Life at the end of the road

April 30, 2011

Almost a success :-(

Filed under: animals, boats, daily doings, hydro, Land Rover, life off grid, the disaster thread — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:51 pm

I never finished last nights effort because it had been a long and exciting day, and judging by the way I feel right now I’ll probably not finish tonight’s 🙂 Still, I’ll have a go at picking up where I left off, which if I remember rightly was just heading down the west side of Raasay aboard the PS Waverley, a short history of which can be found here .


This is a picture off the above website of her being launched at A&J Inglis’s yard on the Clyde in 1946.

With the incoming tide sweeping us southwards we were well ahead of schedule so the captain took time to hug the steep shore of Loch a Sgurr before skirting around the little island west of Fladda called Grian a Sgier (the sunny skerry).


Map picture


Now the home to many birds including terns, gulls, oyster catchers and even the odd goose Grian a Sgier was once used to graze ‘sow mouth’ sheep during the summer. Sow mouth being a condition where the lower jaw protrudes further out than the upper meaning the sheep cannot eat the coarse grass and heather so well.

It is very aptly named, for often when all around is in cloud or rain Grian a Sgier is bathed in sunlight, something I’ve witnessed myself on many occasions.

Our next minor detour was into my ‘home port’ of Loch Arnish for a look at ‘Calum’s road’

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and even Calum’s house,


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though you can only see the roof and chimneys 🙂

Calum's house

We did however get a good view of the western end of ‘Rainey’s wall’ at Tarbert.

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The rugged red gneiss of the north soon gave way to the gentle slopes south of Inver and all too soon we were expertly moored to the Raasay pier.




Back to reality 🙂

After almost two days of none croft related doings I arrived home at my beloved Arnish around 16:00 and wasted no time in getting ‘stuck in’

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stuck into to replacing the duff batteries on my ‘beloved’ that is 🙂

I know, I’m really sad when I get excited about changing batteries on my truck but me and the ‘Old girl’ have been through a lot together and I like to take good care of her. Unable to get another pair of ‘Exide Maxxima’ batteries delivered for a reasonable price I’d opted for a couple of ‘Optima’s’ from Paddock’s . With enough lights to illuminate the north end of Raasay and a 9500lb winch that can draw 200 amps without breaking sweat I need good batteries and these ‘Spiral wound AGM’s’ are the dogs danglies

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Of course with most things in life, and just about everything connected to my Land Rover this simple operation took me several hours 🙂

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Right up to sunset in fact 🙂


Unusually for me I didn’t surface until after 7:00am, even more unusually I was not the first up on what turned out to be the hottest day of the year so far, a full 19.9 degrees in fact at 15:00 🙂 With roof and house still in need of painting I opted to leave that and get on with sorting out a ‘back up’ water supply for my mates ‘Harris turbine’ at . The Harris hydro turbine performs faultlessly for over 95% of the year drawing water from a 600m long pipe from Loch nan Dubhan over 100m above sea level. However during the dry spells it can get a little iffy so over the last few months we’ve been laying an extra supply to the much higher and deeper Loch Airgh na ha-Aon Oidhce (loch of the one night shieling).

This means almost an extra 400m of pipe and 20m of head but should maintain a year round reliable supply to the house.

Most of the UPVC pipe had been laid and glued so it was just a matter of attaching it to the MDPE pipe and teeing into the existing pipe with a couple of valve to isolate each supply. A simple task were it not for the remote and inaccessible location high above Torran.

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First job was to make a filter for the end that would go in the loch,

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then assemble ‘the team’, Charlie, Molly, Ruby and my boys pal.

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It’s a long trek up there, a mile on the quad then a half mile hike but pretty soon we had the new pipes teed up,

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then I coupled up the final joint between the UPVC and MDPE, leaving the glue to set whilst we went home for more couplings and forgotten tools 😦

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Returning after lunch Ruby assisted with inserting the pipe and filter in the loch 🙂

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The four month old Charlie however had to be carried back 🙂

Once all the pipe was connected and the water flowing we shut off the supply tom the turbine and opened the one into Loch nan Dubhan.

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The idea behind this being to bleed the pipe of air as well as ‘back flush’ the intake filter from the lower loch, a plan that worked a treat.

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All would have been well had it not not been for a burst in one of the UPVC pipes about half way up to the higher loch :-(  Further investigation revealed that the pipe had been damaged prior to fitting so we removed the inlet from the loch and called it a day. 



  1. Hi Paul,thanks for the great pics of the Raasay circuit,the east and west coastlines are so different.I remember walking part of the east coast when living on Raasay.The old field system is most impressive.Good to see the seaward berth getting more use on the new pier.All the best,Andy.

    Comment by Andy — May 1, 2011 @ 3:26 pm

    • Morning Andy,

      yes it’s really good to the place getting used, can’t believe that it took over sixty years of arguing to get a new pier on an island 😦

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 3, 2011 @ 6:07 am

  2. see that you’re getting as good as weather as us in sheffield. waiting for the storms?

    Comment by Shaun — May 1, 2011 @ 7:05 pm

    • Morning Shaun in Sheffield,

      could do with a storm to fill the blades of my wind turbine 🙂 actually I’m waiting for the midge 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 3, 2011 @ 6:09 am

  3. Hi Paul

    The Waverley trip looked fantastic. I was planning to be there, but a last minute change plan meant we spent a long weekend enjoying the sunshine on the Clyde.
    I am surprised by your pictures, this must be the first time in years you have been photographed without the Calmac overalls on!!

    Can I shamelessly plug something about my recent Ailsa Craig trip (there is a loose Waverley link, as she often cruises round it) I am on the front page of this months Travel Photographers website enjoying the summit.

    Comment by Simon — May 2, 2011 @ 7:22 pm

    • Plug away Simon 🙂 aye your right there matey, it’s not often I’m without overalls 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 3, 2011 @ 6:19 am

  4. Oops, that should have been

    Comment by Simon — May 2, 2011 @ 7:23 pm

  5. Oh Charlie’s neat, Charlie’s sweet
    Charlie is a dandy

    And every time he goes to town
    He brings me sugar candy

    I don’t want none of your weevilly wheat
    Don’t want none of your barley
    Just take some flour and in half an hour
    You’ll bake a cake for Charlie

    Comment by jeannette — May 2, 2011 @ 10:13 pm

    • Good morning Jeannette,

      Charlie is the new name for Biff and what a little cracker he’s turned out to be, I am as you know not a ‘dog person’ 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 3, 2011 @ 6:23 am

  6. Will phone you later

    Comment by sotw — May 3, 2011 @ 1:21 am

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