Life at the end of the road

October 17, 2020

Torch time again :-)

Filed under: animals, boats, daily doings, Land Rover, life off grid, Trucks and plant — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:56 am

Yet another fine day on Raasay behind me and another one ahead if the forecast is to be believed. Ever since returning from my two week spell in dry dock, the only time time in twenty years that I’ve done a full docking from delivery to ‘sea trials’. Usually my ‘back to back’ and I do a ‘hand over’ in dock, with one of us taking Hallaig south and the other finishing off and doing trials. For whatever reason the annual ship service and MOT seems to be creeping towards later part of the summer every year. No bad thing in my opinion, barring of course Raasay being stuck without her at busier times of the year. The better weather and longer days experienced before the clock changing nonsense generally making the rounding of Ardnamurchan and the Mull of Kintyre a less stressful experience. Then of course it’s often better weather for actually painting the ship in October than December, which is when we used to into dock.

Not even rustling

A whole fortnight away from home being the only real ‘fly in the ointment’ Sad smile Golly gosh, my wee dug was glad to see me Smile but what a difference two weeks makes to the season. Leaving on the last day in September and returning half way through October, the first thing that became obvious was the creeping darkness eating into the day. It’s now that time of year when carrying a torch has become essential for anything out doors after the earlier and earlier sunsets. Disappearing leaves, roaring stags and golden aspen being some of the more cheerful reminders that winter is only just around the corner.

P1180438 P1180444 P1180445

The Tarbert and Torran aspen already ‘standing out from the crowd’ of birch and hazel with their autumnal hues. The weather being so good and windless of late that they were not even ‘rustling’, they make a distinctive rattling in light winds, their Gaelic name translating as the ‘rustling tree’ critheann.

Indeed the weather has been so good I was tempted into launching the Searider to go diving, an idea I gave up when I discovered my drysuit  seals were once more perished Sad smile Me having only replaced them during the summer!!!! Methinks the Chinese are not very good at making latex seals Sad smile I swear I never used to replace seals so often thirty years ago. My son’s suit has neoprene seals and they have never been replaced since he started diving. The latex seals may be more comfortable and seal better but I’m so pi55ed off at having to replace them that I sent my suit back to Northern Diver for conversion to neoprene type seals.

A whole month

I was actually well into my shift at dock before I realised that I’d be finishing it just as my winter holiday started, a perfect chance to make real progress on the ‘Old Girl’ Smile

P1180450 P1180451 P1180452

New fuel tank, air vents, and lots of tinkering around the front door sills and seat belts being some of the ‘little jobs’ that I turned into an epic.

P1180471 P1180472 P1180473

Not satisfied with ‘Britpart shitpart’s’ Chinese paint I elected to give my fuel tank and guard several coats of black and spent an inordinate amount of time doing the same to my front seat belt mounts. How sad am I Smile

Just too heavy

Also on the holiday ‘to do’ list is a new 1000Ah battery bank for the house from Paul Byrne at PB Battery Solutions . Some of my Rolls cells were getting tired after only six years of use and I’d decided to move back to ‘traction cells’ having thought I’d get at least ten years out of the Roll’s ones. Having spoken to a few Rolls owners since fitting them and fitted some to another property I now realize that this is about as long as you can expect from this type of Rolls battery. Sure the ‘Series 5000’ are much better but they came in at over £6K the forklift truck bank I’d ordered from PB was half that delivered.

I had them delivered to Skye Express in Portree figuring that they could forklift my ‘forklifts’ onto my trailer for me and I could lift em off with Calum. So that was my first reluctant task of Thursday. I say reluctant cos I was loath to ‘leave the croft’ on such a fine day for ‘doing things’, still it was a pleasant enough day in town and the drive was lovely.

P1180426 P1180425 P1180427

A Brochel sunrise, a gloomy Type 23 frigate on the East Side and a serious crane at the ferry terminal. Not sure what the crane was for

P1180463 (1) P1180464 (1) P1180465 (1)

cos there was already one at the new EE mast. Though I did hear that the bin lorry went into a ditch on Wednesday.


Not sure what the Zodiac abandoned in the heather at Tarbert was for either but I figured it was ‘SAS related’ Smile

I collected my batteries, pig feed and managed to return on a packed 10:25 sailing from Sconser on the relief vessel Loch Tarbert. The batteries and trailer following me home nicely Smile

P1180468 (1) P1180469 P1180470 (1)

Sure enough, whilst I dragged my batteries home the SAS recruits were carrying their boat up the hill at Tarbert no doubt encouraged by shouty beardy types Smile Perhaps they were trying to imitate Vikings

Nevertheless, despite these fortifications, Viking raiders still held the upper hand. Sea power was so important that these lands were ceded to whomever could control them. In 1098, Magnus Barelegs, the King of Norway, was granted control by King Malcolm III, King of the Scots, of all the lands which he could sail around. So he claimed all of the Islands and he also claimed Kintyre… by having his ship, with himself at the helm, pulled across the narrow neck of land that is all that joins Kintyre to the mainland at Tarbert (Tarbert actually means "boat pull"). Smile

P1180429 P1180439

Home at last but at 1200kg they were just too heavy so I parked the trailer outside then generator shed until I feel stronger Smile


Well, it was ‘more of the same really, shouty beardies in Land Rovers, this time at the road end and the cliffs above. I’ve never seen so many vehicles there but they were at least well parked and not clogging up the passing places Smile



HMS Kent in front of the aptly named Sand on the Applecross Peninsula and Serco’s SD Northern River

P1180454 P1180459

A noisy ‘Royal’ (12 pointed) outside the back of the house yesterday morning and now I’d better go look for my pigs. It’s almost 8:00am and nearly fully light, the wee darlings never came home last night Sad smile The ‘dirty stop outs’ Smile

October 15, 2020


Home at last Smile Well, it’s been a boodly hectic and record breaking docking for sure. I may well have been away for two weeks down in sunny Greenock but we were only actually in the dry dock itself for less than a week! Which is why you’ve heard little, well nothing really, from me. Basically, I’ve been either in my room an the Holiday Inn Express, at work and then back to my room for dinner and bed. Most night’s so tired that I’ve surpassed my usual ‘early to bed’ regime by up to an hour.

P1180386 P1180387 P1180385

Sunrise at Greenock.


Briggs Marine’s Kingdom of Fife in the Great Harbour . The Great Harbour was part of a large late-19th century scheme to create a massive harbour to compete against the Glasgow Docks. The scheme was not successful and the Great Harbour part was never completed to the scale of the original plan. Much of the spoil from the James Watt dock was used to create an island called the East Jetty (see NS37NW 18.1) and a quay along the former shore line at Ladyburn (NS37NW 17.1).

The Kingdom of Fife is a regular visitor to the waters around Raasay with one of her Masters being an ex Hallaig skipper.

 P1180404 P1180403

No sooner were we out of the dry dock than MV Loch Dunvegan came to join us.

P1180393 P1180398   P1180400

She would be going into the dock at the same time as the MV Porto Salvo an oil rig supply vessel that had made the journey from Heysham  in Lancashire.

P1180401 P1180402 PORTOSALVO

That last image being from Ashley Hunn of Marine Traffic.

P1180407 P1180409 P1180411

Departing JWD on Monday evening past the ‘Second Snark’, Victoria Dock and the Container ship MSC Eyra

P1180412 P1180410 P1180413

Mine hunter HMS Grimsby,  MFV Endurance and the wrecked ‘Sugar boat’ lying on a sandbank in the river

P1180414 P1180415P1180416

Arrival at Largs on Monday evening with MV Loch Shira and the local fishing fleet.

Anyway, Tuesday came round quick enough, I handed over to my trusty ‘back to back’ in Largs after the annual ‘compass swing’ and headed for home. Passing through Lidl in Fort William on the way for a £100 shop that included no alcohol and lots of green things. The food at the Holiday Inn being more than adequate but lacking in healthy fruit, veg and limited in choice. Hardly surprising really with the lack of customers and COVID protocols in place. Even so I had some 9 sticky toffee puddings in a row!!! Not that I’m a fan but simply to fill me up ready for the following day ahead Smile

A world apart

Arriving on Raasay around 19:10, IN THE DARK!!!, it was a very different home to the one I’d left 14 days earlier, the stags were bellowing even louder and the first woodcock flapped up in front of the car, the equinox can not be far away Sad smile still, it’s Thursday morning now and I’ve not seen or felt a single midge Smile Smile

P1180424 P1180420 P1180421

The leaves are rapidly falling from my old rowan, the Storr is just the same and I much prefer a sunrise on Raasay to one in Greenock Smile

P1180422 P1180423

Rodney, Bismarck and Tirpitz made their first sortie onto the hill after a fortnight of being confined to port and my chooks laid Wednesday’s lunch. The pigs had been on the croft during my absence as I wanted to make life easier for my ‘pig sitter’ so they were ‘over the moon’ to be ‘free at last’ once more. Duchess and Curly provided me with the first proper eggs I’d eaten since leaving home and I had them with a great big Greek salad for lunch Smile.

The beautiful day that was Wednesday I spent ‘pottering’, touring the ‘estate’, listening to deer and not police sirens Smile and just generally soaking up Arnish, it was fantastic. I did what I pleased minus gloves, mask and steamed up glasses, said hello to my new neighbours, had a cup of tea with old ones and just generally took it easy.

You have gotta be kidding

My ‘Old Girl’ C530VSX taking up some of my attention for the day Smile Working as I do in the marine industry I’m no stranger to absolute ‘rip offs’ fit anything on a ship and it instantly quadruples in price. Volvo parts for a truck are expensive enough, fit them to a ship and their cost spirals. Land Rovers have their moments too and I’m quite used to being quoted £400 for a fuel tank when I can buy a ‘Britpart shitpart’ one for £90. Sure the Britpart one aint as good but hey, it’s not four times worse either. Anyway, my tank had been leaking so I’d ordered one anyway from Paddock anyway with a new filler hose to go with it. Like I said, the tank was around £90, the hose a tenner. When the hose arrived, it was the wrong one, my fault as it was what I had asked for.


NTC2337 which turns out to be slightly too short and narrow at one end, this one being for 1986 onwards and mine being the earlier one NRC9291

Land Rover Defender 110 Fuel Filler Hose Pipe early up to - GENUINE LR NRC9291

which is a mere £169.79!!!!! Aye right when you can buy a 76mm 45 degree turbo intercooler pipe for around £20 that will do the same job or even fasten two NTC2337’s together with a short length of pipe and two jubilee clamps.

90 & 45 Degree Elbow Silicone Hose Bend Pipe Elbow Add A Joiner If Needed

So that’s it really, I was up at 3:00am so thought I’d get back into my early morning blogging with several cups of real coffee. Choosing not to listen to the World Service on account of there not being much ‘good news’ about these days, tis 5:30 now so methinks I’ll risk the Shipping Forecast and inshore waters, at least that should be good Smile

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »

Blog at