Life at the end of the road

September 29, 2019

The ‘ship’ on the rocks :-)

Filed under: animals, Avon Searider, boats, daily doings, Discovery — Tags: — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:31 am

Six in the morning and I’ve not long since got out of my bed, well it is Sunday after all and one does deserve a ‘lie in’ now and then hey Smile I’m just back in the house having just been out to me caravan to retrieve some stuff out of the fridge. I caught a few deer in my torch beam and was somewhat surprised at how dry and mild it was outdoors. Yesterday was a pure peach here, in sharp contrast to the ‘severe weather’ bulletins that peppered the music and mince of Radio 2.  Mudslides at Bentham, a place I know well, ferries off on the Mersey, a place I’d be happy never to see again Smile at least not from the deck of Hallaig. We dry docked there in 2015 after the most horrendous sea voyage of my life through the Irish sea in November Sad smile By contrast there was hardly a breath of wind here and I was severely miffed at having to spend much of my day under the Disco Sad smile

The ship on the rocks

OK, it was actually a sheep stuck at Aird Torran but every time I see a stranded woolly I think of a phone call a friend of mine received form an auxiliary Coastguard years ago. “There’s a ship on the rocks north of Staffin” to which my Mate, a keen diver and scrap merchant got really excited only to become somewhat deflated when he realized it was just another boodly ewe with a death wish Smile Well I guess I first noticed it on the 25th as I headed for Rona,


we’re not on speaking terms but I know her quite well, for she is the only sheep for miles. Completely wild with at least a dozen fleeces on, she missed the final Torran gathering some fifteen or twenty years ago and has been living a peaceful if not lonely existence at Aird Torran ever since. I often see her through the binoculars from home or from the boat when out diving, just not this closely.

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She was still there on the 27th and a look around the point with the boat told me she probably wouldn’t get out without help but I’d give her another night. The weather was settled, the tides getting bigger so she may have been able to walk out herself at low water with a bit of luck.

However, as dawn broke yesterday,

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I could see over my bowl of muesli that she was still there Sad smile Still it was a cracking day and I was going out diving anyway, just hadn’t planned to do so so early. After finishing several cups of coffee and donning my dry suit I set off, anchored the boat just offshore swam the short distance to the land, removed my flippers and proceeded to chase the woolly round in circles. I knew from experience that she would eventually end up in the drink, where she would either find her way own way out, encouraged by adrenalin and a strange black monster. Or she would just eventually drown as her fleeces turned from an oily lifejacket to a sodden weight. Hopefully before this happened I could swim out to the Searider, get a rope around her horns and keep her head above water. Been there, got the book, video and T shirt Smile However, once she ended up in the water I managed to follow her and persuade her up that slope on the right of the second image.


I dunno who was more knackered, me or the ewe Smile


Good deed done for the day I continued north through the Fladda Narrows to Eilean Tighe in the hope of catching some supper.


Despite there being fish there I never even got a bite, as my wife used to say, “if we had to rely on your hunting skills to eat we’d starve” Smile Which I though was a little unfair, what she should have said was, “we’d get boodly sick of mushrooms and scallops” Smile So I dropped the anchor’


and got me a nice bag of clams instead. I also cut my dive short cos of a leaky wrist seal on my dry suit.


An injury that could well have been ‘sheep related’ Smile

In the shed Sad smile

Reluctantly I went back home, the tide wouldn’t be high enough to remove the Searider until after 17:00 and I really did need to fix my vehicles. The Disco was on the Chinese vehicle lift, it’s minor jobs having morphed into major ones. The 2500kg single post lift I got a year ago is the ‘dogs danglies’ for regular cars. However a heavy vehicle like a Land Rover, Range Rover or Discovery with a separate  chassis require very careful and somewhat tedious preparation before lifting. Consequently I had been making the most of it being ‘in the air’ and started to do some welding that was an ‘advisory’ on the MOT.

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As is often the case with corrosion, a tiny ‘pin prick’ turns into virtually a new chassis leg Smile It wasn’t this that was pi551ng me off, it was the fact it was so nice outside, but I really had to sort myself a vehicle before starting work on Tuesday. The Subaru too needed to go on the lift to have new anti roll bar links and bushes.

Come 17:00 though, I’d had enough and went to get the Searider out of the water before I got tempted to use it over the next day or two rather than repair my fleet of cars Smile

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Piece of cake with a dumper and dog to help Smile

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No sooner had I got my RIB out of the water than another turned up on the scene, Raasay House and David Croy if I’m not mistaken Smile Great evening for a trip for someone

September 28, 2019

Round rugged Rona and roaring stags :-)

Gonna try and make this brief cos it’s only two hours until dawn, the forecast is brilliant and I have much ‘on the list’ for today.

Sorted the Yanmar ?

So, yesterday’s first task was to get to the bottom of the Brochel generators recurring fuel starvation problems. The main issue being a choked fuel filter caused by a tank full of carp, bad diesel and improper filling from Jerry cans. Sure the ubiquitous can gets it’s name from it’s invention by the Germans just prior to WWII . Since then just about every country in the world has copied it in one form or another, it’s easy to carry, stacks well, requires no funnel and is generally ‘leak proof’ it does however have a serious drawback. Perhaps not in its original form but most of the ones you purchase these days (even genuine ex MOD ones) have a red paint coating on the inside and eventually tiny bits of paint flake off. I can absolutely guarantee that if you open up the fuel filter of any car, truck, digger, plant or generator that is regularly filled from a Jerry can, you will find tiny flakes of red paint in it. Now I dunno if Rommel had problems in Africa with his Tiger tanks but just about every outboard motor on a fish farm does Smile Added to that is water usually acquired from filling the tank in the rain or with a wet funnel. Sure the odd drop my not seem like much but it all adds up and then stays in the tank causing mayhem in the way of rust or ‘diesel bug’, a bacteria that lives at the interface of the water and fuel.

diesel bug 

A bad case from one of my own tanks years ago, it looks like frog spawn, gums up filters but worst of all it is extremely corrosive.

Anyway, my first job was to power wash the tank with my 200 bar pressure washer then suck it dry with a ‘wet’ vacuum cleaner.

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That done I headed south to Brochel to refit it to the Yanmar and take the builders some fuel for their petrol one. Amongst other things I had a fuel filter waiting for me on the ferry so drove down to the village to collect that and supplement my muesli at Iona’s Larch Box

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Sadly Iona was having a well earned day off so I had to forsake her brie, pesto and sun dried tomato toastie for breakfast with a friend in the village. Mind you the scrambled egg, smoked salmon and tomato on toast I got there was boodly awesome too Smile 

The wee Larch Box is a little hemmed in at the moment with a film company that seem to have taken over this part of the island recently Smile

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So come to Raasay and the Larch Box, you may get breakfast with the stars Smile

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Though methinks most of them are locked in The Alamo which looks like it’s preparing for a siege Smile Smile

After ‘second breakfast’, collecting my filters, anti roll bar bushes, brake fluid and links from the ferry I headed back north.

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The silage was in at Oscaig and there was a great big Vanguard class nuke heading north on the range at Brochel. Dunno which one it was, they all look the same and it was too far away for a picture.


However, I did manage to leave two running generators in my wake when I finally left Brochel and the happy builders Smile

Round Rona

I had managed to acquire some mackerel from the ferry along with my generator, Subaru and Disco parts but I was still determined to catch some of my own. The days are getting shorter, the boat is in the water and the sea calm so I thought I’d make the most of the opportunity and decided to head up to Rona.

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As has been usual of late, the loch is full of porpoises, not quite so usual though is this ‘sheep on the rocks’. Unusual cos it’s wearing about five fleeces and there are not actually any sheep at the North End any more. I saw it there yesterday and from experience have found that they get stuck, sometimes for days but as soon as you try and ‘rescue’ them they either find a way out or jump in the sea. If sorry looking old girl heads for the water with all those fleeces on she’s not going to be coming out of it Sad smile

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Two pictures of where the sea eagles were Smile There was a pair perched on these rocks on Fladda yesterday and today but it’s no easy to photograph em from a moving boat Smile

The old schoolhouse and holiday cottages at ‘Dry Harbour’ on Rona

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Above them on the hill is the 2.5kW wind turbine I helped install with Hugh Piggott, Bill Cowie and of course the helicopter that put it there Smile

After some more unsuccessful fishing in the bay there I headed north to the Rona Navy Base and it’s ‘bright lights’, so bizarre to see street lights there.

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Then it was round the top and down the east side.

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Fishless, it was time to head home and feed the pigs,


whatever it was in Loch Arnish (probably the porpoises).


May coming to be fed, hotly pursued by the ‘Iron Age’ pigs Smile


I heard my first stag roaring yesterday and so did these hinds, never saw him right enough but he mustn’t have been far away.

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OK, I never caught em myself but the mackerel I got given went into a fine Linguine, which is something you can try when you are fed up with every other way of eating them Smile I dunno where I got this recipe form but it’s great when you are fed up with the taste of mackerel, not that I am, I’ve not had chance Smile Anyways, make a pasta sauce, you know, onions, garlic olive oil, tinned and fresh toms, touch of stock and tomato puree. Once that’s bubbling nicely dump a load of frozen peas in it until the sauce is back up to temp. Add mackerel fillets, cover pan then sit on very low light for 20 – 40 mins depending on what you’re doing or how high the ‘low light’ is. Me I had work to do in the shed so left it for half an hour or so on a warm hot plate. Serve with spaghetti or linguine, boodly awesome and not in the least fishy Smile

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