The planets must have all been lined up today, at least here at the north end, because it has just been one of those days where everything has gone right, better than right in fact. Well apart from not actually knowing what time it was and having a very confused stomach. My doctor says I have a perfect body mass index, which if you knew what I ate you’d find it hard to believe. My whole day revolves around my stomach which gets regular attention every three hours and this moving the clocks carry on puts me all wrong for weeks 😦
Anyway, the day got off to a fine start, not much wind and dry, which was just as well because the first job was to dose the sheep for worms. I’ll rephrase that, the first job was to attempt to catch the sheep and dose them for worms. We got these Soay sheep some years ago on the understanding that they were ‘low maintenance’, no shearing, immune to foot rot, easy to lamb and can survive off the most meagre of pasture. Well they must be if the came from St Kilda, how on earth they caught these mountaineering sheep on St Kilda is beyond me, they don’t respond to a dog and can climb better than most goats, perhaps that’s why they need little attention, nobody could catch them 🙂
If I said that it went smoothly I’d be lying but it went far smoother than normal due to the extra help from my boy’s two pals. We normally drive them down a long narrow fenced roadway into a pen with VERY high sides but over the years they’ve got wise to it and every time it becomes just a little harder. However two extra hands made all the difference and we only lost one who climbed a wall about 5’ high and scrambled along it to safety, something you had to witness to believe. You could say that we actually started this job a few days ago because that’s when we started lulling them into a false sense of security be feeding them in the catchment area, and we only did it today because the sheep that was destined for the table turned up as well 🙂 Squinty and her cousin have hardly been near the croft since I decided to butcher them, still no sign of her but the wedder lamb who also had a bullet with his name on turned up today.
So once we’d dosed them all (apart from him) I let the others out and shot him at point blank range through the head, right between the eyes. Sheep have very small brains so it’s quite important to get it right, the last thing you want is an injured and suffering animal running about the place. It sounds cruel and harsh but this chap has had a happy and stress free life up here right until the moment he died. No hours in a lorry followed by a wait in a slaughter house with the sound and smell of death all around him, no, all this chap has ever known is the sweet heather of Arnish.
So please, if you’re vegetarian or of a weak disposition don’t click on the two images below.
With my eager apprentices we soon had him up on a block and tackle and his guts out, though were not so keen to join me in fried lambs heart and kidney for breakfast number two 🙂
Bringing in the creels
With November on the doorstep and winter at the garden gate it was time to bring in the remaining lobster pots and ‘winterise’ the boat, and today was the perfect day for it. The depression that had been feeding us with power over the last few days was now on Norway’s shores and had left in its wake some light westerly’s and patches of blue 🙂 So suitably fortified we set off for the shore and my mate’s Pioner Maxi.
Marvelling at the autumn hues as we sailed westwards past the old ‘mission’ where John Nicolson of ‘I remember’ memoirs of the north end of Raaay by John Nicolson lived as a child.
We only got a few hundred yards before spotting some ‘treasure’ on the shore, and there is nothing quite like a Pioner for beachcombing, it’s virtually indestructible plastic hull making it truly ‘rockproof’. The booty turned out to be a rather large but rotten piece of timber but our foray ashore did turn up three large trawl floats.
The first creel returned a lovely ‘berried’ female which went straight back
and the second had two monster males in and a large brown crab 🙂
That’s the large one who won the fight next to my size nine wellie
and that’s the ‘small’ one on the kitchen table, his claw is 9” long and came off in the scrap 😦
The large one has gone back to sea in a ‘store creel’ ready for Christmas 🙂
The rest of our time at sea was not so profitable but we got all the creels ashore to dry out ready for next year,
flushed out the engine, emptied the fuel, cleaned out the boat, sprayed everything with WD40, lashed it all down for winter and still got home for lunch 🙂
After a good helping of last nights macaroni cheese we spent the rest of the day moving rocks before I had to deposit pal number one back down at the south end and recover my boy.
Many people say to me ‘I don’t know how you can drive up and down that road every day’,
what can I say 🙂
The clock may only say 21:00 but my body is telling me it’s time for bed so I’ll just leave you with the weather,
which by recent standards has been rather boring 🙂