Life at the end of the road

March 14, 2011

A great asset

Filed under: boats, daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:20 pm

Probably one of my earliest recollections of Raasay apart from Dun Caan is Donald Macleod’s shed 🙂 Typical of a guy really, not Raasay House, Brochel castle or even the battery with its hideous mermaids but a block built shed with a blue wave, anchor and propeller painted on it. I suppose it was pretty new when I first noticed it in the early 1980s as I plied up and down the sound in search of scallops. Little did I realize then that I’d spend over twenty two years of my life on that long thin island and come to rely so much on the man that worked from that very shed.

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raasay engineer

Donald’s bread and butter was his famous ‘Macleod Hauler’, used by fishermen from Campbeltown to the Caribbean to haul anything from fishing nets to lobster pots. He would and could however turn his hand to anything, from repairing a waterwheel to making a washer no job seemed to large or small for him. He built me a custom hauler for my first fishing boat, got numerous things galvanized on the ‘Old Girl’ for me and has been the islands supplier of gas for as long as I can remember.

I’ve no idea how old Donald is for, as like many Raasay men he carries his years well and is still as strong as an ox, well he would be after moving all those gas cylinders wouldn’t he 🙂 Anyway he’s easing himself into retirement right now (not that you’d notice) and has sold his business to Simon Whitehead from ‘way down souf’ 🙂 Simon has an engineering background and is continuing the good work that Donald started and his range of hydraulic haulers.

He’s just got a whole new website up and running at

raasay engineering

and today he came down to the good ship Loch Striven to do a wee job on the aft windlass.

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Actually he’d phoned me up on the misapprehension that I was a good photographer and asked me if I could take some pictures of Donald and he for an ‘official handover’ kind of thing.  As the clutch handle on the aft windless was in need of some welding I asked him to come down to the ferry at 12:00 when we lie on the slip.


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I took the photographs and Simon took the handle to repair it 🙂


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The handle was returned piping hot and good as new an hour later and is now residing in the engine room awaiting the paint to dry 🙂

Good luck Simon, and take it easy Donald 🙂

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The picture’s cr4p so don’t bother clicking on it, but that’s two sheep at Tarbert this morning at 6:30, 200 acres of grass and heather and these two woollies are grubbing about on the rocks 😦

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  1. Great to hear Raasay Engineering lives on. We wish Simon the very best in his venture on Raasay – best place in the world!
    Wonder if the sheep got a wash at the recent high tides !

    Comment by sotw — March 15, 2011 @ 6:50 am

    • Sheep safe and sound at Tarbert now She 🙂 I think it’s about time you took some Raasay mutton home for the freezer 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 16, 2011 @ 6:26 am

  2. Morning Paul

    It’s good to know about that wave=pained building – I have passed it so many times from the ferry to Eyre and wondered about it. Good also to hear about Raasay Engineering – good luck Simon!

    All the best from misty, murky Bacup.


    Comment by Sue — March 15, 2011 @ 8:13 am

    • Morning Bacup 🙂 aye Sue, Raasay would be a far remoter and poorer place were it not for Raasay Engineering, there’s many a time Donald has kept the ferry running on occasions that would have meant sending up an engineer from the mainland or even head office 200 miles away.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 16, 2011 @ 6:30 am

  3. We have Mr Troup locally, he also delivers the gas and has for years had the side line of light engineering.
    Those sheep are just as daft as some of the larger birds around my feeding area, spending ages pecking at the dead leaves and ignoring the stack of food placed out.

    Comment by Gary Brindle — March 15, 2011 @ 9:21 am

    • Good morning Gary,

      it’s refreshing to know that there are other Donald’s and Simon’s out in the sticks, also refreshing to hear that there is some creature just as dim as a woolly 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 16, 2011 @ 6:31 am

    • Good morning and welcome Lorenzo, ‘Thunderbirds are go’ made me laugh 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 16, 2011 @ 6:33 am

  4. Best of luck to Simon on his new venture.
    You and he will be the best of friends Paul 🙂

    Comment by Rienza — March 15, 2011 @ 9:15 pm

    • Good morning Rienza and Mick, was wondering where you were, the days are stretching and the open road beckons 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 16, 2011 @ 6:35 am

  5. Donald used to have one of the original Lister JP2 generating sets from Raasay house. IIRC it dated from around 1932 – i.e. early even for a JP2 !


    Comment by Ralph — March 15, 2011 @ 9:20 pm

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