Life at the end of the road

September 22, 2019

A pleasant run home :-)

Filed under: daily doings — Tags: , , , , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:55 am

I would have titled this ‘Home at last’ but I’m pretty sure I’ve ‘done that phrase to death’. It took me 33 years to find a true place I could call and feel like home, another thirty years on, I still feel the same, like a limpet getting back to it’s particular spot on a rock, I just don’t seem to ‘fit’ anywhere else Smile I was gonna take some photos of ‘wandering’ limpets, they must have a truly amazing homing instinct. Sure pigeons are pretty good but your limpet has to do all his foraging within a certain time frame then return to EXACTLY the same spot in EXACTLY the same orientation before the tide goes back out. All a pigeon has to do is find the same loft then use his eyes to find the door, as far as I’m aware limpets don’t have eyes so how do they do it, scent I guess, whatever, tis quite amazing to watch if you have the time, limpets do not do anything in a hurry. I was watching some the other day but managed to loose my Nikon W300 waterproof (allegedly to 30m) camera. No great loss to be honest, it was a piece of expensive carp, had been back to Nikon twice under warranty and was just starting to play up again when I went for my dip at the Rubh nan Sasan gun battery. The thing fell out my pocket as I made a landing in surf on the rocks. I saw it roll down the rocks back into the drink and thought ‘feck it’ twas useless anyway and I aint going through that again.

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It was a long climb back up that cliff and I was pure feckered Smile It was also when I discovered I had no memory card in this camera or lead to download the picture, hence their late arrival.

I’m back at Sonas now, arriving home off the 11:25 ferry after a fantastic journey home.

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I left my money in the honesty box, departed Firemore beach at 7:30 and had the road to myself.

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A good 90 miles of ‘Muppet free’ roads, right up to the Broadford Co op petrol station where they appeared in droves Smile Driving in the ‘No Entry’ blocking pumps and generally causing chaos in their brand new hire cars Smile Luckily I managed to escape most of the hilarity by going to the HGV pump away from the madness Smile

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Aye, even Sconser looked beautiful yesterday Smile

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It looked even better when Hallaig arrived to take me away Smile

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Once home Molly and I had a wander down to the slip as I was contemplating launching the Searider but the ‘wee dug’ advised me that we’d ‘missed the tide’. Perhaps we’ll do it today Smile

Cove Point, Rubh nan Sasan

Wee dug and I did much exploring around the old gun battery and here’s some picture that got ‘tied up’ in me camera until this morning.

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One of the three generator bunkers on the site, each 6” gun had one and there was a double one near the entrance, so four generators in all.

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An observation post but I’m pretty sure this is for the ‘Loop indicator system’ and not the main batteries http://indicatorloops.com/lochewe.htm (riveting reading for an anorak like me)

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The main battery observation post is between the gun emplacements

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These are the magazines for the main batteries, one for each, a respectable distance from the emplacement.

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The ‘practice’ ones being kept nearest to the door, at least that’s what it says on the middle image.

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Molly did advise me not to enter Smile

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I’m guessing this shed on the back of the emplacement was for ‘ready use’ ammunition. There is a hatch at the back of the gun emplacement and that wall to the right of the doorway is much thicker than the other three to act as a ‘blast wall’ I guess.

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From our wee shopping trip to Gairloch, some pictures from the harbour, the boat on the left is called Kayway I think and I first met it east of Scalpay some thirty odd years ago when diving for clams. So too were they, two youngsters called Elder I think, must be in their fifties now, if I’m not mistaken their father, Donald, raised it off the seabed ‘back in the day’ Smile

Well, it’s almost 9:00am now, had a wonderful burger at Raasay House https://www.raasay-house.co.uk/ last night, hence the late start so I better get out and feed everyone. With a little luck I may even get the Searider launched at 13:00, assuming that is I get all my tasks finished Smile 4m is about what I need for recovery but I can launch with less.

tide

September 20, 2019

‘Such a perfect day’ :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings — Tags: , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:24 pm

I can’t believe it’s only just after 18:00 and I’m ready for bed,

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not even ‘hitting’ the San Pellegrino is stopping me yawning and I don’t think it’ll be long before I can’t keep my eyes open. Sure it has been a busy old day right enough with me awake at ‘stupid o clock’ gazing on the waning moon above.

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It was the sunrise around 5:30 that finally prised me out from my bed and caravan to face the beach at Firemore on the shore of Loch Ewe. A couple of coffees later wee dug and I headed up to Rubh nan Sasan and the Cove Point gun batteries.

In search of the Iron Duke’s guns

Just ‘on the off chance’ and with the Disco having such a cavernous boot, I’d thrown my diving gear in the back and me being so enthusiastic of a morning, I decided to go for a dip.

At the end of WWII the two 6” guns that looked out over the Minch and protected Loch Ewe from enemy warships were just unbolted and rolled into the sea. I know this for a fact cos I dived on them in the 1970’s. What I didn’t know then was that the guns had been removed from HMS Iron Duke  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Iron_Duke_(1912) were they served as her secondary armament https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BL_6-inch_Mk_VII_naval_gun . Casement mounted there were 10 of them capable of firing a 45kg projectile the best part of 9 miles. Two of them found their way to Loch Ewe and the rest became shore defences around Scapa Flow where Iron Duke served as a floating AA gun battery, her main armament having been removed post WWI as part of the Washington Treaty https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_Naval_Treaty on trying to reduce the ‘arms race’.

Well, the treaty didn’t work but it did spawn some interesting and novel designs, Nelson, Rodney and Graph Spee to name a few.

So after hauling me diving gear down the cliff as I did in 1978 I went for a very interesting dive in the gullies where a 7ton gun might be resting.

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Found two lobsters trapped in a creel, saw lots of fish and generally had a jolly time, however, so no sign of said ordnance and managed to loose my camera on the way out Sad smile 

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Still, it was a great way to start the day before breakfast Smile

Island hopping

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Three cans and Lord knows how much sugar later I’m still awake, probably more so once I finish off the tiramisu and let Molly lick the carton Smile Anyways after my morning dip, explore and a quick shopping trip to Gairloch I managed to catch up with my pal Willie from the Isle of Ewe. We’ve helped each other out with various renewable energy project over the years and I’ve usually managed to catch up with him whenever I was in the area. Sadly since me Pop died, that’s not been very often. Willie lives and farms on Ewe with his family and like me is ‘off grid’ unlike Raasay though the whole of Ewe is without power.

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Willie came over to collect Molly and I from Aultbea pier in one of his Pioner boats and gave us a ‘grand tour’.

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We landed at the south end at what would have been the traditional old pier near where the majority of people used to live. Willie called it ‘The Square’, which I guess is what it was a square of houses, farm buildings and somewhat startlingly a mill!!!

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I was aghast that such a low lying island could produce enough water for it’s occupants, let alone a mill. Ewe is hardly high either but he explained how all the dykes and ditches were channelled to a storage loch with a sluice that acted as a kind of large battery I guess. It really was quite amazing with the architecture of wide stone arches looking strangely out of place here on the draughty West Coast.

Willies family were just as ingenious as the generations afore him as he showed me the remains of a landing craft they’d built after the war (not sure which one Smile )

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And that, if I’m very much not mistaken is a Ford Pilot V8 petrol engine https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Pilot Smile

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After our ‘grand tour’ Willie ran us back to Aultbea where Molly was seriously unimpressed with the steel grating steps Smile We then drove past the lovely Aultbea village hall, still retaining its wartime appeal Smile I went to see South Pacific  there with me wife a few years ago.

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Also went to a wartime dance there in uniform, my dancing was pure 5h1te

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Then it was the Convoy Museum at Aultbea which was brill but me battery is about to die and I canna charge it so I’m gonna go finish me Juice and tiramisu Smile

I will finish it tomorrow, good night.

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