Life at the end of the road

October 11, 2013

Road repairs again :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, life off grid, listers, New hybrid ferry — Tags: , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:22 pm

Friday already and I started this post on Wednesday but got distracted, Thursday was out because we were partying so I’m going to give it a shot just now.

The last time I ‘put pen to paper’ was from sunny Gourock on what would be me last stint at Ferguson’s shipyard aboard the MV Hallaig, she was almost finished and due to sail north on Friday. It won’t be my last trip away from home I’m sure but it certainly felt like it and I left Port Glasgow at 13:00 in great spirits. Arriving at Sconser five and a half hours later after a nice leisurely drive north through the greens and browns of early autumn, the ratio of darker hues increasing noticeably over Rannoch moor and into Glen Coe.

The last ferry had me arriving on Raasay at dusk and home in the dark to an audio assault of three roaring stags bellowing across the Arnish valley at each other. A haunting a surreal noise on a still night miles from civilization, if you’ve never heard it and don’t know what it is I guarantee it would put the fear of God in you.


That clip is just of one and was taken three years ago out of the front door, I can hear two of them tonight through the double glazing and above the TV in the living room. Beats the carp out of traffic, police sirens and drunken neds on a Friday night Smile


A home cooked meal ready for me on my arrival, a mountain of mail dealt with, a glass of wine then bed, I’d a busy day ahead of me Smile Or should I say ‘we’d’ a busy day ahead of us.


The day arrived clear and bright so we wasted no time in getting on with stuff, or at least trying to. The normally super reliable Honda 350 quad refused to start so I tried the Yamaha and that too was having an ‘off day’. The Honda had managed to empty the contents of its petrol tank into the sump and air cleaner due to a sticking carburettor needle valve. Coming out in sympathy the equally dependable Yamaha had refused to offer even a click from its starter motor let alone an attempt to turn over the 350cc single cylinder engine. Believe it or not, of this I was quite glad, the 350 Bruin has had this intermittent fault for a while, but never when I’ve had tools or test equipment at hand.

 004  003

Testing with a multimeter indicated either a bad connection or faulty starter solenoid so I pulled it all apart, cleaned the terminals and fitted one new connector. Rebuilding it seemed to indicate it had been sorted so I sent ‘Lightning MacLennan’ off to collect the bins.


After which we set about the Honda



draining off a watery mixture of oil and petrol from the sump and around a litre out of the air filter.


Having spent far more time than I would have liked on the two workhorses I left the Honda on charge and we all went up to the new house site to do some work on Harry.

011 013

The insulators at Ferguson’s had kindly given me some ‘off cuts’ and we spent the morning piecing them together with aluminium tape to lag the exhaust.

014  015

The stuff wasn’t quite the right size but we managed to do a very respectable job with what was essentially stuff from the skip, I was well chuffed Smile


016 017

The ‘dunny’ arrives

It was in the midst of all this that we heard a noise,

008 010

Lachie had arrived with his ‘dunny’ Smile . A sure sign that work is about to restart on our house Smile


A fine construction it wouldn’t look out of place amongst its Australian counterparts Smile



Whilst there were no end of rainbows on Wednesday I don’t actually recall any rain, here’s one off Manish point.



After lunch the boys and I swept up all the loose chips and stones from the end of the drive and used them to patch up some potholes, it’s been almost a year since I’ve done any road repairs thanks to being away so much.

By 16:00 though it was time for me to ‘hit the road’ once more, this time to get to Oban some 160 miles away for 9:00am on Thursday. Yup, it was yet another course, this time on the company’s  planned maintenance and purchasing system. Choosing to stay the night with my parents rather than in an Oban hotel, OK, it would be a 6:00am start but I’m usually up by then anyway.



Sgier Cnapach by Osgaig bathed in the early evening suns rays.


Another rainbow at the mouth of Loch Sligachan


and the first snow I’ve seen this year, a light dusting on the ‘Five Sisters of Kintail’.


A beautiful drive down to Oban from Kintail, a very interesting course, a nice lunch and catching the last ferry home sums up Thursday. It was a great day for photographs but I was just too rushed to stop and break out the camera.


Back on Raasay just after 19:00 it was off up to the village hall for a ceilidh, which I believe was still ‘kicking’ to Daimh in the ‘wee small hours’ me I was in my bed before midnight sober Smile


Shame really because it was a great night by all accounts, but a 300 mile drive and six hours in front computer had wrecked me Sad smile


This morning started with some fresh honey on my porridge,


so fresh that it still had the bee in it Smile Luckily the wife managed to keep it in the carrier bag and return it to the hive ten miles away at Oscaig. It was another beautiful and I started off by overhauling the starter on the Honda (again).

008 007

I dare say it would have gone another month or two but I had the carburettor off to clean it anyway and the starter just sits below it. Far easier to do it when the carb and air cleaner are off than wait for it to fail then repair it. The brushes are a bit of a weakness on the Honda and seem to wear out every eighteen moths or so, however they’re easy enough to change and I keep a set in stock. Coincidently they’re exactly the same as on the Yamaha 350 Bruin yet they last about ten years !!!! must be something to do with its position on the machine.

With that sorted and the carburettor all cleaned out the Honda was staring just great but pishing fuel out of the float bowl. As the needle valve looked to be clean and the float sound I ordered up another valve and used the Yamaha to take some batteries up for Harry.


Twelve forklift truck batteries are probably a little OTT for starting a two cylinder diesel engine but they’ve been sat doing nothing for a couple of years and its better than scrapping them. With two weak cells they’re not much use for powering a house but will be just fine for starting Harry the HR2 Lister, especially with a Navitron 235w solar panel on the roof of the shed to keep them ‘topped up’ Smile

She’s on her way

The good ship Hallaig, the worlds first hybrid sea going Ro Ro ferry left Ferguson’s shipyard today around 11:30 bound for Campbeltown on the first leg of her journey here.

Hallaig at CT

Oban tomorrow night then, with a bit of luck Raasay Smile



  1. Once again Paul excellent reading, I’m in awe how you make time to compile & compose it together for your blog. Makes good reading. Excellent blog.

    Comment by Polite Scouser — October 11, 2013 @ 9:58 pm

    • Hi Walter and thank you.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 12, 2013 @ 7:25 am

  2. Will there be a band to greet the Hallaig?

    Comment by drgeo — October 11, 2013 @ 10:04 pm

    • Will there be a band to greet the Hallaig?

      Apparently not DrG, it’s still a secret that she’s coming here 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 12, 2013 @ 7:24 am

      • Perhaps the Dude knows a piper?

        Comment by drgeo — October 12, 2013 @ 9:05 pm

  3. Your pics are always wonderful but the light rays at Sgier…are truly stunning!

    Comment by Flora — October 12, 2013 @ 2:20 am

    • Good morning Flora, glad you’re still enjoying the pictures 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 12, 2013 @ 7:19 am

  4. Super interesting blog again Paul. Just checked the AIS – 8.50am and MV Hallaig is just leaving Cambeltown – listing Oban as her destination. Already 12 photos of her on there – soon to be many more I’m sure. Still no money or any inclination on behalf of the government to to replace 37 year old Isles of Scilly ferry Scillonian III – they’ll be feeling “Ferry Envy” when news reports of the MV Hallaig get into the nationals ! Sue

    Comment by Sue Mason — October 12, 2013 @ 7:59 am

  5. I am a little worried about the temperature of the exhaust where it leaves the building. Now you have insulated the exhaust is it not possible that it will get too hot and start smouldering around the exit point. I am sure I am just being a worrier, but be careful out there! I have Harry’s best interests at heart.

    Comment by Rushes — October 12, 2013 @ 8:40 am

    • Thanks for the concern Rushes but ship exhausts and many others are lagged all the way to the exit, a hot exhaust is like a hot flue, it stops carbon deposits.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 12, 2013 @ 10:39 am

  6. Morning, Paul

    So good that the Hallaig is on her way to Raasay (eventually). It’s taken time but I’ve been mightily impressed by the attention to and checks on safety and the sea trials.


    Comment by Sue — October 12, 2013 @ 8:52 am

  7. Looks like the dunny is a few notches above bog standard for that type of structure.Looking forward to the arrival of the Hallaig.

    Comment by Andy — October 12, 2013 @ 1:20 pm

    • Not a pile of caRp then? 🙂

      © OldiesGoldies

      Comment by San — October 12, 2013 @ 4:49 pm

  8. Glad all your hard work will be put to good use onboard your new ship:) please look after my mum who is coming up there next week. So if a wee woman from Millport says hello you are more than welcome too pap her aff the ferry. Good luck to all your crew.

    Alex and Lesley

    Comment by Alex & Lesley — October 12, 2013 @ 7:26 pm

  9. Hi Paul,
    Why not use a Suzuki Jimnys instead of Quads?

    Comment by v8mbov — October 12, 2013 @ 8:41 pm

    • Hi Paul,
      Why not use a Suzuki Jimnys instead of Quads?

      For a start they won’t fit through a 4′ gate and do you really think that you could get one up here 🙂


      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 12, 2013 @ 8:54 pm


    Ship Photos: 12
    Upload a photo
    Vessel’s Details

    More Actions

    Flag: United Kingdom
    Ship Type: Passenger
    Status: Anchored/Moored
    Speed/Course: 0.1 kn / 125˚
    Length x Breadth: 43 m X 16 m
    Draught: 1.5 m
    Destination: OBAN
    ETA: 2013-10-12 19:00 (UTC)
    Received (885): 2h 40min ago
    (AIS Source: John)
    Show Vessel’s Track
    Distance to…

    Comment by v8mbov — October 12, 2013 @ 8:49 pm

  11. just seen a picture of the Hallaig on the Raasay House Facebook page … she dwarfs the jetty … but she does look so smart

    Comment by cazinatutu — October 13, 2013 @ 6:12 pm

  12. Been off here for a bit but what an update. Hallaig coming to her new home, excellent news. Snow on the hilltops, is it really that time of year again?
    Keen to see how the house comes along now. Will that loo really suit your new house? :-).


    Comment by Arthur T Bomber Harris — October 14, 2013 @ 7:20 am

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