Life at the end of the road

July 13, 2010

We just had to go back!

Filed under: boats, daily doings, stonework — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:25 pm

It’s only going to be a quickie, it’s almost 22:00 on my Sunday, which to most other people means Tuesday night. I’m back on the Loch Striven tomorrow and despite only just getting in the house and cleaned up I’ve not got half the things done that I should have before returning to work 😦

It has, contrary to the forecast been a pure peach of a day, I arose and fed to a clear blue sky and not a breath of wind. As high water was around 9:00am and 9:00pm I had the choice of hauling the boat out of the water early or late, after consulting my crew we decided to go for early. Planning a quick whip around the creels then winch the boat up when the tide was not far ebbed, perhaps around 11:00am. That was just fine by me as it would give me the whole day to cut bedding, make a chicken run, fit new brake springs to the caravan, lower my tow bar, cut the grass at the schoolhouse and clean out the oil stove.

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So after a quick breakfast we loaded up the quads with bait and fuel for the boat, we are using salt mackerel caught in Loch Duich and whilst it looks disgusting I love the smell of it and could easily eat it raw 🙂 Salt bait is always better if you just want to catch lobster. However nowadays the velvet crab that is caught on the same ground is often more valuable and they prefer fresh. I love eating velvet crab but there’s only so much you can eat before you get sick of it and it’s pretty fiddly so using the salted fish might deter them.

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Once down on the shore at ‘Port Arnish’, that lovely spot that uses the natural strata in the rock and some seriously large well placed stones to make a perfect landing spot we decided to go on an adventure first. It was a perfect day for doing something that I’ve been meaning to do for years, and that is, visit a ruined house on the east side of Raasay. No ordinary ruin this, but the remains of a house that was 18 years in the building an never lived. A house who’s stonemasonry is  legendary in Raasay folklore and a house that is built in a place that no ordinary person would even consider making a home. I’ve viewed this ruin from my boat when I was clam diving and always promised myself a visit, well today, eighteen years later I decided to do it 🙂

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So we took advantage of high water to take a short cut through the narrows between Raasay and Fladda,

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aiming for the rocky bulk of Eilean Tigh before taking another short cut between there and Raasay,

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though a little more care was exercised here.

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Once through the gap and into Kyle Rona or the ‘Blind sound’ as it is known locally we met the SD Kyle of Lochalsh, one of many boats working on the ‘range’ that day, probably with HMS Astute.

Five minutes later we were at our destination,

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however once ashore one of my crewmen became ill 😦 so we had to abandon our visit 😦 strangely enough he seemed to recover once back in the boat and the threat of actually walking anywhere receded 🙂

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The fast ebbing tide meant a row through the Eilean Tigh gap rather than use the engine but we took the long way around Fladda, easily beating the catamaran ‘Jacquie B’ into Loch Arnish,


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where we caught a lovely ‘berried’ female that went straight back,

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just look at that growth on her tail.

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Next creel revealed a young male that also went back,

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but pot number three had two fine girls in it, one which went to our neighbours at Torran and one which is going to get cooked in red wine and brandy 🙂

The chicken run

The rest of our pots revealed little other than a few velvets, a scattering of brown crab and a couple of five bearded rockling all of which went back in the sea, but it certainly seemed like the salt bait was working 🙂 With the weather this good and me in the mood for going back to check out the ruin we left the Pioner on the beach and decided to haul her out on the evening tide. Home in time for a lunch of crab and tomato sandwiches I then drove down to the village to pick up some security fencing that I’d been given a couple of years ago. a task that took longer than expected.

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Giving me only a couple of hours to convert an old ruin behind the house into a chicken run.

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Still it is amazing what you can achieve with four bits of fence, one old telegraph pole and three sheets of corrugated iron 🙂 This is just to keep them in for a week whilst we worm them, normally our chickens have total free range and are not shut in at night.

After dinner we did return to the ruin but I’ll have to tell you about that tomorrow, it’s after 23:00 now and time for bed 🙂

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