Life at the end of the road

April 30, 2017

The cuckoo and the cruise liner :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:13 pm

Well, they were certainly correct about the forecast last week the snow arrived bang on time around Monday afternoon just after a few lambs were born near North Bay. They don’t call it ‘the lambing snow’ for nothing Sad smile 

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A blizzard around 17:00 0n Monday the 24th us heading ‘dead slow’ to Sconser with two extra lookouts and wishing we’d ‘stayed put’ on Raasay pier!! Sure it didn’t last, the relatively warm ground saw to that but pretty much the whole week was pure ‘Baltic’ with a frigid north wind ensuring temperatures never even got close to double figures.


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Right enough, it didn’t stop the first rhododendrons showing there flowers on Tuesday 25th but it did seem to slow the cuckoo down. The North African visitor didn’t put in an appearance until the 27th when the wind changed. I guess he’d the sense to steer well clear, no point fighting a bitter northerly when a warm southerly will carry you along to the breeding grounds much much less effort. I’ve not actually heard it yet but the Post Lady and others assure me it’s here

Spring like at last

By Wednesday the northerly wind was a dim and distant memory,

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The Penfold and Macmillan buoys were at rest and the swell had stopped breaking on the rocks.

Here’s Ferguson Transport’s MV Harvest Caroline taking some comfort from it on the end of Raasay pier.

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The weather improved dramatically and both lambs and crofters were happy.

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The Lustre took and advantage of the good weather and big tide to get her bottom scraped and painted Smile

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Raasay House also had their sgoth Oigh Niseach for the fist time this year, or at least the first time I’ve noticed it Smile

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Hallaig at Raasay on Thursday morning

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and the NLV Pole Star

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passing by on Friday night. She anchored of the Moll until Saturday morning when she took advantage of a rising tide to service the buoys at the entrance to Loch Sligachan.

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A pleasant change

I dunno when it it happened but at some point during the first ‘week on’ I was asked to join the MV Lochinvar at Lochaline for a few days familiarization and I ‘jumped at the chance’. Hallaig’s sister ship, yard number 726  has been ‘billeted’ there for the summer at least.

I spent many years in the late 70’s and early 80’s diving in this area for clams and scrap. Tis a part of the world I love and have visited little in the last 30 years. The Sound of Mull abounds in wrecks and in the 80’s at least was still a ‘scallop mine’ before the dredgers laid it to waste. 10lb lobsters and crayfish could be picked up here with ease when I was a ‘spotty yoof’ in my early twenties and in the early 80’s half a dozen of us bought a 2500t cargo ship nearby. Sure the SS Meldon was on the sea bed and had been since 1917 but I do have the deeds for her at home somewhere Smile Indeed the steam whistle resides in my garden along with one of her ‘sounding leads’ still clearly embossed SS Meldon 28lb Smile

SS Meldon

Of course she don’t look anything like that anymore,

Meldon, SS Meldon, S.S Meldon, Wreck, Loch Buie, Mull

but by all accounts her large cast iron propeller still looks impressive according to Smile

Me, I wouldnae know, I’ve not seen it in thirty years Smile

Seventy years of service

So, I managed to get away early last night to prepare for my trip sowf but arose, as usual at ‘stupid O clock’ to set off for Lochaline with the ‘Old Girl’ and caravan.

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This is what greeted me from the living room window at 6:30AM, the MV Astoria she did look familiar but the last time I saw this elegant septuagenarian who was launched in 1946!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! she was called the Azores. Originally ordered in 1944 when Hitler was still in power and the world at at war this Swedish beauty was called the Stockholm and went on  to collide with the Italian ship Andrea Doria in 1956 . Boodly amazing to see that out me living room window I can tell you Smile


Anyways, I left home this morning with the old caravan in tow and here I am.

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Though I first had to cross the Corran Narrows on this

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the rather unusual looking MV Corran that plies the fierce tides of Loch Linnhe between Corran and Ardgour.


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It’s hardy ‘work’ is it Smile

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And, I’m so close to my  ship I can have a ‘lie in’ despite having to start at 6:00AM Smile

April 22, 2017

Snow on the way?

Filed under: boats, daily doings, New hybrid ferry, Trucks and plant — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:52 pm

Golly gosh, that’s the month’s holiday by with and I’ve been back at work four days already! where did it go? Well wherever it went it certainly disappeared with alarming speed the last few days that’s for sure.

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I managed to fit a 12’ galvanized gate here prior to letting Ozzie and Django out on the hill

This was to replace the 4’ gate that was never really used anyway.

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The strainer posts where a bit squint on the gate so before removing it and boarding up the gap I pulled them straight with a large ratchet strap. Once the boards were in position and the gap sealed I used the same strap to pull out the hinge pins for the new gate Smile 


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Also did some road work up at the hen and pig fields, the plan being to continue this through to the back of the croft where I can put another gate to give us better access to the common grazing. With the pigs going out there it’ll just make changing their bedding and feeding them easier.

The two ‘wee boys’ had a real ‘spring in their step’ when I let them out and were soon exploring their new home.


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Though that didn’t stop them trying to get back in to their previous field until after their first feed Smile

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Off to the ‘Whistle Stop’

Easter Sunday was a pure peach of a day and we decided to go out for lunch with me Mam.


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It was the ‘Whistle Stop Cafe’ in Kinlochewe that we chose, mainly cos it’s an old favourite of ours and the food is great.


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Salmon and crab fish cakes for me and mum, with the Post lady going for a haggis pie, all served with a lovely salad and dressing.

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For the return journey we chose the longer route home via Lochcarron.

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Stopping for a walk with the dugs near a fishing lodge on the Coulin Estate under Benn Eighe.

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A new toy

As soon as we were back home I started up Calum and got stuck back into the drain/road.

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A task that would have been much easier with a dumper Sad smile I’ve been looking for one for a while now and typically, on my last evening before going back to work after a month off, I found one!!! Of course it was after the last ferry but I phoned up the chap and he turned out to be an acquaintance. This stood me in good stead cos he agreed to hang onto it for me until Tuesday.


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A 3tonne ‘swivel tip’ Benford with an air cooled Deutz it was just what I needed, a month late but exactly what I was looking for and only a few miles from Sconser Smile

A swift trip into Portree had me raiding the ‘piggy bank’ and bumping into an old mate.

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Brian has moved sideways out of early retirement from fishing into taxi driving and tours, BW’s number is on the car if you ever need a taxi or tour around Skye Smile

Back to work

Dumper paid for and two tons of concrete mix collected from Sconser quarry I headed for the ferry terminal and work at 16:15. The shift started proper on Wednesday morning after a pleasurable drive into work by the new ‘rock art’ at Brochel, perhaps it’ll start a trend Smile


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We were not the only ship in port when I arrived.

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Ferguson Transport’s MV Harvest Caroline was berthed on the end of the pier and left just before we did at 7:55.

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MLG transport’s lovely DAF delivered some steelwork for the distillery and Fraser from Eyre Plant Hire delivered me dumper Smile


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The week so far has been mainly paperwork driven Sad smile but I did find time to service two of the Volvo’s.


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It’s been a pretty ‘mixed bag’ weather wise

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sun one minute then rain, but always chilly with the ‘lambing snow’ forecast for Monday!!!

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