Life on Luing

12 Mar

Life on Luing ain’t that bad – even on a Sunday when there is no vehicle ferry to get off the island there is always something to do. This morning Helen and I trekked over to Leccamore Fort on a hilltop on the eastern ridges. It was Helen’s first time there and she loved it despite the rain and soggy conditions underfoot —

There’s still a bit of stonework around the place making our morning walk well worth the effort involved —

We saw a few deer on the ridges – or – perhaps it was the same one popping up in various places.

That was the morning taken care of and once we were back in the land of the living an email arrived requesting H’s attendance to make up numbers on a training run in the skiff. Not sure what difference her meagre eight stones was going to make on an oar on this occasion and we weren’t going to find out either as she had to give it a miss due to other commitments and a busy week ahead.

Subsequent pics made her very envious as the team pulled strongly around Fladda Lighthouse – I bet she makes up their numbers soon —

Maybe I should have taken an oar but I had other ideas on this sunny afternoon and they didn’t involve getting as wet as I had been on my morning trek to Leccamore through the ‘Scotch Mist’.

The Tenere came down out of it’s perch in the horse box in our back yard and we were offski – first port of call was to South Cuan where the opposing tides were doing battle in the narrows —

From there it was an easy trundle down the centre of the island to Kilchattan Church ruins where a ninety right took the Ten and I over by Ardlarach Farm —

to Blackmill Bay with views to the Passage of the Grey Dogs – a rough stretch of water between the Isles of Scarba and Lunga —

Retracing our tracks to Kilchattan Church and a ninety right over the cattle grid had us on the pier at Toberonochy in time to see Ben take his yacht out for a birrll. The old salt had his sails full and was heading smoothly towards Ardinamir in the blink of an eye. Another inch to the right and his topmast would be in line with the hilltop fort of Leccamore where Helen and I had trekked to cross-country earlier in the day —

This rusty discarded winch on the quay brings back memories. In my late teens I worked in a steel fabrication shop and part of the job involved erecting the steelwork we had pre-fabricated. Back then it wasn’t so easy to whistle up a mobile crane and much of the work was done by guile and sheer strength. A steel or wooden pole with a chain block hung from the top and four guy ropes attached was used for the heavy work – purlins and suchlike were hauled up on handlines. Yep – we grew muscles on muscles back in the day —.

The winch – well we had an old long-nosed Commer articulated truck for delivering the steel to site – not unlike this fella in the next photo. Health and Safety was in it’s infancy back then so there was nothing to stop us fabricating and fitting a lattice jib to the chassis at the back of the cab and with a similar hand operated winch to that in the previous pic mounted behind it we were in business with our own jib crane —

While on the subject of metal fabricating – what about the shiny alloy plate on the back of my Ten?

It’s to carry the Givi Tailpack I’ve recently bought for my tool roll – binoculars – occasional flask of tea and anything else that will fit in a 15-20 litre sack. The interesting thing is that I had it cut here on the island.

All I had to do was make a cardboard template of what I wanted then my new mate Dave copied it to his laptop – programmed it to his machine out in the workshop and out popped my new tailpack mounting plate – just like magic!

It’s fifty five years or more since we fitted the jib crane on the old Commer so I suppose a computer driven plasma cutter isn’t at the forefront of today’s technology. What is interesting is that with a similar programme – fracking for the oil industry anywhere in the UK can be controlled from that self-same laptop.

The Isle of Luing was meant for more sedentary pursuits than motorcyling and it only takes the Ten and I but a few minutes to gobble up the ten miles or so of tarred road on the island. There is word of the vehicle ferry to the mainland being re-instated on Sundays by the end of March but I won’t hold my breath.

In the meantime I will work with what I’ve got – which means the sheltered moorings at Ardinamir with views over to the Island of Torsa is my next port of call —

Timing was spot on and I arrived home to the Bardrishaig daffodils as the first few raindrops fell —

There are many more daffodils out the front – but that’s not all!

Seamus is letting the side down —

It’s his job to keep the deer out of the garden —

and this lil bugger has just stripped the leaves off my favourite holly tree in my absence 🙂



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