Life at the end of the road

February 15, 2020

Dennis is here :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, harbour, weather — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:25 am

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dennis_the_Menace_and_Gnasher

Dennis the Menace and Gnasher the dog.jpg

Sure enough, the much awaited ‘Storm Dennis’ has arrived and according to XC Weather he was bang on time. I left the house around 6:30 Friday on a dry breezy morn and arrived at Hallaig just after 7:00 in time to get aboard dry. Just as well cos after that the ‘heavens opened’ and somebody turned on the fans!!!

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Fifty three knots of wind and gusting to 60, a good storm by anyone’s reckoning, so bad even the ‘secret clam dredger’ was tied up. I say ‘secret’ cos in true clam dredger fashion he’d been towing his dredges over the Raasay power cables for the last week.

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Not content with that he’s also managed to snag the creels of three of the local boats too Sad smile Of course they knew who he was but no one else would cos his identification numbers were conveniently covered up on both sides with tyres and the one he’s legally required to display on the roof wasn’t even there!!! This destructive method of fishing should not be allowed in inshore waters. It shouldn’t be allowed ‘full stop’, it’s a bit like cutting down trees to harvest mushrooms as my old pal Willie Eyre would say Sad smile I suppose everyone needs to ‘earn a crust’ but if they could actually see the destruction they do on the seabed then perhaps they’d not be so keen.

Illustration showing the key parts of a spring-loaded scallop dredge and how it works on the seabed, including how it affects marine life on boulder reefs. Colin Munro Photography Scallop dredger ©Adam Scott

Anyways, that was us and the dredger tied firmly to Raasay until midday when he headed off to Braes and we went to Sconser.

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If the storm was Dennis then the clam dredger is Gnasher Smile https://www.openseas.org.uk/evidence/ and more depressing images here https://colinmunrophotography.com/blog/tag/scallop-dredge/

Relatively undisturbed boulder reef, Lyme Bay, rich in branching sponges and large tunicates (sea squirts). Colin Munro Photography. An area of 'worked' boulder reef in Lyme Bay.  Almost all larger and slow growing species have been removed.  Broken scallop shells and a live scallop buried in a sediment hollow can be seen. Colin Munro Photography.

Kinda ‘before and after’ Sad smile

As for the rest of the week since I last plinked away on here,

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a new crash barrier got installed on the road to Clachan after the landslip last year.

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Strong winds midweek blew down a solar panel at Sconser, part of Highland Council’s solution to speeding motorists through Sconser village and by the ferry terminal. Any sane person can see it should be a 40MPH speed limit through a village where there is a ferry terminal, school bus stop and now take away and bunkhouse. Nope, not HRC or Transport Scotland they deem an unrestricted road perfectly safe and spend gazillions on surveys, consultants, solar powered signage and a bus shelter when two 40MPH signs either side of the village would do the job better and safer for a fraction of the cost.

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It’s been a good week for rainbows too, here be a couple at Glame and Glame Brae.

Speedwell lifting gear in the Raasay Narrows and then back on her mooring.

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Storm Dennis didn’t seem to bother the eider ducks Smile

Well, Gnasher left yesterday afternoon, we finished early and Dennis went to sleep for a while only awaking around 3:00am to do some more ‘menacing’ it’ll be 7:00am now and time for me to go do the hens and check for damage. The pishing rain hasn’t arrived yet but all sailings are cancelled until a 14:30 review. Last night the worst I saw was a dustbin out of place but it was dark, wet and I figured I’d leave my inspection until daylight.

February 5, 2020

Back at the coalface :-)

4:00am now and I’d much rather I was tucked up in bed than plonking away on here but it’s better than ‘working out’ Smile That’s what the rest of the ‘team’ will be doing shortly Smile I kid you not 50% of Hallaig’s crew will be charging around the car deck with dumbbells and skipping ropes shortly, or at least by the time I’ve finished typing this. The last thing that I heard as I departed ship last night was “see you down here at 6:00am”!!!!! Aye right Smile Methinks Sandy and Finlay been watching too much of ‘SAS who cares who wins’ https://www.channel4.com/programmes/sas-who-dares-wins   Smile Such is the ‘joy of youth’, me, I’ve got a good excuse for being up at ‘stupid o clock’, I can’t sleep! or at least I can’t stay in bed.

Not that I had that problem last night, my fist day back on shift ended with me curled up in bed whilst most people were watching the early evening soaps. It had been a busier day than usual. Sure, the first day back is always a mad rush trying to get all the stuff done that I’ve had a fortnight to finish but not actually done so yet.

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The trailer project being the first one, but that was after my neighbour banged on the door before daylight asking if I could look at their wind turbine. The already busy schedule just got a whole lot busier!

Proven wind turbine springs

After Monday night’s storm the neighbour had awoken to a ‘clicking’ from the wind turbine that had been working overtime through the night. I call it a Proven WT2500 cos that’s what it was called when I installed it 14 years ago. Since then the company has passed through several hands and names whilst still retaining the core workforce. SD Wind Energy being the latest incarnation https://sd-windenergy.com/ , before that it was Kingspan Environmental. The names may have changed but the turbines, at least the smaller ones have changed little. They are still the rugged well built piece of kit they were twenty years ago and their service and parts supply has improved no end since the Proven days.

Lowering the neighbour’s turbine had most certainly not been on the ‘to do list’ but it was Tuesday and had we not done it, it would have been a fortnight at least before it even got looked at. So, with it still being dark and breezy I got on with the trailer project until daylight and the wind abated. Unusually the forecast was right, by 9:00am the remnants of the previous day’s gale had passed us by and I ‘tracked’ Calum the Kubota round to ‘Number 3’ https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/8188794?s=3LQkEta2&source_impression_id=p3_1580878562_gdw9LTyYqfftvHxV my ‘happy wee home’ of 25 years.

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It was a lot easier than when I took the turbine there in 2005 Smile

wind-turbine-002-small.jpg  wind-turbine-003-small.jpg

My good friend Willie Eyre ‘back in the day’ God rest his soul Smile it’s hard to think of Willie without smiling.

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Just as promised the wind ‘fell away’ to nothing revealing the broken spring and reluctantly I loaded up the Mule. I say reluctantly cos it’s not mine and the last thing I did on Monday was wash and clean it Smile

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It’s a lovely spot up there overlooking the sea and ruins of the houses in the right hand photo that was taken circa 1885.

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My ‘apprentice’ soon had it lowered and I just happened to have a spare set of springs in my shed, by 11:00am the turbine was back up and I had time to tidy up before heading for the 12:15 ferry. The ‘to do’ list unfinished Sad smile

I had planned to do some more work on one of the Brochel generators, I say one cos I’ve four to choose from and there’s generally only one working Smile

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Still, at least the SDMO 6kW was working when I left it on Monday Smile

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Wee dug and I even found time for a walk on the beach by the castle that was once ‘seat’ of the Raasay Macleods.

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That’ll be the house not the castle Smile

Sunshine on Sconser

So, I got myself to Portree and filled up with essential breakfast kit. The two ‘young fellas’ will be needing a good breakfast after their 6:00am workout Smile

https://lifeattheendoftheroad.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/p1160141.jpg

The avocado, egg, and chorizo on toast should do the trick after they’ve done that lot hey.

After trawling around the Co-op I arrived back on Hallaig at 15:00 in time to let my ‘back to back’ away for a well earned rest. The first thing I noticed was SUNSHINE!!!

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Sconser doesn’t ‘do’ sunshine in the winter, spring must be here Smile OK, it wasn’t actually on the village yet but it was bathing Hallaig at the pier so it cannot be far away.

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