Life at the end of the road

August 20, 2016

A bit of everything

Filed under: boats, daily doings, weather — Tags: , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:41 pm

Saturday once more on the good ship Hallaig and once more the week has flown by leaving me wondering where it went.

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The promising 6:00am Monday start of sun bathing the jagged finger of the ‘Old Man of Storr’ didn’t disappoint and the tractors started moving at last.

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Having been rooted in that spot due to rain for almost a week they must have been awful pleased to see the sun.

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Pretty soon everyone had their tractors out making silage for winter feed.

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Sadly for me I spent a good part of the morning working on the ‘Aquamist’ low pressure sprinkler system. One thing about the Hallaig and her sisters they have amazing fire protection and suppression system. This one being dedicated to the accommodation, spaces and bridge sprays water onto any heat source detected below the many spray  heads throughout the vessel.

A network of piping permanently charged with fresh water is kept pressurised by two nitrogen cylinders. If a head detects a heat source and discharges the pressure in the system drops and the first pump on the right starts up. That’s usually plenty powerful to maintain a steady deluge of water to several heads. However if the pressure drops below 4Bar the smaller ‘booster’ pump on the left starts to maintain the water flow. By now though it will be pumping sea water rather than fresh.

The wee pump had started to show an indication on the bridge that it was running when it clearly wasn’t. It took a while but I eventually traced the fault to a leaky ‘flap valve’ and sorted it, of course it was under floor plates and extremely awkward to access but the help of a torch and Hoover I got done.


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Just near the Aquamist pumps are this beauty, a 15kW ‘Drencher’ system dedicated to the car deck, believe me, you don’t want to be on there when this baby is running Smile

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Stuck in the office

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Monday inevitably brings with it a mountain of paperwork and emails, the chore of which is mitigated by the view. Not sure about the other shift but this is the first time the ‘office’ window has been open all year Smile

It may have been quite carpy weather in ‘high summer’ up here but we had it great in May/June and I prefer the fresher cooler weather of the West Coast to that stifling weather folk have been getting ‘down sowf’.


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We’ve hardly had a ‘heat wave’ but the poor old skipper has been cooking on the bridge, 32 degrees the other day Sad smile


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The good weather had the customers out in force with one day seeing 160 cars 2 commercials and 450 passengers. This being the oldest vehicle we shipped. A 1961 Hotchkiss Jeep


More baling Smile


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Sunrise at Brochel on Wednesday,

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when we got into a serious painting project.

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A good scraping, cleaning and power washing of the starboard casing prior to some priming on the bare zinc and steel.


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A bit ‘stop start’ between sailings right enough but by today we had it finished

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and had managed a start on the port, complicated side.

The ‘Misty isle’

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it wasn’t all sunshine right enough, in fact on two days we only generated a few kWh of solar, a mere 10kWh yesterday and a paltry 4kWh on Thursday!!! Dunno who the big RIB belongs to, it’s been here a couple of times but I don’t think it’s from Portree.


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The vista from the hoose has been quite spectacular at times and never seems to amaze, far better than watching TV.


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This is the sun on Thursday night lying low over Skye and hour before sunset, at first I though it was the moon!!!

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This will be Fladda and in the distance surrounded by mist and Eilean Tigh behind it.

The Captain’s table

Today was forecast to be OK but it turned out beautiful and much was achieved on the painting front.


We worked so hard our Captain cooked us an amazing lasagne for lunch, gonna have to work harder if he cooks this good Smile

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Biggest I’ve seen

It may well be the cruise ship season, and it has been for as long as I can remember, with Portree getting her fair share of this expanding trade. However, the 198m long Hapag Lloyd Europa is by far the largest vessel I’ve ever seen transit the Raasay Narrows.


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Here’s the ‘electronic’ view from the bridge.


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  1. Had the good fortune to spend the week in Letterfearn. Weather was fabulous and had the added bonus of a cheery wave from your mum on the way to the bus this morning! Not that she knew who I was.

    Comment by May cruickshank — August 20, 2016 @ 7:27 pm

    • Hi May, hope you had good weather there, it’s a lovely spot.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 24, 2016 @ 6:09 am

  2. Paul looks like there’s always something to do on the maintenance for the ship. Your right about the best time May & June for visiting the West coast of Scotland, I also think September early October also. It’s like as if the wind abates and rests before it go’s into another seasonal mode, if you catch my drift.

    Comment by Polite Scouser — August 21, 2016 @ 7:34 am

    • Aye Walter, tis never ending on the maintenance front but it makes the job fly by 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 24, 2016 @ 6:09 am

  3. Not much of a heat wave in Bacup, Paul but then by ‘ sowf’ I guess you meant further down. We had one day with 29C then paid for it later! Good to see the sun on the fields on Raasay.



    Comment by Sue — August 22, 2016 @ 2:58 pm

    • Morning Sue,
      the only place Raasay has seen 29 degrees is inside the Hallaig wheelhouse 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 24, 2016 @ 6:07 am

  4. Hi Paul. The RIB is Spirit of Adventure. Nigel Smith (seaprobe atlantis) runs her out of Kyle/Kyleakin. Rgds Richard C

    Comment by Rich.C — August 27, 2016 @ 9:24 pm

    • Cheers Rich.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 28, 2016 @ 7:30 pm

  5. wished i’d known you where on watch…. i was passing by having stayed at waternish…. could have said haloo😆 … mind you it was a flying visit

    Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — September 3, 2016 @ 1:55 am

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