Life at the end of the road

September 22, 2016

Extra crew :-)

Filed under: daily doings, pigs, stonework, Trucks and plant — Tags: — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:16 pm

Hi peeps,

well, it’s been a while I know but I’ve been without t’internet for a while and to be honest I’ve not missed it!!! OK, I have missed it just a little but that was only for doing stuff I could have done had I still got a phone book Smile Well, that and the fact that you can’t accept pigs onto your croft without it. Still the wee pigs were not worried whether they’d been ‘checked in’, they were quite happy in the hen shed Smile

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The hens were pretty curious right enough, but more of that later.

Roaring again

So, it’s Thursday night here and we’ve a beast of a stag here bellowing away not far from the house. I say bellowing but he’s not quite there yet, I’ve been watching him for a few days trying to, but this is the first time he’s managed to get a note out. Dunno how it works with them once the testosterone starts to rise, but the stags start practicing before any noise actually comes out and this chap was going through the motions yesterday. He lowers his head, stretches his neck and opens his mouth but no sound comes out.

He was on the skyline on Wednesday with a harem of around six hinds, just looking magnificent with his huge spread of antlers as thick as a babies arm. Methinks he came from Rona as the Raasay beasts just don’t have antlers so thick. Not because the Raasay deer are inferior, just that I believe the Rona ones have some ‘Near Eastern European’ bloodline in them. I remember visiting Bill there a few years ago and spotting such a specimen on his table, think he said it had a Romanian relation in its family tree. Anyway, one thing for sure, a stag turned up at Brochel a few years ago to take a German bullet and was found to have been from Rona, it too had the distinctive antlers.

 The sun shines on the righteous

Three weeks into September now and it’s been a right mixed bag of weather, as you’d expect around the equinox. Storms last week saw us miss a few sailings and we’ve had no end of rainbows.

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Here will be one ‘pot of gold’ landing firmly on the Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall in Sconser. Now there’s divine intervention if ever I saw it Smile

 Distillery Progress

Plenty been going on at Borrodale house and the new Raasay distillery with much related commercial vehicle traffic, this being one of Ewan Bowman’s skip lorries A Scania from Duisky Smile where else.

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All the modern carp added in the early eighties like the annexe and bar is pretty much away now.

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In place of the hideous carbuncle that was the thirteen bedrooms is a levelled area for the distillery proper and this lovely retaining wall made from Gabion baskets.



There has also been much concrete poured by Eyre Plant’s batching lorry who’s 44tons has regularly graced the Hallaig’s deck of late.


Faith, Hope and Charity, the three Evance wind turbines at the water treatment plant looked lovely one morning on the way to work at 6:30.

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They looked even better on the way back 13 hours later under a full moon but the picture doesn’t do it justice Sad smile



This will be the ‘Wild Women’ who are now regular customers aboard Hallaig dunno about ‘wild’ but they certainly seem like a happy bunch Smile


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Sunday morning ahead of half a gale of wind saw this nice Hardy motor sailor moored in Tarbert and a Cheetah catamaran fishing for wrasse at Holoman.

Start em young

On Monday, after all the permission’s, risk assessments and inductions had been completed we welcomed our latest new recruit.


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Raasay’s P7 potential crewman Ethan spent the morning aboard Hallaig going through all the various disciplines. First a spot of driving with the master and ‘second driver’,


then a spell in the engine room with ‘yours truly’.


After which, it was a spell with the ‘deckies’ doing soundings and then some ticket collecting. Methinks he’ll make a fine ‘motorman’, best job in the fleet Smile

Pigs at last

The ‘shift’ finished on Tuesday afternoon and by Wednesday afternoon I’d managed to acquire a couple of fine piglets from Husabost near Dunvegan.


No names yet and for now they’re in the hen shed



but they’re a pair of lovely gilts Smile

September 15, 2016

The deer are moving

Almost half way through September and the seasons are definitely changing. Recent weather reports seem to suggest an exceptionally warm September to the sowf. It’s certainly not been cold here right enough but nothing like the 30’s in London and the south east. A balmy 17 degrees is just ‘damn fine splendid’ as far as I’m concerned.

Mild it may be but it’s the daylight length that governs most creatures habits and they are certainly not fooled by this unseasonal heat wave. The hinds are grouping together and the stags splitting up and searching for a harem, at least some of them are. This morning on the way south I spotted three beauties by the patch of fen grass at ‘The place where the men of Oscaig met’.

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The picture is ‘pure pish’ I know, and I really must buy another decent camera. The hormones were just starting to rise in this trio, with the two on the left locking antlers in some playful banter. Another week or so and they’ll be drawing blood and letting out their blood curdling bellows.

Yesterday it was the swallows that were amassing down by the ferry at 7:00AM.


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Another carp picture I know but it certainly felt like summer had left on that dreich morning.


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Not that you’d believe it but this was the same day a few hours later when the MV Hebridean Princess called into Raasay for a few hours and a bit of a ‘touch up’. The little boat near the bow is busy going round with a paint roller and some blue paint Smile

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Monday proved to be a day of rainbows, the best ones being just as the sun was going down, but once again the wee camera doesn’t do them justice.

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Hybrid number 3

The third CMAL hybrid vessel should be ‘handed over’ to Cal Mac on Friday, Catriona has been doing various trials up and down the Clyde this last few weeks.



Here she is a couple of weeks ago at Lochranza on Arran with the PS Waverly in the distance. She’ll be spending her summers here and then doing the dry dock relief during the winter.



Here she is again at Lochranza with the current MV Loch Tarbert, who’s ‘18 car’ deck is struggling to cope. The Catriona may only have an extra 5 spaces according to her specification, 23 as opposed to 18. However when Tarbert was designed it was Vauxhall Vivas and Morris Marinas that were filling her deck. These days it’s campervans and Ford Mondeo estates with a bicycle rack on the back or roof that ensure she’s lucky to get 9 aboard on some sailings. The hybrid’s are scaled for the 21st century cars that like the population have grown fatter and heavier.

And no, I’ve not been ‘doon the Clyde’ taking pictures, I’ve Brian Macmillan to thank for those excellent shots Smile

More than half way

One thing for sure though, I’m struggling to get to grips with the fact that I’m more than halfway through a shift! Had we been working the same shift pattern as the rest of the ‘small ferries fleet’ I’d be well into my ‘rest week’ now. Thankfully we don’t and I now only have to wait until next Tuesday to start my month holiday Smile Smile 

It’s been a helluva week too as we’ve had a few extra bodies

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and chefs on board. That will be Richard’s ‘Brexit Pie’, not that I’m a fan Smile The pie was lovely right enough but being of good Italian ‘peasant stock’ I was always quite fond of the EU for all its faults.

Aye the old Hallaig has been kinda mobbed with extra crew, mainly training Catriona seamen and covering holidays, but also an engineer or two. The greenhouse, sorry wheelhouse has at last got the air conditioning it should have had when new. This has considerably improved the skippers mood, quite rightly so as it was reaching 35 degrees up there when it was less than 18 outside. The ships owners insisting that there was no ‘legal’ upper limit for a working environment!! It’s against the law to transport live animals if the temperature exceeds 30 degrees but not people apparently Smile


Taking shape

Raasay’s distillery construction is steaming ahead with the old annex demolished long ago

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and half the hill behind removed and converted into beautiful rock for the Gabion baskets and hard-core. Would love to get my hands on a few tons of that stuff for around the house Smile There’s even a club you can join, get some whisky out of the first 100 casks and spend some time on Raasay if you’re a member. Better updates on progress in this video

Dunno what’s going on today up there but Eyre Plant’s ‘batching truck’ has been in and out all day.


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The ‘batcher’ wasn’t the only Scania today, Robertson’s old 93 ‘float’ came in for this years ‘batch’ of lambs for market.


We also had another visit from Skye Jeep Tours today who probably bounced up and down ‘Calum’s Road’ to the delight of it’s occupants.

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That’s it really,

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well apart fro a bunch of hinds ‘lookin’ for lurve’ at 6:30 this morning.

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