Life at the end of the road

February 15, 2020

Dennis is here :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, harbour, weather — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:25 am

Dennis the Menace and Gnasher the dog.jpg

Sure enough, the much awaited ‘Storm Dennis’ has arrived and according to XC Weather he was bang on time. I left the house around 6:30 Friday on a dry breezy morn and arrived at Hallaig just after 7:00 in time to get aboard dry. Just as well cos after that the ‘heavens opened’ and somebody turned on the fans!!!

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Fifty three knots of wind and gusting to 60, a good storm by anyone’s reckoning, so bad even the ‘secret clam dredger’ was tied up. I say ‘secret’ cos in true clam dredger fashion he’d been towing his dredges over the Raasay power cables for the last week.

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Not content with that he’s also managed to snag the creels of three of the local boats too Sad smile Of course they knew who he was but no one else would cos his identification numbers were conveniently covered up on both sides with tyres and the one he’s legally required to display on the roof wasn’t even there!!! This destructive method of fishing should not be allowed in inshore waters. It shouldn’t be allowed ‘full stop’, it’s a bit like cutting down trees to harvest mushrooms as my old pal Willie Eyre would say Sad smile I suppose everyone needs to ‘earn a crust’ but if they could actually see the destruction they do on the seabed then perhaps they’d not be so keen.

Illustration showing the key parts of a spring-loaded scallop dredge and how it works on the seabed, including how it affects marine life on boulder reefs. Colin Munro Photography Scallop dredger ©Adam Scott

Anyways, that was us and the dredger tied firmly to Raasay until midday when he headed off to Braes and we went to Sconser.


If the storm was Dennis then the clam dredger is Gnasher Smile and more depressing images here

Relatively undisturbed boulder reef, Lyme Bay, rich in branching sponges and large tunicates (sea squirts). Colin Munro Photography. An area of 'worked' boulder reef in Lyme Bay.  Almost all larger and slow growing species have been removed.  Broken scallop shells and a live scallop buried in a sediment hollow can be seen. Colin Munro Photography.

Kinda ‘before and after’ Sad smile

As for the rest of the week since I last plinked away on here,

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a new crash barrier got installed on the road to Clachan after the landslip last year.

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Strong winds midweek blew down a solar panel at Sconser, part of Highland Council’s solution to speeding motorists through Sconser village and by the ferry terminal. Any sane person can see it should be a 40MPH speed limit through a village where there is a ferry terminal, school bus stop and now take away and bunkhouse. Nope, not HRC or Transport Scotland they deem an unrestricted road perfectly safe and spend gazillions on surveys, consultants, solar powered signage and a bus shelter when two 40MPH signs either side of the village would do the job better and safer for a fraction of the cost.

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It’s been a good week for rainbows too, here be a couple at Glame and Glame Brae.

Speedwell lifting gear in the Raasay Narrows and then back on her mooring.

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Storm Dennis didn’t seem to bother the eider ducks Smile

Well, Gnasher left yesterday afternoon, we finished early and Dennis went to sleep for a while only awaking around 3:00am to do some more ‘menacing’ it’ll be 7:00am now and time for me to go do the hens and check for damage. The pishing rain hasn’t arrived yet but all sailings are cancelled until a 14:30 review. Last night the worst I saw was a dustbin out of place but it was dark, wet and I figured I’d leave my inspection until daylight.

February 8, 2020

A snowstorm in the engine room :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, New hybrid ferry, weather — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:27 pm

Saturday here aboard the good ship Hallaig and for a while there it looked like storm Ciara had arrived early. Last night, via SMS whilst I was in me bed I got a couple of texts telling me the power was off in the village. Of course I wouldn’t know that cos I’ve not had any power cuts in over 30 years Smile Such is the satisfaction of a ‘life off grid’, that and the lack of utility bills Smile 

Grid outages cause havoc, not only for the ferry but also the distillery, with many things needing reset before operations can recommence. We’re so used to them here that they seldom interfere with the timetable, however, I had a ‘wee job on the backburner’ that required a ‘dead ship’. I was hoping to tackle this on Sunday but figured last night’s power outage would have made Hallaig ‘deadship’ for me Smile This would save me the chore of isolation and any risk of ‘backfeeding’ from the numerous UPS systems that would be well and truly drained by the morning, the first outage being around 20:00 according to Facecloth, so it must be true Smile

Sure enough ‘wee dug’ and I turned up at a very black and dead ferry just after 6:00am and I started on replacing a contactor in the main switchboard.

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A relatively simple job, especially on an entirely dead ship Smile After that it was the usual ‘carry on’ of rebooting systems, cancelling alarms and resetting breakers in time for the 7:55 sailing.

We were tied up again by 11:00am right enough with wind so strong it turned the rain drops into stones!! at least that’s what it felt like with storm force winds gusting to 60knots.

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As for the rest of the week, well yesterday was very much ‘the calm before the storm’ with some fine spells of sunshine thrown in.

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The MV Lyrawa Bay heading north by Dun Caan and Inverarish.

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The Storr, Ben Tianavaig and Braes from the Sconser Narrows.

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The Portree boat Marie Bhan lifting velvet crab creels in the Sconser Narrows and Raasay’s own Mary M heading to land her catch.

Bit of a mess Sad smile

My little project at work has been making up new nylon scupper gratings for Hallaig’s car deck from 15mm nylon sheet. ‘Back in the day’ these would have been made of brass or gunmetal, more recently galvanized steel or even cast iron. Nowadays they’re made from plastic of course, which in many ways is much better, it’s certainly cheaper and doesn’t rust. Sadly, like most plastics it goes brittle with age and some of ours had started to crack.

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Fortunately it’s very easy to work with, if not a little messy Smile

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Rainbows galore

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And that’s it really, the weather moderated enough to get a couple of runs in before the ‘big one’ passes through tomorrow and the next day.

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