Life at the end of the road

September 25, 2008

A sad day for Raasay

Filed under: daily doings — Tags: — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:53 pm

It’s been another lovely day here with still no sign of any serious weather, in fact we’re getting a little short of water again. Not the stuff that comes out of the tap (well I hope not) but the stuff that’s driving my ‘200w Navitron hydro turbine’. The wee burn that powers it is down to a trickle and I’ve had to shut down the charger that puts it’s power into my battery bank. It’s not the end of the world as we still have a good breeze for the wind turbine and the solar panel’s still trickling away despite any actual sunshine. Anyway after admiring all my various voltmeters, ammeters and electrical wizardry in my genny shed I went to work. The hydro turbine was still producing a few watts so I left some lights burning just to use it up and set off for work.

And I really don’t know why I posted this pic cos it’s rubbish but you just had to be there! Brochel castle is in the gloom to the bottom left and the sky over the ‘Five sisters of Kintail’ looks like something out of ‘Lord of the rings’ anyway after admiring that for a while then dodging a few hinds on the road I continued to the ‘Loch Striven’ for an exceptionally quiet day. There was the usual couple of dozen workers on foot for the harbour and Raasay House but vehicular traffic was conspicuous by it’s abscence. It was from one of the passengers that we learned that one of Raasay’s best loved characters had died last night. John Cumming passed away last night on Skye, John was one of the last living residents from the far north of Raasay ( Kyle Rona and Eilean Tighe ) I’ve not seen him since he left for a home on Skye ( Staffin I think ) several years ago but for many years he was a familiar sight with his baseball cap doing shopping for the ‘old folk’ which allways made me smile as he must have been pushing 80 then! Not that long ago one of the harbour workers who commuted daily asked me for the name of my blogg as his wife was one of the nurses that looked after John he allways craved news of Raasay and she thought he might like to read it. I don’t know if he ever did but I do like to think so. Johns father was for many years the postman and would walk from Brochel to Arnish then the tidal island of Fladda before going on to Eilean Tighe via Kyle Rona. Once at the narrows between Raasay and Rona he would launch his rowing boat, row accross then walk up to the lighthouse at the other end of Rona! he did this three times a week and by all accounts missed very few days through weather. Stopping only when the light went automatic in 1967 or 68, It must be a 20 mile walk and a 1 mile row over some seriously rough terrain with little shelter and much of it must have been done in darkness. The sea crossing to Rona itself can be trecherous to say the least and whenever I visit Eilean Tighe I look at the spot where he kept his boat and marvel at his achievement. And if I’ve got any of that wrong I’m really sorry but years of aluminium cooking pans, red wine and funny mushrooms mean that the memory’s not what it used to be!

And here’s a recent picture of John himself kindly sent me by one of his nieces and I think it’s the only time I’ve ever seen him without a hat!

More stuff did happen involving a Yorkshireman named Eddie who I’ve not really spoken to properly in years

and my mate Willy Eyre is busy doing something with shower cubicles.

But it will have to wait for another day

as I feel quite sad now



  1. Hi Paul

    So sad to hear of John’s passing. He would ghave been 93 on his birthday in November! I remember many’s a sunday lunch at Bella and Finlay’s when he would relate many interesting tales but also as you say he was always asking about what was going on.

    As sad day indeed.

    Comment by Phil — September 26, 2008 @ 6:38 am

  2. Hi Phil, wish I’d heard some of those tales. I do hope someone has written them down.

    Cheers, Paul

    Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 26, 2008 @ 9:57 pm

  3. Hi Paul,

    My Uncle John will be greatly missed by all his family. Uncle John was an infinate source of historical facts; he had such a wealth of knowledge on so many subjects and had an amazing memory. I was speaking to someone recently who told me that during the summer, as they were loading their suitcases in the car, Uncle John would come down and strike up a conversation. The family would arrive back the following year, unload their suitcases, Uncle John would come down and continue the conversation right where he left off the previous year! Uncle John kept our family history alive and through him we all are able to relate many stories to our children and all have been written down.

    Uncle John was also the one responsible for some of the nicknames given to people on the island including mine. He was an amazing judge of character and would give nicknames to suit.

    We are indeed fortunate to have know Uncle John and our lives were enriched by his stories.

    Comment by Shelagh — September 29, 2008 @ 9:04 am

  4. Hi Shelagh,

    It seems that everyone you speak to has an ‘Uncle John’ story. A man traveling to Raasay today from Ardnamurchan asked who the hearse was for and when I told him he was saddend. He did however come back with a smile when he started to recall Johns visits to his caravan whilst he was staying on Raasay doing some fencing.

    Thinking of all his family and friends, Paul

    Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 29, 2008 @ 5:40 pm

  5. Uncle John will be sorely missed. I would take him on jaunts in my car once he relocated to Staffin House. He loved to go around the North end of Skye where he spent time working in his younger years and he would tell me of all the things he got up to like cycling over the quirang. He would point out all the places he lodged at as a young man. I nevr tired of hearing his memories. Not sure if your blog accepts hosted images but this one was taken in Staffin House on my wee mobile phone.

    Comment by Mickey (my given nickname) — September 30, 2008 @ 5:11 pm

  6. i love these stories of memory and friendship, thank you.

    Comment by jeannette — June 5, 2010 @ 10:40 pm

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