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.


January 5, 2018

It’s all over now :-)

Well that’s it, a ‘dry’ January ahead and ‘the party is over’ so to speak. Just as well really cos me liver couldn’t cope with any more drink and we’ve all had waaay too much in  the way of rich food and treats. The last side of hot smoked salmon is just about to go into a creamy pasta and we officially stopped drinking yesterday, though me thinks that’ll just be a temporary thing once my figure returns Smile Smile Gonna take more than stopping drinking to get rid of my belly right enough.

A proper rest

After all the excess and activity on the diving front I’ve been taking easy this last couple of days which really is not like me. The weather has been good with light winds and hardly any rain but I’ve been staying in my bed until after 8:00 and just pottering about outside for an hour or two before coming inside and doing a little reading or net surfing.

On Thursday I managed a couple of wee jobs outside, dumping the old scallop shells on the shore for the crabs to clean them and collecting the cleaned ones for spreading around the house.

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Trust me, in few years time it will look lovely, it’s amazing how quickly they mount up, there’s only so many ashtrays you can have so this will be a good way of using them.

Also tried out my new cordless grinder that me mum bought me for Christmas.

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The exhaust had broken on the Benford PST3000 dumper (again) so I hacked it in bits and re routed it a different way, hoping it would be less prone to breaking.

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Also replaced the fuel return pipe which was looking decidedly dodgy, just about every injector ‘leak off’ pipe has split over a few weeks so I’ve replaced those previously. This pipe is made of the same stuff and is the same age so I figured it can’t be far behind.

Apart from taking ‘wee dug’ out for a gentle walk and making a beef curry I didn’t do a lot else as my ‘right hand man’ boat driver, dive partner and son wasn’t feeling great.


Even before I’d gone to bed on Thursday completely sober for the first time in ten days I’d decided to do a repeat performance today. It would be my son’s last day before going back to uni and I’d rather enjoyed Thursday, so at 8:30 I got up having had the best sleep since the full moon. I let out the hens then took ‘wee dug’ for her wee walk on a short leash. Now it’s really not uncommon to see golden or sea eagles daily pretty much anywhere on Raasay and the North End is probably better than anywhere. What is unusual though is to hear them, I cannot ever recall hearing one in all the years I’ve lived here. Well this morning (perhaps cos I had my hearing aids in) I heard a pair. They were right over head but very difficult to follow with the camera


Much less vocal than the buzzard, the golden eagle can sometimes be heard making a ‘yelping’ call. The male and female may also perform aerial displays, where the male will make mock attacks at the female and the two will cartwheel downwards uttering their call.

And that just about sums up what they were doing, which struck me as a little early for mating. Pretty impressive I’ll tell you Smile

I also solved a mystery from last night and on previous dark nights.

P1130249 We’ve been seeing a large vessel off Manish Point from the living room windows late at night. The lights suggested a vessel over 50m with an aft wheelhouse but that row down the side made it look like windows lit up. Well it headed back north this morning having spent the night in Portree, the 63,3m long fish farm vessel Vestland. Strange how we’ve never seen it in daylight before.

Topping up the thermal store

It was whilst removing my boots in the ‘Bunker’ that I heard a noise from ‘Immersion 1’ we have 5 in the store and this one is connected right into the house grid rather than dump load circuits. It’s at the top of the 1500lt store for the DHW (domestic hot water) and I switch on most mornings till the store top reaches 80 degrees C. I used to leave it on 24/7 as the store is extremely well insulated. However this was causing my inverter to loose track of the battery SOC (state of charge) over a couple of weeks. The noise sounded just like a kettle starting to boil and had me puzzled for a while, then I figured it must need the pressure topping up in the store. The Akvaterm thermal store is designed to run at 3Bar.


Trouble is, what I thought was the store pressure gauge for two years turns out to be the heat pump one!! The store does not appear to have one!! Nay problem methinks, I know my water pressure from the well above the house is 2Bar so I just topped it up with that.


We have a pump at work with a gauge on so I can take it up the final 1Bar with that and add some more corrosion inhibitor at the same time. I shouldn’t have been surprised but it was interesting to hear the noise get quieter as the pressure rose. Funnily enough the addition of the cold water didn’t alter the temperature of the store so I guess it couldn’t have been much water.


Wee dug loves the smell in there Smile so do I right enough, nothing quite like the smell of curing salamis and ham.

More dumper work

The starter switch packed up on the dumper about a month ago, mainly cos it lives outside and gets power washed regularly. So rather than spend £40 on another I got a couple of waterproof ‘button types’ from China.

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The magnetic drill proved more than a match for the 8mm steel bulkhead where I mounted it. A magnetic drill is one of those things that you don’t realize just how useful it is until you’ve had one.

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Next it was a few air cleaner mods, rather than spend £50 on a Benford air filter element I fitted a £9 Land Rover one which is actually better cos it’s longer. However, it does mean that the element sticks out of the housing making the dumper even noisier than it already is, well one of my wife’s modified plant pots sorted that Smile

Out for the winter

It would have been nice to ‘bash a few clams’ before my son went back to uni tomorrow but he’d much to do and still wasn’t feeling 100% so I went to collect the Searider from the sowf end.

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Nice big ebb round the Sgeir Chnapach, had many a productive day around there with my good mate Willy Eyre Smile


Lashed the Searider to the trailer, put all the cylinders, weight belts and fuel tanks in the Landy and tootled home.

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Snow covered Torridon mountains, the solid rock ‘North End’ and Brochel Loch from the top of Croc an Uan (Hill of the lamb)


That was it really, I flushed out the Tohatsu 90TLDI and my son did a couple of hours in the digger on the Torran track. Even when not firing on all cylinders you can do a lot of work with a Kubota 360 Smile

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