Life at the end of the road

February 14, 2010

A king amongst marags

Filed under: daily doings, food, Land Rover — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 11:31 pm

It has been a pure  peach of a day for me here on Raasay though it did not seem very promising when I first got up at 6:30 and felt the dog! The dog being a good guide as to how wet it is on these dark mornings without actually poking your head out of the door 🙂 Well she is a good guide once she’s been out for a pee, 5 minutes means dry, 2 minutes means wet, 1 minute very wet and just poking nose out before turning round and heading for kitchen stove means pishing down. Today was a 2 minute morning which tempered my enthusiasm for the day slightly as I was planning on spending at least one hour under the  under the Land Rover changing my broken ‘Scorpion racing’ heavy duty, heat treated radius arm.

The day however quickly improved and by the time the grey light of dawn spread across our little valley it had stopped raining so Molly and I went out to feed everyone. I love my Sunday’s at work as it’s the first chance I get to see the pigs in daylight, of course the pigs don’t care who feeds them and are just interested in the contents of the bucket but that certainly does not stop me from kidding myself that they’re glad to see ‘me’ 🙂

With everyone fed, and after a little plonking away on here I set off early for work, very early in fact, firstly because my bird pooh welding on the radius arm had broken the other day so I’ve been driving at 20mph and secondly because I wanted to savour the journey south in daylight.

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It may have been grey and damp but the day had an optimistic feel about it and I could not help but stop and record it. This glassy calm bit of Loch Arnish is called something like ‘the port by the burn’ in Gaelic and is where I kept a mooring for a time, as did many fishermen  before me. The burn is that little waterfall running down that dark patch and this little corner of the loch is sheltered to all but the strongest of north east winds, its only disadvantage being the long row or walk to get there 😦

It’s actually just above that ‘pushpin’ but if I put the point on the location it blots out most of the south side of the loch 😦

Map picture

A few hundred yards further on at Tarbert I stopped to admire the old sheep fank just by the cattle grid at ‘Rainey’s wall’.

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Before engaging second gear to climb up the steep bit of ‘Calum’s road’ that is known locally as ‘the diversion’ on account of it being the only place where the road engineers that surfaced Calum’s original construction saw the necessity to divert from his route.

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Near the summit of this incline I stopped yet again to gaze over to Torran and Fladda, the house on the right being about half a mike from ‘the end of the road’.

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Half an hour later I was at Holoman where this lonesome gorse bush injected some welcome colour into the subdued hues of late winter.

The new cock of the black puddings

All this ‘dillying and dallying’ almost made me late for work but after running to Sconser and back, washing down the ferry and tying up we set about making breakfast.

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A serious affair that included a donated by Simon and a George Cockburn of Dingwall purchased by our skipper. The Cumbrian offering was boiled whilst the Cockburn was sliced and grilled.

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Now regular readers will know that the MV Loch Striven’s crew are something of a set of aficionados on black puddings or the ‘marag dubh’ as it’s known in Gaelic.  We’ve tested loads, Stornoway, Aultbea, Bury, Lancashire, Cumberland and even vegetarian but in my opinion Cockburn of Dingwall has just knocked Ritchie of Aultbea off the top of the pile and is now cock of the marags 🙂 This is a unique offering that would complement much more than a humble breakfast and I can’t wait to try his award winning haggis 🙂

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with the others, though I do find the English ones to have a ‘stodgier’ texture I like their lumps of fat as it reminds me of salami or Mortadella from Italy.

Scrapirion from Scorpion

After our round Britain breakfast of Raasay sausages, Cumberland black pud, sausage and Dingwall offering I got stuck into the ‘Old girl’.

The ‘Old girl’ you may remember from a previous rant had been endowed with a pair of super dooper, all singing and dancing pair of ‘Scorpion Racing’s’ finest radius arms, one of which had broken.

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There’s no point me ranting any more about the unethical practices of this company because fortunately for prospective customers and unfortunately for past ones like myself with ‘issues’ they’ve gone bust. All I can say is these pieces of 5h1te that I fitted look EXACTLY the same as these offerings from Extreme 4X4, the new ones that I fitted today are heavier, thicker, fully welded instead of stitched and two thirds the price from 🙂

Though not everything paddocks sell is any good,

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their Deflex polyurethane bushes ( the orange ones ) may seem like a bargain at half the price of a genuine ‘polybush’  ( the red one ) but you will be lucky to get a years wear out of them, just look at the difference in the wall thickness of the inserts 😦

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Anyway I got my arms fitted and then we launched the DOTI boat, time was getting a little short for a jaunt up to the harbour but we had a good look around the old iron ore pier instead.

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The whole pier looked like this when it was built by Macalpine’s at the turn of the century with its intricate latticework of reinforced concrete. In the 1970s most of it was ‘sheet piled’ to provide protection for the MV Raasay but I’d love to see it open again. Of course with modern ‘elf and safety’ and lack of money that is hardly likely to happen but it would be nice 🙂

With the last run to Skye and back for a good load of harbour workers and a few welcome tourists I jumped in my ‘old girl’ with a new enthusiasm and ‘raced’ northwards in daylight for the first time this year 🙂 With all my clunks and bangs gone, my steering less vague and ‘my ride pimped up’ I was a very happy bunny 🙂

By the time I’d demolished some roast pork a glass of red wine and finished on here I was a very tired bunny and went to bed, skipping the usual weather forecast because, well there hadn’t been any 🙂

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