Life at the end of the road

August 3, 2018

Off to the ‘SS Stassa’

Filed under: Avon Searider, boats, daily doings — Tags: , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:06 am

Almost 21:00 now and methinks I’ll be finishing this tomorrow. I’ll be on me second glass of Chilean Merlot having made dinner and pumped up the diving cylinders from today’s epic plunge on the SS Stassa.

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Having previously made a 16 to 13 amp conversion lead for the trusty Bauer Utilus 10B compressor that’s been filling my diving cylinders since 1985. I bought this fine bit of German kit new over thirty years ago and for most of that time its ‘prime mover’ was a Honda G200 petrol engine. I chose the petrol engine over electric motor because for most of its life it lived on my boat and would be filling three cylinders a day, six days a week. However, latterly I’ve been using a 2Kw electric motor which has many advantages over petrol.

For a start it’s a helluva lot quieter and cheaper to run, it’s also safer cos there’s no chance of any noxious fumes from the exhaust contaminating your breathing air. Sure you can’t take it where there’s no electricity right enough and it’s right on the limit for a 13amp plug but all in all a far better option.

 Friday Morning

Sure enough, fell asleep at the wheel last night and never managed any blogging so here goes. It’s 8:30 already, we had a great day yesterday but who knows when the rest of the team will arise, they are not blessed with my love of the early mornings Smile It was well after 10:00am when we departed Ranish yesterday Sad smile 

The SS Stassa

We headed down to Leverburgh at the southern end of Harris, a township that acquired it’s very un Hebridean name from Lord Leverhume,_1st_Viscount_Leverhulme  who once owned Harris and Lewis. The ‘Soap man’ as he was known had great fondness for these parts but I know little of him yet cos I’ve not read Roger Hutchinson’s book yet Not sure his fondness was reciprocated universally right enough but he certainly pumped an awful lot of his considerable wealth into the area before dying. I shall read that book as soon as I’ve finished his excellent tome about St Kilda. We are booked on a boat to visit ‘The edge of the world’ tomorrow, that is of course ‘weather permitting’ but it’s looking good right now. Well perhaps not good but doable, forecast is westerly F4/5 which will be pretty lumpy I guess Sad smile

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I just love Leverburgh, it looks so ‘used and lived in’ with lots of fishing gear strewn about the place and great ‘fast food outlet’ in the ‘Butty Bus‘

Forgot to take a picture in the excitement so lifted this one off someone else’s blog.

Ross and I launched the Searider and set off for Loch Rodel  ‘just around the corner’ so to speak. The girls took the car and went to visit St Clements church,_Rodel which even a pure heathen like me finds beauty and comfort in.


Not that Ross and I saw much of it through the mist from the boat in Loch Rodel, that first image being lifted from Wikipedia Smile

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With all our electronic wizardry we soon found the wreck which lies at the head of the Loch in 23m of water sitting some 10m proud of the seabed in places.

The Panamanian registered SS Stassa managed to hit Harris on a fine summers day and was towed into the shelter of Loch Rodel by the lifeboat. She dropped anchor there but sank four days later, taking so long because her cargo of wood was keeping her afloat.

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Some of it is still in the holds today, but much of it was ‘liberated’ Smile I guess there are a few sheds in Harris made from Stassa timber hey.

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After our excellent visit to the Stassa’s  watery grave we hauled up the anchor and headed towards Rodel harbour but the tide was too low to get in.

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Not only that but the hotel was closed for renovation so we turned about for Leverburgh and home.

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Wife and child recovered the boat, the ‘Butty Bus’ was closed so we got chips from another outlet and called it a day Smile

August 1, 2018

Gone flat :-(

Filed under: boats, daily doings — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:52 pm

Well that’s us safely ensconced in ‘Green Pastures’ at Ranish in the Isle of Lewis,

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after an uneventful journey across the Minch aboard MV Hebrides

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It wasn’t the weather we’d been hoping for but the rain would be welcome throughout the rest of the country I’m sure and it certainly didn’t dampen our spirits.

29 Ranish

The cottage we rented on the shore of Loch Grimshader may not have been our first choice or even look much on the outside

29 Ranish

but it’s warm, clean, well appointed and James, the host is extremely helpful. Not only that but with one of these outside,


the Internet is awesome Smile

Turns out that ‘Green Pastures’ was a great ‘choice’, though if I’m truly honest, due to our late booking it was the ‘only choice’ . It’s actually quite central for exploring Harris and Lewis, there’s a great shop, petrol station and hairdresser nearby and at least one easy to use slipway that does not need a Land Rover and trailer to recover a 5.4m Searider.

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The exterior belies its spacious and modern interior and our only complaint so far is the lack of a tea towel for drying the dishes. James is somewhere off the coast of Brazil at the moment but I’m sure he’ll sort that out for the next customer Smile Smile Perhaps you don’t actually need a tea towel if you have a dishwasher, me I wouldn’t know Smile

Stirring old memories

It was ‘darling wife’ that actually suggested this trip and at quite short notice too. Me, I went along with it cos I’d just purchased a £300 grease gun and felt I needed to get back into the ‘good books’ Smile Actually that’s bollox I’d do anything for my dearest cos she puts up with an awful lot of carp from ‘yours truly’. Anyway, in this vein I decided to skip the diving today and take the family out exploring. My son has never visited Harris or Lewis before so it seemed like a good idea to ‘show him the sights’. It would after all be a better diving day tomorrow Smile

It was only when we set off for Callanish that I started thinking about the last time we were here and with who.

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For it was here, some three years ago today that we spent a fantastic holiday with Jessie Nicolson who passed away two years later (almost to the day) just shy of her 96th? birthday.

Off to Bernera

So, after our visit to ‘the stones’ we headed to Bernera for lunch at the community centre and museum there.

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The place is really worth a visit and whilst it’s only small the exhibits are riveting and the food excellent’

After lunch it was  the Iron Age village at the beautiful Bostadh Beach .

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The magnificent beach and scenery is only rivalled by the enthusiasm of the curator at the Iron Age house there.

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OK, it’s pretty dark in there until you eyes get accustomed to the gloom, but once they have and you start soaking  up the curators ‘spiel’ it’s mesmerizing. I kid you not, well worth the effort and £3 is a bargain.

The ‘Chinese’

That done, and after an abortive attempt to find the man who makes driftwood furniture on Bernera we headed for Metropolis (Stornoway) and a ‘Chinky’ at the Golden Ocean restaurant. We had been before and were not disappointed Smile

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