Life at the end of the road

January 28, 2019

More haggis :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, Land Rover, stonework, Trucks and plant — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:21 pm

No sign of the snow yet but apparently it’s on the way shortly and through the night, sure the road has been well gritted but darling wife is on early shift tomorrow so staying in the ‘toon hoose’ Smile That leaves me in charge of the two dugs with Leah curled round my feet under the table and Molly warming the bed. It also means complete silence in the house with just the occasional whirr from the fridge or freezer, pure bliss, normally the TV is on at this time of night belching out some pish Mancunian, Glasgow or Yorkshire accent from the likes of Corrie, River City or Emmerdale. Still it could be worse she could be addicted to the American pish and its canned laughter Smile I am not a fan of the TV and I’d quite happily do without one, did so for years and I can’t say I’ve missed out on anything bar a few episodes of Red Dwarf. Well that and the Russian coup of 91 or was it 93, perhaps both even, I know I discovered those on their anniversaries  same as I did with the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989. Still, I’ve always found that you only discover the truth behind any news story a couple of decades after it actually happened. The Suez crisis, Lockerbie bombing and Sadam’s WMD’s to name just a few. Can’t wait to read about really happened with Brexit and Alex Salmond in another decade or so Smile

Not quite the ‘Old Girl’

Having fixed my tipping trailer yesterday by drilling 5mm countersunk holes in the 3mm thick steel galvanized sheets and screwing them onto the 19mm phenolic ply with 5mm stainless screws,

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I stole the neighbours Nissan. OK, I borrowed their Nissan as I’m awaiting a new alternator for it and it’s only usable with care, care equating to leaving it running, not using the lights, heater, radio, wipers or even brakes unless you have too, which is kinda hard as it’s automatic Smile Anyway, with the alternator not charging you have to keep electrical usage to a minimum or the fuel solenoid shuts off the diesel supply and it conks. So, I had its own battery on charge all night and took another one with me along with jump leads and a battery charger.

My own trusty stead the ‘Old Girl’ has been indisposed at Tayside Land Rover since April having a six week job done Smile

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The new galvanized bulkhead, chassis, B posts and doors seems to be turning into a bit of an epic Sad smile

I never really realized just how essential the ‘Old Girl’ was until I had to do without her, there aren’t that many vehicles that’ll legally tow 3.5t up and down Calum’s Road. Luckily the neighbour’s Nissan Patrol 3.0D is one of them and whilst it’s certainly comfortable by heck it’s thirsty!!!! I put £60 worth of diesel in it and it only went just past half way and by the time I got home it was well below it Sad smile

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Fuelling the tank up, collecting dog food and cement from Portree then filling up the trailer with 2tons of aggregate at Sconser taking up most of the day really. SI I got back to the ferry terminal in plenty of time to admire the beautiful stonework on Hector’s bothy cum takeaway, which I’m sure is gonna be a valuable asset to those queueing for the ferry when it opens in the summer.

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I was back on Raasay for 13:20 but by the time I’d had a look at me Mate’s lighting tower,

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called at the Raasay sawmill to admire my timber and visited darling wife in the ‘toon hoose’ it was almost dark when I got home. Still, at least I didn’t have to make dinner, Wifey had managed to rescue some leftovers from the Burns supper so that was me sorted with more of that excellent haggis and some cock a leekie soup.

All I had to do first was tip the aggregate, park up the Nissan with the battery on charge and mend a puncture on the Subaru.

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The tyre was only just legal and the puncture was right next to a previous plug so I just fitted a new tyre, no use messing about with tyres at this time of year and I had a new one at hand.

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That was it really, after the most excellent haggis, neeps and tatties (shame there was no whisky sauce left Sad smile) I went back out to the shed and chopped up some threaded bar for the legs on me boat shelter. Time now for another glass of San Pellegrino and to settle down with a good book, this one being ‘Stalin’s Gold’ by Barrie Penrose about the sinking of and subsequent salvage of HMS Edinburgh


April 25, 2014

A cracking spell

Probably going to be a ‘little seldom’ on the posting front this next couple of weeks I think. The summer timetable, and indeed the summer weather is with us now and it’s after 20:00 before I’m in the house, by the time I’m fed watered and ‘decontaminated’ I’ve little time or energy left for plonking away on here. Indeed, if the truth be known, I’m only actually doing it to show you the staggering ineptitude, carelessness and plain ignorance of some ‘scooby doo’s’ that visited Sconser on Sunday.

It wasn’t until I joined the ship on Tuesday afternoon that I saw the photographs and I was flabbergasted, and this is coming from an ex diver who has done more than his fair share of stupid things. Yup, I’m guilty of being rescued by more responsible people, going out in weather that I shouldn’t have, diving in restricted areas and being airlifted to a recompression chamber. These incidents however pale into insignificance when compared to what these turkeys did.

It’s a ferry terminal right? so what goes in and out of there, a ferry, does it do it in secret, no it does it to a very strict timetable. So if you were desperate enough to go diving from a ferry terminal, what would you do?? well you’d check the sailing times right? Are they a secret? no, there’s a great big yellow sign illuminated with large friendly  red letters that inform anyone that can read what time the ferry is due. Now bear in mind this is Sunday so if you were stupid enough to dive around a slipway that’s in use you would at least have five and a half hours to do it in relative safety. During that time you’d only have the local clam diver and fish farmers to contend with, the 40m steel box with two huge ‘egg whisks’ at each end would be parked at Raasay.

Well, the plonkers , and for those who missed it here I’ll cut and paste the relative bit below.

The ‘silly season’

No sooner had the good ship Hallaig entered service than she was disrupted by ‘fecking halfwits’. The trouble with having a beautiful new ferry terminal and waiting room at Sconser is that it attracts numpties, normally of the kayaking variety that jam up the car park and slipway. Now if you happen to be a ‘paddle your own canoe’ type then forgive me for this rant, for I’m sure, that on the whole kayakers are responsible and courteous types that behave well. We just happen to get all the plonkers at Sconser that festoon the slipway with their carp and bare their arses for the customers. I know that you’re not all like that, anyway, yesterday it was the divers that took the ‘prat of the year award’ off the kayakers.

Now I can’t get too sanctimonious about this cos I’ve been a bit of a prick myself at times, but this takes the biscuit.

As the ferry arrived at Sconser yesterday it was greeted by waving arms and shouting from people on the shore, because there were divers in the water!!!!!!!! Now excuse me, this is a ferry terminal, with a huge sign on the car park informing ‘Joe Public’ what time the ferry comes and goes, so why on earth were divers in the water??? It gets better, for the underwater planks, who were towing a buoy, then approached the ferry and she had to shut one of her units down for fear of dragging the buffoons into the propeller. 

Yup, all we need now is the ‘bin bag fairy worshippers’, these are the tools that leave their nappies and rubbish in laybys for the mythical ‘bin bag fairy’ to collect.

Now when the ferry arrived at Sconser the divers hadn’t inflated this sausage, they did that as an after thought, probably spurred on by the noise . This is the eejits just a few meters from the stern of Hallaig and her aft ‘Voith unit’.

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Now for those that don’t know what a ‘Voith unit’ is here’s one of the Striven’s smaller ones in action at her annual dry docking.




The blades are over a meter long, point down into the sea unshielded and unlike a conventional propeller they DO NOT STOP when the vessel is at rest. You can just imagine what they’d do to a diver, it doesn’t bear thinking about and there’s one of these at each end!!!!


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This is them coming out from under the other side of the ship after the unit had been shutdown!!!

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heading for the pier

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then beaching like three stranded whales, you couldn’t make it up could you?

The thing is, it can actually be quite interesting diving around old piers and harbours but you do it responsibly by checking ferry sailing times, informing the harbour master and displaying an ‘A flag’.


None of these these details seem to have figured in their ‘dive plan’ and consequently, as a result it’s very likely that there will just be a blanket ban on diving around HRC and CMAL piers in future.


yup, it’s Friday now, I started that ‘full on rant’ two days ago but just writing about it without using four letter expletives in every sentence proved such a strain that I had to go to bed on Wednesday. Thursday I got distracted by doing some minor adjustments to my hydro turbine, got soaked and once more went to bed early. However, with the help of what’s in my camera I’ll try and recall the weeks events.

A cracking day on Tuesday started with me taking my son to school then doing some last minute work on the hen shed and turbine base.

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The ‘hoose’ got decked all the way along the front and the 8 studs bonded into Scotland for my wind turbine base got tightened up with a 3/4” drive socket and a 4’ length of scaffolding tube. I dunno what that is in Nm (Newton meters) but it’s very very tight.



Sadly, by 14:30 it was time to pack up and head for the Hallaig, which was in the midst of an ISM audit by the MCA. The drive south had me seeing my first lamb on Raasay, not that it was by anyway the first, just the first one I’d seen.



Again, something that I’d seen for the first time but had probably happened weeks ago was the new roof on the Raasay Heritage Centre.

The four hours at work passed quickly and I headed home shattered on a beautiful spring evening.


It was straight into the thick of things on Wednesday with our first ever waste oil collection.


The 1200lt tank in the engine room that stores all our waste oil was hardly full but the tanker was on passing on its way to the MV Hebrides at Uig so called in to collect ours.



It was a good exercise to be doing before the tank was full and went without a hitch, not that I’d say otherwise Smile

After that there was fuel to bunker and of course the usual mountain of paperwork associated oil and ships, be it clean or dirty, every drop has to be accounted for.


The council divers were busy checking, and by the looks of it replacing some of the chain on the four ‘visitor moorings’ in Churchton bay.


The day finishing when I arrived home and found that wifey had brought Ellie in on the croft, she’s not actually due for a couple of weeks but she looks pretty ‘full’ to me.


Thursday saw Hallaig’s huge deck getting well loaded with 44ton of Eyre Plant’s Scania with a load for Raasay House.


It also saw preparations by Raasay House  for the launching of the Oigh Niseach


but it’s after 22:00 and time for bed Smile

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