Life at the end of the road

April 8, 2018

The Lochaline Triffids

A fine Sunday evening here at our berth in Lochaline, with ‘wee dug’ and meself just back from a good walk along the shore of the loch towards Ard Tornish House .

Wikipedia’s picture and not mine Smile Me, I left the good camera back in the caravan Sad smile

We do like it here the ‘wee dug’ and I,


she gets lots of attention from the public and crew, and we can go for leisurely walks in the evening and at lunch. Not only that but I can roll out of bed and onto the ferry in a matter of minutes Smile

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Even though the working day is much longer here with a 7:00am sailing, I don’t actually need to get up any earlier and am ‘home’ much sooner. There’s a great village shop just a two minute walk up the hill and loads of great local services even a self service fuel pump. At this time of year there’s much going on and if I was ‘so inclined’ the Lochaline Social Club is ‘just outside my door’ so to speak Smile Perhaps that’s not a good thing come ‘chucking out time’ right enough but I’ve certainly no complaints.

Lochaline Boat Charters operates out of here


with their two Aquastar boats, Brendan and Peregrine both of which will drop divers on awesome wrecks, reefs, cliff and drift dives in the local area and beyond. As a destination for diving holidays Lochaline could not be better equipped and that’s coming from an ‘anorak’ who spent much of his early adult life and beyond doing the ‘trainspotting’ equivalent of scuba diving Smile Sad I know but I’ve always had a ‘soft spot’ for this little corner of Scotland. Never in a million years did I ever think I’d actually get paid for staying here Smile


So, despite the normal Sunday service here at Lochaline not starting till 8:45, the skipper and I were aboard the good ship Hallaig at 6:30.

One of the very expensive ABB motorized battery switches had failed and we were going to change it prior to sailing.

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There are four of these on the ‘hybrids’ and at almost £900 apiece it’s a fecking disgrace that they fail with such regularity. Allegedly ABB say they are good for 5000 cycles but ours fail regularly at half that. Luckily we carry spares aboard and had it all sorted prior to sailing.


Failure of one or more of these switches does not stop the ‘hybrids’ from sailing but it does mean you cannot utilize the 600kWh LiFePO4 battery banks Sad smile Anyway, that’s all sorted now, and a sternly worded email is winging its way to ABB Smile It’s not like they have these things in stock, there’s a six to eight week ‘lead time’ which I think is ‘ABB speak’ for camel ride from ChIndia or wherever they churn these things out from! No kidding, I pulled the old one apart and it’s made out of the same ‘Micky Mouse’ metal

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that my Dinky toy Morris Minor was made of.

I kid you not, here we have an £11,000,000 ferry with a £1000 switch broken cos of a 3pence part which the manufacturer refuses to supply separately. The world has gone mad!!!

The Triffid

Anyway’s, we got that sorted, sailed on time and had pleasant enough day here at Lochaline, after which the ‘wee dug’ and I went for that walk I mentioned earlier.

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Along the shore, past the sand mine towards Ard Tornish House.

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It was here that we spotted the Triffids!!! never seen anything like em before but they were growing on the shore and pretty much what I’d imagined John  Wyndham’s plants to look like Smile OK, perhaps not exactly but they were odd and that’s for sure.


The damage I could do with one of these Smile A proper ‘dumper’ from the sand mine.


This really is the ‘Rolls Royce’ of sand Smile

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The ‘office’ Smile


  1. The yellow plant is ‘skunk cabbage’ – just google for photos etc

    Comment by David G — April 8, 2018 @ 9:22 pm

    • So it is David, must have arrived on a boat collecting sand. That or some mad escapee from Ardtornish gardens.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — April 9, 2018 @ 4:59 am

      • Hi Paul, It originates in N America, but has been cultivated in UK gardens and then escaped. We first came across it last year in a Pennines stream bank, miles from any garden, and have since seen it in other local places at this time of year. Ardtornish may be the prime suspect! 😜

        Comment by David G — April 9, 2018 @ 8:33 am

  2. Really interetesterd as I have not seen the like before. I think it may be one of these:

    Comment by tessa — April 8, 2018 @ 10:34 pm

    • Thanks Tessa and welcome.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — April 9, 2018 @ 4:58 am

  3. The Royals Royce of sand indeed? What does that make sharp sand?

    I could only come up with this odd question after a few single singles!

    Comment by Matt — April 8, 2018 @ 10:37 pm

    • Hi Matt, apparently it’s some of the finest quality silica sand on the plant and if you ever come across it you’ll understand why, it’s just lovely. Much of it goes Runcorn or somewhere down that way, I know some of it is used for making solar panels too.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — April 9, 2018 @ 5:01 am

      • I’m going to look up that solar panel comment … fascinating stuff if they do and certainly one of those nuggets of useless info I absolutely must have!

        Comment by Matt — May 7, 2018 @ 9:57 pm

  4. It’s great to see Molly out and about, she’s looking really well. Good luck with your strongly worded email to ABB, it will be interesting to see what their reply is 🙂

    Comment by Tigger — April 9, 2018 @ 7:11 am

  5. Maybe you should get a 3D printer and start printing your own 3p spares!

    Comment by Steve Mather — April 9, 2018 @ 9:09 am

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