Life at the end of the road

November 19, 2017

The Hunter is back :-)

Filed under: animals, boats, daily doings — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:23 pm

Well, he was probably back sooner right enough but ‘Orion the Hunter’ is one of the many good things about winter in the Highlands, along with the woodcock you only ever see him in the darkest of months. The woodcock who normally arrive in droves around the first full moon after the equinox though have yet to put in an appearance, perhaps they’ll be here on the 4th December. Anyway’s I saw him last night on the way home from work and this morning, dominating the southern sky. Sure he’ll have probably been visible earlier but the skies either have not been clear enough or I’ve been tucked up inside.

The favourite day

So, it’s Sunday now and my favourite day of the working week, the one where I’m always late for work Smile Well, not actually late, but late for me, I’m still there an hour before sailing, just I’m never the first on a Sunday.


Trouble is, I keep getting distracted, I awake at the same time, lie in bed an extra 10 or 15 minutes, perhaps even an hour or so if it’s scabby day. Today however it was a peach so I was outside at first light,

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and, after dealing with the animals,

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13 impatient chooks and two hungry pigs, I started messing about.

Clam diving kit

In preparation for some pre Christmas clam diving with me boy I started fixing up and power washing my various storage bags and creels.

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Unused for some 15 or so years they’ve sat in a nearby ruin for long enough, probably since clearing out ‘Number 3’  prior to selling it. The trawl netting bags and mesh boxes are what I used to store my weeks catch in prior to landing. If scallops are kept cool, damp and out of the wind they’re quite happy for an hour or two and can be put back into the sea in bags or keeps where they’ll stay healthy for long enough.

Clam diving 2001 1 001

Here we are in 2001 putting them in the very same keeps and so long as you didn’t put too many in, made sure they were well away from freshwater and preferably on a clean bottom. That is clean as in rocky or hard, not muddy or silty and out of turbulence. Providing they’d not been exposed to heat, wind and rain prior to going back in the sea then the healthy clams would keep for a couple of weeks, more at this time of year.

Clam Diving 2001 2 001

My sons job at the tender age of three was to catch my marker buoy and count the scallops, probably explains why he’s so good at maths and is now at university Smile Anyway, who would have thought we’d be doing it again, this time together Smile

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After pressure washing by bags and kit I filled up the car with petrol from the boat tanks, at least one of which had had fuel in it for a long time. Petrol goes off much quicker than it did in the past and six weeks is considered to be about as long as you can keep it. Personally I think that that is bollox and 3 months is probably just fine, however it seemed like a wise idea to ‘play it safe’ and use the old stuff in the car. It’s one thing spluttering and misfiring on the road, quite another when you are at sea.


I do love driving the wee Daihatsu Terios on Raasay, it’s tall stance, narrow wheelbase, low gearing and good ground clearance make it perfect for the poor single track roads. However, as with all the Daihatsu’s we’ve owned, the fuel tank is pathetically small and Phoebe struggles to do a weeks worth of commuting without refuelling.

That done, I headed for work in daylight, albeit a later later than normal.

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Deer being plentiful at this time of year as they search for a mate and then try to hang onto them. The scabby looking stag on the right is unlikely to breed this year, there are far healthier and larger beasts on the hill hanging onto their harems.

On the job training

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Ben Tianavaig and some of its rocky outcrops highlighted in the morning sun.

I finally arrived at work around 9:05 just as my crewmates were lifting the gangway aboard and after ‘start up’ and a morning coffee we sailed in ‘Battery Only’ mode with an almost full deck of cars. The return trip was less profitable but did bring with it a couple of chaps from SMT

Stream Marine Training Logo

who were here to give us some ‘on the job’ training


in rescue from ‘enclosed spaces’


which have all done before and regularly drill for. However it was still great to run through a realistic scenario and rescue Duncan (again).


Duncan having just returned from ‘sick leave’ after being rescued from the sea during the annual ‘sea trials’ after dry dock.

Perhaps we should have put him in ‘the recovery position’ afterwards Smile The Hallaig’s ‘fifth man’ Duncan the dummy has the worst job in the fleet Smile


Still, at least he didn’t get another ‘dunkin’ when we did a boat drill too, all in all it was a rather busy day for a Sunday!

That was it really, we tied up in the dark and still I saw no woodcock on the way home!

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