Life at the end of the road

April 12, 2022

A tale of two plugs :-)

Well that’s it, the holiday is over, this afternoon I’ll be back at the office and to be honest, I can’t wait Surprised smile Not that I’m fed up, bored or miss my work so much, no I can’t wait to get back to work and get it over with Smile then I can start doing all the jobs I didn’t get done on me hols Smile The main one being to fit the rear chassis to the Disco and MOT it but there’s painting the house and a whole load more tasks to look forward too. Sure, I could have made a start on the Disco but I decided to go down to Girvan for a few days instead. Four days with the family celebrating various birthdays and seeing Ross seemed far more attractive than a week’s welding under the Disco. Trouble with this plan was I’d have to take the ‘Old Girl’ which isn’t half as comfortable, fast, quiet or economical as the Discovery. Still it would be an adventure Smile but first I had to get presents and for that I decided to buy local Winking smile 

Tiny roost

next door at my old house in fact . After viewing a selection of Lisa’s beautiful Harris Tweed bags and selecting a nice one for my sister in law I headed down to Kirsten’s Craftavan by the shop

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to view more locally produced crafts.

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There are seven people from Raasay who display a selection of locally made gifts and articles in the Caravan just by the shop. After leaving with a Harris Tweed bag and half a dozen duck eggs I returned home to pack the land Rover for the trip on Tuesday.

Departing Raasay on the first ferry and stopping regularly on the way to walk the dugs.

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It was a lovely quiet drive south with even the normally busy Ciste Dhubh parking spot in Glen Garry being deserted.

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After stopping to top up with mocha and a bacon roll at the Well of the seven heads takeaway who’s name comes from a gruesome episode in clan history which took place nearby.

Eventually after more stops at Fort William, Barrhead and probably other places too we finally came in sight of Ailsa Craig

 Ailsa Craig from the southeast

The vast granite plug in  the lower reaches of the Clyde that heralded our destination. Known as ‘Paddy’s milestone’ because it also heralded the arrival in Scotland of many Irish immigrants in years gone by.

Four days of partying, dug walking and shelf fixing later we found ourselves packing the Land Rover once more to head home having averaged 35MPG on the journey south Surprised smile Not bad for an old tank and much better than the 25MPG I averaged towing the caravan to Mull. With a full tank of fuel we headed north at 7:00AM on lovely quiet roads until just after Tarbert on Loch Lomond when my fan belt snapped Sad smile

Not having a spare or any tools to change it if I had I decided to improvise using one of the dog leads which was not a success, after five miles it snapped. I guess at the knot I’d tied, so after creeping northwards along the loch side whilst keeping an eye on the temperature gauge. I finally found a place to safely stop


the now derelict Bonnie Banks Café where I managed to find a length of 6mm rope that I spliced together after guestimating the correct length to go around the crankshaft and water pump pulleys.

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I figured that I would get home on the juice in my battery as long as I switched off the heater and CD player and I’d just have to manage without the power steering. The water pump requires very little effort to drive it whereas the power steering and alternator sap a couple of horse power. Sure it would be a long slow drive at 40MPH and quite boring without the audio book I was listening to but I made it to Sconser where the car park was full for the first time in years Surprised smile


Though they only left two cars behind and went back for them Smile

The other plug

With my voltmeter reading just 10V I finally arrived home around 18:00 and after unpacking the Land Rover and making dinner went to bed. The next couple of days being taken up by fitting the spare fan belt I should have taken with me Smile


I also serviced my Pals 2.3 Honda outboard,

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delivered it to Torran,

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where there’s a fine if distant view of Raasay’s very own volcanic plug, Dun Caan Smile


That’s it really, I came home to a much greener garden than I’d left and now I’m off to do some work.

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March 29, 2022

The Mule on Mull :-)

Been kinda distracted of late, think I got waylaid by another late one on Saturday or if I didn’t then I certainly felt like it on Sunday. Whatever I spent most of the Sabbath doing chores about the house and getting ready for phase 2 of my ‘holiday’ Smile This will be the part where I actually go away Surprised smile so much time was spent getting my caravan, Land Rover and tools ready for the trip.


The tools being required for my holiday and not for fixing the Land Rover or caravan (fingers crossed). The annual trip to Lochaline with MV Hallaig being cancelled indefinitely by our local MP Kate Forbes This will hopefully stop the lunacy of taking a ferry from a ‘lifeline’ service to cover the drydocking of a ferry that serves an island that already has four or five ferries. This is great and long overdue news for Raasay but I do miss my wee trip down there with the caravan and CalMac paying my expenses Smile

Anyway on Sunday I checked my lights, Changed the rear number plate, made my bed and filled my new toilet cistern pump. I’d had to free it off before going to Lochaline 12 months ago so just got a new one rather than fix it yet again.

Three ferries

Heading off at 8:00 on yet another glorious spring morning

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we stopped in Broadford to fill up with diesel and stores at the Co-op before meandering towards a good dug walking spot just outside Kyle.

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It’s just past the 30MPH end about half a mile on the right at a place called Scalpaidh Bay and there a great path through the woods and up to Scalpaidh loch.

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There are loads of old ruins and judging by the two old oaks growing out of the middle of one they must be REALLY old Surprised smile

Our next stop was at Loch Oich

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on the Caledonian Canal where I bought a mocha and cake at the café there Both were excellent with Molly and Bonzo enjoying their complimentary sausages too, yup the owner asked me how many dogs I had then gave me a sausage each for them Winking smile 


Then it was on through Fort William without even stopping at Lidl Surprised smile and straight aboard the ferry at the Corran Narrows.


We stopped for another bite to eat and walk on the Morvern peninsula shortly before turning onto the single track A884 to Lochaline.

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This year the third hybrid sister the MV Catriona is relieving for MV Lochinvar’s annual docking.

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The short crossing across the Sound of Mull took us to Fishnish and not long after we arrived at Tobermory Campsite and my old friend the owner, Angus Williams came out to meet me Smile I used to stay here in the late seventies and early eighties and it has certainly changed Smile

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Free Wi-Fi, nice clean facilities with great showers and just a ten minute walk into Tobermory.

After getting myself sorted out and realising that I had once more forgotten to bring a saucepan I made dinner in one that Angus loaned me. A much better option than what I did last year at Lochaline, which was to boil my pasta in the frying pan Surprised smile Anyway, after dinner I went up to look at the Mule with Cameron in preparation for today.

The Mule being at Sgriob-ruadh Farm where along with the 150 cattle they keep pigs Smile

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I need to get some more pigs Smile

The Kawasaki 4010 diesel Mule

This morning I had a somewhat late start but had the pleasure of a nice clean smooth floor to work on and my Landy for company Smile


I could even set my laptop up on a nice sturdy bench next to the engine to which I was fitting a new piston.

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After a couple of hours I walked back to the caravan for lunch with the dugs as it’s only five minutes over the hill from the site.


With Cameron’s help after lunch we got the engine back in and transmission belt fitted before ‘knocking it on the head’ and calling it a day Winking smile

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