Life at the end of the road

September 28, 2019

Round rugged Rona and roaring stags :-)

Gonna try and make this brief cos it’s only two hours until dawn, the forecast is brilliant and I have much ‘on the list’ for today.

Sorted the Yanmar ?

So, yesterday’s first task was to get to the bottom of the Brochel generators recurring fuel starvation problems. The main issue being a choked fuel filter caused by a tank full of carp, bad diesel and improper filling from Jerry cans. Sure the ubiquitous can gets it’s name from it’s invention by the Germans just prior to WWII . Since then just about every country in the world has copied it in one form or another, it’s easy to carry, stacks well, requires no funnel and is generally ‘leak proof’ it does however have a serious drawback. Perhaps not in its original form but most of the ones you purchase these days (even genuine ex MOD ones) have a red paint coating on the inside and eventually tiny bits of paint flake off. I can absolutely guarantee that if you open up the fuel filter of any car, truck, digger, plant or generator that is regularly filled from a Jerry can, you will find tiny flakes of red paint in it. Now I dunno if Rommel had problems in Africa with his Tiger tanks but just about every outboard motor on a fish farm does Smile Added to that is water usually acquired from filling the tank in the rain or with a wet funnel. Sure the odd drop my not seem like much but it all adds up and then stays in the tank causing mayhem in the way of rust or ‘diesel bug’, a bacteria that lives at the interface of the water and fuel.

diesel bug 

A bad case from one of my own tanks years ago, it looks like frog spawn, gums up filters but worst of all it is extremely corrosive.

Anyway, my first job was to power wash the tank with my 200 bar pressure washer then suck it dry with a ‘wet’ vacuum cleaner.

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That done I headed south to Brochel to refit it to the Yanmar and take the builders some fuel for their petrol one. Amongst other things I had a fuel filter waiting for me on the ferry so drove down to the village to collect that and supplement my muesli at Iona’s Larch Box

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Sadly Iona was having a well earned day off so I had to forsake her brie, pesto and sun dried tomato toastie for breakfast with a friend in the village. Mind you the scrambled egg, smoked salmon and tomato on toast I got there was boodly awesome too Smile 

The wee Larch Box is a little hemmed in at the moment with a film company that seem to have taken over this part of the island recently Smile

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So come to Raasay and the Larch Box, you may get breakfast with the stars Smile

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Though methinks most of them are locked in The Alamo which looks like it’s preparing for a siege Smile Smile

After ‘second breakfast’, collecting my filters, anti roll bar bushes, brake fluid and links from the ferry I headed back north.

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The silage was in at Oscaig and there was a great big Vanguard class nuke heading north on the range at Brochel. Dunno which one it was, they all look the same and it was too far away for a picture.


However, I did manage to leave two running generators in my wake when I finally left Brochel and the happy builders Smile

Round Rona

I had managed to acquire some mackerel from the ferry along with my generator, Subaru and Disco parts but I was still determined to catch some of my own. The days are getting shorter, the boat is in the water and the sea calm so I thought I’d make the most of the opportunity and decided to head up to Rona.

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As has been usual of late, the loch is full of porpoises, not quite so usual though is this ‘sheep on the rocks’. Unusual cos it’s wearing about five fleeces and there are not actually any sheep at the North End any more. I saw it there yesterday and from experience have found that they get stuck, sometimes for days but as soon as you try and ‘rescue’ them they either find a way out or jump in the sea. If sorry looking old girl heads for the water with all those fleeces on she’s not going to be coming out of it Sad smile

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Two pictures of where the sea eagles were Smile There was a pair perched on these rocks on Fladda yesterday and today but it’s no easy to photograph em from a moving boat Smile

The old schoolhouse and holiday cottages at ‘Dry Harbour’ on Rona

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Above them on the hill is the 2.5kW wind turbine I helped install with Hugh Piggott, Bill Cowie and of course the helicopter that put it there Smile

After some more unsuccessful fishing in the bay there I headed north to the Rona Navy Base and it’s ‘bright lights’, so bizarre to see street lights there.

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Then it was round the top and down the east side.

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Fishless, it was time to head home and feed the pigs,


whatever it was in Loch Arnish (probably the porpoises).


May coming to be fed, hotly pursued by the ‘Iron Age’ pigs Smile


I heard my first stag roaring yesterday and so did these hinds, never saw him right enough but he mustn’t have been far away.

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OK, I never caught em myself but the mackerel I got given went into a fine Linguine, which is something you can try when you are fed up with every other way of eating them Smile I dunno where I got this recipe form but it’s great when you are fed up with the taste of mackerel, not that I am, I’ve not had chance Smile Anyways, make a pasta sauce, you know, onions, garlic olive oil, tinned and fresh toms, touch of stock and tomato puree. Once that’s bubbling nicely dump a load of frozen peas in it until the sauce is back up to temp. Add mackerel fillets, cover pan then sit on very low light for 20 – 40 mins depending on what you’re doing or how high the ‘low light’ is. Me I had work to do in the shed so left it for half an hour or so on a warm hot plate. Serve with spaghetti or linguine, boodly awesome and not in the least fishy Smile

December 25, 2018

Santa’s coming :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, wind turbine — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:31 pm

Woo Hoo, that’s it I’ve finished for Crimbo Smile I’ve no been this excited since I was a wee wain but I’ve not been drinking since before Groove Armada and I’ve got me breakfast for tomorrow planned already, half a large cup of strong black coffee topped up to the brim with Bailey’s Irish cream Smile Well, it is Christmas after all hey and I have just finished a fortnight’s ‘hard graft’ aboard the good ship Hallaig, OK, perhaps not hard but long.

Aye, it’s been a long shift right enough with more than it’s fair share of cancelled sailings due to inclement weather, nothing worse than missed sailings to make the days drag. It’s one thing finishing early cos we’ve been ‘blown off’ for the last crossing or two but this ‘will we or won’t we’ in borderline conditions is the worst of all. I wouldnae have a skippers job for ‘all the tea in China’ or even ‘all the salamis in a herd of pigs’ Smile


Speaking of which, mine are looking just lovely, as is my 10kg ham marinating in HFW’s cider, orange, sugar, pineapple, cinnamon, salt, cloves and star anise brine.


The ham has been sat outside in a dustbin for two weeks now, weighted down with some diving weights in a plastic bucket. I gave it a turn then submerged it once more for another week at least.

Santa’s been

So ‘that’s it’, Christmas day now, the fresh coffee and Bailey’s was delicious, as was the fresh coffee and Tia Maria Smile It’s 12:25 now and I’m on the third cup of strong black coffee but this one is around 15% Whyte and Mackay Smile Well the Bailey’s has to last till New Year and we need the Tia Maria for all the Black Russian’s I’ll be making Smile

It may be the first Christmas in 62 years without me dear ole Mam but it’s been a cracker nonetheless and on the upside, it’s the first time in 62 years that I’ve not fallen out with her Smile That’ll be the Whyte and Mackay’s speaking Smile Seriously though some things just aren’t the same Sad smile Still the four of us and four dugs are having a great time, have not come to blows yet and I’ve been given some of the best presents I have ever had. A DeWalt multi tool, diver’s torch, socks, cammo waistcoat and smelly stuff being ‘damn fine splendid’ but my all time favourite being an ornament. I feckin hate ornaments, clutter, carp you hang on the walls or stick on window sills, pish you stick on the fridge and novelty mugs. However the old trawl float given me by my son and made by his girlfriend’s mum almost has me in tears. A painting of FV Conqueror BRD257 adorned with puffins on an injection moulded trawl float almost had me blubbering, I kid you not.

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I salvaged this boat from 20m of water, spent two years repairing it then made my living from it for many years clam diving and lobster fishing. It was an integral part of my life for years, I put my heart and soul into it and my son spent some of his formative years aboard her.

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Clam diving 2001 1 001 Clam Diving 2001 2 001

He learned how to count and Willie Eyre taught us both so much, Willie now has dementia and the two year old is at uni but they were priceless days we’ll never forget.

Nay friggin turkey!!!!!!!

Almost 20:00 now, the Christmas songs were long ago axed and replaced by the likes of Faithless, Morcheeba and Groove Armada. The vegetarian Christmas dinner has gone and we are on the second jug of Black Russian.

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Must be the first time in 62 years that we’ve no had something dead for Christmas dinner and I gotta say the stuffed roast peppers followed by nut roast was awesome. Indeed it was every bit as good as if not better than the traditional American import we’ve been brainwashed into eating this last century. However, I am a great fan of eating something that requires toothpicks and goes well with red wine Smile somehow cheese and veg don’t cut it in that department. Don’t get me wrong, I think we and the planet would be a whole lot better off if we ate less meat, especially the factory farmed carp we’re all so used to devouring. However, in my book Christmas dinner is about killing and eating something at the Winter Solstice and not importing out of season veg from halfway round the planet. I dunno when the turkey came into it right enough but the Christians and Romans seem to have hijacked the festival for their own ends, Christ seems to have been born in March or April, of that there is no doubt. I guess it was just easier to keep the dates the same and substitute many Gods for one hey. Whatever the reason, days are getting longer and that really is something worth celebrating for sure.

A Christmas day walk


So, apart from getting wrecked, opening presents and eating dinner we all had a wander down ‘Calum’s road’ with half a dozen dugs and the neighbours Smile As for the rest of the fortnight since I last posted, well here’s some pictures.


A mountain of mail for the poor postie Sad smile

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Finlay and ‘Admiral Woods’ out for the weekly boat drill around the FV Speedwell.


The ‘red screen of death’ during the monthly ‘black out’ drill.

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A 500h service on a Volvo D13.


Admiral Woods and Phonely Byrne ‘hard at it’ Smile

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The Raasay Distillery Christmas party. A most civilized affair involving much good food and wine.


FV Eilidh heading south through the Raasay Narrows.

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John Macbeth’s memorial bash, a well attended affair at the Raasay Boatshed involving fire, drink, photo’s and no brimstone. Nope, none of the preaching and ‘your turn next’ at this affair, John was fondly remembered and celebrated by all who had come from far and wide. 2-017-small.jpg

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Aye, John Noel Macbeth, a true friend and thoroughly decent human being. Douglas Adams once said that the Babel fish proved the none existence of God. Me, I think that John’s premature departure from this world at the age of 33 confirms it. Fer fecks sake, you have Donald Trump, Nigel Farage and Vladimir Putin alive and kicking in their sixties and John is whisked away at 33!!!!!! There really cannot be a ‘higher power’ hey Smile

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