Life at the end of the road

October 20, 2018

On her way :-)

Saturday night, 18:30 and that’ll be me in for the night, bit of blogging, bit of surfing and hopefully a well earned glass or two of Chianti that seems to have miraculously appeared on the worktop. Only half past six in the evening and it’s dark outside, not that that would stop my latest project, that’s sat in the barn. Nope, I’ve had a succession of ‘late ones’ this last few days and seldom been in the house before 22:00. So tonight I thought I’d ‘take it easy’, it seems like I’ve never stopped since my return from dock.

Well travelled pigs

I may not have got a great deal done on Wednesday due to the ‘jet lag’ but I was up bright and early on Thursday and off down the road at 7:00 to catch the 8:55 to Skye. The trusty MV Loch Linnhe may have been built to take 12 cars but that was in the day of Morris Minor’s, Vauxhall Viva’s and Ford Cortina’s. When the largest car you saw on the road was a Rover 3.5, now a Ford Fiesta make a Rover look small and you could put an old Mini in the back of a new Volvo estate and not even notice through the black ‘privacy glass’. I mean what the feck is all that black glass about these days? we get precious little sun as it is without all that dark glass making the inside of the car gloomy.


These days your lucky to get eight on the deck so I got myself down to the ferry terminal nice and early cos I had my trailer and was wanting to get into Skye Express . The boys there start early, load up their vans and then get out on the road delivering parcels etc. As I was needing a forklift to lad me up I wanted to make sure I caught a driver.


With MOT’s on the horizon and a Range Rover as my retirement project I’d splashed out on a 2500kg single post vehicle lift. I’m just pure sick of crawling under cars and every year it gets harder as cars get lower and wheels get larger leaving less and less room around the wheel arches. Not only that but I’m getting much less ‘flexible’ than I used to be. I dunno how much that lift weighed but by the time I’d loaded some cement and pig food aboard I’m guessing I was pretty near the Subaru’s 2000kg towing limit. With the load high and the roads terrible I set off gingerly for the 10:25 and whilst waiting at the junction to turn right onto the A87 I noticed hunners of cars in my rear view mirror piling up behind me, must be the Uig ferry in I thought. Sure as I finally managed to turn right to Sconser the crocodile followed me and got longer Sad smile It’s a 30MPH anyway so that shouldn’t have bothered em too much I thought and as soon as I got to the large layby opposite the Aros I signalled  and pulled over. The layby is long but there was an articulated lorry in it but still plenty of room. As I got into the layby I noticed the car behind and the car behind that and the next pull in behind me, not only that but the cars behind them that were still on the carriageway were all signalling to turn into the now full layby!! Consequently the A87 came to a standstill cos the traffic behind the parking cars could not get by. I shook my head in despair then pulled back onto the main road to let all the potential parkers use the layby. I kid you not, the entire crocodile of cars followed me!!! I couldn’t friggin’ believe it, I thought the ‘silly season’ was over and the madness of the summer by with.

Anyway, I wasn’t driving my precious cargo any faster so once out of the 30 limit I sped up to 40MPH, all the time acquiring more and more traffic on my tail. Unfortunately for them I couldn’t find another place to pull over until well after the Varragill bridge when I let them all by. Once they’d past I pulled back on the main road and driving at a nice leisurely 40MPH caught them all up so slowed down and let them ‘get on with it’ Smile

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Back on Raasay I clocked three of the Portree tourist boats heading for Raasay, no wonder the road is full of Muppets I thought, it’s half term. I stopped at Calum’s Cairn to phone the wife and ask her to open the gate as I’d a feeling it would be unwise to stop on a hill with this cargo aboard. I also realized why I’d not seen anyone at the picnic table in a while, it had collapsed Sad smile

After lunch and with Wifey off to work I set about doing an afternoon of road work up at the hen field. Calum the Kubota was a mile away and I’d need him to unload my lift so I figured I may as well make use of him before bringing him home.

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The pigs must have been missing me as much as the dug cos they spent the afternoon following me up and down the road Smile You really must try and buy free range or at least British pork, pigs are really intelligent and friendly creatures that deserve to be farmed responsibly.

More punctures Sad smile

The road building was terminated early when I had a puncture in the dumper,


Luckily it was on hard ground, not raining and within easy walking distance of home and all my tools.

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Once back home I removed the tyre and tube and found the leak in the sidewall, it appeared to have been caused by a stone rubbing between the tube and tyre. Despite me being careful when I fitted the new tube a few weeks ago there must have been this sharp grey stone left inside Sad smile Anyway I already had a repaired tube to fitted that, checked for leaks with soapy water then repaired the new tube ready for next time Smile

By the time I got that done it was feeding time but there was no sign of the pigs,


they were still ‘on the road’ so I fed them there Smile

The Chinese single post lift

I’d been contemplating a vehicle lift for a couple of years but never done anything about it, mainly cos they aint cheap and I hate working on cars anyway. However, after a couple of hefty bills for the likes of exhausts and suspension parts I could easily do myself, had I a lift I decided to ‘bite the bullet’ and get one.

As it wouldn’t be working hard every day I figured a cheap Chinese one would do the trick and after much research and grubbing about online settled for one from SJR Garage Equipment in St Hellen’s .

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With Calum ‘tracked’ back home I tried to unload it on it’s pallet, not a chance, Calum’s dipper just wouldn’t lift it off the trailer, even when I got as close to it as I could. This was a bit of a bind cos I had to unload everything separately and then track it to the shed. Being on my own this was not only a pain but it took me ages.

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Still, it eventually started to take shape

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but by 22:00 I’d had enough and went in the house to get cleaned up and await Wifey’s return in the hope she’d fancy a glass of wine Smile


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The work on the lift resumed after breakfast and feeding the animals with me fitting the hydraulic pump and the lifting carriage. Now, so far, despite the Chinese instructions, all had gone quite smoothly, though heaven knows how you’d do this without a digger or forklift.

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The electrics on the other hand were a ‘whole different kettle of fish’ and with no actual wiring diagram,challenging to say the least Smile It didn’t help that the lift came with two ‘limit switches’ of different types and no word of which one to use. It also didn’t help that the instructions were for an earlier model with a lever rather than solenoid operated lowering device. However, this isn’t really a gripe, I’d fully expected this, it seems par for the course with Chinese stuff and I’ve had experience before Smile Like a Chinese wind turbine or quad you have to not expect these things to work straight out of the box. With that in mind and bearing in mind what I would have paid for something manufactured by someone wearing shoes, it aint bad.

By last night I had the Egg chariot up in the air and this morning I got underneath and started on the exhaust.


Starting with putting a blow lamp onto the manifold bolts, nothing worse than a broken manifold stud and unless you heat them up first, chances are. they will break.


It took me most of the day right enough but by ‘end of play’ I’d fitted a new flexible joint and replaced a split CV joint gaiter on the rear. And all this I’d managed to do standing up without swearing, skinning my knuckles or lying in any puddles of oil Smile

And the good news

Best of all, the good ship Hallaig is now on her way home.

Hallaig in Toon

Here she is berthed in Campbelltown, should be home beginning of the week Smile

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