Life at the end of the road

February 22, 2014

Home early :-(

Filed under: daily doings, New hybrid ferry — Tags: — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:39 pm

Saturday night and my planned blog ‘Live from Hallaig’ never happened, just like the late ferry, it got cancelled due to the weather Sad smile I dunno what it’s blowing now, but all the electric fires are on in the house and still the voltage is up at 53.7v. The wind and hydro turbines are doing overtime and despite the cold outside we’ve not lit a fire.

There’s no point me moaning about the weather for we’re used to it here and folks ‘down sowf’ seem to have had it much worse. However you know it’s going to be 5h1t3 when THREE clam dredgers turn up on a Saturday.




Dunno the name of the first one but here’s the Stornoway registered Jann Denise doing a ‘hard to starboard’ to avoid the Raasay power cable. Fair play to Jann Denise, for most clam dredgers seldom bother, so much so that the southern cable has now been condemned by SSE. So if Raasay loses the north cable it’s stuffed, well all bar us at the north end that is Smile

Sure the fishermen have to make a living but if you could only see the damage these things do to the sea bed you’d not let them within sight of the shore. I just don’t get it, we’re not allowed to throw a plate of half eaten pasta over the side of the Hallaig yet these pirates can drag chains and harrows indiscriminately across the sea bed 24 hours a day destroying everything in their path. The world has gone mad, like my mate ‘Willy Eyre’ says, ‘it’s like cutting down a forest to harvest mushrooms’.


I know the blogging has been a little lame of late but I’ll try and pick up where I left off last week, or was it the week before. These days the weeks just seem to fly by, even changing from ‘week on week off’ to ‘two weeks on two weeks off’ doesn’t seem to have lengthened my spell at work aboard Hallaig. The novelty of a new ship to ‘play’ with and a new house to build has meant that time and life seem to be a bit of a blur of paperwork, laptops, officialdom and friggin phone calls, none of which I’m comfortable with. Still, I’ve a really good feeling about 2014 and reckon that this next few months will herald some great progress and sanity Smile


Well, that picture was taken a week ago tomorrow morning as I headed for the good ship Hallaig on Sunday last, in full sunshine, the first time this year. Somehow I don’t think tomorrow will be quite so nice.


Still, at least we should be sailing, tonight threw some serious squalls at us that had us sailing at 17:30, only to turn back for Raasay at 17:50 just short of Loch Sligachan. The gusts coming down the loch, with winds of 50 knots and spindrift defying gravity saw us turning for home. Sconser is an unforgiving place at low water with ‘severe gale’ force winds ‘on the beam’.

Last week

Sunday last was a bonny enough day but my ‘apprentices’ and I saw little of it Smile In preparation for yard number 726, the MV Lochinvar we’ve been training up extra crew.


So my good ‘shipmates’ from Arran and ‘Cameltown’ have been helping me out Smile


This will be servicing and drawing off an oil sample from one of the three main diesel generators.

The key to machinery longevity is regular servicing and oil sampling and CalMac vessels get both, here’s an oil sample being taken into a sterile bottle with a vacuum pump. The sample will be sent to where it will be carefully analysed for contaminates that could be a sign of trouble ahead. Sodium would indicate contamination from sea water, copper, lead or antinomy would be a clue to premature wear and water to a coolant problem. All of which, if caught at an early stage could save much money and reduce ‘downtime’.

Better than a ‘Workmate’

In between all the regular stuff I’ve been exercising my carpentry skills aboard Hallaig


and lifting some floor plates is every bit as good, if not better than as ‘Black and Decker Workmate’


This will be an attempt to get all our files, manuals and wiring diagrams onto some easily accessible shelving in the forward engine room.



and I have to say, I’m pretty ‘chuffed’


Filing wasn’t the only thing achieved



we even got a new chair for the engine room.


The weather wasn’t always rubbish either


I’ve no idea what day this was


but it got off to a fine start.


  1. I’m with you all the way on these infernal clam and scallop dredgers. It’s not as if any of us north of the central belt ever see that stuff they catch – it’s all going south or abroad.


    Comment by Irena Krasinska-Lobban — February 23, 2014 @ 12:42 am

  2. I’m also with you guys on these clam and scallop dredgers.
    I;ve missed your blogs.

    Comment by Nigel Macleod — February 23, 2014 @ 10:43 am

  3. I remember when I was in my teens I saw the first clam dredgers appear in the sound between Braes and Raasay (70’s). We always had decent summer fishing from Braes, but the summer after we hardly got anything! At that time the saithe (Coley), codling, haddock etc had been fairly plentiful but ever since the dredgers appeared I never hear of good catches of these fish by folk hand lining in the sound. Time they were banned and if we want to eat them we just need to pay more for dived scallops..

    Comment by John MacDonald — February 23, 2014 @ 12:03 pm

  4. Just to add a third voice on those damn dredgers.
    Looks lovely there Paul. The sunshine on those hills is fab.
    If Chateau Martinet ever turns up near you worth a try, a really nice Bordeaux

    Comment by Andrew — February 23, 2014 @ 12:08 pm

  5. “…Reckon the next few months will bring some great progress and sanity…”

    My money will bet on progress, but the sanity is a long shot.

    Comment by drgeo — February 23, 2014 @ 12:18 pm

  6. Clam Dredges used to always raise heckles when i was in kishorn not that they dared come close to the salmon cages. You see we were very protective of our local clam diver Ian Beeton, even other clam divers got short shrift of us. But dredgers do so much damage to the local fishery and to the gear of prawn fisherman, they don’t seem to give a monkeys about anyone else’s lively hood.

    Am I right in thinking they want to open up a squid fishery on the west coast as well?

    Comment by Alistair — February 23, 2014 @ 8:04 pm

  7. We in Wester Ross are trying to get clam dredgers banned from the Summer lses area through a petition to enable the proposed Wester Ross MPA which will ban scallop dredgers by law. We need to show the plan is supported, not only in this area but wider afield as well. You can find the petition on the seachange fb page. Thank you

    Comment by diyanne ross — July 2, 2015 @ 12:57 pm

    • Morning Diyanne, yup, I’ll sign that, fecking clam dredgers should be banned from inshore waters.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 11, 2015 @ 5:52 am

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