Life at the end of the road

March 5, 2019

Following the sun :-)

Filed under: Avon Searider, boats, daily doings, pigs, shed/house, Trucks and plant — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:51 pm

Well, that’s it, half past seven of a Tuesday evening and I’ve finally landed at LA Smile That’ll be Lochaline and not Los Angeles but I could have easily crossed the Atlantic in the time it’s taken me to get here!!! I kid you not, I left the house this morning at 7:00am and didn’t pull up here until 5:00pm.

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Sure, it was a pure peach of a day as Molly, Leah and I bumped down the road from Arnish to catch the ‘Growler’, that’ll be what I call the MV Loch Bhrusda, her Cummins V12’s can be heard miles away on days like this Smile It was a beautiful day for a drive with next to no traffic on the roads and nowhere to be in a hurry, at least it was until Balmacara when an illuminated sign told me the road was closed at Sheil Bridge Sad smile Of course there’s no phone signal there so I had to drive up the hill at Auchtertyre to try and find out what was happening.

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What the Internet, telephone and Radio 2 told me was not good, road blocked by overturned fuel tanker and ‘seek alternative route’ aye right

So, I can either go via Inverness and Fort Augustus which is only 80 miles out of my way or go back via Skye and the Armadale to Mallaig ferry but that doesn’t leave Skye until 16:45 Sad smile So I decides to go via Inverness, at least that way I can get some shopping at Lidl or Aldi. Two minutes after setting off though it occurs to me I have not got enough petrol to get as far as the next fuel stop at Dingwall some 60 miles away. There’s none at Broadford due to the CoOp refurbishment and I’d planned to fill up at Inverinate cos it’s a right PITA to get fuel at Kyle when towing. No worries methinks so I turns around at Braeintra, loads up with expensive shopping at Kyle and fills up with fuel at Armadale. Sure I gotta wait 5 hours for a ferry but it’s a lovely day for walking the dugs and me caravan is now full of food Smile

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No such luck, they don’t like taking caravans on the MV Loch Nevis cos you gotta reverse on Sad smile So I tells em, no problem to me, I’m an expert Smile Then we go to the office, check the ‘puter and it says already 7 cars booked on so may not fit Sad smile No worries, says I, I’ll go via the A87 and wait.

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And to be perfectly honest, had I just ignored the sign, Traffic Scotland website and media hype I’d have been here hours ago. As it was I drove nearly 200 miles, spent 10 hours on the road and paid through the nose for me shopping at the Co Op Sad smile Asparagus £2.16 at Coey, 96p at Lidl, Pasta 56p at Coey and 26p at Lidl, Pot Noodle £1.00 and 36p!!! OK, I know they are our ‘e numbers’ in a tub but the ones in the caravan are from last year’s Eden Festival Smile

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After our brief stop in Fort Bill it was onto Corran and the ferry. Once on the other side it’s less than an hour to Lochaline but we stopped for a couple of walks and a feed.


Methinks I’m gonna regret bringing ‘big black dug’, it would have been me Mam’s birthday today and I’m sure she knows.

Pigs back on the croft Smile

Sure there’s been hunners going on back home, I just been too tired to write it down, first off, after the best part of two weeks we finally got the two Iron Age girls onto my old croft, which hasn’t seen a pig since we left there four years ago.

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Judy and Tilly finally made it into Donnie Oliphant’s trailer on Sunday for relocation from Suisnish to Arnish.

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I towed them up to ‘Number 3’ with ‘The Tank’ then used ‘Calum the Kubota’ to push the trailer round to Ginger and Rocky’s old spot at the eastern end of the croft.

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The girls certainly went out much easier than they went in Smile They have not looked so happy in a long while,

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They have a new dry house and lots of trees to scratch against, they are two very happy pigs Smile

It’s in the shed Smile

I had much to do on Monday checking both car and caravan over for the trip down here. The caravan has not been used since last June and need the brakes, bearings, lights repairing and a puncture. To be honest though, the real priority was putting the Searider in its new shed Smile

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Again, using the tow ball on ‘Calum’s’ blade and with a little surgery to the flagpole Smile

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I was well impressed Smile

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Anyway, I made it in time for the last sailing and now I’m off to bed with a good book and Molly as ‘hot water bottle’, Leah is out in the car sulking Sad smile

March 2, 2019

Spring hey :-)

Can’t say as it feels much like spring today right enough but yesterday, the first day of it, was a cracker despite the forecast. XC said it was gonna be OK in the morning but gradually deteriorating in the afternoon with rain arriving and staying by 20:00. As it turned out, it was a great day and the rain arrived at 19:50 Smile Not only was it a good day but it was manic even by the yardstick of when I was in my thirties and not sixties. By my standards of the last ten years it was probably record breaking Smile 


First off I managed to finish the gable end of ‘Callum’s shed’ and get the flashing on the roof. Then I wasted the best part of half an hour trying to get the Subaru onto the vehicle lift. I was pretty sure it wouldn’t cos me workshop was full of quads, a lighting tower and of course the Range Rover. However, having purchased a 2T single post vehicle lift last year for the sole purpose of stopping me crawling under jacked up cars I was gonna have a darn good try.


I even went as far as jacking up the Subaru to try and move it onto the lift before giving up. I could have done it right enough by moving the lift sideways with tyre levers or something but ‘time was marching on’, it was 10:00am and I had to be down at the ferry terminal for around 11:00. Common sense got the better of me and I did what I should have done in the first place and just jacked her up at the front and placed axle stands under her. All I wanted to do was look at the CV joint and possibly order one up before the weekend.

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The CV joint boot had come off so I planned to clean it up, repack the joint with graphite grease and replace it with a new clip. However, as I rotated the wheel on ‘full lock’ so as to clean the joint I saw the ball cage was broken Sad smile Ah well ‘that’ll be that then’ and straight on the phone to buy another. Just as well really cos I had to get me finger out, gather me diving gear and go ‘see a man about a dog’ Smile


OK, go and look for some lost moorings and check one for a Mate. Not that I’d been asked to do either of these tasks, just that I offered the next time I was in the area looking for dinner Smile Said lost mooring were close by where the MV Speedwell’s mooring was so we tied up to that and I went ‘a hunting’


and landed right on top of a good sized scallop. It’s not until I see this picture that I realize how hard they are to spot to the ‘untrained eye’. It’s no wonder that when I do dive with other people that don’t fish scallops for a living, they swim over loads and miss them.

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Whilst I was using the mooring as a reference spot I did the decent thing and checked it, all the anchors were ‘dug in’ and shackles well wired so Speedwell would be quite safe.

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After a short swim I found the two missing risers, both of which had come undone at the surface, with one of them still having the pin in it!


Then it was back to the surface a full 4m above me to collect two marker buoys to attach to the riser chains, that could be done by my companion in the RIB at his leisure on the surface. Me, I had a shed and car to fix Smile

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The MV Loch Bhrusda arrived on Thursday afternoon and had picked up the service from Hallaig on Friday morning. Hallaig having departed for Lochaline at first light or there about.

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Speedwell finally fishing and loaded with crab gear.

Feeling pretty chuffed with the morning’s effort I headed home for a rather unusual lunch. ‘The’ scallop fried with bacon, harissa and kidney beans, awesome, I kid you not Smile


Not ‘in the plan’ Smile

After lunch it was back to the shed and the guttering,


using my diving reel as a marker for the gutter brackets which need mounted with a slight fall in them so the water does not collect. Once I’d got the line really taught between two screws, (one at each end) I put in screws at each spot I’d be fitting a bracket.

Just as I was getting nicely ‘stuck in’ to this job my neighbour turned up with a wind turbine problem Sad smile Their Proven 2.5kW turbine had broken a spring!!! She was just after advice how to brake it but I reckoned we needed to sort it ASAP. The weather was going to break that night and the dry spell would come to a spectacular end. Better to get it lowered and fixed right away and back up in the air working during the gales rather than lying on the ground and using the Lister generator.

Proven/Kingspan spring repair


I installed this WT2500 Proven in 2005 so it’s done 14 years service with just routine maintenance and a few springs, luckily I have plenty of spares Smile After taking the Tirfor and tools up there on the quad

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we set up the ‘gin pole’ and lowered to a working height using an oil drum and wooden block as a support.

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I then replaced the broken spring with one from my ‘stock’ using an old bolt to slide through the many bushes and washers as I drew the retaining bolt out. This greatly speeds up the task and ensures you do not loose anything. To be honest I should have removed all three spring sets, inspected all the bushes and washers and replaced as required but it was early evening and the weather was set to get wet and windy. I figured the sane thing to do was to get it back together and back up ASAP.

Sure enough, by 18:30 she was back up and generating, I called it a day, had a good hot shower and ‘binge watched’ three hours of Shetland . I love the islands having spent time diving there in the eighties and wifey went to the same school as Douglas Henshall Smile Not that those are particularly good reasons to watch anything but I enjoy it anyway Smile


I gotta say I was severely surprised when I let the dugs out this morning and it was dry outside!!! sure it was windy but at least I could get on with the guttering on ‘Callum’s shed’, which is exactly what I did.

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I got all my ‘stand offs’ on, nicely lined up and screwed in just before the rain started, getting only slightly wet as I fitted the drain pipe. And that was despite a visit by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, whom I invited in for tea on the condition they didn’t try and convert me Smile Seriously, Arnish would not be the same without the occasional Watchtower through the letterbox Smile I don’t have much time for the Abrahamic religions who basically all think that their way of worshipping the same God is the right one and to Hell with everyone else. However I do admire these folk, who ‘come rain or shine’ visit this bastion of Presbyterianism with a smile on their face and not the slightest hint of ‘fire and brimstone’ knowing full well they’ll have little or no sympathy Smile As my own ‘Prophet’ of choice, Khalil Gibran said “Faith is an oasis in the heart which will never be reached by the caravan of thinking” Smile


Before long it was pure pishing down with a howling gale as accompaniment, perfect weather for testing out the shed and I was well impressed. The gaps in the boards break up the wind but allow it to pass through keeping the shed well aired but not too draughty even in the gale. It is perfectly dry apart from the floor but even that could be sorted if I wanted as the slab is on a slope. So, if I did something at the eastern end like a gutter at the base of the boards or a ridge in the floor to shed the water to the edge, then I could keep the floor dry. To be  honest though I don’t see this as a problem, it’s prime function is to keep the Searider in and hang diving gear and washing to dry. Such was the rain that the frogspawn I’d spotted yesterday,


had been washed 25m from behind the barn to under the large wind turbine.

Even in the ‘teeth of a gale’ with all the rain it was still possible to get the neighbours tank half in and crawl underneath to work on the transmission brake and anti-roll bar.

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