Life at the end of the road

October 20, 2017

Real dark meat :-)

Filed under: animals, boats, daily doings, food, New hybrid ferry — Tags: , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:11 pm

Well that’s it, Phoebe serviced a cube or so of concrete mixed and dinner eaten, exactly 12 hours after I pulled its neck. It has been a very satisfying ‘first day back on the croft’. I actually left the dry dock around 15:00 on Wednesday but didn’t actually land back at Arnish until well after midday on Thursday after what’s been quite a long journey since I spoke to last. Methinks that would have been in Campbelltown  where we dodged the worst of Ophelia.

Despite not actually going anywhere there was still plenty to do to get ready for the docking on Wednesday. Loads of paperwork to catch up on and some repairs on the lounge doors for me. The boys busy ‘passage planning’ keeping up with the regular ‘planned maintenance’ and other essential stuff.


All our vehicles getting regular blasts of the pressure washer throughout the trip south.

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Not to mention ‘essential repairs’ to darling wife’s car at Largs. The fire proof silicon I’d used on the door repair and stainless turbo pipe I had taken from home to repair number 2 DG proving invaluable as an exhaust repair kit Smile I had planned to use Phoebe the wee Daihatsu Terios that is now my son’s steed, however the front left hand out CV joint had just failed on that, so on Saturday morning just prior to leaving Raasay I loaded all my stuff into the Subaru. As soon as I started it up I heard the exhaust blowing Sad smile Well no time to do that at 6:30 AM prior to going to work so I thought ‘I’d risk it’. Upon phoning Wifey I says ‘the exhaust has gone on your car’. To which she informed my that she thought so !!!!! Never actually mentioned it to me right enough Sad smile

Anyway, after the pummelling we got west of the Mull on Sunday, the trip northwards from Cambelltown to Largs was a pure joy.

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Towards the upper end of the Sound with Arran and  Lochranza to starboard we caught sight of our younger sister Catriona plying the Lochranza Cloanaig route, which until recently was a ‘summer only’ crossing, now it’s on all year round.

Kilbrannan Sound

Millport on the Isle of Cumbrae


Largs at around 17:00 on Monday evening,

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our much welcome berth for the night.

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As soon as the regular Largs/Cumbrae vessel MV Loch Shira cleared the slip we dodged in there with the Hallaig, discharged the cars and tied up for the night. As soon as we were secured for the evening I went ashore to get a salad. we had eaten well, if not quite irregularly on the trip but I swear, had I seen another sausage or some mince I’d have screamed Smile

In with a warship

At 9:30 the following morning we slipped our moorings and headed for the dock gates, where we were due at around midday. Unusually we‘d be sharing the dock with a warship, HMS Shoreham,  would go ahead of us. Made of fibreglass these Sandown class vessels can often be seen off Raasay, though I don’t recall ever seeing the Shoreham before.

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And I don’t ever recall seeing an armed escort for us before Smile

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I’ve been looking for a RIB myself but though that this one was a little out of my league Smile 


Kinda lost track of the time once we were in but pretty soon the dock was getting pumped out and the sleek hull of Shoreham revealed, not to mention the box shaped Hallaig’s Smile After a good ‘face to face’ handover with my relief and a few little jobs done I was ‘off like a shot’ as soon as the gangway was on around 15:00. There was of course no chance of getting home that night but that isn’t where I was going. I was off to Aberdeen to look at a boat.


A 1990 Avon Searider 5.4 Deluxe, a pure classic and the first true commercial Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boat. There are very few of these left in this 2+2 configuration, most have been ‘hacked’ and fitted with console seating but this one is pure unmolested and original. I had the 4m version for a few years in the early eighties, amazing boats and a perfect diving platform.

Arrived in Aberdeen around 20:30, he boat was even better than I thought with just 11 hours on the 90HP Tohatsu TLDI engine and hardly a mark on the unmolested hull Smile

Home at last

After calling to see me Mam the following morning I managed to catch the 11:30 ferry and take my ‘wee pal’ Bonzo for a walk.

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Unfortunately, the only time my ‘wee pal’ keeps still enough to photograph is when he’s taking a leak! Bonzo is my old friend Peter’s dog. I often take him out for a walk when I’m working but as I’m off for a month now I thought I’d call in and se him as ‘I was in the area’ so to speak Smile

As soon I was home I got stuck into replacing the CV joint on Phoebe the Terios, a task that proved to be alarmingly straight forward for a job on the Daihatsu. The Terios is a great wee car, perfect for Raasay with its four wheel drive and low gearing, however every little job I do on it usually turns into an epic. Not last night however, I got the joint changed without a hitch and even started on giving it a service before coming in to watch Red Dwarf series XXII Smile

Roast cockerel

After the best night’s sleep in over a week I went out long before sunlight to dispatch one of our table birds, an aggressive cockerel that had started taking chunks out of the hens and anyone who tried to feed it. Whilst it had never had a go at me, it had turned on both the wife and sister in law, so it was time for it to ‘go’. So rather than get into a scrap with it or start chasing around the croft with the shotgun I went up in the dark and quietly lifted him off his perch, tucked him under my arm and wrung his neck. Then whilst he was still nice and warm passed him onto the wife to pluck him.

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Most Internet sites (which seem to be American) tell you to pour hot water over them first to soften the fat that holds the feathers in, but to be honest we’ve always found it easier and less messier to just pull them out dry. Once she’d done that I hung the 3kg bird in the barn for a few hours to drain the blood to the head after which Wifey eviscerated it and stuck it in the oven.

Me, I was busy mixing concrete once more Smile

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Oh, it’s so good to be back Smile

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And I just finished in time for dinner,

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the most succulent and tasty chicken I’ve had since I last killed my own, proper dark leg meat that you can taste. OK, turned out I killed the wrong bird but that’s not the first time and he may well start behaving now the ‘competition’ has gone, if so it’s chicken for Christmas dinner, if not, well, it’s chicken next Sunday Smile


October 16, 2017

Holed up in the ‘toon’ :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, New hybrid ferry — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:34 pm

An early start on Saturday had us stemming the tide for six hours somewhere south of the ‘Slate Islands’ of Easdale, Belnahua, Luing et al. I cannae be for sure cos yours truly was busy down below with the troublesome ‘number 3DG’ and sewage tank.


The tank was getting its annual service and diffuser change, the scarf aint for the smell, cos it doesn’t. I learned long ago to keep my mouth shut when dealing with sewage tanks Smile

We got a fair old pasting west of the Kintyre peninsula and at times were down to 4.5 knots with both wind and tide against us.


However, this was all part of the ‘voyage plan’ based on the current forecast and it worked out a treat. The gale force south wind ‘on the nose’ and northerly tide (see graph white line for speed) slowed us down from our regular 8 knots but then as we arrived at the dreaded ‘Mull’ the wind fell away to a light westerly and with the tide now with us we were whizzing along at 12knots.


The relative calm allowing us to collect the broken crockery and contents of the bins off the floor.

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Salted smoke stacks and Sanda Island Ailsa Craig in the background. Both islands having interesting histories, one for granite curling stones and the other for many shipwrecks and a remote pub.


At this point we are far nearer Ireland than home.


By 18:30 we were firmly fastened to Scotland with extra ropes for today’s storm Ophelia.

We were all pretty shattered after our 12 hour passage and I for one retired before 21:00 ready for today’s tasks.

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The boys getting on with replacing lifejacket lights and putting down floor coverings whilst I toiled away with paperwork and door repairs.


Well she swept across Ireland leaving a trail of destruction but we got off lightly.

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By the evening it was a good force 9 and the FV Deliverance really struggled getting alongside astern of us. Luckily someone saw her plight and drove down to catch ropes for her, even so it was hard work.

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The rest of the fishing fleet having tied up long before and there to the left of the picture is our last ferry but one, the MV Raasay who is now 41 years old. I love this ‘rose tinted quote’ from Wikipedia.

She never missed a full day’s sailings on that route Smile

Well, aye but she only made three return trips a day when the schools were off and never sailed on a Sunday. The Hallaig does some 118 crossings a week Smile now!!!!!!

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