Life at the end of the road

January 27, 2017

It wasn’t the mice :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, Trucks and plant — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:16 am

I just can’t begin to describe how great it is working ‘two weeks on two weeks off’, you know that feeling you get prior to going on holiday, well it happens to me and the rest of my shipmates every month Smile I’m not great on ‘fatherly advice’, I mean, by most folks standards my life has not been a roaring success. I drive a 30 year old car, don’t go on long haul holidays and have FA in the bank. However, I really have enjoyed my 60 years on this earth and find as I get older I’m enjoying it even more. This I put down to my total lack of ambition and the fact that I only work for less than half of the year.

So, when taking my son aside some time ago and giving him careers advice I said “ whatever you do son, do not get a 9:00 till 5:00 job”, or at least find something that you really like doing, cos otherwise you’ll be bored stiff and counting the hours till home time. I did it for fourteen years and hated most of it Sad smile Now I look forward to going back to work doing a job I love for less than half the year, lucky or what Smile

A quiet spell

Well, there wasn’t a great deal to report on the work front this last shift, my spell ‘tied to the mast’ of the good ship Hallaig passed by without much in the way of excitement.

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The highlight od the week being the ‘Plockton Bull’s’ Sunday breakfast which this week was served with fried haggis. Dunno if that was anything to do with the impending Burn’s Night but it certainly went down a treat and we are now going to add it to the weekly ‘planned maintenance’ schedule. Probably somewhere between testing the fire alarms and lowering the anchors Smile

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Definitely before launching the rescue boat and flushing the engine though Smile

A great January all round

Sure there’s been the odd January gale as you’d expect but we’ve also had some fine days along the way and it’s been exceptionally mild.

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The mermaids with the big boobies got their fist dose of sunshine whilst it was snowing in the south of Spain. Apparently there’s a courgette famine due to inclement weather in that part of the world, anyway, we have two if anyone is short. Rumour has it that these two rather ugly statues bankrupted the last incumbent MacLeod of Raasay House and he did a runner to Tasmania. Legend also has it that they were originally supposed to go outside the house but Mrs Macleod put her foot down and said ‘either they go or I do’. I know the feeling, I once received that very same threat when I bought an Austin Maxi in the 1980’s Smile


This fine Cheetah Marine catamaran turned up one day at Sconser to do some ROV surveying or something in Portree. Dunno what exactly but they’re a fine stable platform for that kind of work.

The end of an era

A familiar sight around the steading this last few years departed Raasay for the ‘Great scrapyard in the sky’ last week.

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My ‘back to back’s’ on shift home of almost ten years finally made its one way trip back to Skye, methinks we all shed a tear or two. My back to back had been shedding them for a couple of years, though that was actually water dripping through the roof on to his head Smile

A strange castaway

We have had several avian visitor to the vessel over the years, the odd Storm Petrel crash landing on the deck on a dark winters night. We do of course have the resident wagtails in the summer that roost on the hydraulic pipes and the wee rock pipit that noisily greets us of a summer evening. A hitch hiking crow though is not a common sight, especially one that lets you take its picture, point anything at a crow and it’s usually ‘off like a shot’ on the assumption that that is what you’re about to do to it. Not this young chap though, he perched on that ladder for half of the journey from Sconser.

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The old hooded crow isn’t the shepherds favourite bird on account of his habit of hanging around lambing sheep and pecking the eyes out of sickly animals. I’ve seen it with my own eyes and shot my fair share of the odious creatures in the past, but you gotta admire them too. They are not daft and they’re pretty intelligent and resourceful too.

 Fishing and trucking

Marie Bhann II on the velvet crab trail off Goat Island

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and Golden Rule

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looking for prawns.

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Ewan Bowman’s Scania from DUISKY, where else Smile

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A lovely old DAF delivering stone chips

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and of course me and the ‘Old Girl’ delivering coal Smile


2011 Honda TRX500FM wiring fault. No dash illumination and will not start

After my ‘back to back’ arrived to relieve me on Tuesday  carrying his new home on the back of his pickup I headed home with half a ton of coal for my mate at Torran. Getting the 10 bags dropped off on the car park wall so I could slide them into the trailer saving much effort on my behalf. They were there best part of a week and I guess you couldn’t do that anywhere other than Raasay without them being A stolen, B vandalized, C complained about or D any combination of the aforementioned.

So, that was me home and ready for a full two week of projects and the arrival of the new (to me) Honda quad. Wednesday arrived wild but mainly dry

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and my plan was to start working on my turbine base as a priority. The first task of which was to sort out my cock up with the hinge studs.


Pad template



The Proven/Kingspan/Hutchinson drawing I’d used as a template showed the hinge studs as 20mm and at different centres, 80 and 100 as opposed to 30mm with 100 and 150 centres.

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So once more it was out with the ruler, square and magnetic drill


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to make another template that I could bolt onto the root foundation in the ground prior to pouring the concrete. First however I had to empty my barn of a digger and two quads, which is when it went ‘pear shaped’, my mates Honda TRX500 wouldn’t start, it was dead as ado do!!

The first thing I checked was the battery but that was fine, as were all the fuses.

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He’d bought it from Robertson’s of Tain which is where my old quad came from and I’ve always found them very helpful so I gave them a tinkle. This is the water cooled and fuel injected model so it’s kinda difficult to follow most of the wiring and I was thinking there may be some common fault of hidden fuses somewhere. The chap there was very obliging but could only suggest mice as that seemed to happen quite regularly when they chew through wiring. Not as daft as it sounds really and it may even explain some of the bizarre electrical faults I’ve had over the years. Not only that but I had just caught one that morning.

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As it turned out it wasn’t mice but it was some wires that had been touching the chassis and worn through with vibration. I removed the offending section of wiring and plug and made it good and all was peachy.

Robin is here

Sounds simple right enough but it took me hours to find and that really was about the sum of my achievement for the day, still I was pretty chuffed with finding the fault and pleased with my template.

Thursday was an even better day but most of it was spent on Skye and the mainland with a visit to the dentist, me Mam and of course to collect our new (to me) quad.


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Marine Harvest’s ‘well boat’ MV Inter Caledonia, the tug David Andrew and an old Lister ST2 generator at Kyle.

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The best packed quad I’ve ever seen, just hope my mate doesn’t give me a bill for the pallet he made Smile

As the trailer was full of cement, doors, corrugated iron and that rather robust pallet, darling wife drove the quad onto the ferry and pronounced it was a girl. Dunno if that is good or bad but she’s now called Robin Smile



  1. Robin’s a bloke’s name as well 🙂

    Comment by San — January 27, 2017 @ 8:52 am

    • I know San, I wanted to call it Rosie 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 29, 2017 @ 8:04 am

  2. Oi!!!! It should be Robyn if its girl, Not Robin as that’s the boys way of spelling it : )

    Comment by v8mbo — January 27, 2017 @ 9:14 am

    • Wasn’t my idea Matey, sorry 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 29, 2017 @ 8:05 am

  3. A lady I work with is called Robin so your spelling is fine with me Paul, mind you, she is American and their grasp of the English language is a little tenuous even by their own admission 😉

    Comment by Tigger — January 27, 2017 @ 12:51 pm

    • We have a granddaughter called Robin in Birmingham – come to think of it, their grasp of the English language is a little tenuous there too!!! 😜

      Comment by David — January 27, 2017 @ 5:42 pm

      • Hmm- I lived and was at school in Birmingham. Nothing more wrong with their grasp of English than could be said of anyone else in any region of the country.

        Comment by Sue — January 27, 2017 @ 7:31 pm

      • You lived in Birmingham Sue, you poor thing 🙂 Only kidding 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 29, 2017 @ 8:03 am

  4. What a grand pic of that sunrise! Hope your anticipation over the quad is borne out when you ride/drive it.

    Comment by Sue — January 27, 2017 @ 7:26 pm

  5. Paul just nail the mast to the pallet it will be fine

    Comment by MW — January 27, 2017 @ 9:48 pm

    • Man, that is a serious pallet Mate, will post those straps back to BMS, can’t thank you enough for the effort you put in.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 29, 2017 @ 8:02 am

  6. You can have the straps we have plenty

    Comment by MW — January 29, 2017 @ 12:40 pm

    • I got almost as excited about the straps as I did the quad Matey, thanks.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 29, 2017 @ 2:38 pm

  7. Thought you might

    Comment by MW — January 29, 2017 @ 7:45 pm

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