Life at the end of the road

February 12, 2018

Engineerless :-(

Sunday already and chance to get of blogging in at last, just cannae manage work and posting, it’s just too much for an old fart like me. Truth is, that apart from last night we’ve both been in bed before 21:00 every evening. Darling wife is too feeling the strain of full time employment, mind you she smells lovely when she comes home from work Smile 

Work got off to a great start on Tuesday with me heading off to see me Mammy first.

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Gotta say I was a little surprised when I drove down ‘The Avenue’ on my way for the 8:55. Last time I was down there, only a few days previously there were considerably more trees standing. There was a John Deere harvester and forwarder working just by the Raasay Sawmill (convenient hey) and a truck coming off the ferry.


After a pleasant few hours with Mum and Leah the Labrador it was onto work to join the 15:00 ferry and start my ‘two weeks on’

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Looking towards Glomach from Ratagan over Loch Duich. The Storr, Raasay and the Moll fish farm. Ronja Commander at Caridh fish farm in Loch Ainort.


‘Work’ arriving to collect me Smile

Two dogs walking Smile

So, now we’re both out at work all day, at least when I’m ‘on shift’, we now have a ‘latch key’ wee dug, or at least we would have if I didn’t take her to work. Molly accompanied me on Wednesday morning and now lives in the car until lunchtime when she joins Bonzo and I for our afternoon stroll. I can’t say she was too impressed with sitting in the back of the car,


but she sure did enjoy the walk with Bonzo and they seemed to get on well enough.


I guess not needing to put Molly on a lead makes her ‘boss dog’ so she was just fine with that.

With the weather for the foreseeable future involving showers and a cold wind I decided the engine room was the place for me this week


so concentrated on some cleaning and painting of the aft engine room bilge.

Being buried in the engine rooms certainly beats the carp out of clam diving at this time of year but that didn’t stop these two in the Inverness registered, INS94, ANT IASGAIR, (The fisherman)


At least the Sarah has a cabin.


Don’t think Ant Iasgair will around for long after Sarah has already been here for a couple of months now and those boys really do know their stuff Smile

Me, when I was doing it, I surfaced to a nice warm boat with an insulated cabin, two heaters and a sleeping bag for a ‘wee rest’ between dives. These dudes are much, much hardier than I ever was!

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Yup, give me the bowels of a nice warm ship at this time of year any day. Having said that it was a great way to earn a living and it was only age, responsibilities and a few ‘near misses’ that stopped me doing it.

Battery operated cars and ferries Smile

Well, that went a little ‘pear-shaped’ I accidentally posted the above prematurely, pressed the publish instead of save! Anyways, the painting kept me occupied for most of the week, which was pretty quiet, I guess due to the weather. Not the weekend though, far from it, Raasay seemed to be overflowing with visitors this weekend. No doubt helped by some good deals at Raasay House, the great weather and the new Distillery’s ‘Whisky club’ which seems to be getting well used.

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And you don’t have to own a Tesla model S to be able to afford to join Smile The wife took me around a few weeks ago and the rooms are just lovely.


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The next best view on Raasay, after the one from Sonas of course Smile

Raasay Engineering is no more Sad smile

It will be great missed by both the inhabitants of Raasay and the ferry in particular, Simon was always at hand for the odd welding or fabrication job and often pulled us ‘out of the brown stuff’ with some of his ingenious repairs. However he’s relocating to France this week and we all wish him, Lynn and the dogs all the best. The ‘Macleod Hauler’ name and business lives on, though now at Kishorn Mechanical Services Ltd . The only ‘upside’ of this being that Simon kindly gave me a whole heap of steel and fastners that I now need to find room for in my shed!

Sunday was a lovely drive to work in daylight with the sun rising on fresh fallen snow.

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The extra weekend traffic made for the the busiest ferry of the year so far and the battery powered Tesla departed along with 17 other cars on a fully battery powered ship.

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The day wasn’t all ‘rosy’ right enough


though most of that is the ‘deck drencher’ system. A little while later the sun was out once more.

The Eberspacher

Having some time on my hands I ran some tests on my Eberspacher D1LCC, heating up the flame and temp sensors with a heat gun then checking the resistance using multimeters and an IR thermometer.

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They supposed to conform with the tables below.


and whilst my temp sender did, my flame sensor didn’t but in my experience with these type sensors. If the value alters smoothly as the heat rises then everything is usually peachy. I’m certainly not going to fork out £75 for a new one on the ‘off chance’. I’ll give it a good testing as soon as I can find the rheostat switch. The thing about old age is, you spend half your time looking for stuff you’ve put somewhere safe!!

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Clouds clinging to the north shore of Loch Sligachan and Ben Tianavaig.


December 12, 2017

I couldn’t resist :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, New hybrid ferry — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:51 pm

Just in and showered after another spot of floor painting in the shed.

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Not that this part of the shed floor was that bad but the time is rapidly approaching when it’s likely to be covered in blood and hair so it will be much easier to clean up with a freshly painted surface. I dunno how many pigs we’ve raised but it must be hundreds over the years so I’m kinda hardened to the slaughter and eating bit. The whole family is and it’s all my son has ever known, he never batted an eyelid when he put a bullet through his footie partners head.

Ginger and Ross

Sure he came with me with me to collect young Ginger as he was then, and for the next five years the Tamworth boar was like part of the family. That was of course until his time came, the litters got smaller and he got lazier. Ginger started bullying the sows and soiling his bedding cos he just couldn’t be bothered going outside for a dump if the weather was poor. That was it really, I could have towed him to Munro’s in Dingwall to be slaughtered and turned into dog food but old Ginger was a poor traveller and I didn’t have the heart. Instead we shot him on the croft that was his home, skinned him and ate most of him. He had the last laugh right enough cos I slashed my wrist with a fish filleting knife taking his hide off Sad smile I gotta say that each spurt of blood as my heart pumped travelled several feet across the garage floor and made quite a mess Smile 160211 007

The hams were something else though, three weeks in cider, apple juice, demerara sugar, star anise, peppercorns, bay leaves and salt, boodly delicious I can tell you.

Anyway’s, I’m gonna really miss Cilla and Lulu cos they have been an exceptional pair of pigs.


So, before all the painting and pig distractions, where was I? Well, back at work for a wee while at least. The Hallaig was due a visit from RH Marine as part of her annual ‘health checks’ and I wanted to ‘keep my hand in’ so to speak.


So, after watching the Portree fishing fleet heading north I headed down to work to catch the 8:55 ferry.

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The sun was having a half hearted attempt at rising in the east but the 4 or 5 degree overnight temperatures experienced at Arnish were not replicated further south on Raasay. In fact in some places the previous day’s slush had turned to ice and driving felt distinctly ‘vague’ on some of the notorious sections of road. However I made it safely and caught up with Hank and Despina from RH Marine in Rotterdam.


They had the situation under control so after spending a couple of hours aboard with them I went off to see my pals Bonzo and Peter.

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Ole Bonzo and I usually go out for a walk when I’m working and I’d not seen him for a fortnight. As I wasn’t officially working he got an extra long walk to the old iron ore pier and back.

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The Portree creel boat Green Isle BRD 73 was out busy lifting velvet crab pots for the Christmas market in Europe and the scallop diving boat Sarah UL 565

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was out at the clams.

Bonzo and I wandered along the shore,

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finding the remains of the undersea electric cable marker. This big yellow sign, despite even now being clearly visible and marked on the charts is regularly towed over by clam dredgers Sad smile I have seen them ‘come fast’ on it on several occasions and have witnessed the damage to it with my own eyes. Some twenty years ago one dredger caught it and put the power off on Raasay for a week Sad smile Well not our power right enough, we’ve not been without power for 28 years Smile they beauty of making your own, smug or what.

A bit of a classic

Along at the pier we came across something that’s been on Raasay longer than me,

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a 1950’s 18’ ex army assault craft. These were hugely popular with divers in the 70’s before the advent of the RIB and many is the one I’ve hired or used. They were relatively light with a huge payload and would absolutely fly along with 25HP on the back. I guess being of riveted construction most of them ended up like this one with a fibreglass skin in their later life. I once saw one in Oban harbour with a 3lt V6 Ford engine and jet drive, now that must have been lethal for without a keel even the 25HP made them very ‘skittish’.

I managed to get home just before dark and just could not resist one more dumper load before retiring to paint the shed floor Smile

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