Life at the end of the road

April 3, 2022

Back in time :-)

My last day on Mull was nice leisurely affair, like a holiday even Smile The Mule was finished and I was feeling pretty chuffed with myself and thought I’d visit a few of my old haunts from waaaay back in time. The era of Thatcher and the miners strike  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UK_miners%27_strike_(1984%E2%80%9385) when I seriously considered moving to Mull to salvage coal Surprised smile Luckily I saw sense and took a job on Scalpay managing a scallop farm instead. The coal was still on board the SS Meldon

Meldon

a 2514 ton collier on the bottom of Loch Buie that I just happen to own, or at least a third share in it Smile 

The Meldon struck a mine laid by U-78 in March of 1917 https://www.scottishshipwrecks.com/meldon/ but her captain managed to get her into Loch Buie before she sank in around 10M of water. Where she lies to this day

https://www.scottishshipwrecks.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Meldon-prop.jpg

her iron prop and rudder pintle being quite a sight to behold Smile 

As well as the Meldon the SS Maine, HMS Barcombe and several other wrecks lie in this area  all of which I visited many times in the past.https://lifeattheendoftheroad.wordpress.com/2018/10/06/a-hundred-years-on/

Chauffer driven

The first job however was to go and look at a digger in Salen with  my Mate, a baby brother to Calum the Kubota no less Smile I’m sure he’ll makes as much use of it around his campsite https://www.tobermory-campsite.co.uk/ as I do of Calum around the croft. Probably he’ll ache a lot less too Smile

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After which he drove us back to Tobermory via Loch na Keal https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loch_na_Keal  , Ulva ferry and Dervaig. A most enjoyable jaunt especially from the passenger seat Smile After lunch at my caravan I headed off in the Land Rover to Loch Buie on the south west of Mull.

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Once more passing through the village of Salen past three sad looking old fishing boats. When I was last here in 1985 there was only one, the ‘blue’ one nearest and it looked like it had been there years then Surprised smile It’s called the FV Glen Carradale but we always called it the Glen Scammeldale cos it had a Scammel truck tractor cab for a wheelhouse Smile

Scammel

You had to see it and know its owner to appreciate the joke Smile

Then it was on to the head of Loch Buie where we parked up at the Old Lochbuie Post Office café  https://www.oldpostofficelochbuie.co.uk/ which didn’t open until the 11th Sad smile I dunno if it was ever a Post Office as I remember it being further up the glen where the telephone box resides.

PO

The new one is certainly a big improvement Smile

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Parking up at the café we left the aching Molly in the Land Rover and took the track that follows the loch shore towards Carsaig, yet another beautiful old stone pier but Bonzo and I only went about a mile down to where we used to camp in years gone by.

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By the remnants of old farm machinery, fishing gear and the foundations of a shed to

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a beach where we would launch the boat and camp whilst diving on the wrecks. Returning to the Land Rover after our trip down ‘memory lane’ to the monument just by the Old Post Office to ‘Loch Buie and his Highlanders’. Dunno what the inscription says you can’t read it now but 40 years ago you could.

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I remember this monument very well cos I hit it with an Alfa Romeo Sad smile Writing it off in the process but not before straightening the chassis with a tractor and strainer post, soldering the radiator over a camp fire, tying the bonnet and wing on with fencing wire and driving home 300 miles Surprised smile Those were the days Smile

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Can’t you read Bonzo, it says beware of adders Surprised smile One time I was up here we stayed in this farm at the head of the loch it was Easter 1984 and the gearbox layshaft bearings failed in my Series III LWB Safari Land Rover leaving me with only two gears, low and high 4th. Undaunted I got a Pal to bring me up a new layshaft and bearings and fitted them in the field at the side of the farm Surprised smile 

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This tree is in the cemetery at the head of Loch Spelve on the way to Lochbuie I dunno if it’s a ewe but if it is it must be ancient as it’s the largest one I’ve ever seen Surprised smile

Saturday

Well that was a nice leisurely trip home via Lochaline and  the MV Catriona. Ferguson’s MV Harvest Anne and the MV Aqua Stadt heading down the Sound of Mull as we awaited Catriona.

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Once on the mainland it was off on the single track A884 towards the Corran ferry

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stopping at the head of Loch Sunart https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loch_Sunart in the sunshine to walk the dugs.

Sopped briefly in Fort William for a Lidl shop before continuing the northward trek towards home.

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Stopping briefly at the side of Loch Garry to admire the view Sad smile

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of some toe rags fly tipping Sad smile

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Home at last around 17:30 Smile

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23 Comments »

  1. That fly tipping is outrageous!

    Rgds

    Damon

    Comment by Damon Hart-Davis — April 3, 2022 @ 10:36 am

  2. So glad you had a great time in old haunts. We passed you at Breakish going the other way, Les has a new toy, a TR4A, blue one, waved to you but doubt you would have recognised us.

    Comment by finniedog — April 3, 2022 @ 10:44 am

    • Aye Carole, spotted you in the open top TR4 😉

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — April 3, 2022 @ 10:57 am

      • Well impressed, sharp as a tack 🙂

        Comment by finniedog — April 3, 2022 @ 11:02 am

      • Glad to see you got something more reliable than a Land Rover 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — April 3, 2022 @ 11:07 am

  3. Lovely memories of your mis-spent yoof

    Comment by Caroline — April 3, 2022 @ 11:25 am

    • Very 🙂 mis-spent Caz

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — April 3, 2022 @ 3:31 pm

  4. I remember fixing my future brother in-laws escort in a scout camp on Coniston water. It had lost one of its engine mounts. Fixing it required him to drive it over a suitable Lakeland boulder and leavering the engine back up and re bolting it in. Needless to say it failed it’s MOT after that.

    Comment by artimaginguk — April 3, 2022 @ 12:11 pm

    • Necessity is the mother of invention Alistair, you should be proud 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — April 3, 2022 @ 3:30 pm

  5. The joys of old Landrover breakdowns whilst on holiday. Ours stuck in reverse when we were heading for Scotland during the late 70s.The south coast was getting closer by the minute for a few hours 🙂

    Comment by Andy — April 3, 2022 @ 2:14 pm

    • Aye Andy, I once reversed one for four miles down a farm track (complete with boat trailer) cos I only had a tow ball on the front bumper and that was bad enough 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — April 3, 2022 @ 3:29 pm

      • Can remember,1970 ish, my father fitting a tow bar to the front bumper of his series 1. Had us scratching our heads until he said it would be handy for boats. The only boat he ever bought was a canvas canoe ! 🙂

        Comment by Andy — April 3, 2022 @ 5:51 pm

      • Must be genetic then Andy 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — April 3, 2022 @ 7:27 pm

  6. Enjoyed reading your memories. Do you still have a third share in SS Meldon and if so have you never thought about memento salvaging?

    Comment by glenelgadventure — April 3, 2022 @ 3:27 pm

    • Aye, I’ve got the deed somewhere, it has a clause in it saying that I’m personally responsible for it. I’ve lived in perpetual fear of an oil tanker hitting it for forty years 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — April 3, 2022 @ 3:34 pm

  7. If I saw that cemetery tree in New Zealand I would immediately be thinking it to be a cupressus macrocarpa….
    Any connection in the cemetery to a NZ person or even an American (as the macrocarpa is also known as a Monterey Cypress)?
    There are small brown seed pods at the ends of the branches….

    Comment by John — April 3, 2022 @ 3:47 pm

    • Hi John, I did a bit more research on the tree and the graveyard is called Balure cemetery from the Gaelic Ball-y-ure which according to https://www.scottishfield.co.uk/outdoors/theres-no-escape-from-the-cruel-sea/ means ‘place of the yew’ so it could well be a yew. Though as far as I’m aware there is no letter y in the Gaelic alphabet.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — April 3, 2022 @ 7:26 pm

      • Thanks Paul. I did what I also should have done…a little research.
        https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/a-z-of-british-trees/yew/
        Yew trees are associated with churchyards and there are at least 500 churchyards in England which contain yew trees older than the buildings themselves.
        It is not clear why, but it is thought that yew trees were planted on the graves of plague victims to protect and purify the dead, and also in churchyards to stop ‘commoners’ from grazing their cattle on church ground as yew is extremely poisonous to livestock.
        Yew trees were used as symbols of immortality, but also seen as omens of doom.
        For many centuries it was the custom for yew branches to be carried on Palm Sunday and at funerals.
        Regards…John.

        Comment by John — April 4, 2022 @ 4:50 pm

      • Aye John, yews were also planted in church yards to discourage felling as they were used for making archers bows. That yew tree must be truly ancient, far older than any of the graves visible or the nearby church.

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — April 4, 2022 @ 5:08 pm

      • Hi Paul. I stumbled on this post after our messages about the Meldon. The tree is definitely a Monterey Cypress. It is a very fast growing tree and is not even a hundred years old. The first burial is 1930 and the tree was planted shortly before. My Granny’s Brother always complained about them planting such a tree in the graveyard. There were two until a few years ago when it blew over. In the first photo you can see a Yew behind the Cypress, it is preaumably the same age. All the best.

        Comment by John Maughan (@moresteamcphail) — September 10, 2022 @ 9:08 pm

  8. Cracking stuff… great balance of imagery and story.

    I once did 5 miles in an 88 with only the handbrake after the brakes failed 30 seconds after I handed over too much cash for it. That brummy taxi driver really was surprised when I completely failed to stop as he tried to cut me up. Not sure who was more scared at the time…

    That be a fairly well maintained Common Yew. Hundreds of years old if not more than a thousand. They were part of Pagan rebirth rituals and churches were often built very near as they would have had the dead buried there for yonks. Well fed I’d say… I remember visiting one in Wales a few years ago and they had one that was 1600 and still going. In it’s shadow was a stunning old Church who were very forward thinking about the areas history.

    Comment by Matt — April 4, 2022 @ 8:50 am

  9. Link error ? following … Barcombe and several other wrecks lie in this area https://lifeattheendoftheroad.wordpress.com/tag/ss-meldon/
    seems to just re-open current page

    Think it should be https://lifeattheendoftheroad.wordpress.com/2018/10/06/a-hundred-years-on/

    Wonderful hive of info Paul

    Comment by jimbo@TheLinkPolice — April 4, 2022 @ 10:08 am

    • Thanks for that Jim, think it’s sorted now 😉

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — April 4, 2022 @ 11:05 am


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