Life at the end of the road

September 11, 2013

A ‘tale of two switches’ :-)

Filed under: daily doings, New hybrid ferry — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:55 am

Home once more, and a little earlier than usual thanks to me joining the MV Hallaig a day early last week.


Monday morning in Port Glasgow, Greenock and Gourock was a holiday and that was evident fro the moment I awoke at 6:30, it was far quieter on the roads than usual. It was also a holiday for most of the staff at Ferguson’s shipbuilders though not for the electrical and insulation contractors who were working seven days a week to get our new ferry ready for Raasay.



This ship is so quiet and well insulated that it has ‘ears’, four microphones on the ‘monkey island’, that will be the deck above the bridge where the ‘brass monkey’ lived, maybe Smile These four microphones are linked into a device than can give you a bearing on any sounds like a fog horn, ships bell or whistle, this is a seriously sophisticated ship Smile 

Back to chaos

I managed to catch the last ferry home on Monday


and seeing the Portree lifeboat out in the sound just assumed she was on exercise, as Monday night is when they drill. However they were actually ‘on a shout’ as it turned out with coxswain Hamish and the crew of the relief Trent class lifeboat ‘Macquarie’. Normally the ‘Stanley Watson Barker’ is relieved by the ‘Corrine Whitely’, this is the first time (to my knowledge) that I’ve seen the Macquarie out on a shout.

Coxswain Hamish

They  were going to Rona to evacuate a holiday maker with a broken finger. I had to laugh when Bill from Rona phoned NHS direct for advice Smile you can just imagine the conversation ‘what’s your post code’ followed by ‘who’s your doctor’ and then ‘just take her into casualty in Broadford’ Smile Smile


You may get nice sunsets in Gourock but I prefer the ones at home.

It was only after I’d arrived home that wifey broke the news to me that both quads had died, mine along the Torran path due to lack of fuel and my mates on the croft with a duff ‘kill switch’. As my mates was needed for the ‘changeover’ at and mine for the multitude of tasks around the croft I thought I’d better get ‘on the case’ first thing this morning. Of course my quad was not just ‘down the track’ as indicated by wifey but almost a mile away, and when I did find it and fill it with petrol it wouldn’t start ‘off the button’, I had to use the ‘pull start’.

Testing with a ‘meter’ once home I discovered a blown fuse but still she wouldn’t start, no amount of pressing on the horn switch would get the starter to engage. Horn switch I hear you say, you’re pressing the wrong button. Well many years ago when this quad resided on Rona the original starter button failed. As a horn is much less useful on Rona than a functioning starter motor it’s switch was used instead.


Removing it, prising back the retaining tags and carefully removing its spring I just cleaned up the contacts and ‘Bob’s your uncle’, job sorted.

Switching my attention from the Honda TRX350 to the Yamaha Bruin 350 I found a similar state of affairs when pressing the horn button,Horn switch I hear you say, you’re pressing the wrong button. Well many years ago when this quad resided on Rona the original starter button failed. As a horn is much less useful on Rona than a functioning starter motor it’s switch was used instead. OK, it wasn’t Rona but Raasay, you get my drift though Smile

This time it wasn’t the horn switch that was faulty but the stop switch which also interlocks the starter.


011 012

The problem here wasn’t so much burnt contacts but a rusted spring that was preventing that copper strip making contact.



A ball point pen provided a suitable replacement and the job was soon sorted.

Out to lunch

Having fixed two quads before breakfast under the watchful eye of a hind


I got my trailer ready and hitched it up to the ‘Old girl’ as we were all going on a mission. All being wifey, m in l, Jessie and me, we’d an oil tank to collect, several meters of scaffolding and 1km of armoured cable. The ladies weren’t actually required but it was a case of ‘killing two birds with one stone’ as my mum had booked us a table at the Kintail Lodge for lunch. Not that you actually need to book but there would be six of us so it seemed wise just to reserve a corner of the cosy pub.

With the 300kg of SWA on its two drums loaded up at Sconser I went off to meet the ‘Quarryman’ and sit the 1250lt oil tank on top and securely lashed down with ratchet straps. Next it was to Broadford for the scaffolding which went on the roof then onto Kintail to meet mum and ex Raasay resident Heather.

 016 017

I didn’t do the excellent menu justice and went for plain old haddock and chips, it’s almost six weeks since I’ve eaten a chip and I was desperate Smile Wifey had something off the ‘special’ a parmesan, garlic bread and chicken affair which looked and tasted delicious.



Feral goats at Kintail Lodge Hotel though there was no sign of feral goats or Brad Pit when we were there Smile

Seriously though great food, great service and a stunning location, well worth a look.



Collecting my trailer on the way back we managed to catch the 16:15 ferry then gingerly drove up the road, I’d noticed a duff bearing on the trailer and had to sort it once home.



The inner one had collapsed, no doubt assisted by carrying a generator that was double the rated weight of the trailer last week Sad smile Still, it’s an easy job and I had spares.


  1. Hi Paul

    I doubt that the brass monkey complete with cannon balls would have lived above the bridge, but you never know!



    Comment by Sue — September 11, 2013 @ 7:58 am

  2. Paul,
    A good idea to have microphones to listen for other vessels (I am thinking of the fog in “reap the wild wind” with John Wayne) but how long are those alloy brackets and sensors going to last?
    Regards, Kev

    Comment by Kevin Morgan — September 11, 2013 @ 8:34 am

    • Hi Kevin, they are marine grade and anodized but we’ll see 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 11, 2013 @ 4:51 pm

  3. That fish looks tasty Paul but a bit mean on the chips, any date set yet for Hallaig’s sail up to Raasay?

    Comment by Stan — September 11, 2013 @ 5:57 pm

    • The chips are all hiding under that huge haddock Stan 🙂 No idea when Hallaig will be here 😦 Could be two weeks, could be three or four.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 11, 2013 @ 9:04 pm

  4. Hi paul i would love a copy of that lovely sunset please when’s the hallaig coming home,

    Comment by Catherine Ann Macleod — September 22, 2013 @ 11:22 pm

    • On its way Catherine 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 23, 2013 @ 10:57 am

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