Monday, 27 July 2009

Final Update next week

After a long drawn out sale proceedure I should have some news next week, Concerning the new ownership of the "Strathspey" , plus some news on what I shall be doing myself.
I will also be willing to pass on this blog to the new owner if he would like it.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Fine Views

Forward compartment looking aft
Inside the Wheelhouse

From the aft cabin looking forward

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Westerbeke Generator/ Kabola Boiler

I bought this a while ago, it is a Kabola oil fired pressure jet marine central heating boiler for hot water and radiators , and they are as rare as hens teeth seconhand but the best boiler you can buy for a large boat like the Strathspey. Much more economical than a traditional drip feed boiler such as the Reflex or Kabola drip fed units, also they are fully programable like a home system.
I have been having a bit of a fiddle with the Westerbeke marine generator fitting new anodes drive belts and cleaning the scale out of the heat exchanger,this is a superb piece of equipment with a Mitsubishi four cylinder diesel 2 ltr . coupled to a 9.5 kva 240/110 v ac generator
These generators are about £9500 new and run forever at 1500 rpm very quitely , forget your chinese e-bay generators which last about five hours.
I have two of these ,this one which runs perfectly and a second one that is in pieces due to an ingress of water and it needs new pistons although the engine has ony done about 200 hrs.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Starting to look much smarter

Another old Photo

Here are another couple of old photo's of the Strathspey . The top one is from approx the early 90's when she was the Shimanda , and the second is another one of her in 69.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Another Door

Another door in the process of being fitted , I find fitting these doors a very slow operation and I am sure a proper carpenter could do one of these in about an hour . But I have a fear of making a mess of it, so it takes me about three hours .

Thursday, 2 October 2008


Although the Strathspey is now up for sale , I have not lost interest in the project and shall still continue working on all the cabin structures .
Even though my long term plans have changed I still get a lot of pleasure from seeing all the sections coming together, and wood is a very nice medium to work with.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008


I have had to come to the difficult decision that I shall have to sell my much loved "Strathspey".
I have realised after over two years of work ,that I am spreading myself to thin with work , our home in Italy and England plus commitment to my family who understandably have no interest in my project. I have just spent five days in Scotland with the old girl and feel very very sad about this decision . I will still be carrying on with the work until she is sold ,also work will continue in Scotland with finishing the deck plus other jobs.
She is a fine vessel and a rare one being built in 1969 one of the last remaining Scottish boats to still exist in her original form. Mechanically she is in fantastic shape having had her engine gearbox and sterngear replaced about seven years ago . I have had the engine serviced every year and the engine is run two to three times every week. The hull is strong and dry with massive frames and hull planking and in very good condition.( built to withstand extreme conditions )
This is a very hard decision to make but necessary for me.
She will be available as a project to include all the interior sections ( see contents of this blog)all ready made for assembly into the hold ,plus extra timber and some fittings ,drawings and scale model of the cabin layout ( which is all adaptable )
Also included is the diesel anchor winch with chain and two large anchors suitable for ground tackle . In the wheelhouse is a good foruno radar , colour sounder , Necco marine autopilot and loran gps. There is a second radar but this has a fault with the magnatron. She is also seaworthy
and comes with harbour dues paid up till April 2009.She is due to be placed on the houseboat web site.

Sunday, 3 August 2008


As well as doing all the normal home stuff like cutting the grass and helping my son repair the brake balance valve on his Renault Clio. I have also been busy this weekend making new navigation light boards ,here you can see them in grey primer, in a few days they should be black and ready to take up to Scotland to fit them to the wheelhouse . These are exact copies (apart from not being rotten) of the one you can see in the other photo. These look huge off the boat but quite modest on the wheelhouse roof.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Before and After

View from the Harbour Wall

Here is a very recent photo of the Strathspey courtesy of Calum MacBain . With the freshly painted wheelhouse and whaleback , so after a lot of hard work by Ian and his team of fisherman the old girl is starting to look much much better.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Fishroom two years ago

This is a photo taken before work started two years ago

Fish Room

Here is a new photo of the old "Fish Room" taken a few days ago courtesy of Kevin Munro who is a fisherman and moderator for the web site ""
The whole of the deckhead has been stripped of layers of rust and the whole lot painted with anti rust paint and lots of bathroom gloss paint which is anti fungal.
All the frames and hull planks have been treated with timber preservative. If you look at some of the very early photo's you will see what a vast difference there is .

Sunday, 13 July 2008


I spent most of Saturday finishing this first section of cabin wall and door , The door I made up during the week and fitted the hardware and three coats of varnish this weekend . So now that I have practised on this one the others should go a bit quicker !!

Sunday, 6 July 2008


You may have noticed that not much has been happening lately .For one reason I have been away in Italy for a couple of weeks ,which has been nice and relaxing and at least I have had a bit of real summer weather .

Also although plenty has been going on up in Scotland where Ian is organising all the gradual refurbishment work aboard the Strathspey he does not have a digital camera .So any new photos will have to wait until I pay a visit later this summer.
I have been busy in my new workshop though, making cabin doors which are for me the more technically difficult bits of woodwork with lots of mortice joints and rebates .

Sunday, 25 May 2008


At the moment quite a lot has been happening on board the Strathspey ,the Deck has been sealed and painted ,the Whaleback has been Stripped and re-painted and the Wheelhouse and deckhouse has been painted in Bamboo and white. Also the deckhead in the hold and forward compartment has been painted in gloss white .
No photo's at the moment as digital camera's seem to be in short supply in the Highlands at the moment.

But I do have some pictures of the new 18 x10 ft Strathspey workshop in my garden ,so full steam ahead on the interior.As at last I have somewhere to use all my tools under one roof !!

Friday, 25 April 2008

Cabin Style

This is a photo of the look I would like in the Strathspey ,one thing I want to avoid is to much wood as this can be a bit oppressive .So I am going for cream with mahogany cabin doors and trim,I feel this will give a cosy and quite light traditional feel.
I am not a great fan of pine in boats ,so all the panelling will be painted.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

New Workshop

For most middle aged men a new shed is a very exciting prospect , and so with great excitment this manky damp old shed is comimg down and this part of our front garden is being cleared to make way for my new good sized sensibly priced workshop where I can put all the woodworking machinery I have collected from ebay for building all the interiors on the Strathspey . And all at the suggestion of my wife !!!!
What more could a man want

Thursday, 28 February 2008


This is the Strathspey in 1969 when she was the "Orcades BCK.67". She is brand spanking new in this photo ,and maybe one day she could look almost this good again.
It's good to have a target !!!

Strathspey last Spring

Her she is this time last year


Despite the fact that I am not that active on the Strathspey at the moment that does not mean that nothing is happening on the old girl.

Thanks to Ian who is my right and left hand up in Scotland , The wheelhouse / Deckhouse is ready for its top coat of paint .Deckhouse will be Buff and the Wheelhouse White ,this a fairly traditional colour scheme .The deck is still being caulked and when ready will be painted light Grey with the hull probably Black as original , although I may go for a very dark Blue.

The large very heavy net roller on the stern has also been cut off.

Down below the hull timber work in the fish hold and forepeak has all been treated with wood and anti-rot preservative and the deckhead in both sections painted white.

The main problem in Scotland is the terrible weather they have had this winter lots of storm winds and rain .

Luckily she is tucked safe and sound on the harbour pier. if you look on google earth she is the vessel in Lochinver harbour tucked in the corner of the larger pier with the square end on it.

Monday, 25 February 2008

Not much Happening !!!

For a short while there is not much happening with the Strathspey as I am very busy dealing with my late Fathers affairs , there is an amazing amount of things to do!!!!

I am really looking forward to getting back to cabin construction.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008


Back to the business of the Strathspey, Post Christmas and other matters ,I am back to cabin building . I have built all the bulkheads and cabin walls for the conversion of the original fishroom,I now have to fit them all out with some panelling, electrics , doors and floors and finally paint.

Thursday, 13 December 2007


You don't get this amount of space on modern boats, and a nice big engine room to wander around in trying to work out what all the pipes and valves do.


From this angle the wheelhouse looks to be a nice safe place to be in heavy weather !!

Friday, 2 November 2007


It's a strange thing this passion for old boats,most people I am sure would look at an old fishing boat and think that it was a depressing ugly piece of old wood and scrap iron,and why would anyone want to preserve it !!!!
If I was rich I am sure I would have a collection of them in the same way that some people collect cars or tractors.Although I am more than happy with the one I already have to me she is a beauty and I feel very lucky to have her.I just wish she was a bit closer than 650 miles away.
But despite that progress is being made ,the deck has all been caulked down the starboard side and the bulwarks painted ,the inside of the hold and forepeak hull timbers have been treated with wood preservative ,which they can smell about 300 meters away !!! There is very little sign of any wood rot in the entire boat ,which shows how well these boats were built , originally the inside of the hull was soaked in creosote.
Back here in Oxfordshire I am still very busy building the interior which is going very well.So one day when it all comes together I hope to have a very cosy and interesting boat that I will be able to spend plenty of time aboard watching the world go as I paint and scrape and paint and scrape etc....

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Galley construction

This is my test assembly of the galley, it all went together surprisingly well !! So now I can carry on and build the rest , I have also put on two different types of light to see how they look.
I wish I had more space so that I could assemble the whole lot in one go.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Last Saturday I thought I would have a break from woodwork and pay a visit to my favourite and mother of all wooden ships "HMS Victory". I must have been on this ship 20 times !!! but I am blown away each time. For anyone who likes boats ,the Historic Dockyard is a truly amazing day out . I even saw my other favourite the "Hatherleigh" a converted North sea Trawler owned by Pindar, and based in Portsmouth.

Monday, 24 September 2007

Galley Bulkhead

Saturday I started on my first bit of cabin section , this is going to be part of the galley wall.
I have developed this plan that I can make the whole interior of the boat in a modular form so that each section will be made complete with all the electrical conduits pre-installed ,doors and floor supports fitted , panelled and painted and designed so that the whole lot will pass down through the deck hatch and slot together inside the original fishroom. I have given this an awful
lot of thought so I hope it works out.
Another reason for doing it this way is as it will bolt together it can be altered if need be without major reconstruction or for major hull or machinery repairs.Also with be being so far from Lochinver I can still work on buidling the interior without having to make long expensive trips to Scotland.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Lady Jane visit

This Saturday I paid a long overdue visit to Tim and the "Lady Jane".And enjoyed an extremely relaxing and enjoyable afternoon on board chatting with Tim and Fred .I was very impressed with the huge amount that has been achieved over the last three years with L.J looking pretty good.
Tim gives a very good tour and made me feel very welcome with plenty of tea and a good lunch.
It was very interesting to compare the differences of wooden as opposed to steel vessels and the problems and challenges of restoration and sympathetic conversion of both types.Tim seems to be doing a really fantastic job .
I hope I will be welcome to make a return visit , and look forward to Tim visiting the "Strathspey " one day .

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Second Anniversary

30th of August marks the second year of my ownership of the "Strathspey II" and it also happens to be my sons birthday ( 18 this year which is very scary) .
Even with my absence most of the time, a lot has been done on the old girl,and soon she should start to look a bit better !!!
This photo is the very last day she went fishing and the first time I saw her, and I decided that there was no way I was going to buy this smelly dirty old piece of junk!!!!

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Aft Deck

Another view from the gantry, you can see Edward in shadow perched on it.


View from the wheelhouse gantry,at the moment work is slowly progressing on caulking the deck ,and stripping and painting the Bulwarks.