Life at the end of the road

October 7, 2018

Laid up in Largs :-)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:01 pm

That’ll be the good weather by with Sad smile the beautiful trip down Scotland’s West Coast came to an abrupt end this morning as we departed ‘The Toon’ for Largs. Sure it wasn’t so bad to start with, we had the wind ‘up our ar5e’ and it wasn’t too fresh at first. Just as well cos we managed to get the rolled shoulder of Raasay pork in the oven afore it got too ‘rolly polly’.

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The 2kg lump of one of our ‘Large Black’ boars got a few cloves of garlic inserted then vigorously rubbed with salt and olive oil. He was then sat on a bed of carrots before being surrounded by Rooster potatoes that had had the bashing about in a container of olive oil and salt treatment. More potatoes followed in a tray and got dowsed in rosemary for good measure before spending a wobbly couple of hours in the oven as the weather worsened.

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We got a bit of a lee behind Little Cumbrae, enough to clear up the multitude of cutlery, jars, pans, sauces and bathroom paraphernalia that had spread itself liberally across the galley and toilet.

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However, that didn’t last long and whilst we were cursing it, the RNLI were loving it Smile

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The Largs inshore Lifeboat was having a ‘whale of a time’ Smile at least that’s what it sounded like over the VHF.


An hour later we were off Largs pier awaiting MV Loch Shira

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who was busy plying to Cumbrae and back. Once she’d cleared Largs slipway we nipped in to discharge Finlay’s car then tied up for the night on the south (exposed) side of the pier, there being ‘no room at the inn’ so to speak Smile

Once securely fastened to Scotland we shutdown the drives and settled down to our rather civilized ‘Sunday roast’. After which we got on with more dry dock prep and the replacement of one of Hallaig’s motorised DC switches.


These motorised switches are the bane of my life, made by a very reputable company in Finland and not Chindia they are supposed to be good for some 5000 cycles but they’re not. They do around 1800 a year but are lucky to last two, this one was due to be changed at this years docking after around 3600 cycles but failed on Thursday night Sad smile Sure we’ve been in touch with ABB but they were not very sympathetic and the worst of it is, the parts that fail are usually small cast levers and cams that would be easily replaced if they’d supply them Sad smile 

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Still, there is an ‘upside’ to this, these 400A switches can be pulled apart and configured to operate manually. Not very good for Hallaig but perfect for switches on large ‘off grid’ battery banks Smile


The truth is, I actually like changing these switches as it’s quite a challenging task with the whole drive cabinet needing isolated on the 24vDC, 400vAC and 700vDC circuits. It is not a task to be undertaken lightly Smile

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Special tools are required and strict protocols must be observed.

For the want of a salad

So, after all that and having spent far too much time eating dead animals I fancied a salad for dinner. Sure we’ve been eating well aboard Hallaig but much of it has been of the bacon, sausage, mince and pork ilk. Nothing wrong with that but I’m a great fan of salad too, having managed to rustle one up last night from the Co op in ‘The Toon’ I thought I’d do the same tonight in Largs, ‘Aye Right’ Sad smile

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Acres and acres of booze, sugary drinks crisps and carp in the Largs Co op but only two small shelves of green stuff!!!!!


Still, I managed to come away with some tomatoes Smile

April 8, 2018

The Lochaline Triffids

A fine Sunday evening here at our berth in Lochaline, with ‘wee dug’ and meself just back from a good walk along the shore of the loch towards Ard Tornish House .

Wikipedia’s picture and not mine Smile Me, I left the good camera back in the caravan Sad smile

We do like it here the ‘wee dug’ and I,


she gets lots of attention from the public and crew, and we can go for leisurely walks in the evening and at lunch. Not only that but I can roll out of bed and onto the ferry in a matter of minutes Smile

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Even though the working day is much longer here with a 7:00am sailing, I don’t actually need to get up any earlier and am ‘home’ much sooner. There’s a great village shop just a two minute walk up the hill and loads of great local services even a self service fuel pump. At this time of year there’s much going on and if I was ‘so inclined’ the Lochaline Social Club is ‘just outside my door’ so to speak Smile Perhaps that’s not a good thing come ‘chucking out time’ right enough but I’ve certainly no complaints.

Lochaline Boat Charters operates out of here


with their two Aquastar boats, Brendan and Peregrine both of which will drop divers on awesome wrecks, reefs, cliff and drift dives in the local area and beyond. As a destination for diving holidays Lochaline could not be better equipped and that’s coming from an ‘anorak’ who spent much of his early adult life and beyond doing the ‘trainspotting’ equivalent of scuba diving Smile Sad I know but I’ve always had a ‘soft spot’ for this little corner of Scotland. Never in a million years did I ever think I’d actually get paid for staying here Smile


So, despite the normal Sunday service here at Lochaline not starting till 8:45, the skipper and I were aboard the good ship Hallaig at 6:30.

One of the very expensive ABB motorized battery switches had failed and we were going to change it prior to sailing.

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There are four of these on the ‘hybrids’ and at almost £900 apiece it’s a fecking disgrace that they fail with such regularity. Allegedly ABB say they are good for 5000 cycles but ours fail regularly at half that. Luckily we carry spares aboard and had it all sorted prior to sailing.


Failure of one or more of these switches does not stop the ‘hybrids’ from sailing but it does mean you cannot utilize the 600kWh LiFePO4 battery banks Sad smile Anyway, that’s all sorted now, and a sternly worded email is winging its way to ABB Smile It’s not like they have these things in stock, there’s a six to eight week ‘lead time’ which I think is ‘ABB speak’ for camel ride from ChIndia or wherever they churn these things out from! No kidding, I pulled the old one apart and it’s made out of the same ‘Micky Mouse’ metal

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that my Dinky toy Morris Minor was made of.

I kid you not, here we have an £11,000,000 ferry with a £1000 switch broken cos of a 3pence part which the manufacturer refuses to supply separately. The world has gone mad!!!

The Triffid

Anyway’s, we got that sorted, sailed on time and had pleasant enough day here at Lochaline, after which the ‘wee dug’ and I went for that walk I mentioned earlier.

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Along the shore, past the sand mine towards Ard Tornish House.

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It was here that we spotted the Triffids!!! never seen anything like em before but they were growing on the shore and pretty much what I’d imagined John  Wyndham’s plants to look like Smile OK, perhaps not exactly but they were odd and that’s for sure.


The damage I could do with one of these Smile A proper ‘dumper’ from the sand mine.


This really is the ‘Rolls Royce’ of sand Smile

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The ‘office’ Smile

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