Life at the end of the road

April 21, 2014

I’ll never be ready :-(

Filed under: boats, daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:19 pm

Absolutely fantastic today, right from the moment I stepped out of bed until I reluctantly came back inside around an hour ago. I’m just not going to be able to get all my ‘tasks’ finished before I return to work on Tuesday, still I can’t complain, I’m pretty chuffed with what I’ve achieved. My wind turbine base is now securely attached to Scotland, the hen run is complete bar one gate, there’s several tons of stone ready for the gable end and the hen shed is progressing well.

Sadly, it’s business for the hen shed that’ll drag me away from the croft for half the day tomorrow and I’m sorely miffed at having to leave so much unfinished business on what looks like yet another fine day. We’re going to look at, and possibly buy some ‘roll away nesting boxes’


Well, so much for Sunday’s effort, I started the above entry last night but fell asleep! This fine spell of weather, the lengthening days, ‘green shoots of recovery’ and ‘two weeks off’ have just about worn me out and I’ll be glad to get back to work. OK, perhaps not actually ‘glad’, for I’ve still a ‘million and one’ things I’d like to do, but I’ll certainly not be sad. Just a few trips to Skye and back on an old ‘loch class’ has made me realise how lucky we are to have the Hallaig. I certainly wouldn’t like to go back to the Striven or one of her sisters now.


Anyway, I’ll try and pick up where I left off on Easter Sunday, which will be hard with my memory but I do have some pictures to help.


Of course, it started as usual with the feeding, and you can see from the picture that Ellie (on the left) is filling out nicely, whilst not actually due until May I think we’ll bring her in on the croft shortly. The old homestead is at last drying out after the months of rain, but it’s still a little soft to put the pigs back on.

You can see Molly is sitting comfortably on the Quadzilla, the seat being its one redeeming feature. I don’t usually use this bit of ‘Chinese junk’ because it’s allergic to water, not mine and about as dependable as the Scottish weather. However, it hadn’t been used in a while and my son had half a ton of coal to take to Torran so I figured that this would be the best bet. The Quadzilla is much higher off the ground that both the Yamaha and Honda, so a 50kg bag of coal ‘fore and aft’ would balance it nicely and be far easier  for the fourteen year old to tip them into the coal bunker.


My first major task was to ‘hen proof’ the 10’ gate into their run by fastening a piece of ‘security fence’ to it


First off I bolted some wood to the gate with M12 stud then made up a frame between the two strainers prior to chopping the old fence and fasting it to the gate with battens.


She’s back

It was probably around this time that the good ship Hallaig was heading for the Skye bridge, having been relieved from her duties in Mallaig by the regular ship, MV Coruisk.

photo 3

Just like three weeks ago when we were heading the other way Smile

The Hallaig must have arrived back on Raasay sometime during the afternoon and picked up the last Sunday sailing.


photo 3

There’s the MV Loch Linnhe making her berth clear by waiting on the outside of the pier

photo 2

and here she is ‘back home’ with the Linnhe heading for ‘Tob’.

Many thanks to Robert and the crew for those pictures.

The ‘silly season’

No sooner had the good ship Hallaig entered service than she was disrupted by ‘fecking halfwits’. The trouble with having a beautiful new ferry terminal and waiting room at Sconser is that it attracts numpties, normally of the kayaking variety that jam up the car park and slipway. Now if you happen to ‘paddle your own canoe’ type then forgive me for this rant, for I’m sure, that on the whole kayakers are responsible and courteous types that behave well. We just happen to get all the plonkers at Sconser that festoon the slipway with their carp and bare their arses for the customers. I know that you’re not all like that, anyway, yesterday it was the divers that took the ‘prat of the year award’ off the kayakers.

Now I can’t get too sanctimonious about this cos I’ve been a bit of a prick myself at times, but this takes the biscuit.

As the ferry arrived at Sconser yesterday it was greeted by waving arms and shouting from people on the shore, because there were divers in the water!!!!!!!! Now excuse me, this is a ferry terminal, with a huge sign on the car park informing ‘Joe Public’ what time the ferry comes and goes, so why on earth were divers in the water??? It gets better, for the underwater planks, who were towing a buoy, then approached the ferry and she had to shut one of her units down for fear of dragging the buffoons into the propeller. 

Yup, all we need now is the ‘bin bag fairy worshippers’, these are the tools that leave their nappies and rubbish in laybys for the mythical ‘bin bag fairy’ to collect.


007 008

Of course, I knew nought of this until today, for I was busy making new gates for the ‘solar powered hen shed.


Well, one thing for sure, whatever the weather has been like, no one can complain about Easter, for it was, yet again gorgeous and we were up early to head for Staffin and some hen related kit.


With the trailer in tow we went to visit our old friends Dave and Sarah to collect some nesting boxes for the new shed.


These are the ‘roll away’ kind that should make the eggs cleaner and life easier for the ‘hen lady’ of Arnish.


We soon had them dismantled and loaded up whereupon we dashed back to catch the 11:25 ferry


via a slight detour to Harbro for more wood.


However, it’s past 22:00 now and I’m flagging, we made a gate, erected more decking, power washed and disinfected the nesting boxes,



plus filled up the oil tank and shot some pigeons but I need my bed.

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.

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