Life at the end of the road

November 22, 2013

Good to go :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, New hybrid ferry — Tags: , , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:47 pm

Almost a week,

No posts for almost a week, so I hope all is well with you and yours Paul. Perhaps it’s a small thing like the snow disrupting your internet cable?

and Texas was getting worried Smile Well DrG and everyone else for that matter it’s been a little hectic, for a start I had to work an extra three days on the Hallaig to cover for my ‘back to back’. Then we’ve had a whole raft of extra crew aboard for induction on the new vessel, this will be relief crews and crews for hybrid number two. Consequently this week we’ve had more fires and chemical spills than your average civil war and deposited more anchors on the sea bed than a fleet of warships. We’ve had the press on board, more skippers than an Atlantic convoy and some 5h1te weather to boot.

In other words, the week has flown by and I’ve been too tired to post, what should have been a civilised and early night on Sunday got a little messy when my mate came to dinner. I knew it would when he arrived and his rucksack was clinking Smile  Then there was the blizzard, gale and moved caravan followed by the arrival of almost 400 sausages. Anyway, I’ll try and piece the week together in pictures somehow as my memory is rubbish.


The Sunday drive to work was the first in a few weeks during daylight and I managed to catch a few of the many deer I’ve been seeing on camera.



These would be the scrawnier and weaker ones that hadn’t managed to collect themselves a harem during the rut. Not great pictures but it was still early, the light was poor and the camera my old Fuji.


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This I’m thinking was more anchor work around at Rubh na Cloiche


or ‘Toms cat’ as we used to call it. I say ‘we’ but it was inevitably my ex skipper Willy Eyre that named our diving spots. This little ‘nose’ that came out from Raasay’s south western extremity was always a good spot during north wind and got its name from Toms catapult. Toms what I hear you say,



well its gone now but twenty years ago there was a huge wooden catapult on the shore here.

I kid you not, the ‘castle’s’ owner had built one of these to ‘repel borders’ Smile I dunno if it actually worked but knowing Tom I’m sure it did Smile

Other spots we used to frequent were the ‘Elephant hills’ off Scalpay, the ‘Butterfly bank’ off Rona, the ‘Quarry nose’ off Moll and the ‘Rubbish dump’ near Braes. The names are all coming flooding back to me now, the ‘Nineteenth hole’ a spot off Camus Tianavaig where I kept finding golf balls, the ‘Bottle bank’ off Eyre where the scallop bag would be full of bottles and plates as well as clams. Apparently vessels would anchor there in years gone by and obviously throw away plates that were cracked rather than fill up the dustbins.


Map picture

Happy days aboard the MV Conqueror Smile



This is the MV Loch Striven’s old berth and Raasay’s main connection with the mainland and Skye for almost 100 years. Now a ‘listed building’ the century  year old iron ore jetty was the exposed berth of the islands ferries for almost forty years. It’s hard now to believe that a significant number of people wanted to stay there rather than build our new one!!!!!!

How times have changed, that’ll be the Loch Arkaig on the end of the iron ore pier in the 60’s I guess


and this the Loch Striven in 2010 HRC may be carp at repairing roads but they did build a lovely harbour Smile


Ben Tianavaig with the old iron ore buildings bottom right, I got a little distracted there, probably something to do with the cider I found under the sofa.

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After our anchoring exercise we had an untimely fire in the engine room followed by one in the accommodation. All of which made us very hungry,

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yup, all of us, for Sunday on we were joined by the ‘wee dug’. Sunday is of course also the day of ‘the big breakfast’ and the spacious airy and well laid out mess room on the Hallaig is the perfect place for it!


Still Sunday and a sea eagle at Eyre courtesy of ‘The other end of the road’ George Rankine

Eyre WTE (1)

Having done so many drills this last week I’m kind of losing track of the days but our Zodiac with it’s 40hp Yamaha certainly got plenty of use and rescued an inordinate number of dummies.

 Hallaig and Glamaig

Monday now (I think) and another from George, this one of us with Glamaig in the background.


Not sure when Bradan Mor (big salmon) was caught on camera at Sconser but the next picture was definitely during the morning.


Tuesday morning over the Ard Duish I’m thinking



a fine start to a fine day with a chemical spill drill and more boat and anchor work.


At least I think that’s what we did,


my memory is atrocious.


I’ll tell you what though, we’re getting pretty slick at launching this boat Smile


A bit of a change

With the change of crew came a change in the weather, me, I was for once quite happy not to be going ‘off shift’. Wednesday heralded a well forecast blast from the north but it was still a shock to the system.


Tuesday evening.


Wednesday morning.

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Calum’s cairn, Calum’s road


Glam and Portree


and the Raasay youth hostel, which could be yours for the price of a shoe box in Kensington or a Range Rover and a second hand Purdey

It got VERY windy that day, I’m not sure how windy

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but certainly a good 50knts in the gusts. All my good intentions of blogging went ‘out the window’ on the way home when I discovered my caravan at Tarbert  a peculiar angle  on the way home. Caught by the north wind and pushed round about 45 degrees the caravan needing securing and that took wifey and I more time than we bargained for.




Thursday was much better,


and once more we headed around to Eyre for boat drills


and ‘checking the marks’

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Think I might have got my days mixed up there but ‘you get the picture’ Smile


Methinks the good weather photos may have been Tuesday, the three of the Striven and this one of Braes Wednesday? perhaps. Anyway it’s not important,


this was definitely Thursday morning Smile


The ‘Old Girl’ got her first trip on the Hallaig



and left her mark, though I did clean it up straight away Smile

I’d taken her over to Sconser so that she could be filled up with pork



and that was last nights job. Almost 400 sausages and rather a lot of piggy bits had to be bagged up and deposited into our freezer. Raasay House had taken one and Kevin of Garybuie another. Myself and RH had taken the easy option and got Munro’s to do the butchery but I looked in envy at Kevin and Christine’s pictures of their chorizo and brawn,



five ribs back, he’s obviously done this before Smile

P1010704 P1010709 P1010723



Actually I think that picture of the ‘Green Isle II’ was taken on Thursday but I’m two litres of cider the worse for wear now and past caring.



This one however of our dedicated seaman purser Ali was definitely taken today Smile

So that’s it really, I’m ‘off shift’ the Hallaig will be in service on Monday at 7:55 and I’ll on her as a passenger for the first scheduled crossing. Only because I’ve a dentist appointment though and not because I’m a complete ‘anorak’ Smile



  1. wow, what a busy week Paul … I love George’s photo of Hallaig with Glamaig in the background, it wouldn’t look out of place in an advertising brochure for Norway

    so Hallaig is in service from Monday, congratulations !!

    Comment by cazinatutu — November 23, 2013 @ 12:03 am

  2. Paul you’ve deffinately had a weeks worth of blogging content. Especially now the winters rearing its ugly head. The surprise shot was your Sat Nav photo. I’d have thought you knew your road back to front, just joshing. Best wishes to you and all the crew on the Hallaigh for the official start on Monday.

    Comment by Polite Scouser — November 23, 2013 @ 12:27 am

    • The ‘pratnav’ is just for the pretty colours and time Walter 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 24, 2013 @ 8:11 am

  3. Always good to have satnav when there is a whiteout. Glad you secured the caravan and are home snug as a bug in a rug.

    Comment by drgeo — November 23, 2013 @ 3:38 am

    • And when “checking the marks” do you ever get to yell “MARK TWAIN” ? Lucky dog.

      Comment by drgeo — November 23, 2013 @ 3:42 am

  4. When “checking the marks” do you get to yell “MARK TWAIN” ? Lucky dog.

    Comment by drgeo — November 23, 2013 @ 3:41 am

  5. Can’t imagine why all those golf balls were found there, unless the current took them across from the golf club further down on Skye! Lovely pork – that’ll keep you going.


    Comment by Sue — November 23, 2013 @ 9:23 am

    • Can’t imagine why all those golf balls were found there

      We often pondered over that Sue, not even a current like the Corryvrekan could have carried them there, best guess would be a golfing enthusiast at Camas Tianavaig trying to hit the black rock.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 24, 2013 @ 8:10 am

  6. What a week, Paul! Thanks for taking the time to post such great pics and commentary. Such variety, from aerial shots to sausage, and everything in between. Did Tom build a modern house within castle ruins? How cool! The ship under Glamaig is stunning. (Thanks, George.) Dumb question; what does ‘MV’ in a ship’s name signify? Best wishes for the first public run of the Hallaig, as well as your dental appt.

    Comment by Flora — November 23, 2013 @ 1:41 pm

    • Morning Flora, Tom just got on and built it with locally gathered stone, pure genius 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 24, 2013 @ 8:08 am

    • Motor Vessel.

      Comment by San — November 24, 2013 @ 10:31 am

  7. Sad to see Youth Hostel going. Many happy memories of there

    Comment by eileen1929 — November 23, 2013 @ 5:04 pm

    • Sad to see Youth Hostel going. Many happy memories of there

      Oh, I don’t know Eileen, it was hardly ever open these last fifteen years. A permanent warden all year round would have made a fortune there over the last eight years. You have no idea how scarce accommodation has been for all the workers here of late. I’m sure someone will buy it and manage it properly as a hostel of some kind.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 24, 2013 @ 8:07 am

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