Life at the end of the road

November 6, 2018

One more sleep :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings — Tags: , , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:05 pm

Not much achieved today peeps, in fact I’ve hardly been outside and me eyes are sore from staring at screens and books. Dunno what that’s all about, my eyes never get sore outside but if I spend too much time on the puter, TV or reading they get all itchy and eye drops don’t seem to help. Oh for a decent shed to play in or some interesting project. I just cannae stand doing nothing and an hour or two on here is about my limit afore I have to go out and walk the dug just to get some fresh air on my face and give me eyes a break. I say I’ve hardly been outside but I guess that’s just relative, generally speaking I’m hardly inside Smile 

The cruiser Varyag

I knew today was gonna be tough, Darling Wife had booked a hairdresser and another trip to Ayr was planned, well rugger that I thought and once more drew up zilch on ‘things to do in Girvan’. I even stretched my Internet search as far as Stranraer, which is only 30 miles away but that failed to tempt me either. I guess I was just having one of those ‘bah humbug’ days or perhaps weeks Smile Dunno if it was Wifey or Mum in Law who mumbled something about Russian warship memorial but it made me prick up my ears and vaguely rang a bell. Google turned up this and it started to come back to me. I had read about an old Imperial Russian cruiser being towed for scrap after the war and running aground near Girvan . Had thought it may make an interesting distraction from the endless shopping trips if I ever found myself down this way with son and Searider.

  Varyag chart

There are one or two interesting shipwrecks in the vicinity of Girvan and Ailsa Craig but it’s not an area I’ve ever dived. However, with MiL living here now who knows Smile

Anyway, it turns out that the ship had a very interesting career and is something of a legend in her home country. The 6500 ton protected cruiser was built in America for the Czar’s navy and managed to serve in Japanese and Royal Navy too before running aground here and being salvaged by a German company. Though that is not what the Varyag is remembered for


The Varyag and her crew are immortalised in song

for her exploits at Chemulpo Bay in the Russo Japanese war of 1904 , a rather ignominious episode of Russian history. A little known episode (in the UK at least) of early twentieth century history which had far reaching effects then and much later. Indeed it tested the metal of modern weapons of war, shattered a few illusions about warship design and laid the foundations of the massacre in the trenches of Europe that would succeed it. 

The Varyag was blockaded in the neutral Korean port (now Incheon near Seoul) by a large Japanese force. The Japanese sent a very polite letter to all the ships in the port, many of which were themselves neutral and said something along the lines of “if the Russians are not out by 4:00PM we are coming to get them”. This I guess would have created a serious diplomatic incident as that would have violated Korea’s neutrality not to mention endangered the neutral vessels and their crews, Italians, French, Britons and American’s. Had it been me, I’d have stayed put Smile Not old Captain Vsevolod Rudnev of the Imperial Russian Navy , no he hoisted his colours and went out to meet 6 Japanese Cruisers and 8 Torpedo boats with just the old Russian Gunboat Korietz for support. So impressed by the Russian’s decision were the Italians aboard the Elba that their band played the Russian national anthem as they sailed by. It did not end well for the Russians who after a fierce and one sided battle scuttled their ships, the survivors being rescued and repatriated by the neutrals in port. So impressed were the Japanese by the Russian courage that they gave Captain Rudnev a medal!!!

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The Order of the Rising Sun

The story was not over by a long way, Varyag was salvaged and repaired by the Japanese,

Varyag.jpg and commissioned as the IJN Soya with whom she served for nine more years before being sold back to her new ally Russia in 1916 Smile fantastic images here but text in Russian Sad smile

The renamed Varyag transferred to the Russian Arctic fleet before going to Cammell Laird on the Mersey for a major refit. It was whilst in dock that the October Revolution took place and British troops ‘stormed’ the vessel after the crew hoisted a red flag. Varyag was then taken over by the Royal Navy for use as a hulk before being sold for scrap in 1920.

Whilst being towed to breakers she ran aground twice, once in the Solway Firth along with her tugs one of which became a total wreck. Varyag and three of the tugs were refloated  only to have the cruiser break her tow and run aground off Lendalfoot just south of Girvan. She was salvaged down to the waterline where she lay over the next couple of years.

And there I guess she lay, forgotten by most for nearly a hundred years,

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until recently that is when this memorial to her and the bravery of her crew was erected by the Russian government, probably the only one commemorating a foreign power’s heroism on UK (or Scottish if you prefer) soil. So, Charlie and I went for a ‘looksee’, I really liked it.

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Stumpy gets a paint job

After that it was back home for a wee while before going back out with Charlie for a wander down town.

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The Fleetwood crabber Boy Christopher FD131 was off the slip at Nobel’s and back at sea and ‘dumpy’ had got a paint job Smile

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Souter Johnnie’s

Apparently he’s something to do with Robert Burns who went to school in Kirkoswald for a few weeks Smile Allegedly this pub is built on the site of said school, tenuous or what Smile Anyway, they do awesome grub and that’s where we went to celebrate going home tomorrow Smile

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November 5, 2018

Country roads :-)

Gosh, I need to get out of here before I go mad and buy anything else off the Internet. Sure Girvan is a nice enough place and I even had a (mostly) enjoyable day yesterday. However, that’s it now, I’ve had enough and want to go home Smile

Raasay may not be ‘West Virginia’ but John Denver could not have put it better.

Things to do in Girvan

Well, it was a pure peach of a day here yesterday with pretty much the whole of the morning spent walking on or around the beach and harbour here. Charlie and I went out before breakfast.

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Having a pleasant enough stroll along the sea front towards the breakwater

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digging holes and meeting some of the local wildlife.


Some fine bits of driftwood that must be too big to haul away to someone’s garden or bonfire, I believe that was cancelled due to the weather Sad smile

After breakfast with the sun riding higher we all went out together,


this time for a much longer stroll to the golf course then over the river to Asda to get parsley for the fish pie.

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Charlie meeting some of his regular pals on the way.

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The clam dredger Ellen Ann and Girvan’s new Shannon class Lifeboat Elizabeth and Gertrude Allan which only arrived here in May.


Nobel’s yard in the harbour always seems to have something going on, today there was a large crabber on the slip and the dumpiest and ugliest steel trawler I have ever seen Smile

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There may not be much left in the way of shipbuilding on the Clyde but the likes of Nobel’s and Ardmaleish Boatbuilding on Bute are still turning out some fine steel craft for the fish farming and leisure industry.

The Majestic line vessels being regular visitors to Raasay and many of Nobel’s fish farm vessels working locally.

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The ‘Kindness Rock’s Project’ and Paddy’s Milestone a distant relative of Dun Caan

After that I foolishly accompanied the ‘girls’ on a shopping trip to Ayr, having Googled ‘things to do in Girvan’ and not found anything I’d not already seen, bar of course the many golf courses in the area.

I gotta say, Ayr on a Sunday was a bit of an eye opener for a tuechter like me, boy, there are some pretty eccentric folk about, I mean why would you wear two large watches or wander about using two iPhones Smile. I’m sure there are beggars and homeless people in most towns these days, I was just surprised by the number.

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Was also pretty surprised to see four hawthorn trees outside TK Max, three of which had bird nests in!!

So ‘that’s it’ all is peachy back home, well apart from Leah going AWOL for a few hours last night and leaving our house sitter in a panic. Sure she eventually found her but had to scramble up a steep bank outside the barn and drag her in by the collar. It’s almost 13:00 here and I’ve not stepped out of the house yet Sad smile Worst of it is, I don’t actually want to, I just wanna go home!!!!

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