Life at the end of the road

January 21, 2019

Struggling to start :-)

Well that’ll be us in the depths of winter now I guess, though the days are noticeably stretching it looks like there may well be a good dump of snow not far away. Sure we’ve got away amazingly lightly so far, only one half hearted attempt at frost and no snow to speak of yet. Even the traditional mid January storm never arrived, we usually get a cracker between the 9th and 14th but not this year, at least not yet.

Pretty sure I’ve not posted on here since I went back to work almost a fortnight ago and that’ll be me just about finished me ‘fortnight on’. By rights that would be tomorrow afternoon but me trusty ‘back to back’ is going to Willie Sutherland’s funeral. Can’t say as I ever met Willie but I knew plenty that did and he was certainly a character Smile 

Anyway, it’s been a lightning quick shift and whilst I can’t say it’s been a particularly busy or demanding one I’ve never had enough energy to put ‘pen to paper’ so to speak. This old age thing really has me ‘struggling to start’ but with Darling Wife doing a late shift at the Raasay Distillery and me being alone with the two dugs, I’ll give it a go Smile

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I never actually started work until Wednesday morning right enough, had to visit the doctor first at the surgery before joining Hallaig at 9:50 and letting me Mate away.

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Some serious fishing gear getting ready for going out, it’s great to see more commercial activity on the island Smile

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I did a spot of painting on these railings, which despite being bright yellow have been hit by cars several times Sad smile The boys giving Hallaig a good scrub last weekend.

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Looks like the Sconser fish farm is getting new anchors Smile 

The ‘Ocean Great White’

The greatest excitement of the week, if not decade was the arrival in Loch Kishorn of one the worlds largest semi submersible drilling rigs, The Ocean Great White. Having taken five months to make the journey from Singapore she’s stopping off at Kishorn to be made ready for a contract west of Shetland.

Lifted from

Ocean GreatWhite

Owned by Diamond Offshore, the Ocean GreatWhite weighs in at 60,800 tonnes and is a 6th generation harsh environment drilling rig capable of drilling down to 10,000m in 3,000m of water. With a draft of over 23 meters, the rig needs deep water for anchoring.

The Ocean GreatWhite has made its way from Singapore, via Las Palmas in the Canaries over the last five months assisted by the Alp Defender, a large ocean-going offshore supply vessel weighing in at 5600t. The rig is scheduled to start a drilling contract in the North Sea early in 2019.

Namely, as previously reported, the Ocean GreatWhite was awarded a contract by Siccar Point. The contract, for three firm wells plus three option wells, is scheduled to start in early March and end in mid-July 2019.

According to information from VesselsValue, the rig is currently located in the North Atlantic, west of Ireland and it is scheduled to arrive at Loch Kishorn on December 29, 2018.

During its station at Kishorn, the rig will be made ready for its drilling program, with Ferguson Transport and Shipping providing marine agency and stevedoring support, KPL said.

Alasdair Ferguson, a Director of KPL, recently visited the rig in Las Palmas and commented: “I couldn’t fail to be impressed by the sheer scale of the Ocean GreatWhite. We hope that the berthing and support to the rig at Kishorn will herald a new era of engagement in the oil and gas industry at Kishorn.”

New contract to revive Kishorn

Kishorn Port Ltd (KPL), a joint venture between Leiths (Scotland) Ltd and Ferguson Transport and Shipping, was created in 2008 to promote the regeneration of the Kishorn Yard and dry dock as a major facility for the manufacturing of renewable energy components, decommissioning and support to the North Sea oil and gas sector.

The Yard and the dry dock were very busy in the early years of the North Sea oil and gas boom, employing over 3,000 people and generating a huge contribution to the local Highlands economy. In the 1970s, the yard was used for the construction of the Ninian Central oil production platform. The platform was towed out of Loch Kishorn in May 1978.

Howard Doris, the yard operators finally succumbed to insolvency in 1988 and the yard lay largely dormant until 1992, when the dry dock was resurrected to enable the casting of the two 2,500 tonne concrete caissons that support the Skye Bridge.

KPL secured a comprehensive Masterplan permission in 2013 and has been promoting the yard and its dry dock for use by the renewables and oil and gas sectors for the last five years following significant investments in site infrastructure.

Simon Russell, Director, added: “After many years of working on the Kishorn project, this is a great step towards its future regeneration and the creation of local jobs and opportunities.”

This will be KPL’s first big contract and lets hope it’s the first of many, they’ve put a lot of effort and money into reviving Kishorn and it would be good to see some ‘Commando’s’ back there Smile

Kishorn Port and Dry Dock is the former construction site of the Ninian Central Platform, the site has 45 Hectares of land available (including the dry dock) for immediate construction and development with a further 19 Hectares available.

The dry dock there is truly immense

Kishorn Port and Dry Dock is the former construction site of the Ninian Central Platform, the site has 45 Hectares of land available (including the dry dock) for immediate construction and development with a further 19 Hectares available.

it would have to be, they built the worlds largest man made moveable structure there in the 1970’s a truly incredible lump of concrete Smile

We’ve all being following the rigs progress on Ship AIS but typically she arrived in atrocious weather during the dark and I only had my wee camera.

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Still, it was an amazing sight at 6:30 in the morning as I drove by Brochel Castle on my way to work. Infinity, the RedBay RIB belonging to ‘Go To St Kilda’ has been making the 30 mile round trip most days to visit her. I dunno why right enough but it must be a helluva lot quicker than going by car Smile Some fantastic shots by Annie MacD of Applecross.


This of which is just part of one of them.

Ninety One today

OK, it was last Saturday the 12th,

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but Peter still managed to blow out all the candles on the cake Dan had made for him Smile


The clam divers aboard the Auk UL534 didn’t hang around long in the Raasay Narrows, perhaps they were just passing through. They certainly get about, last time I saw them was in Lochaline last May.


That’ll be Marsco covered in snow and looking in a foul mood Smile

Today’s latest arrival, another load of barley to keep Darling Wife busy at the Raasay Distillery

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She’ll be hard at it mashing away at the Raasay Distillery just now with the rest of the team.

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Me, I’m off to bed with a good book.


  1. The distillery looks every bit as complicated as your ship!

    That drilling rig is incredible. So it can move under its own power then? The ship isn’t towing it?

    Comment by Dan Grey — January 21, 2019 @ 10:27 pm

    • Hi Dan,

      it is just as complicated as Hallaig for sure, even has some of the same faults 🙂 I think the rig can actually do around 8 knots under it’s own power. The tug is probably just on standby.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 21, 2019 @ 10:39 pm

  2. Great to sea pictures of the Dry dock dry!! I used to fish off the dock gates in the dock used to get some great cod. However when the started on the bridge caissons security got a little tighter and I never saw the dock empty. It looks very clean and tidy not full of the mountains of scrap that used to foul my fishing gear.

    Comment by Alistair Gray — January 22, 2019 @ 9:47 am

  3. A veritable hive of activity up there.! Hope the snow won’t trouble you x

    Comment by SOTW — January 22, 2019 @ 5:56 pm

  4. It doesn’t seem very kind for you to make Peter blow out the cake 90 more times just because you ran short on candles! Perhaps by next year the cake will be solar powered. Best wishes!

    Comment by drgeo111 — January 22, 2019 @ 9:11 pm

  5. The picture of the dry dock at Kishorn took me back to the scene in Local Hero in the lab when they show the village of Ferness.

    Comment by Morgan — January 23, 2019 @ 2:38 am

    • No there is a film I really must watch again Morgan 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 23, 2019 @ 5:37 pm

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