Life at the end of the road

May 1, 2011

Raasay’s red caves

Filed under: daily doings, hydro, stonework — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:31 pm

Probably as a result of a light air of north west wind during the afternoon it’s not been as hot today, though you wouldn’t have known it unless you looked at a thermometer. Indeed the early morning felt much warmer and was a fitting beginning to this, my favourite month, and I don’t say that because I’m a Taurus. May often rivals or even beats June for hours of sunshine on the west coast, the bracken has yet to get a grip and smother everything and the midge is still pretty thin on the ground. Add to that summer opening hours for everything, a brief lull in the tourists after Easter and no Italian campervans clogging up the roads and you have the perfect month.

It was a perfect day for painting the house but I’d three boys to amuse and a hydro turbine to repair, or at least it’s leaky penstock.


300411 034

The leak would be quite straight forward to fix by inserting a new length of pipe but I did need to make up a double ended female adapter. Luckily the 2” ‘Polypipe’ UPVC ducting fits inside the 63mm MDPE water pipe with a little persuasion or drop of boiling water.


300411 036

There was already spare pipe up at the high, and legend has it haunted loch so it was just a matter of a few tools and the solvent cement for the UPVC.

010511 001

It’s a bit of a trek up there but the first mile or so is by quad up the track towards Kyle Rona and the boys love it,

010511 008

so does Charlie, one of Molly’s pups who’s come to visit 🙂

010511 007

Once the pipe was repaired we left it for 15mins for the PVC cement to set before putting the pipe back in the loch. This normally dark and spooky loch was exceptionally clear today so I used the time to walk around and look for my mates railway sleeper 🙂


Map picture

Over forty years ago a good friend of mine who lived at Torran found a railway sleeper washed ashore at the Coul port (back port). Thinking that it would make a fine boat they dragged it almost a mile up to the loch which is steep and inaccessible to say the least. How long it took him and his pals I do not know but it must have been quite an effort, imagine the look on their faces when they got it up there and it sank 😦 Still, I’m sure it was a good lesson in physics for them and they’ll never forget now that sea water is more buoyant than fresh 🙂

  300411 022 300411 023

These pictures were taken yesterday whilst the Harris turbine was feeding from the lower loch on a 4mm nozzle, just over 14bar of dynamic head and 12amps at 28v (around 330w)

010511 010 010511 009

Here it is today on the same nozzle producing 18amps (around 500w) at well over 16bar if that gauge is to be believed. As each bar equates to 9m of head then I make the altitude of the loch 144m above the turbine. At almost a kilometre of pipe that is a serious hydro scheme 🙂

And all that was before breakfast 🙂

The ‘red caves’

For the first few years that I lived on Raasay I spent little time at the south end and apart from the bi weekly visits of ‘Alan the post’ saw little of its inhabitants, my main contacts being with other fishermen from Portree who may well call things by different names. The cliffs of the east side south of Brochel I’ve always known as ‘The White Face’, Kyle Rona ‘The Blind Sound’ and the caves south of Manish point ‘The Red Caves’. They may well be known as something different locally but today I took the boys out in the boat to go and explore them.


Our first port of call being


Map picture

just here and you can still clearly see the long abandoned lazy beds of Manish Beg at the bottom centre of the map.

010511 012

Just south of the ‘pushpin’ is this wall,

010511 015

made from the stones thrown up by the sea it looks like it was used to drive stock towards the shore, perhaps to a waiting boat.

010511 017

East and right of that but clearly visible is a drain cut through the stones to let water away from the fertile land behind.

010511 018

Not that obvious in the picture but the old fields are clearly visible.

010511 024

After a spot of lunch we continued southwards to admire some of the natural arches that abound in the Torridonian sandstone here.

010511 026

010511 034

This one having an old wall built within it.

010511 037

After that, and just a little further south is this magnificent sea cave, that had we been at half tide we could have sailed right through 🙂

010511 028

As it was we could only get the boat half way in before having to get out and walk.

010511 030




010511 032


010511 033

That was about it really, after exploring the cave we headed back home and I spent the rest of the day mowing the lawn and scraping paint off the roof 😦

Create a free website or blog at