Life at the end of the road

October 15, 2017

A night with the buoys :-)

Golly gosh, it’s that time of year again! doesn’t seem that long since I was last in Oban 51 weeks exactly, though this time no haircut in the Sound of Mull.


Yup, it’s the annual dry docking for the good ship Hallaig and once more we’re alongside the ‘Northern Lights’ pier on a beautiful night awaiting the morning for our passage to the ‘toon’. That will be Cambelltown on the Kintyre peninsula where we’ll probably be ‘holed up for a couple of nights on account of the weather. Monday afternoon looks pretty grim, though I think Ireland will bare the brunt of it Sad smile

Anyways, before I delve into what is going down just now I’ll just have a wee trawl through some of the very few pictures I’ve taken of late. I really must try and get back into this blogging ‘carry on’, it’ll be coming up ten years shortly and the the last few of them have been pretty ‘thin on the ground’. You’ll have to excuse me but this new ‘taking it easy’ regime really does eat into my laptop time. I’m sure there are less hours in the day than there used to be.

The last ‘rest period’

I had a pretty productive spell around the croft last time I was off.

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I got another cube or so of concrete mixed in the latest extension to my ‘hard standing’ around the house. Also started on another small patch of garden that we’ll be able to use once we are finally deer proof’. I did manage quite a bit of deer fencing but it was in the pishing rain and not very conducive to photography.

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These serious rocks will form the border of wee flower bed or something once we can stop the deer encroaching onto the croft. There’s a lovely young stag bellowing just now with a small harem of 3 or 4 hinds. I call him the ‘Pale Rider’ as he’s unusually lightly coloured,not a hint of red in him at all. Luckily out house is so well insulated that we can barely hear them but they’re driving the neighbours mad Smile Sure it’s a novelty at first but when they start outside the bedroom window or rubbing against the gas cylinders it’s a sure recipe for sleepless nights.


Arnish, Loch Arnish, Torran, Grian a Sgier, Brothers Point and Kilt Rock from the garden gate.


I’ve heard it called the ‘Dutchman’s Cap’ too, which makes sense, cos there’s one near Mull and that looks pretty similar.

Bac Mòr Dutchman's Cap-edit.jpg

I remember the one off Mull ‘donkeys years’ ago when I stayed at Huann . When I stayed there in the 70’s there was no electricity and it belonged to some ‘old dears’ one of whom had been a ‘lady in waiting’ for the queen, (whatever that is). It was all oil lamps and ‘no mod cons’ but we loved it. Totally different now judging by the website and much more professional, I believe they now have power and a wind turbine like ours.


Just check out the views, awesome!!!

So, after a manic spell of fencing, rock moving and concreting back home we decided to go to a party, a friends 40th, well it was awesome catching up with folk we’d not seen in years but it took the pair of us almost a week to recover Sad smile I just cannae do it any more Sad smile

Back at work aboard the good ship Hallaig it was pretty ‘full on’ getting everything ready for the annual ‘dry dock’, which is like an MOT but a gazillion times worse. The ‘tightest ship in the fleet’ MV Loch Bhursda came up to relieve us and ‘picked up the service’ early on account of a ‘wee snag’ last night.

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The Bhrusda is a cracking wee ship, her squat profile and twin V12 Cummins diesels making her something of a legend in the power and seakeeping department. However she burns more fuel in two days than the Hallaig does in a week and can only take 18 small cars. Still, the ‘wee snag’ which turned out to be a burst hose on a generator was soon sorted and at 6:30 this morning wee headed for Oban.


I can’t say that it was a pleasant trip cos t was grey, grim and pretty murky

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but it could have been a lot worse Smile That’s us passing though the Narrows at Kyle Rhea, not that I saw much of it as I was buried in the engine room Smile

The tide here is legendary in it’s ferocity but we’d timed it for pretty near ‘slack water’ so breezed through at 9 knots. The long haul south after that was pretty unexciting really. I spent much of it working on a generator that had burst a coolant hose,


Luckily we have two more and a lot of batteries Smile

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I did keep ‘coming up for air’, this time just in time to wave goodbye to Skye.

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A trawler off Eigg.

After taking a bit of a pasting around Ardnamurchan we entered the sheltered Sound of Mull and saw a few friends.

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The Lochinvar busy plying between Fishnish on Mull and Lochaline on the mainland, no doubt full of MkII Escorts for the Isle of Mull rally

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The MV Isle of Lewis out near Rubh na Gall light at the northern end of the sound.


A small coaster the Aasf Jord at the southern, just approaching the Lady Rock light. This was the last resting place of the PS Mountaineer.


Pictures from a great website She sat there for a couple of weeks then broke her back, some remains lie on the north side in shallow water. I did dive on them in the early eighties, don’t remember much about the wreck other than seeing a couple of very large lobsters.


The MV Isle of Arran just entering the Sound too.

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Just as planned we arrived at the ‘Lighthouse Pier’ at 18:00 and tied up amidst hunners of buoys ‘in for a service’ I guess.

It was great to get ashore and stretch my legs, returning just in time to see our old MV  Loch Striven heading for her berth across Oban Bay at the North Pier.

Loch Striven


September 4, 2017

Off to uni :-)

Filed under: daily doings, shed/house, Trucks and plant — Tags: , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:36 am

Well, that’s the end of a manic weekend and back to the calm of the kitchen table, the grey mist shrouding the Storr and more pishing rain. Our son deposited at Heriot Watt university and just the wife, dug and myself for company. Sure it’ll be nice not tripping over his size 10 riggers boots at the door, the food bills will plummet and the thermal store temperature remain more stable Smile When I go for a shower the temperature at the top of the 1500lt TS drops by a mere 2 degrees Celsius, my son can drop it by 10 degrees during his endless watering in the bathroom Smile Gonna really miss him around the croft right enough and most of my serious diving projects will now be on hold until he or A N Other returns. But that is it, another chapter in ‘the book of life’ begins, on Saturday we drove him down to Edinburgh for the start of ‘fresher’s week’.


He checked in at reception,


let us help him carry his stuff into the hall and that was about it really, he couldn’t wait to see the back of us Smile


We did stay overnight right enough, in a lovely room on campus, which with a double king size bed and all the ‘mod cons’ was better than most hotels I’ve stayed in. After a good  night’s sleep we killed time until the 9:00am breakfast by walking around the immense and well kept grounds.

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The university in on the site of what was once a large stately home and it’s estate.

Riccarton Estate

The earliest recorded reference to Riccarton or Richardstoun is from 1315 when King Robert the Bruce bestowed the land as a dowry on his daughter Marjory. In 1480 the Wardlaw family held the lands and by 1508 they had been leased to the Hepburn family. Lawyer Sir Thomas Craig bought the estate in 1605 and throughout the 17th century added much of the surrounding lands including Hermiston.

The beautiful landscaped parkland was first developed in the late 18th century by Thomas Craig  who enclosed much of the land, and then by Sir James and Sir William Gibson-Craig. Both were avid collectors of plants and introduced the "sunken" part of the lawn which was a curling pond. The house was extended in the 1820s to create an elegant mansion. Sadly, two sons then died in the Boer and First World Wars and the title and lands were split, the estate passing through the female line to the Sudlow family. The house was commandeered by the Army in 1939, becoming the headquarters for the liberation of Norway and after the war a resettlement camp for ex-Prisoners of War and from 1947 to 1954 the headquarters for the Royal Artillery’s 3rd Anti Aircraft Group. The house by this point was in quite state of disrepair and was demolished in 1956.

Midlothian County Council acquired and gifted the estate to the University in 1969. Although the house has now gone, many original buildings remain such as the lodges, Gardner’s Cottage and Hermiston House.

The grounds are full of wildlife

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with just a few clues as to its past life like the old ice house above.

After breakfast we headed home and caught a busy 17:00 ferry back to Raasay, your truly did try to post last night but was in his bed just after 20:00. I just can’t cope with all the stress of modern life these days Smile

Where would you be without a digger

The day before heading sowf was spent spreading 20mm ‘chuckies’ at the front of the house, though first we called in to see me Mam. It would be the last chance in a while that my son would be seeing her and we’d not have time on Saturday.

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I just love quarries and always have Smile spent much of my yoof exploring them in the Lake District and Wales, latterly diving in many flooded ones. So I’m always happy visiting the one at Sconser, sad or what Smile

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Now the last time I spread these 20mm chips around the house I dumped them round the back and barrowed them round the front. It’s no wonder I’ve a bad back, well those days are long gone, this time I used Calum the Kubota Smile


Much easier Smile

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