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.


020 image

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


022  023

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.


010  011



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

020 021

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.


038 039 040 041

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.


  1. Hi Paul … nice to hear from you, sorry work sounds so stressful these days, I hope it settles down eventually once you all get more used to the new systems … why on earth are they putting scaffolding up at Raasay House again so soon, it doesn’t seem like long ago they finished working on the building

    Comment by cazinatutu — February 16, 2014 @ 11:28 pm

  2. Hi Paul

    Some job, dealing with leaks in a place as big as Raasay House, but as you said – they were told! That’s a good distance photo, taken from so far away that you have included the waiting room roof and one of the gruesome mermaids (that are doing well for a couple a hundred years of age).


    Comment by Sue — February 17, 2014 @ 9:19 am

  3. Have you bought yourself a wee boat then Paul? Avery sturdy looking craft.

    Comment by Alistair — February 17, 2014 @ 9:35 am

    • No not me Alistair, my boating days are over 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 18, 2014 @ 6:07 am

      • Pitty she would make a lovely little boat for someone.

        Comment by Alistair — February 18, 2014 @ 9:33 am

      • She’ll be a fine looker once more I’m sure Alistair.

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 20, 2014 @ 6:06 am

  4. Hi Paul ,what a great blog this is ,I’ve followed it for years and wanted to thank you .I live down South but constantly long for the islands .Love your amazing hybrid ferry ,what a great ‘toy’ ! All the best for you and your family ,good luck with the house move/sale .Rgds Josh .

    Comment by Joh Ingham — February 17, 2014 @ 9:44 am

    • Welcome aboard Josh and thanks.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 18, 2014 @ 6:06 am

  5. Lucky you mate getting some snow. We just get more and more rain in the South West.

    Comment by Lloyd — February 17, 2014 @ 10:00 am

    • Ho Lloyd, lucky to have snow hey 🙂 that’s a new one 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 18, 2014 @ 6:06 am

  6. Hi Paul
    I always thought that lighthouse tender was owned by Calum McCrae? I’m sure that was the boat I was in years ago fishing with Calum when the engine failed to start and we were almost shipwrecked on the small rocky outcrop across from Oskaig (it probably has a name but I don’t know it). We had to push off with oars until the engine eventually fired into life!

    All the best

    Comment by Derek — February 17, 2014 @ 3:21 pm

    • Aye, if it broke down it was definitely Calum MaCrae’s boat, don’t think he ever went anywhere in his boat (or tractor) without breaking down 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 18, 2014 @ 6:05 am

  7. Paul,
    Why do you run the 15″ wheels when there is so much more (cheaper) choice for 16″?

    Comment by Kev — February 17, 2014 @ 10:36 pm

    • Paul,
      Why do you run the 15″ wheels when there is so much more (cheaper) choice for 16″?

      Hi Kev, quite simply because 12 years ago when I fitted them there wasn’t and oversize 16″ tyres were simply not available. Even now you’ll struggle to find a 10″ wide 16″ rim, 12 years ago it was impossible.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 18, 2014 @ 6:04 am

  8. Dear Paul,
    isn’t that the mast you spent so much time and trouble getting into two pieces and bring back to the island.



    Comment by Yorkshire Miner — February 18, 2014 @ 8:15 am

    • The very one Dave, I’ve now got an even BIGGER and better one 😉

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 20, 2014 @ 6:07 am

  9. I note that the former lighthouse tender has a wee plaque near the bow which would have borne an NLB badge like this one I photographed at Muckle Flugga in the 80s and

    Comment by neilking — February 18, 2014 @ 11:11 am

    • Cracking pictures (as always) Neil.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 20, 2014 @ 6:05 am

  10. Paul,
    The roof is looking spectacular, especially as with felt you do not see that annoying green membrane when you look at the roof at the ‘wrong’ angle.
    Hallaig looks great in the flesh, next time I am up I will take a journey on her. Glad all is going well and spring will soon be here.


    Comment by Arthur T Bomber Harris — February 20, 2014 @ 5:21 am

    • Morning Micheal and thanks for the cakes 🙂 we all enjoyed them.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 20, 2014 @ 6:05 am

      • Would have been some liquid but it was too early for the Co-op to serve that juice.
        On an aside, can you please send me a PM if you or Lachie can recommend an architect & electrician around the Staffin area. Cheers.

        Comment by Arthur T Bomber Harris — February 21, 2014 @ 9:46 pm

  11. Hi Paul is the turbine job still on, I’m away on the second week in March

    Comment by MW — February 20, 2014 @ 6:56 pm

    • Cheers, MW, will get back to you when I hear more, enjoy t he sun 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 21, 2014 @ 6:10 am

  12. Paul, thank you so much for coming to my rescue on board MV Hallaig this morning (Thur 20th Feb) when my car battery, inexplicably, died en route from Raasay to Sconser. I can only think this was a sign that I shouldn’t be leaving Raasay… You are a true gent- thank you. Kirsty xxx

    Comment by Kirsty Haldane — February 20, 2014 @ 8:07 pm

    • Morning Kirsty,

      I can only think this was a sign that I shouldn’t be leaving Raasay…

      Aye you’re probably right, but more likely the lights were on, the heater fan, heated rear window and radio 🙂 That or the battery is on its way out. Nice to meet you and it was a pleasure.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 21, 2014 @ 6:09 am

  13. I saw the 18:00 was cancelled tonight. Under what conditions does the ferry not sail. We saw it leave raasay at 17:30 only to return around 17:50.

    Also what is the likely hood of it sailing tomorrow


    Comment by ianaldridge — February 22, 2014 @ 8:35 pm

    • Morning Ian,
      I did reply last night but must have forgot to press the ‘send’ button on account of the rum 🙂

      It’s not the driving, it’s the parking and last night the squalls were screaming down Loch Sligachan at 50 knots plus so the skipper wisely turned back. South and south east wind with a high tide are bad at the Raasay end and anything with west in it bad at Sconser. Today seems just fine.

      Welcome aboard, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 23, 2014 @ 7:47 am

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