Life at the end of the road

April 19, 2014

Rain! what rain?

Filed under: boats, daily doings — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:14 pm

Not so ‘hot off the mark’ this morning, it was 7:10 before I was wakened and 7:30 before I was out of the house feeding.


The hens aren’t shut in to their run but most mornings I take a crust out or some wee treat and they all follow me in there, whereupon I shut them in until lunchtime. I dunno why I bother really, for half of them are usually back out within the hour but it does seem to encourage them to lay in their nesting boxes and not random places around the croft.

I’ve just ordered another 50 for the new hoose off ‘Donald the hen’ at Struan, moving this lot up to the new house will probably put them ‘right off the lay’. The original ‘brown hens’ as Donald calls the ISA browns are getting a bit past it now anyway so we’ll probably not even try moving those. Better to start off the new hen house with a new batch of hens than end up with a shortage of eggs. The new ones will be here the middle of May but will take a couple of weeks at least before they start laying.

Donald does still have some available for May, his next lot will be in July, so if you’re needing any contact him on 01470 572 213, they’re £8.75 for the ISA’s and £9.25 for the Blackrock’s.

The Best day of the year

What was becoming more apparent by the minute was that this Saturday was not the same Saturday that was talked about by the BBC and XC Weather yesterday. The Easter Saturday that they were banging on about was going to be grey and damp in Scotland, well it was far from it and I was rapidly beginning to regret today’s ‘to do list’. Having consulted the forecast yesterday and being informed that it was going to be damp, I chose to go to the village today.

Eggs needed delivered to the shop, coal collected from the pier and a barrel filled with kerosene from a mates tank at Oscaig. Sure it had to be done anyway but I’d have done it yesterday evening had I known what a ‘peach of a day’ it was going to be. Still, I did manage a few hours work on the new hen run and shed before leaving around 10:30.


The day was improving by the minute,


and the two wee dogs were soaking up the morning sun on the lawn as I tried in vain to leave unnoticed. There was no way Molly was going to be left behind but I did manage to dissuade Charlie.



That’s the old road to Arnish made clear by the pigs digging away at the bracken that has hidden it for twenty five years.


Here is another of those stone hen houses that are dotted all over the place, this one below the aspen trees just before Tarbert.

Whilst it was with great sadness that I tore myself away from the croft it was good to be on  the road and see the island buzzing with tourists and hitchhikers. A whole family of them from The Black Isle that I managed to squeeze into the Old Girl along with their packs and camping gear. For this intrepid mother, father and two young daughters had just done the east coast walk from the ferry to Hallaig then from there to Screapadale, quite a feat over a couple of days with two young girls.


I bade the hitchers goodbye hitched up half a ton of coal deposited yesterday in my trailer and headed for the shop with the eggs and a short shopping list.

Our community store was looking fantastic after its major refurbishment, sadly I was too busy talking to the many customers to take any picture but it really does look smart. With my precious cargo of ‘Arnish Eggs’ delivered I drove to Oscaig and my mates house to purchase a couple of hundred litres of heating oil off him for our stove. Of course I had to pump it by hand out of his tank, so it was after midday by the time I passed this clump of gorse at Holoman.





It was almost 13:00 when I crossed the Brochel/Arnish border and arrived at what I believe is the bit of gorse at the north end of Raasay.


I could be wrong, as it’s several years since I’ve walked north of Torran but this small clump is the only one I know of. it appeared a couple of years ago and is doing really well. Sure it’s a pest and can quickly make swathes of hill ungrazeable  but I do love its splash of bright yellow at the dullest times of year.



The NLB’s Pole Star was out and about servicing navigation buoys, you can see two on her deck,


here she is just below the Storr.

Raspberry supports

As soon as I was back home it was ‘into the wacky shorts’ and out in the garden, the day was the hottest of the year and my first in sandals and shorts.


There was a whole heap more of stuff and I didn’t get in until after 20:00 but it’s past 21:30 and I can’t keep my eyes open, so I’ll just leave you with these from the MV Hallaig at Mallaig (but not for much longer Smile ).

photo 2 (1)


photo 4 (1)


The Coruisk returns having left the Clyde at 4:00am this morning after major repairs to her bow visor. The MV Hallaig has been covering for three weeks, and whilst she’s plenty of capacity for the Raasay/Sconser route, she’s sorely stretched on the Mallaig/Armadale.

photo 1 photo 3 photo 4

I think the crew have had a busy old time of it with plenty of sailings with her full complement of 23 cars

photo 2

look at that THREE crew on the car deck, that doesn’t happen often on Raasay.

I’m sure the commuters on the Mallaig/Armadale route will be just as glad to get Coruisk back as we will to have Hallaig home, I’m just glad that I missed Easter in Mallaig Smile

And just before I turn in at 22:00


IMG_1845 Glamaig skye

another cracker from Gary of Scotavia , just a pity it was Loch Linnhe and not Hallaig in the shot as he passed by on Friday.

April 18, 2014

Good Friday

Filed under: boats, daily doings, shed/house — Tags: — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:53 pm

Good indeed, in fact more like stupendous Friday with my son and I going ‘great guns’ on the ‘solar powered hen shed’ and fencing. So good that I only managed a few pictures with my phone, and they are, on the whole carp. There were one or two photographs of the hens but they’re on my Panasonic and I’m too tired to go outside and retrieve it from the Land Rover.

As has been the pattern of late, I was up early and out feeding well before 7:00, then armed with a diving cylinder, brush and some resin I went up to insert the final threaded rod into my turbine base.


I blew all the water out with compressed air then cleaned and dried it with a paint roller prior to injecting the two part resin. Clean is crucial but dry doesn’t really matter as you can actually use Hilti HIT RE500 resin under water, still, it didn’t seen right to have water in the hole. These two studs and the 10mm thick steel ‘angle iron’ are an addition of mine, the 29mm studs in the centre will provide a little extra strength to the base of the turbine. Not that it should need it, but better ‘safe than sorry’. I did something similar on my current turbine eight years ago and it just helped me sleep easier for the first couple of years. It’s hard to get to grips with the fact that your 700kg turbine and mast is only ‘glued’ to Scotland!!!

002 003

At current temperature of the rock the resin remains workable for over an hour but takes 72 to cure fully so I cleaned off the excess resin and placed the angle over the stud whilst it was still soft. I did not fancy filing any more off that thick steel section Smile The other stud which had been inserted over three days ago was just torqued up to a ‘couple of hundred lbs/ft for good measure.

After that I returned home for a fried ‘Arnish egg’ before returning to my ‘fencing and decking’ until 9:30 when I attempted to waken my son.

After that I returned to my ‘fencing and decking’ until 10:30 when I attempted to waken my son.

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The Dude may not have been very ‘active’ but Molly and Charlie certainly where when I tried once more at 11:30. This time I managed to draw him out of bed with some porridge and a cup of tea, whereupon he excelled in the ‘decking department’.

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I can just see the hens now basking in the early morning sun on their timber ‘sun porch’ Smile Of course by the time this picture was taken the sun was well ‘over the yard arm’.

There is some serious effort going into this shed I can tell you, I hope the hens (and wife) appreciate it it Smile


The phone camera does not do the day justice, it was beautiful with proper heat, flying beasties, real sunshine, a pair of sparrow hawks and a pigeon each for my son and I. The Dude is turning into a pure ‘crack shot’ with the .22, me I prefer the ‘wide angle’ and ‘rapid fire’ approach of a semi auto shotgun. Sure it doesn’t have a great deal of finesse but it’s a great substitute for a low sperm count and far cheaper than a motorbike or sports car Smile




Once the decking was finished I trimmed around the bottom of the ‘Ryloc’ with the brushcutter prior to laying out and hanging the 1.8m chicken wire off the strained top wire. This seems to be the best way of getting the netting up in position with the minimum of kinks.


We managed to get all of the remaining chicken mesh up, though this long run still needs battening down, gates need to be made and current ones raised, but we’re getting there, slowly.



This is the old barn behind the house as we ‘wrapped up’ for the day with some strange wispy clouds above. I had little time for photography today but there were some awesome cloud formations, earlier in the afternoon when we returned home for pasta the clouds were just like mackerel markings.



Here is the same barn photographed in the 1970’s by Richard Moore of fame. It would appear from this picture that much of the eastern wall is missing, or at least wildly overgrown.

The ‘junk folder’

For some reason much of my mail seems to be ending up up in my ‘junk mail’ folder these days so i missed these two images of the Hebridean Princess  taken yesterday.




The ex Caledonian MacBrayne ferry MV Columba is now becoming a regular and welcome visitor to our new harbour, with its beautiful aspect and short walk to Raasay House . Many thanks to Angus for those belated shots, I just don’t get this ‘junk mail’ folder. OK, I mark mail for ‘block sender’ or you get unsolicited spam and it ends up there, but how is it that people in my ‘contacts’ keep getting diverted there??  I’m no ‘computer genius’ but surely if you move stuff from ‘junk’ to ‘in box’ and reply to it then it shouldn’t keep putting incoming mail from ‘safe senders’ there.

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