Life at the end of the road

July 31, 2015

Two parties :-)

Filed under: daily doings, Land Rover, life off grid, New hybrid ferry — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:24 am

Sorry to have been a little lax on the posting front recently but I kinda got distracted. There were the usual late nights tinkering about in the house after a ‘hard day at the office’ but the truth is I’ve been ‘on the ran dan’ Smile It is after all ‘Glesgie Fair’ , Raasay’s traditional ‘busy time’ a time of ceilidhs, parties, drink and catching up with old friends. It’s also the time that the Raasay single track roads are filled with cars that appear to have no reverse gear. A time of milk, egg and bread shortages in the shop and ‘panic on the ferry’. The Hallaig is twice the size of the old MV Loch Striven and we’ve never left anyone behind but folk still seem to get in flap about missing it.


Well aff we went on our annual crusade,
Away oer tae Rothesay, wae oor buckets and spades,
We set aff fae Blantyre, away tae Wymess Bay
Praying we could keep the ticket inspector away.

I stood at the jetty looking in awe,
At this massive big ship that would take us awa,
I stood at the bow like Jack in the Titanic,
But there was nae Rose fur me, just ma maw in a panic.

We hurried aff the gangway oan tae dry land,
There was nae time tae stop or tae take anybody’s hand,
Up tae the digs we would venture,
A one bedroom flat wae nine of us, now that was an adventure.

On to the beach we would go,
Taking turns tae go in’tae the water, that was four below,
The parents they would sit there wae their wee carry oot,
Watching the weans gaun fur a dook.

The fortnight was spent, fishing and putting,
It’s the aw ye could dae, cause ye got it fur nothing,
We had fish every night, cause we got it fur free,
Oan a Sunday ma granny, went tae the Glenburn for a spot of high tea.

Now if we were good we would get a treat,
It would be off to Zavaroni’s for aw the ice cream you could eat,
Then on to the Winter Gardens for a shot oan the shows,
Oh how good those days were, nobody know’s.
I have fond memories there,
Especially at “THE GLESGA FAIR.”

Jimmy Whelan (copyright) 2009

I came across that wee ditty quite by accident but it did bring a smile to my face, specially after spending many a ‘dry docking’ opposite the winter gardens and just along the road from Zavaroni’s ice cream parlour Smile Of course that was always in December when Rothesay was a ghost town but I lived with a Glesgie lass long enough to know all about ‘doon the watter’ Smile

The ‘Old Boathouse’

The first ‘sesh’ was last weekend, and I can’t actually remember what the occasion was

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but it was very lively and went on long into the night.

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Excellent tunes, a bonfire on the beach, great craic and it didn’t rain!!!! there was the odd midge or two right enough but alcohol in the bloodstream is a good cure for that.

The last week or so on the ferry was busy enough with quite a few days seeing more than 100 cars shipped, not to mention the ‘Moscow Motorcycle Club’ and three Harley’s.


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They were very noisy Smile

On the ‘technical side’ we’d a few services due on the Volvo D13 generators

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so I drew off a couple of samples and sent them off to Spectro for analysis. Laboratory examination of the lubrication oil is routine on all Hallaig’s machinery and records are kept to discover any trends that may indicate problems ahead. Things like sodium can indicate sea water ingress, fuel, copper, debris, chrome and tin could be signs of injector, bearing or hydraulic ram issues on the horizon. The samples being taken using sterile bottles and a special little vacuum pump.


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One thing it cannot do is tell you when a small coolant pressure sensor is about to fail, and this one, buried on the side of DG2 did just that. You could probably get something similar for your car for £25 from a dealer or £2.50 off eBay, buy it from Volvo Penta and it’ll set you back a mere £250!!!! No wonder the ferry is expensive. I replaced an engine heater some time ago, a mere snip at £600 from Volvo, a similar German manufactured item can be had for your car for £70!!!!

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This little box on the wall that I had to replace on my last day ‘takes the biscuit’ though, the failure of one tiny 24v relay on the PCB means the replacement of the entire box at a mere £900!!!!! You just couldn’t make it up.

The first night in Sonas!!!

With us heading off on a short holiday this weekend I had to get some jobs done on the ‘Old Girl’, a set of rear discs and pads being the priority.


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The rear nearside one was ‘down to the metal’, no doubt something to do with shifting 2 ton loads of stone and gravel with Lachie’s tipping trailer. Despite having a great big dry shed I had to do it outside on account of all the carp in my barn!!!!

Wednesday night was party number two in the boatshed and was yet another lively affair, this time to celebrate a friends 60th birthday. It was a ‘bring and share’ affair and as such a great selection of snacks, savouries, drink and sweets appeared along with the many guests.


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A new battery bank for ‘Number 3’ was also moved into position and a Voltacon 5kVA inverter charger installed as a ‘back up’ for the Trace SW4548e.


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It’s a lot easier doing it with a telehandler than the ‘old fashioned’ method I can tell you, these 24 forklift truck cells weigh over 50kg each.

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The 900Ah bank I installed 10 years ago was getting a little tired and my new neighbours decided on some major upgrades to the system. These include 3kW extra solar PV and another inverter just in case the Trace dies again, on the face of it this Voltacon seems to good to be true. Made in China (of course) it is sold under many names PIP 4048, MPI Solar, etc and YouTube is full of info on them, most of it pretty positive. Of course it’s not in the same league as an SMA, Victron, Outback or Trace inverter/charger but it does score over all of them in one vital area. All these inverters include an MPPT solar charger and this one is 60amps so will happily take the new solar array.

Anyway, it’s well after 7:00am now, pishing with rain for a change and we’ve just spent the first night in the new hoose!!! Not that it’s anywhere near ready but the beds arrived yesterday along with wifey’s mum so we gave her our room in the caravan and set up camp in the ‘master bedroom’ Smile It’s just a temporary affair as the place is still like a building site with stuff everywhere but it was rather nice.

Bhrusda leaves

The MV Loch Bhrusda that’s been berthed behind Hallaig for the best part of six weeks finally left for Kishorn on Thursday.

Loch Bhuisdale

I say ‘finally’ because it was a bit ‘tight’ in there at the spring tides and the unseasonal weather could well have caused the odd missed sailing at low water this weekend.

Loch Bhuisdale 2

She’s a great boat but a tad noisy and thirsty burning around 2000lt a day on the Raasay route to move 18 cars, Hallaig can ship 23 cars quietly for less than 3000lt a week!!!

Calor Gas lorry

Oh dear, the gas delivery was a little late this week Sad smile Thanks to George Rankine for the last three images and now I’d better go and deal with the hens, it’s almost 8:00am and still pishing down

July 24, 2015


Yesterday’s post ‘ A fine show’ never got finished, in truth I barely started it and the show wasn’t mentioned at all. Shame really because that was the best bit, a free matinee of dolphins playing around the Hallaig in great style, back flips, belly flops, dives, the lot, and what a view you get from up on deck 5 or the bridge. Of course I only had the seriously tough Olympus Stylus with me so couldn’t get ‘up close’ like I would have done with Panasonic DMC-FZ 48, but then then old Panasonic won’t fit in my overall pocket!

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Trust me, I know the pictures are rubbish but it pretty spectacular and accompanied most of the afternoon sailings.

Dolphin 1

What amazed us all was the size of some of them, they were no larger than a big salmon and it was as if the parents were teaching them tricks. The wains were always right next to an adult and did, or at least tried to do everything the larger creature did. Don’t believe that any of us had seen dolphins or porpoises so small, it was a rare treat and I am not easily excited by such sights.

The MVHR is here

What was more exciting for me than the miracle of nature that we beheld in the afternoon was the arrival of my MHVR unit on ‘Billy Fixaleak’s’ trailer.


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Billy being Billy Shanks, formally of ‘Kenny Montgomery’ plumbing of Dunvegan, Kenny has retired so his ‘right hand man’ Billy took over the business and it’s now ‘Shanks Plumbing and Renewables’. He doesn’t have a website but I guess that’s because he doesn’t need one, Billy’s reputation is good enough.

With no chimney, extractor fans or window trickle vents our house should be virtually air tight, which may well keep it very warm but makes for high CO2 levels, poor air quality, condensation and mould. MVHR, mechanical ventilation and heat recovery is the cure. Basically it takes out the warm, moist and stale air from the likes of the bathrooms, kitchen and utility room and replaces it with clean, fresh cool air from out side. The clever bit is that it passes the stale air over a heat exchanger which in turn heats up the incoming air. The net result (with efficiencies of over 80%) is outstanding air quality within the house and very little loss of heat.


Of course I could just leave the windows open and turn up the heating, however as our house will be totally powered by our own generated renewable electricity we’re trying to keep consumption to a minimum and this is the best way of doing it. Not only that it acts as ‘air con’ in the summer so we won’t get any midge  in the hoose Smile


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It’s a Genvex and only uses around 160w

Energy Heat Recovery Ventilation Appliance - figures based at 300m3/h

Other Stuff




Well, there was a rather nice shiny new Scania belonging to Eyre Plant Hire on the ferry.


What looks like a brand new landing craft arrived at the Sconser fish farm, it’s called Beinn Eibhne and has Colonsay as it’s ‘home port’ so I’m guessing that’s the highest hill there.



Something that’s been in short supply of late



a couple of rainbows on the way home.

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