions, having the usual muesli and banana then heading for the yard.


As is usual for the weekend, I go through the main gate and workshop on my way to Hallaig, passing this humongous rolling machine on the way. I know nothing about it but guess it’s for bending sheet metal like that piece in the foreground. No doubt when this short six mile length of the river employed 15,000 plus workers in the many yards then ‘Hugh Smith’ machines were a common sight, now I guess it’s the last one on the river, probably the last working one in the country.



This will be the mast for ‘yard number 726’ the MV Lochinvar, our sister ship, I have to confess that I thought it a strange choice for a name, but it would seem not. The hybrid Lochinvar is not the first Macbrayne vessel to bear that name.

Here is the first one off Oban, probably around WWII later on in her long career she acquired different engines and a proper funnel


Once on board I busied myself with running up some of the pumps and transferring the contents of the sludge tank to the car deck.



Of course it was clean fresh water for probably the last time in its life but it was good practice for the future when it will be dirty oil.

011 012

Of course it’s now all controlled, alarmed and monitored from a screen so far easier and safer than on the Striven.

Whilst I was doing this the Ticon chaps were busy with the never ending job of insulating



both inside


and out.

I’m really amazed at the skill of these chaps, with all the intricate profiles and confined spaces they work in they really do do an excellent job.

Super safe

A good deal of the rest of my day was spent studying and familiarizing myself once more with the multitude of fire prevention and fire fighting systems on this vessel. Of course the acres of insulation is an integral part of it but the number of fire pumps, alarms, drencher systems, suppression devices, and extinguishers on this ship is staggering.


The battery rooms have their own special system who’s name I forget (on account of Weston’s cider) but it’s very expensive and used in ‘server environments’ a lot.


This will be a nitrogen propelled system with its own dedicated tank that will work even with total electrical failure.


This is a pumped mist system solely for the three main ‘DG’s’ (diesel generators) known as the ‘local application’.


These two pumps a similar system (with back up) for the accommodation, mess room and bridge.



And this MONSTER a ‘drencher pump’ for the car deck, as well as all this there are two pumps that can be used for both fire and bilge plus a dedicated bilge pump. Add to that a multitude of detection systems, alarms, extinguishers and hoses and you are sailing on an extremely safe ship Smile

The MV Lochinvar

With the yard being quiet I took the opportunity to go and have a look at our younger sister ‘yard number 726’ the MV Lochinvar


I still can’t get over this welding steel to aluminium carry on,


just look at that, all the brown bits are steel and the grey bits aluminium. It’s done with with a strip of the two dissimilar metals that are ‘explosively welded’ together The amalgamated strip is then effectively steel on one side and aluminium on the other so can be conventionally welded with a little care and training.



This will be the mess room on Lochinvar Smile

Back on the bike

Anyway, after all that, and having been assured by both Radio 4 and that it wasn’t going to rain I headed back to Gourock and my bike. OK, not my bike but my mates bike, and I happily cruised eastwards along the cycle path that is the .

019 020

I glided past several old dry docks and fitting out berths that once employed thousands with the intention of reaching as far as Ferguson’s, then perhaps buying a fish supper or even curry on the way back. I’ve not had any hotel, ship or junk food for weeks so quite fancied a change, however, just past the Beacon arts centre in Greenock the heavens opened and I got soaked. I was friggin furious especially as it was starting to get so interesting along the sea front. I soldiered on as far as Clydeport’s dock and then turned around to aim for the clearer skies of Gourock.



What delayed me and really staggered me was the sight of mackerel feeding on white bait or tiny sprats in the dock there. There’s not been one single mackerel caught in Loch Arnish this year and the Clyde seems full of them!!!! I’ve seen plenty off the Hallaig too, both this shift and the last one Sad smile

Apologies to ‘Buckie’

After sheltering in the disused fire exit of the seedy ‘Port and Harbour’ hotel I jumped on my steed and headed west during in a lull, managing to get as far as ‘Buckfast corner’ at the back of the  , as  ‘Jake’ and his teenage pelters weren’t there I took the opportunity to shelter amongst the pile of broken bottles.


Much to my surprise I discovered that I’d been ‘bad mouthing’ the old ‘Buckie’

A lad polishes off a bottle of Buckfast tonic wine (Photo: PA)

out of turn



for it would appear that ‘Jake’ had in fact been drinking Lidl’s finest ‘Nobleman Fortified Wine’ yesterday and not the catholic monks ‘loony juice’ . Not that I would actually believe anything in the Record Smile


BUCKFAST has been linked to almost 7000 crimes in Scotland over the last three years, police figures have revealed.

The tonic wine is mentioned six times a day in crime reports compiled by officers across the country.

Offences involving the drink made by Benedictine monks in Devon include attempted murder, assaults with weapons and sexual attacks.

Buckfast distributors J Chandler & Co have denied the product is to blame for thugs’ actions.

The new figures show that in the old Strathclyde Police area, Buckfast was mentioned in 6496 reports over the last three years.

Not knowing anything about ‘Nobleman’ I ‘Googled’ it Smile Smile Smile

and was intrigued to find that there is a whole website dedicated to ‘bum wine’, as in alcohol to get you ‘hammered’ as cheaply as possible.

I was overjoyed to read tell of Noblemans down there. I am a student at Bangor University, North Wales, although born and bred in London, and I regularly get through 2 bottles of the stuff. In my local Lidl (a dangerously convenient 30 second walk from my front door) we in fact have THREE varieties, Pale and Full cream as stated, and Medium Cream, which as far as I can tell is a 50/50 mixture of the two. I am a Full Cream man myself.

You really couldn’t make this up, get me back to Raasay ASAP Smile 



I gotta say though, the graffiti had me ‘in stiches’ ‘northern downpour’ Smile

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