Well, it’s been a ‘helluva’ day that’s for sure and the week did not get off to a very promising start. Shame really because last week ended very well, Sunday was a ‘pure peach’ of a day and we made the most of it.
I took the ‘Old Girl’ down the road for a change, it had been a while since I’d used her and I planned on giving her a much needed wash at lunch time. Been using my sons car of late, it’s quite fun to drive, narrow enough to dodge all the pot holes and not quite so heavy on the juice. It’s also 4WD but the 17” low profile tyres mean it’s pretty useless if the road is slippy and with frost forecast the Land Rover seemed like a better option.
A day for drills
We’d also a good few jobs and drills to catch up on after our trip to deck.
The anchor cables were still covered in Garvel Clyde’s finest mud from the dry dock bottom so we gave the Aft one a good washing on the way up. The Hallaig has a system for washing the chain as it runs through the hawse pipes. Three jets fed directly from the fire main can be opened to flush any weed or mud off the chain prior to it going into the locker.
It was also time to give Duncan his monthly dunking.
The ‘rescue boat’ gets launched most weekends but today we were doing an MOB recovery using our newly fitted rescue net. Old Duncan is a dummy filled with around 70lts of water to simulate a casualty. We generally throw him overboard every month and recover him, either via the ramp or rescue boat, but it’s not easy. Or at least it never used to be until now.
The rescue net is passed under Duncan then he’s just rolled into the boat.
That done I turned my attention to one of the drive cooling pumps that had died. As with most things of importance on a ship there are at least two and pumps like this are usually run ‘week about’. These keep the sealed cooling system for the inverters, chargers and ‘active front end’ cool and one had stopped working.
A few checks with the meter and the fault was traced to O/L 1 a ‘thermal overload relay’ so that was easily rectified.
It was worse than I thought
My son had been at an outward bound school over in Perthshire for the weekend and arrived on the last Sunday ferry. He’d seen freezing temperatures and much snow over that side of the country. Sure enough, as darkness descended and the stars came out they plummeted here too. We headed north with himself at the helm, the stars sparkling above and the ice twinkling on the tarmac below. It’s gonna be treacherous tomorrow son says I, best set off for work/school early and proceeded to talk him through ‘ice driving’. Not that you can actually do anything on ice but with over two tons of Land Rover around you there are things that’ll help.
Keep two wheels on the verge for one, not that that will do you much good in anything else, as the axle differentials always drive the wheel of least resistance. However, apart from the standard centre locking diff the ‘Old Girl’ has an ‘ARB’ air actuated locking rear diff. This means that both rear wheels always turn at the same speed and usually gets you out of most situations.
Monday morning arrived and much to my surprise it was very mild, too mild in fact, for it had rained during the night and the roads were treacherous. That didn’t phase my boy right enough and he got us up the first dodgy hill after Brochel nay bother. The ‘Horseshoe Bend’ as I call it or ‘Cnoch an Uan’ (the hill of the lamb) after Screapadale was a different story though, despite doing everything right we ended up in a ditch at 6:30 Of course we were now two miles from home with no phone reception so that was the first task as it was pretty obvious the Land Rover was going nowhere.
Half a mile of slipping on foot later we managed to raise the skipper on the phone and he said he’d head north to collect me. Or at least as far north as he dared, the council having not bothered to grit any of the roads on Raasay this winter!!!! He managed to within a mile or two but intimated that we’d not be driving all the way to the Hallaig. He’d basically slid all the way down the hill after the water treatment plant, so once more it was time to ‘call the cavalry’ and start walking.
Our shipmates awaited by ‘Faith, Hope and Charity’ the Scottish Water wind turbines as we struggled up the icy untreated road. All in all it was a bit of an epic yet we were only around ten minutes late in sailing.
My next problem was how and when to extract the ‘Old Girl’, she was not best parked for getting by her. Luckily my ‘back to back’ agreed to come in and cover for me for a few ours. This not only allowed me to recover the ‘Old Girl’ but it enabled me to attend Callum’s funeral at midday in the Raasay village hall. Sure, I was the only one of the very many there in a boiler suit but I’m sure Callum wouldn’t have minded. He had a beautiful ‘send off’ in the autumn sunshine.
After returning from the cemetery my good mate Peter gave me a run up the road
it was much, much worse than I thought!
We were saved from rolling over by 1 large rock and a small birch tree, we were very lucky!!
That’s my boy The Warn XP9500 winch had us out in a jiffy, the hardest part was actually turning the Land Rover around from this position to point up the hill. Sure the front door, sill and roof rack ladder are bent, the chassis has a dent in it and I think I’ve burnt out the winch, but ‘hey ho’, it was an experience
I managed to get back to work for the 14:30 sailing to let my mate away and was treated to an afternoon of common dolphins ‘buzzing’ the ship.
I know, I know, the picture is carp, you just had to be there!