Life at the end of the road

August 25, 2017

Bit of a Jonah :-(

Golly gosh, that was a quick and exciting day at work, all the more so cos it was just a single one and nothing more than a ‘start up’ and return crossing to do tomorrow. Of course I’d rather have been scouring the bottom of Loch Arnish for anchors with my son and mate but they managed just fine without me. Whilst I was repaying my ‘back to back’ for one of the many days he’s covered for me, my son and co found another old fish farm farm anchor on the bottom of the loch. Though this only brings the total to three fresh large ones and four small, it feels like much more cos we’ve found some twice on account the marker buoys going AWOL.

The first barley for the Raasay Distillery Smile

As my shipmate would be doing the ‘start up’ this morning I wasn’t quite so early leaving home and braved a spell of the dreaded midge about the croft before heading south around 6:45.

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The day bearing no resemblance to the one promised by XC Weather  last night. The venerable old cruise ship MV Berlin  heading for a day’s shopping in Portree and Ben Tianavaig covered in cloud as I passed by. Indeed methinks it was pishing down on and off till lunchtime. Not that we actually get a lunchtime on Friday anymore, at least not during the school term anyway. The Highland Region Council saw it in their interest as a cost cutting measure to close the high school at lunchtime on a Friday. The amount of money that’s going to save is surely outweighed by the inconvenience caused to the parents and pupils alike. Of course they did this with very little consultation or thought for the Raasay schoolchildren who would be stuck at Sconser for the best part of two hours. Luckily Cal Mac agreed at very short notice to put on an extra sailing especially for them. The extra sailing departing Raasay at 13:30 and Sconser at 14:00, only during school term right enough but anyone can use it.

Anyway, without a dinner break and with a busy day of distillery traffic the day has just disappeared.

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The first sailing from Sconser being jammed to the gunwales with a large Scania belonging to WS Macarthur full of barley. There was also one of Patterson’s nice old Volvo’s nicknamed the ‘Road Devil’, I guess cos of the registration number   Capture Smile Quite apart from the artic and flatbed there was also a few vans cars too.


The imported barley being supplemented by some locally grown stuff, probably the last barley grown on Raasay would have been at the North End some thirty or more years ago. This neat little combine coming over specially to do it, though I dunno how it got on in the pishing rain which didn’t clear until the afternoon.

Not the easy day I was expecting Sad smile

Of course having already been off a few days and only coming in to cover so to speak, I wasn’t actually expecting a challenging day ahead. Indeed I was hoping for a relaxed day of directing traffic and light greasing. Well, that went a little ‘pear shaped’ mid afternoon with a whole load of alarms telling me my oil was hot.


Luckily we also have a proper thermometer in the oil,


which told a more realistic story, 40 degrees and not 119.9. So it was time to break out the wiring diagrams and 4 to 20mA test meter.

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The offending component was soon identified, one of the many I/O units on a ‘communication gateway’ that allows different systems to communicate with each other. Basically one bit of the ship is speaking Dutch and the other German and this ‘gateway’ makes sense of it all. With that ascertained I ordered another, a snip at around £1100!!!!! Everything to do with ships is extortionate, a few weeks ago I changed a bilge holding tank sensor, a part that on a car would have cost about £35, on a ship  the same bit, which performs the function of a glorified dipstick is £600!!!! You couldn’t make it up really. Methinks my ‘back to back’ is gonna be a little dischuffed with me, once more I’ve left him a broken ship, bit of a Jonah these days me Smile

The days I did get off

So, that was today, whilst I was actually off I used the first full day to get some diving in with my son. We did a couple of dives looking for an anchor whose marker had vanished and whilst we didn’t find that one we did find a large chain we’d lost. Again, this was one previously marked that had vanished and during the evening’s high tide we floated out an anchor to lay a mooring for a mate.

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All this under the watchful eye of the ‘Wee Dug’ Molly.


Very changeable

To say that you just do not know what the weather is going to do next would be a bit of an understatement.

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These pictures taken two minutes apart giving you some idea of just how changeable the weather can be here. Mist over the Storr, rainbow further north and blue sky at Brothers point, all before 7:10 in the morning.

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The previous day at 6:07 and 6:33 from the same window.


The ‘Big Head’ and Goat Island today at some point when I wasn’t buried down below with wiring diagrams and a multi meter Smile


I passed these ‘shrooms growing on a fallen birch tree on the way home and I really don’t have a clue what they are.


1 Comment »

  1. Good CalMac arranged a crossing for the scholars. With more holidays.inservice days etc; one wonders how the years curriculum is covered. Where do the missing marker buoys go ?

    Comment by SOTW — August 26, 2017 @ 9:22 am

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