Life at the end of the road

December 12, 2013

Fuelling around

Filed under: boats, daily doings, New hybrid ferry — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:18 pm

Friday night and I’m home for a couple of nights leaving the good ship Hallaig in the capable hands of my ‘back to back’. Not my regular shift but he’s kindly let me away to kill some pigs, not something I’m looking forward too but we’ll be happy enough once they’re in the freezer.

Anyway, last time I was on here I was on my ‘week off’ and ended up (as usual) running around like the proverbial fly with the blue bottom. Wifey was working and I was in charge of her hens


and this one wasn’t looking very happy, all puffed up and with a pale floppy comb.


Here’s a healthy specimen just about to go and ‘hen peck’ her Sad smile They really are quite brutal with each other, we’ve separated her, wormed her and are keeping an eye on the wee hen but she’s not looking great.

Once I’d dealt with all the fowl and swine,


where does that derogatory expression come from??? I turned my attention to the fuel.


I’d already decanted 600lts of diesel into my tank but left one barrel to take up to the new house site for Harry.


This would be my first ever delivery to the new house apart from a few cans poured in by hand. I’ve got this fuel transfer carry on well sorted, I should have really, I’ve been doing it since 1985!!


011  010

I use a small electric pump with a bronze impeller that I’ve had for years, I seem to remember buying it from Jansvans in Portree in a sale some twenty years ago and it’s been indispensible ever since. I have it all set up ready with 30m of oil resistant hose and a tap on each end, that way no diesel or heating oil ever leaks out of the pipe. It all fits nicely into a plastic fish box and will empty a barrel in around ten minutes, although not ‘self priming’ it’s easy enough to bleed by just keeping it lower than the barrel.

It may seem a bit ‘haphazard’ but in twenty odd years I’ve never spilt a drop. Normally, if just filling my own tank I’d use a bowser in my trailer but I’d only found out by chance that the tanker was coming over to Raasay and the barrels are easier to take down to the pier at short notice.

After sorting myself out I then loaded up the trailer with containers for the Torran generator 


not that that needs much diesel. The solar and hydro that supply this large self catering let cope well with most of the demand but you do get people turning up with hair dryers and toastie makers occasionally.


The renewable energy system there consists of  1260w of solar panels and 300w of hydro feeding into these Rolls S530 batteries. The 24v 1000ah bank then supplies a Studer XPC inverter which turns the 24vDC into 230AC and can cope with most of the demands of a large household. However there are always the folk who seem to delight in leaving every light in the house burning, the heating on full and three hair dryers running. At times like this the Lister ST2 generator ‘picks up the slack’ so now and then needs a drink, perhaps only once a year but a drink nonetheless.

It was on the way home with an empty trailer and hurrying to get to work


that things went ‘pear shaped’ or should I say ‘pigeon toed’, for the trusty Yamaha YFM 350 quad headed straight into a ditch


as one of the ‘track rod ends’ fell apart.


I did manage to get home by pushing it back in (twice) and I did have a spare, but it turned out to be the wrong end Sad smile Track rod ends, or ‘tie rod ends’ as they’re called in the USA are threaded RH at one end and LH at the other, and typically I’d only got a LH one when an RH one was needed.

After removing the end and squeezing it up in the vice I built it back up and rushed down to work


where the rest of the crew were preparing to finish for the week Smile



Me, I just did a couple of runs and shut down for the night Smile


Not sure what happened on Wednesday but Thursday was a far better affair


and just around lunchtime the Striven’s sister ship MV Loch Linnhe turned up fresh out of dry dock.


At some point during the day a ‘fire engine’ appeared but I’m not sure if it was ours, a replacement or what.


Today was kinda busy so I’d little time for anything other than our new ship, which had a minor hiccup at 7:30am and refused to start one of her drive units. Anyway with a foot pump and several meters of garden hose I managed to coax the £11,000,000 beauty into life Smile well OK, perhaps not quite like that but the ‘minor glitch’ was sorted and off we went.

026 027

The ‘drencher’ got its weekly check, and believe me you don’t want to be under that when it goes off.



We had a temporary new crew member, Jack, who came aboard to sniff for drugs Smile he never found any but he was very interested in my leg Smile


The 11:30 was a little delayed as we waited for an ambulance



that returned to Skye on the scheduled 12:15 sailing.


Loch Linnhe safely moored behind us with Lustre ahead of her.



And the last passenger of interest before I left


a Texal tup Smile


And before I forget, Snow White and the Raasay mine gnomes will be performing tomorrow night at the school ‘be there or be square’ Smile



  1. Looks like Hallaig is starting to “bed in” a bit – Won’t be long now before we’re up for the turn of the year and we can get to see and ride on that beauty! How do you get along with storing quantities of diesel for long periods? The carp that passes as red diesel these days gives us no end of hassle – water, bacterial “fur”, leaky pipes and seals, you name it! It’s terrible! Todays “petrol” isn’t a lot better either!

    Good Luck!


    Comment by fingalextravaganza — December 12, 2013 @ 10:40 pm

    • Hi Mark,
      you can still get ‘GASOIL D’ which is diesel without the bio. You can only use it in boats,heating and for generators though. It lasts much longer in the tank and is not as prone to the dreaded bug.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 12, 2013 @ 10:51 pm

  2. Hmmm. First your neighbor from the other side of the island sends you soap, and now a dog is sniffing your leg. Wonder what it all means?

    My tractor is diesel and there is one fuel additive to prevent water clogging and another “anti-bacterial” additive too. The latter costs $27 per liter, but one adds only 2 ounces to a gallon.

    Comment by drgeo — December 12, 2013 @ 11:44 pm

    • Correction, 2 ounces for 5 (US) gallons.

      Comment by drgeo — December 12, 2013 @ 11:45 pm

    • Hi DrG, you can get similar stuff here too, we dose the ferry with it every six months. The stuff we use is called Kathon and costs an ‘arm and a leg’ but I’m sure there are cheaper alternatives.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 13, 2013 @ 8:10 am

      • I understand from Brogan’s – supplier of diesel to the boat I live on – that all diesel coming out of the Grangemouth refinery (most of Scotland’s fuel being sourced from here) is FAME free be it Gasoil D or Gasoil A2 variants of red diesel. The refinery is currently NOT adding biodiesel to any of its products. My diesel cooker/central heating boiler runs a whole lot better on the Gasoil A2 (which is now effectively DERV with the red dye added) without any of the black gunk that used to form and have to be hacked out every month or so – burnt off in your case, but my pot burner is not removeable LOL

        Comment by Jonathan — December 19, 2013 @ 9:54 am

      • Interesting Jonathan, my burner pot seems to be getting worse these days, I’m going to start burning kerosene again to see if it improves. It’s a bit of a pain as I have to keep two different fuels but this cleaning is becoming a real PITA.

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 22, 2013 @ 4:14 pm

  3. RAASAY GNOMES!!!!! I’m beside myself, so looking forward.

    Comment by jeannettesmyth — December 13, 2013 @ 5:44 am

  4. Arghh! boots on in the accomadation, give that man a slap and tell him to get his feet off the new seats!

    Comment by Kev — December 13, 2013 @ 7:37 am

    • Aye Kev and welcome aboard, you wouldn’t get away with that on the ‘big boats’ 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 13, 2013 @ 8:08 am

  5. How many of litres of Diesel do you use a week/month/year?

    Comment by GH — December 13, 2013 @ 9:12 am

    • Morning Graham and welcome,

      in the generator probably a couple of hundred a year, though that would be before we fitted the solar panels. I’m thinking that we could actually get away with none. What really guzzles the fuel diesel/kerosene is the oil stove which burns around 4lts a day when it’s turned on. However I’m going to switch over to solid fuel in the New Year.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 13, 2013 @ 10:45 am

  6. Hi Paul

    How much deck space is there on the Hallaig for people crossing over who don’t want to stay in their car or be in the passenger lounge/saloon? I can’t tell from the photos.



    Comment by Sue — December 13, 2013 @ 9:26 am

    • Hi Sue, there’s 70 odd seats outside and under the mezzanine deck.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 13, 2013 @ 10:40 am

      • Thanks, Paul

        Standing room also, I guess, which is the preferred option.

        Looking forward to the first crossing (later than usual) in late July.


        Comment by Sue — December 13, 2013 @ 4:48 pm

  7. Hi, great blog! I wonder if a Raasay native could tell me the correct pronunciation of the Island’s name. I’ve heard it pronounced in several different ways over the years. Thanks!


    Comment by Jim — December 14, 2013 @ 12:09 pm

    • The double aa is as in aaagh, and say has a hard a as in aid. Raaasay, Raasay (the y is silent). Hope this is of use.

      Comment by SOTW — December 18, 2013 @ 5:24 pm

  8. Paul,
    So glad you still find time for the great blog, it puts a big smile on my face when I see the pictures of Raasay & Skye and keeps me topped up until my next trip up which should be in February (looking forward to a trip on the new ship.

    When I move up to Skye I am going to speak to these folk: and probably use them for a recon solid fuel Rayburn. I was put onto them by an installer from Inverness.


    Comment by Arthur T Bomber Harris — December 15, 2013 @ 8:48 am

  9. Hi Paul,
    It was great to visit , looks like I had the best weather : ) The road up to your house was ” Interesting ” in a C63 507 AMG!! Next time I will bring the range rover!!
    The Hen lady was a great laugh and makes a fine cup of tea!!! Glad you liked the soap!
    I will be back up at Grants in a few months and we will get that dram then!! Now I am away back offshore Italy, Work and slave!!!
    Your Island is amazing btw, a fantastic place, I am quite envious !!!

    Comment by v8mbov — December 15, 2013 @ 11:02 am

  10. Hi Paul,
    Looks like you may be getting ready to wind down your blog. Life happens and you certainly get more done at work and home than most of the people I know. I want to thank you for all of the posts – I’ve ready them all and been following you since early 2008. I hope the new house finishes up well and the current one sells soon.
    I’ll stay tuned, but again, thank you for he fantastic pictures and wonderful stories. You’ve made Scotland seem a little closer to California.

    Comment by Morgan — December 18, 2013 @ 4:59 am

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