Life at the end of the road

October 13, 2013

She’s here!!!! :-)

Eight PM exactly here on Raasay and I’m just digesting one of Munro’s excellent steak pies purchased from our very own shop. The pie, as with all the Raasay stores meat comes from Munro’s of Dingwall and like all their products is the best of quality. Normally we’d be eating something local our from the croft out of the freezer, but my lack of ‘home time’ this last year has meant that, apart from the odd pig we’ve not butchered anything since before last Christmas. Sure that is going to change very shortly, we’ve still got one Soay sheep roaming the hill and a Tamworth pig with our name on it Smile

Anyway, it’s been another pure peach of a day, though I still managed to stay in bed unusually late, 8:30 this morning before I stirred so I missed what must have been a magnificent sunrise. Once I was out right enough I wasted no time and got on with leading the five ‘wee boys’ back onto the hill, then rushing back in to see if the Hallaig had left Oban. Sure enough she had and for the rest of the day I was checking on her progress via Marine Traffic . com which for some reason plotted her progress much better than Ship AIS . With her dieseling up the Sound of Mull in excess of 9knts I went off to Torran School to ferry some gear in and out for a friend. The starter solenoid had finally died on the Yamaha and the Honda was still pishing out fuel from the carburettor if not switched off. The Yamaha, and the Honda in fact both have ‘pull cords’ but they’re not for the feint of heart.


Nice bit of path work there from my mate Donnie at DDK, must have been laid on that hill there for almost ten years now and still looking great. This path, road and dyke building must be in the Macleod blood Smile



With the dirty linen lifted I returned home to continue ‘tinkering’ with the 200w Yangzhou Shenzhou that I’d bought in the Navitron sale some time ago. These wind turbines really are carp but this one was so cheap that I thought I’d give it ago. I’ve already replaced all the bearings and balanced the blades but the next thing I want to do is replace their notoriously rubbish charge controller with a simple ‘bridge rectifier’ and ‘diversion load controller’.

007  008

The rectifier, which converts the three phase AC produced by the turbine into DC is simple enough to make from three diodes like these.

Finding the Parts for a Multi-Phase Bridge Rectifier

35A Bridge Rectifier for Wind Turbine Generator

Pictured above is a 35A rated Bridge Rectifier (28.5 x 28.5 x 11.5mm) (available from the REUK shop) with legs (terminations) of 6.3 x 0.8mm dimension. Wires (10 AWG for these 35 Amp rectifiers) can be soldered on directly, or more easily crimp connectors can be used which are pushed onto the legs of the bridge rectifier and then squeezed with a crimping tool to hold them firm. Bridge rectifiers such as the one illustrated are available from a couple of pounds each, and suitable crimp connectors for just 20 pence each.

Three phase 35A bridge rectifier kit

Wiring diagram

These little diodes can produce a lot of heat so the secret is a good ‘heat sink’ and guess where I found one Smile

Next job was an unscheduled one, cleaning out the oil stove, something that has taken me almost twenty years to get right. The ‘burner pot’ of our stove gets carbon deposits on it which used to take me hours to remove. Now I just build a bonfire and throw the pot in the middle.


009 010

It works really, really well, removing all the hard baked carbon without effort or the damage caused by files, screwdrivers, scrapers and hammering that I used to use.


011 012

More work on the Chinese wind turbine followed including extra paint on the tail and converting a rusty 2.5” pipe into an adaptor so the turbine could be mounted on a scaffolding pole.


The Hallaig arrives

All the while I was in and out of the house checking Hallaig’s progress from Oban, then around 16:00 when she passed under the Skye Bridge I reckoned it was time to finish off. So after fitting the stove bowl, giving the turbine mount a lick of paint and gathering the family we headed south. We caught sight of her passing to the north of ‘the Red Rocks’ east of Scalpay as we got to the end of ‘Calum’s road’ but that was it until we arrived at the old pier.


I guess it was around 17:30 when she silently cleared our old berth



and just fifteen minutes later when she arrived at our new one.



There was a great turnout to meet her as she quietly berthed at the end of the pier.





Young and old, two legs and four Smile

024  026



Familiar faces from the yard, for once not telling me to ‘mind the paint’ Smile

028 029

Ferguson’s flag flying, just as a reminder that she still belongs to them and the bell in position by the wheelhouse door, that probably went on as she left Port Glasgow Smile





Sadly, we still had animals to feed before dark, and darker it was getting as we headed home


passing at least four stags during the eleven mile drive. This one at Glame appears to have a notch out of his ear and was all on his own, a smaller chap half a mile to the north having collected four or five hinds.


By the time we reached Loch Arnish the sun had long since sunk behind the Storr, I fed the pigs, the wife made dinner and that was that Smile

More great pictures here on Davey’s photostream



  1. Happy New Boat Paul ! So it that your new ” Home from Home ” then?

    Comment by v8mbov — October 13, 2013 @ 8:48 pm

  2. lovely pictures of the Hallaig, Paul … and the one of the stag is brilliant … you’ve never answered any questions about when the Hallaig is going into service, when are you going to let us know (assuming you know, of course)

    Comment by cazinatutu — October 13, 2013 @ 9:12 pm

  3. Your reports on Hallaig have been really interesting. As someone who loves the MacBraynes’ boats and formerly the buses too – but knows little about them i just imagined they (Calmac) ordered one, had it built and took delivery. Your story has enlightened me. I’m hooked on life on your island now and should I ever be around that way I’ll let you know. Don’t worry, it’s most unlikely! Thank you for introducing all of us to your exhilarating world.

    Comment by stuart — October 13, 2013 @ 9:13 pm

    • Welcome aboard Stuart, glad you find it interesting.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 13, 2013 @ 9:33 pm

  4. Hi Paul, I’ve stuck some Hallaig pics up. Including the odd one with someone you might recognise, 🙂

    Comment by Davedaveydave — October 13, 2013 @ 9:20 pm

  5. Happy days Paul. …when does service commence. ..

    Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — October 13, 2013 @ 9:20 pm

  6. The finishing touch for the whole project.Perfect weather too.Now put the thing on charge 🙂

    Comment by Andy — October 13, 2013 @ 9:33 pm

    • The finishing touch for the whole project.Perfect weather too.Now put the thing on charge

      The extention lead wasn’t long enough 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 13, 2013 @ 9:35 pm

      • So that is what the Chinese turbine is for 🙂

        Comment by Andy — October 14, 2013 @ 7:35 pm

  7. A bit late after all these posts, but welcome to Raasay, MV Hallaig!

    Comment by Sue — October 13, 2013 @ 9:44 pm

  8. With the reopening of Rassay House and the comunity buy out of the shop,and now the arrival of the MV Hallaig it looks like things are on the up for Raasay. 🙂

    Comment by jeff ostle — October 13, 2013 @ 11:23 pm

    • Morning Jeff, yes, we have a bright future indeed 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 14, 2013 @ 6:56 am

  9. Huzzah for the Hallaig!

    Comment by drgeo — October 13, 2013 @ 11:47 pm

  10. Hi Paul, don’t know if you’ve seen this article. Seems the dire broadband in the Highlands and Islands is causing another drift to the South:


    Comment by bob — October 14, 2013 @ 3:46 am

  11. happy to think you’ll be able to stay at home more now, will you? i never did understand what was being used for the raasay ferry when you went awol on the seven seas. what became of the loch striven?

    Comment by jeannettesmyth — October 14, 2013 @ 6:23 am

    • Morning Jeannette,

      that will be the MV Loch Striven in the foreground, she’ll be here for a couple of weeks yet before going to dry dock, then the Lismore/Oban route.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 14, 2013 @ 6:51 am

  12. Great to see the hallaig in her new home, at long last. So in a few weeks you will be sailing in her. I take it life will be a bit less hectic (if you can do that) and we will be getting more of this blog from you. Good luck and I look forward to a daily fix of Life at the end of the road.

    Comment by Alistair — October 14, 2013 @ 8:35 am

  13. She looks magnificent, Paul. Can’t wait to she MV Hallaig in the flesh!

    Comment by Callum — October 14, 2013 @ 9:01 am

  14. Paul,

    Having the last three posts to read in one day was great & this one, the finishing touch 🙂
    Excellent pictures and the ones by Davey also, you have been blessed with the weather this year.
    I thought I would have a look at Munro’s website, you need to have a word with them ‘The North of Scotland is famous for producing first class beef cattle and lambs, reared on rich pastures surrounding the Moray Firth’. What about the rest of Scotland not forgetting crofters like yourself ? ? ?
    I did wonder why you were eating Lidls bacon……………not for much longer though, just in time for Christmas.

    Welcome home.


    Comment by Arthur T Bomber Harris — October 14, 2013 @ 11:26 am

  15. Hi. Still love to read your meanderings. Keep it going. Marinetraffic is a much larger organisation based out of the maritime university in Athens I think. Shipsais is a enthusiast in the Liverpool area who runs it. I have one of his receivers and feed both Shipsais and Marinetraffic, Inverness station 1112.

    Comment by Lynn R — October 14, 2013 @ 8:38 pm

    • Keep up the good work Lynn, just wish we had someone in Kyle to do the same.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 14, 2013 @ 9:15 pm

      • You could put a receiver up at the new back haul site. That would get a very nice coverage of the inner west coast.

        Comment by Lynn R — October 15, 2013 @ 6:24 am

  16. Oi! I’m not old!

    Comment by Stephen — October 14, 2013 @ 9:07 pm

    • Oi! I’m not old! and you’ve not got four legs 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 14, 2013 @ 9:14 pm

  17. I am gutted to have missed the arrival of the hallaig to my beloved island!!! Thank you so much for keeping us up to date with the procress enjoyed it all whens the grand take over …..

    Comment by Catherine Ann Macleod — October 14, 2013 @ 11:30 pm

  18. Paul,

    sorry I’m late, for some reason wasn’t able to comment from the phone while on Islay. I’ve got a few pictures of the Hallaig as she was passing between Islay and Gigha on her way home. If you’d like to have them get in touch and I’ll be happy to email them.

    Comment by Armin Grewe — October 21, 2013 @ 9:36 pm

    • Looking forward to the pictures Armin, thanks.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 22, 2013 @ 5:29 am

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