Life at the end of the road

February 16, 2014

I wish I’d fitted the wheels

Filed under: boats, daily doings, shed/house, Trucks and plant — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:36 pm

It must be all the stairs on the Hallaig that make me so tired when I get home after work, gone are the days of going back to work for a rest I can tell you. Long gone also are the days when the only keyboard I ever used was my own on the kitchen table, now I seem to spend half my day wrestling with one in the office beside a server cabinet the size of the Tardis. OK, it’s mostly empty space on account of a severe ‘cock up’ at the shipyard, where someone obviously confused inches with centimetres. Even so it’s got a lot of black boxes and flashing lights in, none of which I understand and all of which whirr and flash like a taxiing jet on a well lit runway.


Anyway, enough of that for now, before I forget I’ll stick some pictures on here and try and recall that last five or six days events.



Well, that’ll be Marsco at the head of Loch Ainort or perhaps Ben Dearg Meadonach  from a layby near Luib, as I headed towards the mainland and my parents on Monday.


Sorry, I should have said we, for ‘wee dug’ came too, for amongst other things we were going for a ‘march’ with my dad. A little further down the A87, through Dunan, and Strollamus we stopped at a familiar spot.


The ‘red shed’, my parking place for the four years I lived on Scalpay, looking just the same as it did in 1985, I just love ‘crinkly tin’ Smile

Forty miles or so further on it was plantations of Glenshiel and a walk with my pop and the dogs,


hope I’m that fit in my eighties. Come to think of it, I wish I was that fit now Smile



It wasn’t only my parents that took me to the mainland on Monday, it was also the arrival of some new wheels and tyres for the ‘Old Girl’. My BF Goodrich 33 x 12.50 x 15 ‘All Terrain’ tyres were definitely approaching the legal limit after 4 years and 40,000 miles.

She’s had BF Goodrich tyres as long as I’ve had her and she even came with a set of their legendary ‘Trac Edge’, but they’re out of my price range now. Even buying them online and fitting them myself you’re looking at nearly £800 for a set. These ‘Adventuro’ tyres came on rims for considerably less than that and I don’t have the hassle of changing them like I used to. Not only that but HRC have fenced off my tyre changing bay at the old pier Sad smile The heavy wooden decking was perfect for changing tyres, especially after I’d screwed a wheel holder too it.

It was only a brief stay at my parents as I’d much to do before returning to the Hallaig on Tuesday afternoon,



so off by the ‘Five Sisters’ and back to Sconser for the 13:00 ferry.


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Where a not so cool Molly and I went to visit the ‘cool crew’ and harbour master Smile


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Then it was off home to admire Donald and Lachie’s handiwork on the roof, which on Monday was still missing a few ridge tiles and slates, but not anymore Smile I just can’t wait to see it in its full glory, their attention to detail is amazing, the first couple of rows of slate have felt under them instead of the much lighter membrane. This is so that it doesn’t flap in the wind and make a noise. Much as I love wood we opted for plastic fascia boards and soffits as I don’t want to changing or painting anything in my sixties and seventies.


The first job on Tuesday was to pump some heating oil out of my mates tank into a barrel for our stove



as yours truly hadn’t realized just how low our tank was and he’d be at work for the next fortnight. The two weeks off had flown by, but what goes up must come down and I had to ‘put my house in order’ for the wife. Sure, I get home every night, but like I said at the beginning, the Hallaig is a harsh mistress Smile

There was also other stuff to do at the ‘south end’ prior to my return to work, and one of them was to ‘go and see a man about a dog’.



Actually, it was to go and see a man with a dog about doing a wee job, or to be more precise asking a man with a lorry to do one for me.

Donald is building yet another fine house on Raasay, this time near Henderson’s bridge


amongst the Scots pine


and with spectacular views over to the Cuilins. Anyway, Donald had blocks arriving and there was a chance that Mr Hino could take a mast to Inverness for a mate of mine.


That’s not Donald by the way, that’s Terry, Donald’s spaniel


and that’ll be Tilley, taken a couple of years ago aboard the Striven.

As it turned out the journey was in in vain as regards Mr Hino as it wouldn’t fit on his truck, however as luck would have it I discovered that another lorry would be arriving on Wednesday.


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After decanting my heating oil I managed a couple of hours in Harry’s shed finishing off the insulation before heading of to work to let my ‘back to back’ away.


Poking my head out of the door at just after 6:00am I was a little surprised to see snow, far more snow than was good for a Nissan Almera so I told the wife to keep the Dude off school and headed south on my own.



It was very obviously either wet or icy under the snow for my BF Goodrich tyres were needing the help of both my locking differentials to get up the Croc nan Uan

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and I was wishing I’d fitted the Adventuro’s.

Once south of Glam however the snow disappeared and it was a half decent day, Skye Transport arrived with scaffolding for Raasay House and, with the assistance of Lachie and his telehandler had my mates mast away in a jiffy.



No sooner was the scaffolding unloaded than it was going up in front of the ‘big house’.


Safe Access certainly didn’t hang around.


Well, that got off to a far better start


with a full moon over Loch Arnish at 6:15 and little sign of yesterday’s snow.


Just the mountains of Skye retaining their white dusting



and cotton wool clouds.


The ‘wee dug’ had accompanied me to work, or at least as far as the pier where I’d left her in the Land Rover until lunch, when we went for a walk by the old pier.

This will be an old lighthouse tender, massively built but with quite a narrow bean for cutting through the surf and getting into the tight gullies that are characteristic of so many lighthouse landings. I remember her coming here almost twenty five years ago when when of the NLB ships, perhaps the Pole Star dropped her off for the former Northern Lights that had bought her. A fine craft with her Lister HR2 engine, substantial fendering she’s seen little use this last quarter of a century, though I feel that’s about to change Smile



Friday and the finished scaffolding, so placed to hopefully address the many water leaks that became evident over the stormy and somewhat exceptionally wet winter.


Saturday brought with it strong northerly winds, that coupled with the full moon, resulting high tide, big swell and opening between the Arduish and Goat Island, made the slipway unusable.


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This is it an hour after high water, prior to that it was surging up as far as the cars (now moved) on the car park.


The council were told, nay pleaded with, to fill in this gap, it’s not ‘rocket science’ and it was on the original plans. However in their wisdom they chose not to and the net result was we didn’t sail until the tide and swell had dropped at 8:55.

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