Life at the end of the road

April 30, 2018

Accelerator, brake, clutch :-(

Terrible of me I know, severe lack lack of effort on my behalf on the posting front, just been waaay too much to do I’m afraid. Anyway’s ‘home at last’ after my spell down at Lochaline and almost halfway through a month’s holiday, where did it go?

To be honest, I feel like I’ve been on holiday for months cos my spell down in Lochaline was a bit of a holiday too Smile

 

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OK, the weather wasn’t always great but I was tucked up in my caravan with the ‘wee dug’ just a ‘stone’s throw’ from ‘work’ and getting well paid for the privilege.

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Had great views of the Lochaline fire brigade practicing

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and the MV Sea Harmony loading quality sand from the LQS http://www.lochalinequartzsand.co.uk/ mine just on my doorstep so to speak. Bit of a ‘ship anorak’s’ paradise down there for sure.

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Sea Cargo’s MV Trans Dania https://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/details/ships/shipid:286870/mmsi:248907000/imo:8808604/vessel:TRANS_DANIA

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The MV Harmen Oldendorff  https://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/details/ships/shipid:300055/mmsi:255805290/imo:9120334/vessel:HARMEN_OLDENDORFF probably heading for Glensanda.

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Plenty of exciting trucks too Smile a couple of nice Volvo’s from Cameron’s of Lochcarron  and D&J Campbell of Oban being just two of the many.

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CalMac’s Lord of the Isles and Serco’s SD Moorfowl, is it any coincidence that Serco painted their vessels in CalMac colours just prior to the last round of tendering for the CHFS II https://www.transport.gov.scot/media/35746/chfs-vol-2-instructions-to-participants-itt-issue-version-2-0-02-11-15.pdf contract. Luckily for me CalMac won it and by the next time it’s up for renewal I’ll be retired Smile

So Green

Later than expected and not too soon for me, I finally got home on Thursday night, two days later than expected. The annoyance of my unscheduled extra couple of days at work being tempered by the fine weather and lush green foliage. It was as if summer had arrived in my brief absence Smile

  

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The hedge we’d planted last year was really ‘coming on’ with the best efforts of Bambi failing to kill the hawthorn, maple, buckthorn and rose.

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Darling wife had made a start on the new garden, the cuckoo arrived on the 25th and I got stuck into ‘wind proofing’, the ‘deer proofing’ having been a great success Smile

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The deer being mightily ‘peed off’ at not having Wifey’s plants to feast on anymore.

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Then there was the Land Rover

Apart from all that the ‘Old Girl’ has been testing my patience, It’ll be her 32nd birthday this week and at around a quarter of a million miles ‘on the clock’ she’s been complaining. First off the brakes failed in Lochaline, which I managed to sort whilst there. Then on the way back, whilst driving through Broadford the clutch failed due to a leaky slave cylinder! Having used up all the brake fluid fixing the brakes a few days earlier I resorted to filling the clutch system with ATF which not only worked but slowed down the leak. That was until the throttle cable snapped whilst driving home on Raasay!!!! I couldn’t believe it, within the space of three days I’d managed to loose all three pedals Sad smile Not that I let that stop me, I clamped the broken cable with a pair of Mole grips and drove the last ten miles with no clutch or throttle cable, I kid you not Smile

The first few days at home were spent fixing the Land Rover,

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a new clutch slave cylinder, throttle cable and steering damper too.

Pigs on the hill

Then there was the pigs to put out ‘on the hill’.

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Some work to be done on their new home and train them to their new feeding trough. The ‘wee darlings’ managed to get lost the first day but are now into a regular routine.

The slip

Of course there was the major civil engineering project of repairing the old fish farm slipway.

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Several trips to Sconser quarry for aggregate giving me a good stockpile of 20mm ‘all in’. The tides and weather being perfect enabling me to drill into the rock to insert ‘re bar’ as the tide was ebbing and then mix & pour for a good six hours, adding some ‘accelerator’ to speed up the curing.

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These 16mm U shaped contraptions being perfect for tying into the ancient Lewisian Gneiss.

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And, I still managed a little gardening Smile

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April 15, 2018

It’s no wonder they need a lift :-)

Sorry, couldn’t manage a post last night, was pure wrecked, it’s not a hard day here on the Lochaline/Fishnish route but it’s a long one and ‘yours truly’ was pretty shattered last night. We’d had a busy enough day with commercial traffic right enough but I can’t use that as an excuse.

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My prep work on and around the aft fire shutter was hardly reason either, truth is, I’m just getting too old Smile Having said all that I don’t need a ‘lift’ to get back into the boat if I’ve been diving, despite being in my 60’s and having a ‘bad back’.

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It’s been a bit of an education working here this last few weeks, I’ve been a diver, both recreational and professional for over forty years now and have been much impressed with the advances in so called ‘technical diving’ in the leisure sector where gases are mixed to prevent narcosis   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitrogen_narcosis increase ‘bottom times’ and reduce decompression times thus making contraction of the ‘bends’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decompression_sickness far less likely. ‘Back in the day’ when I was a serious wreck diver we regularly dived to 55m on air alone and spent an hour decompressing on USN tables (United States Navy diving tables) http://www.scubish.com/diving-with-deep-six/27/decompression_sickness Nowadays the modern ‘technical diver’ carries with him huge air tanks and oxygen enriched mixtures for decompressing with. Not only that but he requires a lift to get him out of the water cos he’s carrying so much carp!!!! I kid you not, both of Lochaline boat charter http://www.lochaline-boats.co.uk/ vessels, Peregrine and Brendan have diver lifts fitted and when you see all the carp that the modern diver carries around it’s no wonder why Smile 

The O2 café and Lochaline dive centre

As I’ve said in the past, I spent many a memorable holiday in the Sound of Mull back in the seventies and eighties diving some of Britain’s most memorable wrecks. Lochaline must be unique in the British Isles in having such a wealth of spectacular wrecks that are accessible all year round and in all but the worst of weather/tide conditions. Relatively sheltered yet supplied by mild Gulf Stream water the Sound of Mull is a positive ‘Mecca’ for the true enthusiast and novice alike with everything from the historic HMS Dartmouth   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Dartmouth_(1655) in a few meters of water to SS Buitenzorg  

Remote sensing image of the SS Buitenzorg

in the heady depths of trimix https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trimix_(breathing_gas) for the ambitious ‘technical diver’. Either way Bodie and Malcolm of Lochaline Boat Charters http://www.lochaline-boats.co.uk/ or Calum from http://www.lochalinedivecentre.co.uk/ could ‘drop’ you on them, along with the Hispania, Ballista, John Preston, Rondo, Meldon (my very own 2500 ton collier mined in 1917) and a whole host of other wrecks nearby, not to mention the multitude of scenic, cliff and drift dives in he area. Lochaline truly is a divers paradise Smile 

When I was out for a walk with ‘wee dug’ last night we wandered along through the community owned woodland towards the West Pier

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and its awesome views over the Sound of Mull before turning back towards home and the wee caravan

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passing by the O2 café  http://www.lochalinedivecentre.co.uk/ on the way way. It was whilst gazing through the shop windows that I noticed a sign that said they had diving cylinders for sale at around £45 each, needless to say Molly and I went up there today, spoke to Calum and came away with four 12lt Faber steel cylinders for less than the price of four bags of coal Smile

As Ships go by

Well, it’ll be after 22:30 now and time for bed so I guess I’d better wind this up.

 

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The latest batch of divers getting ready for some spectacular dives in the Sound of Mull, courtesy of http://www.lochaline-boats.co.uk/

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MV Hallaig at Lochaline slip

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