Life at the end of the road

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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

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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

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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

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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

October 4, 2020

Before I go :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, New hybrid ferry — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:57 pm

Well, I thought it was a smooth and relaxing trip so far but I guess the trip south to the dry dock must have taken it’s toll. Despite a relatively short and easy day yesterday I was in me bed at the Holiday Inn Express at 20:00!!! right enough I spent a riveting hour welded to a good book but I slept like a log in the comfortable bed, at least until midnight when the fire alarm went off  Sad smile Of course being a seasoned safety conscious mariner I did exactly what it said on the back of my hotel room door and went outside to assemble on the forecourt leaving all my worldly possessions behind.


At least that’s what I started doing until after less than a minute it stopped screaming at me. I then peered out my ground floor window at the forecourt, saw no one, heard nothing, removed my shoes and went back to bed having ‘risk assessed’ the situation and formulated a plan. If it were a real fire it would have continued it’s ear shattering call, I would have heard other guests and staff and somebody would be shortly banging at my door. Worst case scenario, I smash the double glazing with my Dell Rugged laptop, throw my quilt over the jagged glass and step out onto the forecourt in my PJ’s and slippers clutching said laptop. The Dell Rugged is after all certified to be able to be dropped 2m onto concrete Smile Best outcome being that I’d continue with my delicious sleep Smile which is exactly what happened once I’d spent 20 minutes listening for the sirens Smile Well Greenock Fire Station is only a couple of hundred yards away and whilst I had been hearing sirens all evening I didn’t hear any now, consequently I slept like a log until 7:00am. I did mean to tell you all this ‘Before I go’ but settled on going to work early instead, tis 19:00 now and still RL Engineering are working away on the Hallaig.


It’s been a boodly long day.


Not actually being in the dry dock due to it having its gates repaired we started what work we could whilst alongside the James Watt Dock, getting on with some paintwork and prep work as far as it was possible.

P1180357 P1180360  wet dock

The afternoon’s pishing rain calling a halt to outdoor work for most of us. The ‘dry docking’ having turned into an extremely ‘wet docking’ for the rest of Saturday Smile

Sunday again Smile

So now, being back at the Holiday Inn after a most enjoyable Thai green curry and sticky toffee pudding I’ll try and pick up where I left off. Sure the curry was probably microwaved and came from Poland but I was really hungry and it went well with the Austrian sparkling water! As if there’s no water in Scotland Smile


Still, it was a vast improvement on the breakfast (which came in a bag) Smile And really, I’m not complaining, the staff here are great, I feel safe and the bed is really comfy. Sure I’d rather be eating the Bambi I shot last week in my own wee house but for convenience it ticks enough boxes for me.

P1180363  The Second Snark serves on the ferry service from Gourock pierhead. 

Anyways the dock gates got fixed and we moved out on the morning tide past the ‘Second Snark’ A Denny built tug launched in 1938, which after a very long career has ended up back on the Clyde for restoration  last image from the link.

Unlike the vessel next to her, or what’s left of her

P1180365 P1180366 Trawler Argo K Dales Marine, Greenock.

The Irish trawler Argo K was pretty muck intact up to the gunnel when we arrived on Friday morning, not much left by the time methinks Smile

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With so much to do, I kinda lost track of the time but I guess we were ‘on the blocks’ by 14:30ish and the dock pumped dry by 16:00 maybe.


The bow ramp having it’s trestles positioned, all that water is what was lying on the deck after the rain.


Forward Voith propulsion unit looking good.


And that’s it ‘I’m off’ to bed for a chapter or two of ‘The Emperor’s sword’ my riveting tome on the Battle of Tsushima , probably the most significant naval engagement during ‘the age of steam’ and most people have never heard of it. Am I sad or what Smile

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