Life at the end of the road

July 27, 2008

A lazy, hazy day

Filed under: daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:57 pm

After last nights little get together an altogether more liesurly approach was required for today and as it was Sunday anyway I didn’t feel guilty in the least for not doing any work other than feeding. My good friend Bill Cowie from http://www.isleofrona.com/ had lent us his 4hp outboard last year and this seemed like a good opportunity to return it as the weather was settled and I’d 3 boys to keep amused. So after a light breakfast we headed down to the shore and my mates ‘Pioner Maxi’ which would be our transport for the day. With the fuel tank filled and our life jackets on we set off north to Rona on a glassy calm sea, just between the north tip of Fladda and Eilean Tighe we stopped to watch 3 or 4 small porpoises which despite being quite close were far too quick to photograph. After a brief and unsuccesful go at mackeral fishing in Kyle Rona we headed into Arcasaid Mhor ( big harbour ) past a beautiful old sailing boat ‘Marguerite’ of Falmouth and onto Bill’s pontoon at the head of the anchorage.

After delivering our cargo and a relaxing hour of ‘craic’ and bacon butties the boys and I headed home, this time due to the rising tide taking the  more sheltered route between Eilean Tigh and Raasay. Whilst I fished and dived these waters regular it’s at least 6 years since I’ve hugged the shore of Loch a Sgurr down to the Fladda narrows and I thought I’d give the boys a treat. First off we stopped at the old landing spot and boat shelter on the SE end of Eilean Tighe.

and after rescuing a large length of 10″ black pipe we cruised around the rocky shore of Loch a Sgurr to an amazing gully where I used to swim after dives on hot summer days like today.

You can take a wee boat right in here on a calm day at half tide and the boys were well impressed, once through the narrow entrance it opens up a bit and you can see the sky, they kept muttering Lord of the rings and for a while at least I was the worlds coolest dad. Continuing along the eastern shore of the bay that’s called Loch a Sgurr we passed by the old shepherds hut then below the magnificent north facing cliff that makes up its southern shore. A golden eagle soared above us as we headed for Fladda and ‘Huntsmans leap’

Legend has it that some dude jumped across here whilst being chased but I’m not convinced, anyway after a wee explore around here and then gingerly negotiating the water over the Fladda causway Captain Ryan took us home!

And a most enjoyable day was had by all!

The end at last

Filed under: daily doings, food, hydro — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:01 pm

This is yesterdays ( Saturdays ) post and for reasons to do with our pathetic dial up connection I’ll be posting tomorrows imediately afterwards. As I recall Saturday was another lovely day and we decided to utilise it’s heat to go and retrieve the last of the blue 63mm water pipe that was lying at Strollamus on Skye. I was given this 470m length in December and recovering it has been a learning curve in handling MDPE pipe to say the least. When I was given the pipe I was told “There must be at least 200m” upon checking it out In January I paced it out at around 500m and at that time it was still lying in the heather up a hillside on Skye. At the time I seriously thought of giving up on the project as at that time of year the temprature was so low that coiling the pipe was difficult to say the least and the coils were so big that a trailer was needed to get them back to Raasay which all added to the cost of this ‘free’ pipe. Slowly however 50m at a time with each coil getting smaller as the temprature increased with the seasons over the next few months Willy Eyre and yours truly managed to get them back to Arnish and by the time July came the combination of our experiance and a few extra degrees meant we even managed to bring the last 3 back on the roof of the ‘Old girl’. This ‘bounty’ furnished me with the 270m of pipe needed for my own hydro turbine and has gone a long way to supplying the 600m that my mate needs.

The last two or ‘How to coil MDPE pipe without special tools’

Willy, myself and the blog photographer didn’t even leave Raasay until the 10:00am ferry yet still managed to go shopping in Broadford, coil the last two lengths and catch the 13:15 ferry back. The heat of the last few days had certainly been doing it’s work on the pipe and I could not believe how much easier it was to coil, the secret being to have lots of short lengths of rope near at hand, get the first coil as tight as you can then just keep tying it off at regular intervals. Once you have a good few coils and it’s nice and tight it then becomes possible to tilt the roll and start coiling inside.

With both coils done in less than an hour we lashed them on the Land Rover roof and headed for Sconser feeling very pleased with ourselves. In a nutshell you can coil these on your own in February using ratchet straps and alot of effort though the coils will be much larger. However if at all possible do it in the summer with two and you’ll have it done without effort in no time.

A little celebration

Feeling really chuffed at finally getting all this back to Raasay and having 2 lithe ( pollack ) 1 rabbit and various other bits of dead cow and chicken in the fridge I could feel a barbecue was called for. So after a quick visit to the ‘Mad Frenchman’ and a few phone calls we had a wee gathering organised for later. Though before firing up the old forge that doubles as our barbie I dragged one of the 50m lengths of now uncoiled pipe the mile or so up the hill behind Torran.

Richard the ‘beetle man’ had caught two lovely lithe off the rocks in loch Arnish, the largest, around 5lb I scored, pushed in garlic and rosemary then stuffed with some tiny sliced apples from one of our trees and mushrooms. Coated it in a bit of butter, salt and pepper, wrapped it in tin foil then placed it to the side of the barbie and kept turning it with welders gloves so as not to puncture the tin foil.  The rabbit went on in pieces rubbed with oil and paprikand it all went down very well despite the midge!

After the usual spectacular sunset we retired to the midge free zone that is the house and put the world to rights! All in all it was a most enjoyable day.

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