Life at the end of the road

March 15, 2019

Rumour has it :-(

Filed under: boats, daily doings, Trucks and plant — Tags: , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 5:57 am

Methinks April has come early here at Lochaline, could be the rest of Scotland for all I know as I don’t even have my regular dose of Radio4 or Radio2 in LA Smile Last year I brought a radio with me but the reception was pish so I never bothered this time, sure I could listen via the Internet but I only have a small allowance of data on my MiFi contract. Never actually used it all up right enough but I’ve been burned, nay, scorched before with going over contract limits. When I was down at the Nautical College in South Shields five years ago I got hit with a £200 bill from Vodafone after me having a £15 or £20 contract for yonks. Sure, I’d gone over me minutes big style cos I was away from home for months but it came as a serious shock when I got the bill. Fair play to Vodafone though, when I spoke to them they shaved £50 or £100 off it cos of my ‘history’.

Of course there is a TV on the ship but ‘I’m not a fan’, seldom watch it and on this route we don’t even get free ‘titty papers’ as I call the ‘red tops’. Never really understood the newspaper thing, me Pop got a paper every day (a thick one) with all the weekend supplements and read them ‘cover to cover’. If the papers arrive late on Raasay, or worse still not at all, it’s like there has been a death on the island. The highlight of the week is Thursday (West Highland Free Press day). I just don’t get it. In my experience ‘there is nothing new under the sun’ most of what you read is written by someone who has no grip on the subject and nearly all the media is controlled by a handful of eejits or megalomaniacs. I always find that news is better served up many years after the event by someone without an axe to grind Smile

Take my epic journey down here a week ago had I not had all that ‘news’ at my ‘fingertips’ I would have just driven down here and probably been stuck for half an hour or an hour at Cluanie. As  it was with Traffic Scotland, the BBC, Facebook and other media outlets ‘keeping me informed’ it took me all friggin day and a fifty mile detour. Sometimes it’s far better to be kept in the dark Smile

Anyway, where was I ? Well it’s been a day of what can only be described as ‘April showers’ one minute brilliant sunshine and the next pishing rain and wind. One minute oilskins, the next shirt sleeves, well not quite cos it’s been cold at sea but LA itself has had its moments, sheltered as it is from most of the weather.


Nordica Hav a small Antiguan registered cargo ship heading for the LQS sand pier up the loch. She has been anchored off Mull for a couple of nights sheltering from the weather or something.


Seems to be minus her stern anchor too.


George Leslie Plant making a fine job of their site for he soon to be started harbour works, that would be a fine site for a house there Smile


Some survey work on the old pier.


And I thought my Subaru was a ‘skip’ inside Smile

IMG_0462 IMG_0463

Some mighty big trees leaving Mull and some fencing materials going there.

P1140788 P1140793

Another coaster the 3500t Anne Dorte from the Netherlands. LOTI heading to somewhere, not sure where.


Fish farmers at work in the Sound of Mull.

Anyway, that’s it for now, tis 5:45 and time to go and ‘flash her up’ and perhaps catch the latest Brexit nonsense on TV, it’s bound to be on Smile I was gonna post this last night but guess what, I was in bed early with a good book. What’s more it looks like we may well be here longer than expected, I hear that MV Lochinvar may delayed a day or two Sad smile Still there are much, much worse places to be stuck working than sunny LA Smile

March 22, 2018

The Sound of Mull

Having spent much of yesterday catching up after my spell away at Lochaline on the mainland side of the Sound of Mull it was a pleasure to get back into some worthwhile projects again. Not that yesterday wasn’t productive in it’s own way but quite a lot of it was spent sorting out the caravan, giving it a clean inside and out then catching up on house maintenance. The most important of which was the monthly battery checks, here and around at my mate’s house along the track. Ninety six battery cells in all, using around 24lt of deionized water between the three battery banks. The main one supplying our house being the thirstiest, the 16 x Rolls S400 batteries taking around a litre each since their last filling in January, these Rolls sure do like to drink. In true ‘anorak’ or is it OCD style I log each cell specific gravity and individual battery voltages, SOC, SOH (state of charge, state of health) temperatures and the number of cycles of the main bank. This currently stands at 171, though quite how it works that out I’m not sure. On something like an EV (electric vehicle) or the Hallaig it’s quite easy, the batteries are discharged during the day and charged overnight. On a house with multiple charging sources often supplying loads directly I fail to see how it’s even possible to arrive at a figure but the SMA Sunny Island inverter seems to do it, or at least pretend it does Smile

Then of course there were the mice, both here and at the schoolhouse,


six yesterday, three here and three at my mates house. Bizarrely two mice had managed to get caught in two traps each!!!! 

Fresh water on site

Today’s project was to get a supply of fresh water down to the old fish farm slip, primarily for doing more concrete mixing but it will also be very handy for flushing outboard motors and cleaning diving gear. I’ve already poured several cubic meters using water collected in tubs and a ‘wheelie bin’ but this just isn’t half as handy as having a hose pipe on site for cleaning the mixer etc. as you’re ‘going along’ so to speak.

 DSCN0614 DSCN0615

Luckily, I’ve no shortage of 2” Polypipe ducting that would be ideal for taking a supply from the wee burn behind the house. Used for filling with explosives during the construction of the new harbour I managed to acquire well over a mile of it in 6m lengths that slot into each other. Whilst the manufacturer insist that it’s absolutely NOT suitable for use under pressure I’ve tested it to well over 10bar with glued joints 

Armed with this knowledge I commenced to join them together and drag them down the hill to the slip.


I seem to recall that we’re about 70m above sea level and just 250m or there about from the shore so it didn’t take too long to slot the pipes together and drag them down the hill.


It’s all downhill after all Smile

DSCN0617 DSCN0620

Anyway’s, by lunchtime the pipe was under the road and gushing out water, all that was required was to set up the IBC and attach a hose.


Needs a little ‘tweaking’ right enough but the IBC is now full and feeds a 1/2” hose (care of me dear old Mam) Smile right down to the shore.

DSCN0622 DSCN0623

Whilst the IBC was filling I set about preparing the shuttering for my next batch of concreting, the generator and electric chainsaw being used to trim a suitable piece of timber to attach to the slipway.

Back to Lochaline Smile

So, in an effort to use some of the ‘all too few’ images I took from Hallaig in The Sound of Mull, here goes.


MV Fri Ocean now somewhere off ‘Lands End’ heading south in the Sound of Mull last week.


The MV Hebridean Isles on her way back from Colonsay, Coll, Tiree, Barra or some other exotic location Smile OK, I appreciate that’s a little vague but I’m well into a bottle of spiced rum at the moment Smile


The Norwegian ‘well boat’ Ronja Skye.

 P1130545 P1130549

Some serious towing of a concrete pontoon by two vessels heading to Kyleakin, at least that’s what said at the time. Made me speculate that it was something to do with the new Marine Harvest fishmeal plant there.

Happy Days

I gotta say that this ‘wee jaunt’ to Lochaline was the ‘perfect tonic’ to recent events. The weather was great, if not a little fresh in the wind department and the ‘wee dug’ and I did lots of gentle little walks.

DSCN0610 DSCN0611 DSCN0609

The nearby ‘sand mine’ providing much in the way of interest.

DSCN0605 DSCN0606 DSCN0608

It’s disused narrow gauge railway at one time extending all the way to the ‘West Pier’.

 P1130540 P1130541

The ‘West Pier’ being somewhat unique in that it is actually ‘cantilevered’ on a cliff face out into the Sound of Mull. The pictures showing the MV Loch Alainn who was tied up there for just one night last week. Loch Alainn was actually especially built for this route some twenty odd years ago but never really served here. She now serves the Barra/Eriskay route, which is where she was heading when these pictures were taken.


The MV Liva Greta taking on silica sand in Lochaline, just a few hundred yards west of our very own MV Hallaig.


And ‘tied up’ snugly ‘round the corner’ MV’s Peregrine and Brendan of


two of the best dive charter vessels on the West Coast of Scotland.

Older Posts »

Create a free website or blog at