Life at the end of the road

April 28, 2010

The first sailing

Filed under: boats, daily doings, harbour, Land Rover, stonework — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:50 pm

First of all let me apologise to everyone that has no interest in boats or Land Rovers because that’s all that my day has revolved around today. If you’re into the crofty stuff then perhaps a visit to Stoney over in Aberdeenshire might be more interesting. Or if you prefer something a little more islandy and nearer to home try my next door neighbour Bill on Rona. Even nearer at home and probably just starting to bloom are Stephen’s observations of Raasay flora.

However if like me you get excited when a new boat visits Raasay or your Land Rover develops a clunk from the rear then read on 🙂

First time in anger

Miserable just about sums up the day here on Raasay weather wise, so it was just as well that the last four piglets had left yesterday because I got around the remaining five big pigs and Rocky that much quicker. Which was just as well because I wanted to set off early on the school run with my boy to see if the Loch Bhrusda had arrived. The Bhrusda being a Calmac ferry that had been specially chartered to remove, amongst other things, the big Kobelco crawler crane whose blue and white lattice gib has been such a familiar sight on Raasay this last eighteen months or so.

I’m sure other vessels have used the almost complete slip but this would be the first Calmac one, sadly not our own Loch Striven but a proper ferry nonetheless. I’d already had a look on the AIS site for her but that was out of date showing her somewhere in the Sound of Mull. However it’s only as accurate as the people who supply the info because when I also checked on the Loch Striven, her last position was given as, steaming at 17.knts ENE through the English Channel on the 18th April 😦


There she is right in the middle of the screen somewhere off Cherbourg!!!! I know I’ve been off work for a while but you think my crew mates would have least have told me they were going for a jaunt 🙂

Anyway after a hurried breakfast we headed down the 11 mile of single track to the Raasay primary school and sure enough there she was alongside the pier.

280410 002

It was a long way off, pishing with rain, none of the family shared my enthusiasm for this momentous moment and gave me a strange look as I stopped the car, got out and took a picture 🙂 The only other place that you find people this sad is here 🙂 or here 🙂 I really should get out more.

So after hastily dropping boy off at school, wife, dog and sister in law at a friends I rushed round to the harbour as fast as wifey’s wee car would carry, grabbed my hard hat and went to check it out.


280410 019

I was of course greeted, as all travellers are by the happy crew 🙂

280410 009

Once on board it was up to the bridge to check out, what will hopefully soon become a familiar sight, a sheltered berth and a proper slip.

 280410 010

Where visitors to Raasay will be welcomed Torridonian sandstone, Caithness slate, a newly rebuilt Raasay House (eventually :-)) and not the concrete remains of an old iron ore mine miles from anywhere.

280410 006

Eventually, after repairing a burst hydraulic hose on the ‘low loader’ the big crane, or at least the biggest part of it was reversed on,

 280410 020 280410 023

very slowly.

280410 026

280410 030

And once on board the Bhrusda powered off the slip on her ‘Schottel units’

280410 032

and headed for Sconser.


280410 034

Leaving me just time to have a look at the new waiting room being built by Lachie Gillies with its fine natural stone exterior.

280410 038

After which wifey and I headed up to see Raasay’s very own back specialist, Winnie Ireland at Suisnish before heading north and home for lunch.

MOT prep

The afternoon, well most of it was spent under the ‘Old girl’ replacing most of the rear suspension, not that there was a great deal wrong with it other than a worn ‘A frame’ ball joint. The shockers were getting a little tired and I’d figured that my back would benefit from softer rear springs.


280410 043

As you can see they’re a little thinner and variable rate, any normal person would have this job done in a couple of hours but with me it’s a couple of days 🙂

280410 040

Well I had to fit a grease nipple to the ball joint and of course paint everything didn’t I!

280410 039 280410 044

April 27, 2010

They’re all gone :-)

Filed under: animals, daily doings, stonework, weather — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:34 pm

I must be well on the mend because I’ve had that Tuesday feeling for the first time in weeks despite not being at work. The ‘Tuesday’ feeling being that light hearted warm glow that all Calmac small ferry crews get on the last day of their shift. It’s the kind of thing that if you could bottle and sell would make you a millionaire and go a long way to solving the worlds ills. Anyway, I’ve had it all day, even though I have not spent seven gruelling days ploughing the high seas between Raasay and Skye 🙂 Of course it could be my biological clock, the full moon or the fact that I’m feeling much better, whatever the reason I’ve been annoyingly happy. Fortunately I’ve not been in anyone’s company long enough to really get on their nerves ( I hope ). I exclude darling wife from this category because I’ve known her long enough not to annoy her ( I hope ) 🙂

The poor day that was forecast yesterday and did not happen was prophesised for today also, in fact according to it should have been raining when I arose. It wasn’t so I rushed out to feed everyone early before the expected deluge that never came. The prophecy by Catriona Purll that wifey would feel like she’d been hit by a truck this morning was entirely correct so I left  her at home and took the boy to school.

270410 001 270410 002

Though not before we’d rescued this small lizard from the cats and deposited him in a dry stone wall.

Another fine wall

Once he was safely deposited at Raasay primary school I headed along to the old mill to have a look at yet another fine bit of stonework.

270410 006

hector and cameron

Hector and Cameron were busy building a dry stone retaining wall by the Inverarish burn next to the old mill, which will one day become the Raasay Heritage Centre.

270410 009

It may even once the water wheel is restored generate electricity,

270410 007

originally built as a meal mill in the 1700s it was later converted to a saw mill and was in use well into the 1900s. Now owned by the Raasay Heritage Trust  it’s hoped that it will one day be a major visitor attraction and the start of the ‘Heritage trail’.

270410 010

I’d always wondered why the wheel was at the side of the mill but apparently there was a mill pond behind the mill that drew water from the stream via an aquaduct. The water was then directed on top of the wheel and then back into the burn here.

270410 008

And you cant even tell where the 18th century stone work finishes and Hector’s starts 🙂

Piggies away 🙂

The rest of my day was spent doing some long overdue work around the house, clearing stones off the lawn ready for the inevitable ‘first cut’. The stones are from the hens scratching around the bird table and you’d be amazed at the size they can move. The grass is well past needing that ‘first cut’ but I’m not that fit yet 🙂

A few bags of seaweed got dug into the raised bed in front of the house by wifey and I did much power washing of the paths around the house. Not exactly strenuous but it’s a start and I also managed three barrow loads of aggregate into some holes in the drive, though that almost killed me 🙂


270410 014

After lunch a tell tale ‘I’ve laid an egg’ cluck led me to a corner of the old byre where Ringo the duck was trying it on with a hen who was sat on two eggs. Pretty amazing really when you consider he’s blind! Around 16:00 wifey and I loaded the last four piglets into a crate for a good friend of mine to deliver to their new home on Skye just before the forecast wind and rain arrived.

graph 270410

Just look how the indoor temperature rockets with the arrival of the wind, that must be the extra draught up the chimney on the oil stove because the heat dumps are switched off. The heat dumps are oil filled radiators that come on when the batteries are fully charged but I switched them off to let the batteries ‘equalize’, that’s giving them a really high charge every month or so to stir up the electrolyte.

That’s about it really, no more lambs arrived but my sister in law did, and just in time to baby sit for a long awaited night out at Raasay village hall to the music of Gary Innes and Ewan Robertson.

270410 015

Ewan is an awesome musician and played at my wedding, hopefully he and Gary will play music from their album Shouts  . He’s been in several bands, Session A9 and Braebach to name just two, equally at home playing traditional music or dance music alongside a DJ it promises to be a ‘kicking’ night.

270410 016

And there’s a bar 🙂

Older Posts »

Create a free website or blog at