Life at the end of the road

March 12, 2019

Blown off :-(

Filed under: boats, daily doings, food, weather — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:36 pm

It’s a scabby old day here in the Sound of Mull for sure, we are getting a right pelting from Gareth at the moment and it’s been pretty boodly fresh all day. Having said that methinks it was worse through the night, at least in me caravan with the ‘wee dug’. I’d be lying if I said ‘I didn’t sleep a wink all night’ but I’ve certainly had more peaceful kips. We’d put out extra ropes but Hallaig, just a few yards from my bed was heaving and groaning under the strain and I could here it clearly from my berth. There had also been a few flickering lights prior to me ‘turning in’ and that is often a precursor to a power cut or glitch, both of which can cause havoc with the ships systems. Any modern electronics come to that, the people that design these fancy ‘touchscreen’ systems for controlling valves, machinery and other processes obviously live in cities than don’t suffer from an unstable grid.

Anyway, I need not have worried, all nine of Hallaig’s massive mooring ropes were just peachy and the power surges hadn’t done any harm. Even if they had we’re well able to ‘recover’ and sail on time these days, we’ve had plenty of practice Smile The first such incident in 2014 took me six hours to recover all systems Sad smile the second one two hours and now somewhere between 10 and 20 minutes Smile

  In fact, to be quite honest, it was actually a bonny morning, fresh right enough and with a hellish hail shower or two but nice.

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The west wind was so strong it was pushing the waterfalls at Innin Mhor Bay back up the hill and there were hail drifts in the mess room,

No photo description available.

but it was no a bad day, yet!!!!

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What did not ‘bode well’ aside from the BBC, XC Weather, the Met Office, HM Coastguard, the Shipping Forecast, Met Eireann, Magic Seaweed and just about every professional body in Britain and Ireland was the tide. The tide was waaay too high, now I’m no expert by a long chalk but when the tide is this high at neaps there’s some very low pressure and serious carp out in the Atlantic.

We ‘soldiered on’ until 13:45 but many routes had cancelled  earlier, some for the whole day.

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Buffalo burger for lunch

It’s a long story but the bones of it is that I didn’t actually realize that mozzarella cheese was made with buffalo milk. In fact I didn’t even realize they had buffalo in Italy . Sure, I guess many folk don’t, but me, well I’m half Italian, have been eating Mozzarella since I was weaned and lived on a small holding there as a child. OK, it grew olives, grapes and made wine but that’s not the point. This nugget of information came to me via Admiral Sandy Woods, our skipper down here. The upshot being, I got straight onto the Internet


last week and bought some buffalo burgers


which arrived today Smile So we all set about making em for lunch, Admiral Woods being in charge of roasting the sweet potato with me making the ‘brush on’ oil, chili and garlic baste, Finlay grilled the burgers and I made a tomato and olive salad.


Sure, some feta cheese would have been nice in the salad along with some fresh basil but ‘hey ho’ it was friggin delicious and I will defo be buying more Scottish buffalo Smile

Soon be bedtime

So, that’s it now, almost 19:10, the caravan is rocking big style, Molly has taken refuge beside me (a rare thing indeed)


and the lightning is pretty regular but the thunder a long way behind. Molly is not an affectionate dug (unlike Leah) and rarely sits beside or on anyone’s lap but I guess the storm has got her feeling insecure. Leah, well she’s always insecure and is just trembling in the car refusing to come out Sad smile

Earlier on I took them for a walk around Innin Beag bay just south of Ardtornish Point, it’s only a mile or two away ‘as the crow flies’ but a ten mile round trip by land. Needless to say we took the Egg Chariot on account of the carpy weather.

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Sadly I didn’t take a decent camera Sad smile

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Only the Victorians could build a magnificent boathouse like this on a beach in the middle of nowhere Smile

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The CEG Cosmos ‘hard pressed’ against the West Pier and some pish pictures of Hallaig from the other side of the loch, it really was carpy Sad smile Whilst heading round there I saw this coaster beating up and down the sound.

Nordica Hav

Looks like it’s now anchored off Mull, probably gonna call into Lochaline for sand when the weather improves I guess.

March 11, 2019

The ‘calm before the storm’ ?

Filed under: boats, daily doings — Tags: , , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:48 pm

Methinks last night was a record, even for me, it was 18:47 when I first thought about going to me bed but I refused myself the privilege. I simply could not go to bed before 19:00 could I Smile I mean seriously, it’s not like I have ‘jet lag’ or have been working my backside off, I can’t even blame the ship, whilst just being onboard the MV Loch Striven or MV Loch Bhrusda makes you tired. The MV Hallaig is a pure joy to work on, nope, methinks it’s Lochaline, Lochaline makes me tired Smile by the time I’d walked the dugs along to the West Pier and back I was ready for me bed Smile


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Well, twas a grey and overcast day when I set for work leaving ‘wee dug’ in charge of the caravan, ‘big black dug’ still choosing to live in the car, which by now must be smelling pretty ripe Smile

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First sailing isn’t until 8:45 here which is a good bit earlier than on Raasay but then I don’t have a half hour drive.

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We do a couple of sailings to Mull and back so plenty of time for Finlay to get creative with mushrooms fried in butter, herbs and enough garlic to kill a dozen vampires, boodly delicious but it wouldn’t have been so popular back on the home route Smile Smile 

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Then it was an afternoon of maintenance and drills, manual generator synchronization, fire in the aft engine room and some pesky customer falling overboard and having to be rescued Smile

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The tidy little coaster CEG Cosmos arrived at the West Pier to load timber and very smart she looked for a 36 year old vessel.

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A fresh day in the Sound of Mull with sunshine, showers and rainbows, the Fishnish fish farm boats for the main staying attached to their moorings.

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Turned into a nice evening right enough so the dugs and I wandered over to the West Pier to see the coaster and then went to bed Smile 


Dunno how I managed it but I slept like a log, only waking occasionally to listen to the rain or hailstone on the caravan.


Not sure if we are gonna get a storm yet but if we do, he’ll be called Gareth apparently Smile At the moment it’s just looking like your average West Coast gale but they were really ‘bigging him up’ last week. With a bit of luck it will not develop into anything too severe and Lochinvar will return on time. Who knows, with a bit of luck I’ll be in me own bed afore this shift is out. Much as I love Lochaline I cannae wait to get back home.

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Despite the forecast it’s been a bonny, bonny day here and quite busy both on the ferry and in the ‘Sound’.



MV Isle of Lewis, a coaster called Emma and the fishery cruiser Minna to name but a few.


And that was before we bunkered at 8:30!


Later on a squad from George Leslie turned up to prepare for the new Lochaline slipway they will be building later this year. I think this is just prep to make a space to park equipment and caravans.

Later on during the still bright afternoon we had the ‘well boat’ Ronja Superior well loaded with fish and the tiny coaster MV Havgul

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and Brian Cowan’s picture is much better than mine


The Havgull can only be described as a modern day Clyde Puffer Smile If there were still dozens of wee coasters ferrying goods around the islands then this is what they would look like Smile I think she’s lovely!!!!

It’s here!!!!

Well, I dunno if it got a name yet but it arrived, the wind/gale/storm or whatever it is, just about 5 minutes afore we tied up. The dire forecast had already had us doing a revised ‘mooring plan’ with extra lines and springs.


Luckily we managed to get them all in place before it got really carpy but I’m sat here now in a very shaky caravan


with a very unimpressed wee dug, hard to believe it was like this

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not that long ago. Sure there was more but the lights have been flickering so I reckon the power will go off shortly so I’m off to bed with a good book Smile

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