Crìoch a’ ghnothaich – an end to the boat house business?
Well kind of!
Ach we all know that very few things in life are ever finished and there is always more to do, however we are now at the point where the bulk of the shorebase works are complete. So let’s just say phase 1 is complete, which in retrospect is a major achievement for us.
So in reflection what have we done? Well we have:
- Opened the old road down to the site to allow vehicle access.
- Reinforced the west wall of the old boat shed to stop it collapsing.
- Built a stone staircase (twice!) to allow access to the old quay.
- Cleared and repaired the old quay. An ongoing activity.
- Cleared the quay inlet of obstructions. Another ongoing activity.
- Repaired and re-laid the old boat house floor.
- Installed a shipping container on site (workshop and store).
- Repaired the old boat house winch.
- Removed the back section of the old boat house roof which had collapsed.
- Repaired the front section of the old boat house roof to secure it and create a storage loft.
- Brought our boat on site.
Phew, a fair old list and much more than we had initially expected to do! Having said that, all the works have been worth doing and it is our belief that all the effort we have put in at this point shall pay off handsomely in the long run giving a really solid base from which to work the farm.
The old boat house has been something of a conundrum and is the part that has consumed the most time and effort. Initially the plan had been just to use it as is and so just clear out the mess and clean up the old floor. As we were cleaning the place out, we discovered a cracking old winch which must have been used to work the boat that was once kept in the boat house. Unbelievably, this was still in decent condition and with a bit of TLC we were able to make it usable again.
At this point we decided the winch would be a great asset, but in order to use it we would have to look at the situation with the roof at the rear of the building. It was in such a state that it precluded full access to the winch and was itself rather ‘dodgy’. So we took the decision to take it down and this turned out to be a big job, especially as all the work was done by hand.
This left us with half a roof and so then we had to turn our attention to that. In brief, we had to place a support frame under one side to secure the remainder. We repaired the roof trusses, replaced missing corrugated sheets, covered over the opening that had been created, and repaired the floor. As a result, we have created a really valuable loft space in which to store aquaculture items.
Of course, there is always more to do and we still need to do a bit more work on the quay surface, the old boat house floor and put in a replacement for the roof section we removed. Those are penciled in for later this year but they are all now a lower priority than constructing the aquaculture infrastructure itself.
As regards the site in general, we would love to complete the quay way by putting in a slipway from which a boat can be launched and take down the rest of the old boat house and replace it with a prefabricated steel frame building. Both of these are long term goals and they shall remain long term goals, but that is what we are aiming for eventually.
So what now? Well as touched upon above, the next phase of development is to start building the BST aquaculture systems. We need to get at least one of these in place before any seed arrives in spring or early summer. The goal for the year is to have four of the systems in place by year end, and this is required to accommodate the oysters we are introducing, which shall demand all of that free space once they start growing.
But before we do that, we have to have the boat in place and as you might guess from the pictures in this blog, today we launched her and took her on her maiden voyage in the loch. This is important as our farm shall be built and worked via boat and so we were keen to test out the boat and our new facilities; this was a success and we are delighted that all our hard work is starting to pay off.
And so next week the build can start, exciting times!!