Life at the end of the road

October 7, 2013

An emotional wreck :-(

Filed under: boats, daily doings — Tags: — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:00 pm


After 21:30 now and I’m almost ready for bed, my penultimate sleep in Gourock, for Hallaig should be heading north next week and the next time I see her will be at my adopted home Smile I’m rather fed up of all this travelling, I’m 57 and too old for it, my son is getting taller, my dog fatter and my darling wife greyer. All the while I’m commuting the length and breadth of Scotland, sleeping in strange beds and missing precious time with my family Sad smile It’s been over a year now and having once more listened to Colin Macdonald’s play ‘Calum’s road’ on BBC iPlayer I’m an emotional wreck.

For almost fifteen years as a fisherman/crofter, Arnish, the sea and shore around it sustained me and my family . The last  last eleven  years I’ve commuted almost daily down that fine road that Calum built in my current job with . OK, not actually ‘daily’ as I’ve been away for the best part of a year and only work ‘week on, week off’ anyway but I still enjoy the drive after almost a quarter of a century.



Summer or winter, dark or light, I’d rather be travelling ‘Calum’s road’ to work than wrestling with the traffic in Greenock Smile



Sunday again

Anyway, before I get all weepy and homesick again I’m going to bed, hic Smile


Well, ‘praise the Lord’ that I didn’t post that last night and have had chance to remove all the swearing Smile It had been a busy weekend aboard the Hallaig and I’d decided to relax with some cider. Lidl’s finest Woodgate at £1.99 for two litres has to be ‘Jakey’s’ drink of choice in the absence of Buckfast, MD 20 20, or Nobleman fortified wine . Gosh, is that really a month ago!!!!! Anyway, not actually having my glasses with me and not having had a drink all week I failed to notice the ‘dry cider with sugar and added sweetener’ on the label until today Sad smile Och well, it was good while it lasted and I was in bed early enough to awake ‘bright eyed and bushy tailed’ this morning. So, I’ll stop waffling and try and get the last few days in order.



Saturday on the Hallaig saw the yard busy painting and ourselves going through various scenarios with the very comprehensive fire detection equipment.


005 006

It was very realistic, for the welders kept setting off the fire alarms so we got much practice at isolating the various detectors Smile Just check out the new helmsman’s seat, probably a months wages Smile



It was a busy day on the river too with Svitzers Anglegarth and


Ayton Cross putting in an appearance


to assist the 27,000t bulk carrier Bosphorus King as she steamed down the Clyde empty.



That sure is a long way out of the water!



As she was heading ‘doon the water’ our very own MV Isle of Lewis was heading up to dry dock.



I believe that CalMac’s largest vessel has had to be ‘dry docked’ at great expense due to fouling some inappropriately laid fishing gear.


Here she is being escorted into James Watt dock by Clyde Marine’s tug Bruiser.



Another commuter on the Clyde was Serco’s Northern River heading up river on Saturday afternoon.




Our new ship the MV Hallaig is certainly ‘getting there’ and should be heading north before the week is out Smile Much as I’m sick of being away from home I’d love to be aboard her for the journey, but don’t tell the wife Smile


Actually, now I come to think about it, I seem to have lost a day, methinks all this traffic happened on Sunday, for here is the MV Isle of  Lewis in the dry dock yesterday.


The ‘Sound of Seil’ and FPV Minna also berthing nearby.

Anyway it’s Monday evening now, almost 23:00 and time for bed, I know it’s been a lame effort but the phone has been red hot and I’ve been a little distracted, so I’ll leave you with the French frigate La Motte – Picquet and the Royal Navy’s HMS Northumberland.





  1. Listening to the Radio 4 program yesterday and watching your videos of Calum’s road really put into perspective what an achievement and feat of engineering for one man to accomplish against all the odds,and so as to better his community. Thanks for sharing that little piece of the world with us.

    Now i understand why you wax lyrical about the man.

    Comment by Alistair — October 8, 2013 @ 8:13 am

    • Morning Alisatir, glad you enjoyed the play and my videos, they were done before I knew how to add sound so the audio is carp.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 12, 2013 @ 7:38 am

  2. The Helmsmans seat looks kind of comfortable. I hope it locks on the rails otherwise the skippers might get a fairground ride on beam seas!

    Comment by John MacDonald — October 8, 2013 @ 8:24 am

    • Morning John, the seat slides ‘fore and aft’ and does have a lock right enough 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 12, 2013 @ 7:37 am

  3. Hi Paul,

    Glad to see the Hallaig is nearly there. Shame about all that insulation though! Not a 23 car ferry anymore. Was down on the Lewis yesterday visiting the old man. Her dry docking doesn’t appear to have been caused by fishing gear.


    Comment by Seumas — October 8, 2013 @ 8:48 am

    • One of my best holiday memories is walking Calum’s road on a beautiful sunny day what an amazing man he must have been.

      Comment by Helen Joss — October 8, 2013 @ 11:07 am

      • Good morning Helen and welcome, it was such a day yesterday, and even after 24 years I’m still ‘inspired’ 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 12, 2013 @ 7:33 am

    • Morning Seamus, Not a 23 car ferry anymore well you’d get 23 Smart cars aboard 🙂 and it’s very quiet 🙂 Would have liked a look at the Lewis myself.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 12, 2013 @ 7:35 am

  4. Hi Paul,
    Thanks for the info about the programme, and for the video rides. Just in time, I captured the programme (using GetiPlayer, useful for permanent archive) – very interesting and inspirational. In fact, thanks for all your posts about life in your little corner of paradise. “Hallaig” looks a fine ship (to a land-lubber like me) – you must be very proud to be first with the hybrid technology. I wish you well with the house sale and new build – another self-sufficient family would be a great help, I’m sure, and would help the recolonisation of the top end. What next? Reopening Torran School? Nostalgia has led me to start looking again at all the material about Raasay, that I collected in the 1970’s, and also to follow up recent developments. When was the YH sold? I just found the Savills advert in Google. I’m most relieved to learn that Raasay House has opened again – I had mentally written it off after the fire, and my interest had waned. It is often repeated that Edward Wood was a pottery magnate and also owned Sudbourne Hall – but after some recent research it seems that a) he was just an heir to the fortune (his father another Edward and siblings took cashed in their inheritance by selling Enoch Wood’s factory in Burslem in 1845, putting 1000 people out of work!); and b) Edward Wood Jr also owned Newbold Revel Hall (not Sudbourne) – it was Edward’s eldest son Arthur Herbert Edward Wood who bought Sudbourne Hall in the late 19th century, from Sir Richard Wallace (of Wallace Art Collection fame) – but that’s another story. I have two small pages of 1879 weather records from Newbold Revel, “collected” from Raasay House many years ago, that confirms my theory.
    Kind regards, very best wishes, I look forward to many more of your blog posts,
    Ian Button

    Comment by Ian Button (Halifax, West Yorks) — October 10, 2013 @ 9:50 pm

    • Hi Ian and welcome,

      very interesting research you’ve done there about the Woods, wish I’d saved the play too 😦

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 12, 2013 @ 7:32 am

      • There’s a copy in my Dropbox. Email me for a link.

        Comment by San — October 12, 2013 @ 4:51 pm

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