Life at the end of the road

September 27, 2010

Getting in a flap

Filed under: boats, daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:51 pm

Now don’t laugh all you regular travellers on the good ship Loch Striven but I’ve actually broke out in a sweat today 🙂 It’s just been one of those days where you want to do things, probably the moon, planets or lay lines were all joined together, whatever it was it started early, very early in fact, 4:15 am to be precise, for that’s when I got up 😦 I’d been awake for ages and could not sleep so I arose and plonked away on here for a couple of hours before eagerly heading for work. I say eagerly because it promised to be a pure ‘peach’ ( there’s that word again ) of a day and as I’d spent a good deal of the week down below I wanted to make the most of it.

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And yes I know the horizon is squint but so was the picnic table that I rested my camera on to take it and I don’t have a spirit level on my camera. I know I can flip it but it’s late and much easier to tilt my head 🙂 Anyway that’s the Applecross peninsula and the Crowlin islands across the water.

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Taken from ‘Calum’s cairn’ just north of Brochel at the start of his amazing road that leads to Arnish.

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As I was early for work I stopped and took some photos from the roof of the Land Rover of the back of Raasay house, that fine 18th century mansion that was tragically destroyed by fire in January 2009. It was good to see some roof trusses on the east wing at last.

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This is what it looked like at 2:00am on that fateful night and I  know the picture is cr4p but I was rushing to go and start up the ferry to fetch reinforcements for Raasay’s overwhelmed fire crew, who despite intense heat had managed to prevent the fire spreading to the west wing.

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As you can see in this picture taken a week later the west wing is virtually unscathed.

Anyway, as it was such a nice and calm day I decided to spend most of it adjusting the ‘finger flaps’ on the forward ramp that had drooped somewhat recently. These six steel flaps on each ramp are held on by large 36mm high tensile bolts.

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These bolts require removing periodically, cleaning up and re threading with a ‘die nut’ so the flaps can be adjusted to the correct height.

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It requires very large spanners a safety harness and lots of effort

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but on a day like today it was a pure joy to be up there

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and see some of the sights 🙂

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Like the Raasay house sgoth and this crane leaving.

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My old friend ‘The Storr’ 10 miles or so to the north,

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and Raasay’s very own volcanic plug Dun Caan illuminated in the dying sun 🙂

All the hard work had made the day fly by and before I knew it the last sailing was done and it was time to secure ourselves to Scotland and head home.

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And it was a pure joy to see a working fishing boat tied up alongside a Raasay pier for the night, I don’t think that has happened since I traded in my life on board the Conqueror some eight or nine years ago.

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It’s not often I miss my fishing days but today really was a perfect day for clam diving 🙂


  1. Another lovely day on the island by the look of things. A perfect Autumn day in the Western Isles. We lived in Connista, (Kilmaluig) in the late ’70s (indeed, our daughter was born there – or, rather, in Raigmore due to the terrible fear of Island births back then! Has it changed, I wonder?). Back then, we had wonderful, welcoming and helpful neighbours – Annie & Donald Budge (no doubt both sadly long gone). We have been living in northern Sweden – a few hundred kilometers from the Arctic Circle – fro the past 4-5 years. Weather can be extreme but Auroras etc., help make up for the dark, cold (-38) winter months. Having discovered the daily pleasure of your blog, Paul, I’m increasingly drawn to return to the Isles. Aye, the nights might be fair drawing in, but the beauty stays in the heart, I think! Best, Iain.

    Comment by Iain — September 27, 2010 @ 10:41 pm

    • Hi Iain,

      It was indeed a bonny day. When you were in Connista during the late 70s if you ever saw any divers repeatedly diving at the north side of Kilmaluag bay, then that would be me and my mate on an old wreck there from which he recovered the prop and a fine lamp. I seem to remember lifting a few bronze valves and bizarrely loads of hand gun ammunition.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 28, 2010 @ 4:50 pm

  2. Almost forgot to say: I also remember Applecross well. When I was a lad, I spent a month (I think, with a hazy, ageing memory) on an outward bound course there based on (again, I think) the Wills fag family estate. Unforgettable experience. Wonderful wildlife, magnificent scenery and wild weather!

    Comment by Iain — September 27, 2010 @ 11:01 pm

  3. Ah, So that’s what you were doing up on the bow door. I must admit I was slightly worried as my car was (almost) underneath where you were working ;). I didn’t notice the safety harness ;). Seriously though, I think we picked the best weekend of the year to come up tidy the garden.
    I must say I was very impressed with the new pier, although £12 million still seems like a lot of money for it.

    Comment by Derek — September 28, 2010 @ 3:35 pm

    • Think you need glasses Derek 🙂

      safety harness, hard hat, steel toe caps, ear defenders, vinyl and leather gloves, personal radio, gas detector, hi viz vest worn and risk assessment done before I even got near the ramp 🙂

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 28, 2010 @ 4:57 pm

      • Sorry,I stand corrected :)Health and Safety ruins(I mean runs) all our lives it seems.

        Comment by Derek — September 28, 2010 @ 8:04 pm

  4. What a beautiful day you have had. My trip up that way last weekend was a bit wetter. Not fair!

    Comment by Simon — September 28, 2010 @ 3:55 pm

    • Not so nice today Simon 😦 so don’t feel so bad 🙂

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 28, 2010 @ 4:58 pm

  5. Hi Paul
    Sending this from Eyre on my mobile with a dodgy signal. Did you see the 2 Norwegian fishing boats yesyterday and day before? What were they doing?
    Enjoy your week off. Will be walking from Arnish northwards tomorrow or Thursday.

    Comment by Sue — September 28, 2010 @ 5:21 pm

    • Hi Sue,

      most likely the Ronja Commander and Ronja Pioneer two Norwegian ‘well boats’ that service the fish farms, probably harvesting salmon. Enjoy your holiday, I’ve got an extra day to work 😦

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 28, 2010 @ 7:30 pm

  6. Brilliant pics again today, and what a great dive boat Conquerer is.
    Just dicovered Danny MacAskill came from Dunvegan on Skye.
    Whata guy !!!!

    Comment by chrisb — September 28, 2010 @ 9:34 pm

  7. Do ypou carry your camera around 24/24–7/7?? I’m jealous. when I see something nice whilst walking the dog I think”if only I had the camera”and when I take the dashed thing,what do I see? nothing worth taking:thanks for sharing these beautiful shots,taddoe

    Comment by frogsaint — September 29, 2010 @ 7:36 am

    • Hi Taddoe, or should I say Saint Frog now 🙂

      aye the camera goes everywhere from the ships bilges to the mountain tops 🙂 I rubbish at taking pictures, it’s inevitable some are good cos I take so many 🙂

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 2, 2010 @ 5:52 am

  8. Hi Paul, I found your blog the day of the Raasay House fire through the BBC website. I enjoy reading and seeing the pictures you post. The scenery is amazing.Thank you so much for sharing your island.

    Comment by Lu Nelson — September 29, 2010 @ 3:39 pm

    • Good morning Lu and welcome aboard,

      glad you’re enjoying the blog, I’ll try and keep it up 🙂

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 2, 2010 @ 5:53 am

  9. Yes – noticed your LR at the pier today! Bad luck. They were those boats you mentioned – thanks for the info.
    Went up to Arnish this pm – wonderful weather. Came nearly eyeball close to a Soay sheep, said hello to your alarm clock who was on the road by the parking space and admired the pipes on the way to Torran and Fladda.

    Comment by Sue — September 29, 2010 @ 4:20 pm

    • Good morning Eyre 🙂

      sounds like you everything but the pigs Sue 🙂

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 2, 2010 @ 5:55 am

  10. Hi Paul
    Lovely photo of moon . I took a similar one the other evening of moon rising over Raasay. I see you are now famous on the front of this weeks Free Press!

    Why did I think that little job was too difficult for me to do. Lack of confidence I suppose. Anyway wind thingy with cups is now flying so we shall see whether it makes any difference……

    Comment by Angela — September 30, 2010 @ 4:35 pm

    • Morning Angela and well done,

      Hope you get some decent data now. Aye that ‘Free Press’ article was a bit of a surprise 🙂

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 2, 2010 @ 6:03 am

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