Life at the end of the road

December 22, 2013

Looking better

Filed under: boats, daily doings, food, New hybrid ferry, weather — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:41 pm

It’s still bad right enough but Christmas eve’s storm force winds have been downgraded just a little, or at least distributed a little more evenly onto Christmas day. For a while there it was looking like severe disruption on the travel front and I’ve rearranged the turkey delivery just in case.

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Those isobars are still pretty tightly packed right enough but the ‘violent storm 11’ has been downgraded to ‘storm force 10’ and shifted to midnight with a wee lull around late afternoon.


Still, I’m taking no chance, both the Skye fattened free range turkey and my parents have been rearranged for tomorrow Smile

As for the ‘daily doings’ I’ve been picking up where I left off yesterday really. My ‘back to back’ arrived on the 9:25 ferry, the first one having been cancelled due to the weather, and after an extended ‘handover’ I left Hallaig in the very capable hands of the other ‘grease monkey’ and headed home. These short days, and yesterday was the shortest mean that much has to be crammed into a very little space.

The recent gales had not only removed a dozen slates


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from the Sconser waiting room


they’d broken the mast that provides ‘connectivity’ on board Hallaig. Luckily our ‘port assistant’ made hasty repairs with a chair and crate so we could still use our live operating system. I will of course not mention the fact that I prophesised those slates wouldn’t stay on for the first winter and I won’t mention the fact that the beautiful hardwood door is nearly off its hinges. Funny, I seem to remember ‘banging on’ about a roller shutter door instead of hinged doors but what do I know Smile


This will be the ‘Fendt’ and the ‘Fergie’ side by side,

Fendt 936.jpg File:Ferguson Tractor on an exhibition.jpg

the Fendt’s PC needed a reboot but Fergie saved the day Smile You’ll have to forgive my sense of humour but I still drive around in a 1986 Land Rover which is the same age as the Loch Linnhe so I have a soft spot for ‘low tech’ Smile Right enough, just like I’d prefer the heated cab of the Fendt to the alfresco iron seat of the Ferguson I’d rather be on the Hallaig than the Linnhe.



Still, it was good to be back on a ‘Loch Class’ ferry for a few hours, but after a year on the ‘big boats’ and a month or two on Hallaig it felt really cramped and basic.

I honestly dunno how many ‘wee glitches’ we’ve had on the Hallaig or how many times the old Loch Class has had to ‘pick up’ the service but it’s not half as many as most folk think. I just dread to think what the ‘glass half empty’ brigade are saying when I receive texts like this,

That’s your boat f*****d again. The lifeboat bringing the minister over. What a shambles mate.

Well it was timed at 12:40 today,I spoke to my ‘back to back’ at 11:00 and he was just tying her up after doing the first run of the day on battery power alone. So either the minister missed the ferry or he was telling porkies, the ferry leaves Sconser at 10:30 on the Sabbath and always has done Smile


Being the run up to Christmas and its lucrative shellfish market all the boats were out making the most of a brief calm spell, to get in as much velvet crab fishing as possible.



Marie Bhan IV and Green Isle III making the most of it around the entrance to Loch Sligachan.



This is the time of year when the angry little swimming crabs fetch the best price, keep the longest and have the hardest shells so they’re much sought after for the lucrative Spanish market.


There is a deceptive amount of eating in these vicious little blighters and they’re very popular on continental tables at this time of year.



The Hallaig our new pier and Raasay House.

  More Quadzilla crap

Anyway, sorry for getting distracted there and back to Saturday when I headed home to ‘pick up the pieces’ of storm damage and unfinished jobs.


First the storm damage, a birch tree that had landed on my friends tourer, fortunately without causing any damage. I winched it out of the way before cutting it up into manageable sections.


With that safely out of the way I turned my attention to anther mates Quadzilla or ‘Crapzilla’ as I call it, the piece of  Chinese junk had burnt out its voltage regulator after only 1000 miles and needed fixing before they came up for Hogmanay. The offending article is a generic 25amp ‘five wire rectifier regulator’ that spews out of Chinese sweat shops for around £3.50. It’s fitted to scooters, motor bikes, quads, wind turbines and just about anything that generates 3 phase AC that needs converting to 12 or 24v DC. I phoned up the dealer ‘Extreme Quads’ in Lincolnshire and they wanted £89 for this bit of rubbish.


Item picture

These things can be found on eBay for a third of that. Now I’m not one for buying cheap copies of anything when you know the original is a better quality product but Quadzilla can hardly be described as a ‘quality product’. With that in mind I bought a much larger version for half the price from and fitted it after I’d dealt with the tree. The only modification I had to to was swap over the + and – leads on the plug and drill two new holes. Hopefully this little bit of junk will last longer than the original. And just to set the record straight Extreme Quads are great to deal with, very helpful and don’t charge for delivery, I’ve bought Crapzilla parts off them before and been well pleased with their service.


Well with today being a full 1 second longer than yesterday and a good bit drier than of late we made the most of it by cutting lots of bedding.




After pressing MiL into service I cleaned out all the pigs then got on with a spot of wood cutting


prior to doing a little work on my mates 15HP Yamaha

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that had got a severe ‘dunking’ in last weeks storm.

The secret of successfully rescuing anything that has fallen into the sea is not drying it out quickly but getting straight into fresh water quickly and then drying it out. Many is the outboard motor that has been resurrected from Davey Jones’s locker with WD40 and oil for it to die six months later when the salt sets in. Despite this Yamaha lying upside down in the surf for a day or two I’m hopeful of getting it going, eventually Smile

After spending an hour or so on that and managing to coax the Dude away from COD 25 o something equally inane on his Xbox we went out on the quads for a test drive.


The Quadzilla got as far as the first puddle whereupon it died, they obviously don’t have much water in China Smile Once dried out it started again but I’d had enough of it, fed the pigs and called it a day.



  1. Ditch the Quadzilla and get a grey Fergie :-). Seasons greetings to you and the family.Stay safe in these stormy conditions.

    Comment by Andy — December 22, 2013 @ 10:37 pm

    • I wouldn’t touch a Quadzilla with a barge pole Andy, they rust, photo degrade, they fall apart and every single bit of rubber on it has perished. As far as I can see this bit of junk has good tyres and a reasonable seat, everything else is pure carp. Merry Christmas to you and yours too.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 22, 2013 @ 10:46 pm

  2. Paul, Hope you and the family have a marvellous Christmas and thanks so much for your great blog and all the hours of interest and pleasure you give to your readers. Very best wishes. NickW

    Comment by NickW — December 23, 2013 @ 4:02 am

    • Pleasure, interest, really Nick 🙂 glad you like it and thanks.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 24, 2013 @ 9:35 pm

  3. My eldest grandkid had one of these, utter carp. I have lost count of the number of defects repaired over the years, including me having to completly re-wire it at one point and not to mention the carburettor regularly needing stripped down and overhauled. Never was i ever to hear the words that it had be gotten rid of! Like you Paul I am all for saving money where possible but there is a line that should not be crossed and when it is it always costs more in the long run!

    Hope you and the family all have a great Christmas!

    Comment by Thomson Caravans — December 23, 2013 @ 6:05 am

    • Yup, definitely ‘utter carp’ Graham, glad you’re still here, must get back onto and catch up. Hopefully our 1971 Thomson will be heading to a festival or two next year.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 24, 2013 @ 9:37 pm

      • A few new things on the website and the forum and facebook page are getting some interest which is great.
        Not been around online much as I have had a reel depression on the last few months, mostly due to lack of money due to Cameron and his thieves. Christmas always bucks me up though!
        Thursday we are heading south to Brum to spend some time with dad and to attend my Nephew’s wedding (at last) he was due to get married in August but cameron decided that his crew where needed out in Afghan again, his second tour there this year and 7th in the last 3! Just glad he is home safe and no doubt we will sink a few wee drams on Ne’er day!
        All the very best to you and all the family, have a good Christmas and looking forward to sharing more time with you in the New Year!

        Comment by Thomson Caravans — December 25, 2013 @ 2:37 am

  4. Happy Christmas Paul and same to all the family.

    Comment by William Mc Mahon — December 23, 2013 @ 7:15 am

    • Thanks William.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 24, 2013 @ 9:38 pm

  5. Hi Paul, Can we echo other comments above … all the very best for Christmas, stay out of the weather as much as poss and thanks for all the efforts on the blog. We have followed it for the last couple of months since the barmy sister/sister in law moved to Raasay. She is probably the main reason for all your fine weather……..:-) Looking forward to visiting the island for New Year – do we order a smooth crossing here or on Calmac’s website…..

    Comment by Dave S — December 23, 2013 @ 8:16 am

    • Hi Dave and welcome, ‘barmy’, well she’ll fit right in here then 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 24, 2013 @ 9:39 pm

  6. Hi Paul
    It made me laugh to think of the minister missing the ferry on the ‘Sabbath’. Was it not the minister that was against Sunday sailings? New technology is always going to have teething problems. If we had never pushed the boundaries we would all still be using shank’s poney!
    Happy Christmas to you, your family and all the rest of the good people of Raasay.


    Comment by Derek — December 23, 2013 @ 9:52 am

  7. I’d like to echo the comment made by NickW. The effort you must put in to make your blog interesting to read as well as visually pleasing is much appreciated. Happy Christmas and New Year to you and yours.

    Comment by DerekW — December 23, 2013 @ 12:24 pm

    • Hi Derek, welcome and thanks.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 24, 2013 @ 9:43 pm

  8. Paul,
    With all this wind & rain one thing for sure is that the house at the end of the road will be warm & snug thanks to your off grid electricity production.
    Wishing you & the family a Happy Christmas, as said before above, thank you for all that you have shared over the past year it is a real tonic for so many of us in this country or further afield.


    Comment by Arthur T Bomber Harris — December 23, 2013 @ 2:48 pm

  9. Sounds like the Loch classes need to carry some jump leads for the new kid!. all the best..

    Comment by confidential rick — December 23, 2013 @ 8:55 pm

    • Just ordered a set of extra long heavy duty ones Rick 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 24, 2013 @ 9:44 pm

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