Life at the end of the road

July 27, 2014

Pretty shattered

Filed under: boats, daily doings, New hybrid ferry — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:24 pm

Well it’s a pure stunning evening and I’ve just demolished a fine offering of pot roast venison in a divine sauce made from its juices, veg, parsley and blackcurrant jam!!!!!! I kid you not, darling wife tasted the sauce amidst its lumps of onion, celery, flat leaf parsley and heaven knows what. Then she declared, “it needs something else”, as far as I was concerned, all it needed was putting on a plate with the roast sweet potatoes and peas, but I didn’t want to argue.  She delves into the fridge, produces one of my mums jars of blackcurrant jam and deposits two large spoonful’s in amongst the now cut venison and its sauce.

I wasn’t convinced that this was going to work along with the fresh green peas and the sliced, roasted and chilli covered sweet potato but work it did. Following it with some ‘sticky toffee cakes’ and ice cream I’m now melting into a glass of that fine ‘Montepulciano D’ Abruzzo’ donated by my good friend Sue and her companion. Truth is I managed a glass last night too then collapsed into my bed shattered, after what has been a pretty full on week and more  aboard the Hallaig.

The Macleod Parliament

We had a few sailings last week ferrying the ‘Macleod Parliament’ gathering to and from Raasay, our ‘PC’ (passenger certificate) of 150 not being enough to carry all the 170 delegates in one go.

It’s a four yearly affair with the clan chief and his wife travelling all the way from Tasmania,


that’ll be John Macleod centre with Rosie Macleod just behind him preparing to pipe the first batch onto Raasay. The other gentleman is, I think, Donald Macleod, chief of the Lewis MacLeod’s and I do hope I’ve got that right. Though I think they’re referred to as ‘Lewes’ Macleod’s


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Anyway, they certainly saw Raasay at its best and had a great day out by all accounts.


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My crewmates and I spent most of the ‘in between moments’ making the best of the good weather to finish of Ferguson’s paint work Smile


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We also had the company of the Ullapool registered clam diving boat ‘Lady Nicola’ UL 584


who were kind enough to donate some scallops to the MV Hallaig. They were the freshest and finest clams I’ve had since I gave up clam diving myself some 12 years ago.


This will be Tarbert in Loch Arnish with Skye and the Storr in the background, it really has been a pleasure travelling to and from work this last fortnight.


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It’s been busy on the ‘seaways’ too with the usual fish farm boats, The SD Raasay and several ‘well boats’ to name just a few.



Charlie (on the left) headed back to Barrhead along with MiL so Molly is looking a bit lost at the moment and is once more pestering me to take her to work every morning.

The worn out wren

A week or so back I was walking down the drive with the two dogs when Charlie found a wee fledgling wren it the middle of the road.



It was pure knackered and hadn’t quite got the knack of flying, expecting visitors in a vehicle I moved it to the verge. The wee thing must have been OK, for when we returned it had gone.


Today started a little grey and damp,


perfect weather for the monthly ‘deck drencher’ test,


you really do not want to be on the car deck when that goes off Smile


Then later in the day we had a fire in the engine room and an unconscious motorman who had to be rescued Smile


Can’t have been anything serious because shortly afterwards he was making a new top for the engine room work station Smile

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Now we can fit the logbook and the notebook on there at the same time Smile



All this being done with the emergency generator ‘back feeding’ the main switchboard in ‘harbour mode’. Normally we’d be on ‘shore power’ during the Sunday ‘tie up’ but this is a good way of testing and loading up the ‘EDG’ as part of the weekly ‘planned maintenance’.

That’s it really, it’s my last full day tomorrow then it’ll two weeks hard labour on the croft, or should I say under the Land Rover, getting ready for the MOT and fitting the ‘Disco’ 200TDi. There was more, much more but most of that involved cursing and swearing about inept surveyors, legalized robbery by mortgage brokers, Crofting Commission idiocy  and being shafted by the bank. Why, of why do we put up with these charlatans, you lift a pair of knickers from Tesco and you’re a criminal yet these ‘professionals’ can quite legally screw you for the last penny and leave you out to dry.

I despair!

July 26, 2014

A diplomatic incident :-)

Well, I just don’t know where it’s gone, the last fortnight that is, thirteen days since I posted and I’m only posting now because it’s pishing with rain! To be honest we needed it to clear the air, for the last week has been a pure scorcher, nothing like the 30 plus degrees of ‘down sowf’ right enough but too hot nonetheless. Mind you it’s been 30 plus in the ‘greenhouse’, that’ll be the new name for the Hallaig’s ‘wheelhouse’ where temperatures started off at 26 degrees at 7:00am and gradually climbed to an unbearable 32.9 on several afternoons!!! Thankfully my steering days are over and I’d a balmy engine room to retire too Smile Well cool by comparison, I dunno what the actual temperature was but the air conditioned battery rooms felt like a fridge and they are set to 20 degrees.

The route manager at Uig came to the rescue yesterday with a portable air conditioner for the cooking skipper. Sure enough, as soon as that arrived the weather went ‘pear shaped’, but like I said, it was needed. We had of course ordered our own unit almost a month ago but Royal Mail seem to have lost it and won’t even start thinking about compensation until it’s been missing for three weeks Sad smile Methinks that by the time it finally arrives the winter will be here.

An emissary from ‘The Republic’

Well it was a fantastic fortnight off and regulars will know that I got much done, mainly thanks to Lachie Gillies’s telehandler right enough. I have absolutely no idea how I’d have removed the engine and ‘tranny’ from the ‘Disco’ without it or got my turbine up with such ease. When I say ‘up’ I fell short of actually raising it though. However with the timely arrival of the Northumbrian Peoples Republics ambassador on Monday evening I finally got the ‘gin pole’ in position ready for the lift.

With the new turbine being taller than the old one at 11m instead of 6.5m I decided to make up a proper trestle to support it rather than the old oil drum I currently use. Using my home made cable reel holder I added yet more galvanized steel angle to it to make a firm and sturdy support that could easily be converted back to its original purpose. These heavy duty steel sections from electricity poles are just like ‘big boys Meccano’ and I’ve used them for many projects.

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That done and with help from the ambassador we retired for the day, Steve himself having completed an epic trip north was also heading back to work shortly


But first we had to feed our weary traveller Smile



Trouble was Steve and Nan


had brought a fine bottle of Australian red and the evening ‘went wobbly’ after the lovely meal of something bizarre. I can’t remember off hand what it was but pork, salad and chips springs to mind.

Back to work

I guess I could have put the turbine up on Tuesday morning but decided against for several reasons, firstly I’d not seen my parents in ages. Secondly I’d not sorted out any extra ‘dump loads’ yet so leaving it unattended would have been unwise. Then thirdly there was the small matter of submitting ‘prior notification’ to the council that I hadn’t actually done yet. Things have got a lot saner here in Scotland  in the planning department since I put up my last Proven 2.5kW turbine some eight years ago. Then you needed full planning permission for even a relatively small turbine. Now, ‘domestic’ turbines only require ‘prior notification’ if more than 100m from a neighbours boundary and less than 6kW.

Definition of a Domestic Wind Turbine
A wind turbine is considered to be domestic where:
a)  its primary purpose is to power a domestic property;
b)  its total installed capacity is not more than 6KW; and
c)  the annual output of electricity exported to the grid does not exceed the total
energy requirements of the domestic property by more than 25%


3.2  Class  6G of the  Town and Country Planning (General Permitted
Development) (Scotland) Order 1992 (as amended)  provides for the
installation, alteration or replacement of a free standing wind turbine  within the
curtilage of a dwelling in certain cases without the need for  a  planning
application.  One of the conditions that must be met is that the turbine is used
only for the purposes of producing electricity or heat for domestic consumption
using  microgeneration  equipment.  However development is not permitted
under the Order and a planning application is required if –
  it would result in the presence within the curtilage of a dwelling of more
than one free standing wind turbine; or
  the wind turbine would be situated less than 100m from the curtilage of
another dwelling; or
  the site is located within: a conservation area; a world heritage site; a site
of special scientific interest; a site of archaeological interest; or within the
curtilage of a listed building.
3.3  Wind turbines attached to buildings have no permitted development rights and
therefore require planning permission.
3.4  Wind  turbine proposals  which are permitted development  do however  require
the submission of an application for  prior notification  in respect of the design
and size of the proposed wind turbine, and a determination as   to whether our
prior approval is required in respect of the siting and external appearance of
the turbine. 

They still charge you £85 right enough and you have to submit plans, maps and an advert in the paper but it’s far simpler than the full planning process.

In England and Wales you have a bizarre set of criteria that will only let you install turbines without planning with a restriction on size (I think it’s 3kw with a turbine diameter of less than 2m) but they have to be MCS certified too. Only trouble is there are no turbines of that size that do have MCS certification!! Even the trusty Proven/Kingspan 2.5/3.2kW turbines, probably the best small turbine on the planet don’t have MCS certification Sad smile

Ta Ta 4 now

Anyway, it’s Saturday night and I’ve a £10,000,000 ferry to deal with so I’ll leave you with some cracking pictures of the Raasay iron ore mines that I happened upon.

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