Life at the end of the road

February 15, 2020

Dennis is here :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, harbour, weather — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:25 am

Dennis the Menace and Gnasher the dog.jpg

Sure enough, the much awaited ‘Storm Dennis’ has arrived and according to XC Weather he was bang on time. I left the house around 6:30 Friday on a dry breezy morn and arrived at Hallaig just after 7:00 in time to get aboard dry. Just as well cos after that the ‘heavens opened’ and somebody turned on the fans!!!

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Fifty three knots of wind and gusting to 60, a good storm by anyone’s reckoning, so bad even the ‘secret clam dredger’ was tied up. I say ‘secret’ cos in true clam dredger fashion he’d been towing his dredges over the Raasay power cables for the last week.

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Not content with that he’s also managed to snag the creels of three of the local boats too Sad smile Of course they knew who he was but no one else would cos his identification numbers were conveniently covered up on both sides with tyres and the one he’s legally required to display on the roof wasn’t even there!!! This destructive method of fishing should not be allowed in inshore waters. It shouldn’t be allowed ‘full stop’, it’s a bit like cutting down trees to harvest mushrooms as my old pal Willie Eyre would say Sad smile I suppose everyone needs to ‘earn a crust’ but if they could actually see the destruction they do on the seabed then perhaps they’d not be so keen.

Illustration showing the key parts of a spring-loaded scallop dredge and how it works on the seabed, including how it affects marine life on boulder reefs. Colin Munro Photography Scallop dredger ©Adam Scott

Anyways, that was us and the dredger tied firmly to Raasay until midday when he headed off to Braes and we went to Sconser.


If the storm was Dennis then the clam dredger is Gnasher Smile and more depressing images here

Relatively undisturbed boulder reef, Lyme Bay, rich in branching sponges and large tunicates (sea squirts). Colin Munro Photography. An area of 'worked' boulder reef in Lyme Bay.  Almost all larger and slow growing species have been removed.  Broken scallop shells and a live scallop buried in a sediment hollow can be seen. Colin Munro Photography.

Kinda ‘before and after’ Sad smile

As for the rest of the week since I last plinked away on here,

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a new crash barrier got installed on the road to Clachan after the landslip last year.

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Strong winds midweek blew down a solar panel at Sconser, part of Highland Council’s solution to speeding motorists through Sconser village and by the ferry terminal. Any sane person can see it should be a 40MPH speed limit through a village where there is a ferry terminal, school bus stop and now take away and bunkhouse. Nope, not HRC or Transport Scotland they deem an unrestricted road perfectly safe and spend gazillions on surveys, consultants, solar powered signage and a bus shelter when two 40MPH signs either side of the village would do the job better and safer for a fraction of the cost.

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It’s been a good week for rainbows too, here be a couple at Glame and Glame Brae.

Speedwell lifting gear in the Raasay Narrows and then back on her mooring.

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Storm Dennis didn’t seem to bother the eider ducks Smile

Well, Gnasher left yesterday afternoon, we finished early and Dennis went to sleep for a while only awaking around 3:00am to do some more ‘menacing’ it’ll be 7:00am now and time for me to go do the hens and check for damage. The pishing rain hasn’t arrived yet but all sailings are cancelled until a 14:30 review. Last night the worst I saw was a dustbin out of place but it was dark, wet and I figured I’d leave my inspection until daylight.

October 31, 2013

We’re both in shock :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, harbour, New hybrid ferry — Tags: , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:53 pm

Nay posting this last couple of days, quite simply because I’ve been spending some time with the stranger that is my wife. Fourteen months of living out of bags has finally come to an end and on Wednesday morning I set off for work on Raasay for the first time since the middle of September 2012. Twenty two unbroken days of sleeping in my own bed followed by a commute down ‘Calum’s road’, I think we’re both in shock and keep waiting for the phone call that will once more drag me away, well I’m not going Smile

It was such a pleasure to get up on Wednesday morning, don my working clothes and tootle down the road in the ‘Old Girl’ to join the Hallaig. I wouldn’t have cared if I’d been joining a Chinese junk, it was just so good to be returning to some kind of normality.  The weather was fine the wind fresh and it wasn’t even too dark when I arrived at a very busy harbour. As well as the two Raasay ferries shuttling in and out there was much activity from Ferguson Transport’s ex tank landing craft ‘Harvest Anne,


who was on hire to the council.


The busy workhorse was running backwards and forwards constantly with tar lorries for the ‘youth hostel road’ which was getting some 600 tons of new road surface deposited on it.

The good ship Hallaig however was due to carry out anchor trails under the watchful eye of Lloyds and the captain had decided to conduct them just to the north of Sgeir Cnapach off Oscaig.



Choosing a patch of ground that I knew very well, too well in fact for it was here that I suffered a bend whilst clam diving some eighteen years or so ago. An incident that ended up in a helicopter ride, ten hour decompression on oxygen and a night under observation in hospital. It also gave me a new insight into my own mortality and changed forever the way I view life. Today however I’d bee keeping dry whilst the 750kg gave a few scallops a headache as the 499GRT Hallaig dragged its anchor over them in the 45knot wind. The day was in fact turning in to pure minger


luckily south wind is probably the best direction for Sconser, where we went to pick up the BBC. Of course as soon as the press were on board the day really ‘went to 5h1t’ and the total silence of a Hallaig propelled purely on batteries was lost in the force nine gusting ten southerly ‘severe gale’. The planned filming of her arriving on the Raasay slip abandoned in favour of returning to the berth and putting out four stern lines, two head lines and two springs . One of those parting like a gunshot and leaving me with sore hands, not to mention boots full of water. Still it was a great ‘shakedown’ for the new vessel and her crew.




Wi Fi too Smile

Today was probably less windy but colder and with less of the wet stuff, though some of it did fall very noisily as hail. Many of the yard workers departed, as did the ‘passage crew’ leaving us to do some cleaning up, paperwork and recover from an unexpected blackout. For at some point during the early hours both power and internet had gone off on Raasay. Well it had at parts connected to the national grid anyway Smile  we at the north end DO NOT suffer from power cuts, and if we do they’re for minutes only. Our internet is also faster and more reliable too now, the joys of ‘self sufficiency’ in energy Smile

Anyway it proved an interesting exercise in resetting the various trips and rebooting systems on our hi tech hybrid ship Smile 



Doesn’t she look lovely now with all her fresh paint and signage.



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The latest addition to the CalMac fleet has also been having a WiFi network fitted on board  for the customers.


This chap was only supposed to be sorting out the software so turned up without a ladder, luckily I have one on the back of the Land rover Smile



Of course I carried out a ‘risk assessment’ first, obtained a ‘permit to work’ cordoned off the area, wore a safety harness and made the installer sign a disclaimer  Smile Well it was either that or send him away without fitting the stuff Smile

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