Loch Lomond, NNR
There is a famous saying within the team ‘Never do something silly on a Friday’ unless there is a good reason. Unfortunately Friday 13th was our day to break that rule as there was no other option but to act as if there was a state of emergency. (Thank goodness we aren’t superstitious)!
With the recent rain fall the water level at Loch Lomond had risen and will carry on rising with what Hurricane Ophelia brings us. For the last couple of weeks a job has been to visit the boat yard and bail the water out the boat. Water ingress was due, we thought, to a dodgy wire connection stopping the bilge pump working.
It takes more than one person to get the boat out of the water and you need certain skills to achieve this safely. Dave and myself have never done this before and we asked for help from Steve (former NNR Officer).
As I was about to leave the office on Friday morning heading to check and bucket any water out the boat Steve asked if he could come along, which I was more than happy with for the company. With his past experience he knew straight away when we drove into the boat yard that the water level was extremely high and if we waited until next week when we had planned to get the boat out of the water it would be even more dangerous as the jetty would be under water. (The other jetty was already underwater).
So, at 10:45am when Steve started asking me questions about when I needed to be back in the office, I knew straight away where this was going! The boat had to be taken out the water today. Operation ‘get the boat out the water’ had started! We had to drive 45mins back to Stirling, change trucks, pick up dry suits and then head up to the workshop to collect the boat trailer then another 45min drive back to Loch Lomond. By this point it was 1pm and we thought it was best that we grab 10mins for lunch before we started the mission – probably not the sort of job anyone very superstitious would have been keen to tackle on Friday 13th!
But thankfully with Steve’s expertise he managed to position the boat on top of the trailer after only a couple of attempts. This was great work by Steve because the water was extremely murky. Looking at the pictures below, if I hadn’t told you that behind this red truck is a trailer submerged in the water I don’t think you would be aware .
We strapped it up and made it safe for the 1hr journey back to the workshop. This morning started with the intention of only checking the boat but resulted in a full day tackling an emergency rescue to get the boat out the water. From leaving the office at 9:30am we returned bang on 4pm (for when I had to leave) having accomplished our mission without anything going wrong.
I would say our Friday 13th went very well in hindsight – and this sort of job shows the extremely varied tasks and challenges that the team faces in their day to day work on the NNRs.