Life at the end of the road

September 4, 2017

Off to uni :-)

Filed under: daily doings, shed/house, Trucks and plant — Tags: , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:36 am

Well, that’s the end of a manic weekend and back to the calm of the kitchen table, the grey mist shrouding the Storr and more pishing rain. Our son deposited at Heriot Watt university and just the wife, dug and myself for company. Sure it’ll be nice not tripping over his size 10 riggers boots at the door, the food bills will plummet and the thermal store temperature remain more stable Smile When I go for a shower the temperature at the top of the 1500lt TS drops by a mere 2 degrees Celsius, my son can drop it by 10 degrees during his endless watering in the bathroom Smile Gonna really miss him around the croft right enough and most of my serious diving projects will now be on hold until he or A N Other returns. But that is it, another chapter in ‘the book of life’ begins, on Saturday we drove him down to Edinburgh for the start of ‘fresher’s week’.


He checked in at reception,


let us help him carry his stuff into the hall and that was about it really, he couldn’t wait to see the back of us Smile


We did stay overnight right enough, in a lovely room on campus, which with a double king size bed and all the ‘mod cons’ was better than most hotels I’ve stayed in. After a good  night’s sleep we killed time until the 9:00am breakfast by walking around the immense and well kept grounds.

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The university in on the site of what was once a large stately home and it’s estate.

Riccarton Estate

The earliest recorded reference to Riccarton or Richardstoun is from 1315 when King Robert the Bruce bestowed the land as a dowry on his daughter Marjory. In 1480 the Wardlaw family held the lands and by 1508 they had been leased to the Hepburn family. Lawyer Sir Thomas Craig bought the estate in 1605 and throughout the 17th century added much of the surrounding lands including Hermiston.

The beautiful landscaped parkland was first developed in the late 18th century by Thomas Craig  who enclosed much of the land, and then by Sir James and Sir William Gibson-Craig. Both were avid collectors of plants and introduced the "sunken" part of the lawn which was a curling pond. The house was extended in the 1820s to create an elegant mansion. Sadly, two sons then died in the Boer and First World Wars and the title and lands were split, the estate passing through the female line to the Sudlow family. The house was commandeered by the Army in 1939, becoming the headquarters for the liberation of Norway and after the war a resettlement camp for ex-Prisoners of War and from 1947 to 1954 the headquarters for the Royal Artillery’s 3rd Anti Aircraft Group. The house by this point was in quite state of disrepair and was demolished in 1956.

Midlothian County Council acquired and gifted the estate to the University in 1969. Although the house has now gone, many original buildings remain such as the lodges, Gardner’s Cottage and Hermiston House.

The grounds are full of wildlife

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with just a few clues as to its past life like the old ice house above.

After breakfast we headed home and caught a busy 17:00 ferry back to Raasay, your truly did try to post last night but was in his bed just after 20:00. I just can’t cope with all the stress of modern life these days Smile

Where would you be without a digger

The day before heading sowf was spent spreading 20mm ‘chuckies’ at the front of the house, though first we called in to see me Mam. It would be the last chance in a while that my son would be seeing her and we’d not have time on Saturday.

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I just love quarries and always have Smile spent much of my yoof exploring them in the Lake District and Wales, latterly diving in many flooded ones. So I’m always happy visiting the one at Sconser, sad or what Smile

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Now the last time I spread these 20mm chips around the house I dumped them round the back and barrowed them round the front. It’s no wonder I’ve a bad back, well those days are long gone, this time I used Calum the Kubota Smile


Much easier Smile


August 31, 2017

Testing the bag :-)

The old midge was pretty fierce this morning but once the sun was out and a wee breeze got up it was bearable. That didn’t happen until after 11:00am right enough but I managed to work my way around the ‘wee devils’ by staying inside blogging until almost 9:00 then going to visit my mate at the Torran Schoolhouse to blag some fresh sweet coffee.

P1040391 Walking the dug Smile

You know the stuff the Italians drink out of a percolator with enough sugar in it to stand your spoon vertically, well, not quite but you get the gist. Funny thing is, much as I love coffee like this, we never actually make it at home. Methinks if I started then I’d be drinking far too much of the stuff. So for now I’ll just keep scrounging it off me neighbours Smile

After arranging a ‘plan’ for the day’s diving and agreeing that afternoon would be best I headed back home. He’d ordered some mooring tackle from the usually very efficient Gael Force Marine However, despite several assurance it had not, as yet arrived, which is very unlike them. They started off making creels in Stornoway in the 1980’s and now are into everything from yacht chandlery to fish farm feed barges. I wouldn’t at all be surprised that if these fish farm anchors we’ve been lifting were made by them.

Back in the day when I was fishing I used to buy all my creels from them and much else besides. It didn’t matter how many years passed between my infrequent visits to their warehouse in Inverness, the directors would always remember me by name and ask how things were on Raasay. I guess that’s why they’re so successful because I kept returning and recommending them to others. I’m sure the stuff will be here tomorrow Smile

More path prep

Once back to Sonas and with the day improving I set about working on the path around the house.

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I just loosely arranged these, the wife will then keep adjusting them to find the best place for footfall and colour. Once she’s happy we can dig them in the chuckies and set them permanently. We’ve done some already around the ‘bunker’ and they look great, not only that but now the wee dug can walk around the house. The chuckies must be really unpleasant for dugs, deer and pigs, which at times is not a bad thing.

Once I’d unloaded those I set about making a border around the front of the house to separate the chuckies from the ‘meadow’. We don’t do grass cutting here at Sonas Smile


Life is so much easier with a digger,


you would not be moving these here by hand.

Just like riding a bike

That done we set off for the shore with our kit to go looking for another anchor by yet another disused fish farm site.

Smolt bin

Here it is some twenty years ago having smolts delivered, the chopper drops that bin in the middle of the cage then lowers it nearby to have the tipping mechanism reset before flying back to the hatchery for more.

This was once a cost effective method of transferring smolts to remote farms but now they’re all brought in by large ‘well boats’ which is a lot less stressful on the fish and staff. I had a few scary moments with those bins on a rope Smile 


Here it is today with the picture taken from just behind where the cages would have been. The helicopter was dropping the bin on that outcrop of rock just above the centre.


These two steel rings for the running mooring and a few more for the ‘land fasts’ being all that remain. We were thinking that there may have been some tackle left behind so got ready to check it out.

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The anchor hunting wasn’t very successful but at least the new scallop bag got a good testing Smile

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My boy is most definitely getting ‘his eye in’, we gonna really miss him when he goes to uni Sad smile


Those are seriously good clams Smile

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