Life at the end of the road

April 30, 2018

Accelerator, brake, clutch :-(

Terrible of me I know, severe lack lack of effort on my behalf on the posting front, just been waaay too much to do I’m afraid. Anyway’s ‘home at last’ after my spell down at Lochaline and almost halfway through a month’s holiday, where did it go?

To be honest, I feel like I’ve been on holiday for months cos my spell down in Lochaline was a bit of a holiday too Smile


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OK, the weather wasn’t always great but I was tucked up in my caravan with the ‘wee dug’ just a ‘stone’s throw’ from ‘work’ and getting well paid for the privilege.

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Had great views of the Lochaline fire brigade practicing


and the MV Sea Harmony loading quality sand from the LQS mine just on my doorstep so to speak. Bit of a ‘ship anorak’s’ paradise down there for sure.

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Sea Cargo’s MV Trans Dania

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The MV Harmen Oldendorff probably heading for Glensanda.

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Plenty of exciting trucks too Smile a couple of nice Volvo’s from Cameron’s of Lochcarron  and D&J Campbell of Oban being just two of the many.


CalMac’s Lord of the Isles and Serco’s SD Moorfowl, is it any coincidence that Serco painted their vessels in CalMac colours just prior to the last round of tendering for the CHFS II contract. Luckily for me CalMac won it and by the next time it’s up for renewal I’ll be retired Smile

So Green

Later than expected and not too soon for me, I finally got home on Thursday night, two days later than expected. The annoyance of my unscheduled extra couple of days at work being tempered by the fine weather and lush green foliage. It was as if summer had arrived in my brief absence Smile


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The hedge we’d planted last year was really ‘coming on’ with the best efforts of Bambi failing to kill the hawthorn, maple, buckthorn and rose.


Darling wife had made a start on the new garden, the cuckoo arrived on the 25th and I got stuck into ‘wind proofing’, the ‘deer proofing’ having been a great success Smile

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The deer being mightily ‘peed off’ at not having Wifey’s plants to feast on anymore.

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Then there was the Land Rover

Apart from all that the ‘Old Girl’ has been testing my patience, It’ll be her 32nd birthday this week and at around a quarter of a million miles ‘on the clock’ she’s been complaining. First off the brakes failed in Lochaline, which I managed to sort whilst there. Then on the way back, whilst driving through Broadford the clutch failed due to a leaky slave cylinder! Having used up all the brake fluid fixing the brakes a few days earlier I resorted to filling the clutch system with ATF which not only worked but slowed down the leak. That was until the throttle cable snapped whilst driving home on Raasay!!!! I couldn’t believe it, within the space of three days I’d managed to loose all three pedals Sad smile Not that I let that stop me, I clamped the broken cable with a pair of Mole grips and drove the last ten miles with no clutch or throttle cable, I kid you not Smile

The first few days at home were spent fixing the Land Rover,

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a new clutch slave cylinder, throttle cable and steering damper too.

Pigs on the hill

Then there was the pigs to put out ‘on the hill’.

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Some work to be done on their new home and train them to their new feeding trough. The ‘wee darlings’ managed to get lost the first day but are now into a regular routine.

The slip

Of course there was the major civil engineering project of repairing the old fish farm slipway.


Several trips to Sconser quarry for aggregate giving me a good stockpile of 20mm ‘all in’. The tides and weather being perfect enabling me to drill into the rock to insert ‘re bar’ as the tide was ebbing and then mix & pour for a good six hours, adding some ‘accelerator’ to speed up the curing.

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These 16mm U shaped contraptions being perfect for tying into the ancient Lewisian Gneiss.

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And, I still managed a little gardening 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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