Life at the end of the road

May 20, 2011

Back to the woolly jumper :-(

Filed under: animals, boats, daily doings, harbour, weather — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:12 pm

I should have put the woolly jumper back on days ago but I was determined not to wear it in May, well today I gave in. After yesterdays hail showers and the forecast of more to come I was taking no chances this morning after a particularly chilly Thursday. It was nice enough when I left the house a little early with my boys ‘Crosman King Ratcatcher’ in search of Sunday dinner, one can have a little too much pork you know and Bambi is well out of season 🙂

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Not very far from the house I shot dinner through the head and continued onto work with it in the spare wheel on the bonnet, try doing that in central London 🙂 I cannot sing the praises of this little CO2 gun highly enough and it’s provided us with many a good meal. It’s only good up to around 25yds but I can’t see much further than that anyway 🙂

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I knew it was going to be cold but I was still a little surprised to see fresh snow on the Cuilins almost three weeks into May 😦

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As, I’m sure were the passengers aboard the Lord of the Glen

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that was still tied up on the end of the pier.

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She could have been tied up in a Norwegian fjord 🙂

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The rest of the day was just one shower after another with spells of sunshine but little warmth in between.

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The ‘department bull’ came over at 11:30 to spend the next few weeks on Raasay serving all the cows, I dunno what sort he is but he certainly seemed content as I drove home eight hours later.

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The ‘Department bull’ is a service provided by SGRPID the Scottish Government Rural Payments and Inspectorate Division which is a reincarnation of the Department of Agriculture Food and Fisheries. For many years they have hired out a prize bull to small communities and crofters in the Highlands and Islands and there have been a few mishaps over the years. On one trip to the small island of Scalpay many years ago it jumped over the side of the boat and swam back to Skye 🙂 Famously a similar incident on Vatersay in 1986 resulted in the loss of Bernie the bull and a famous court case against the crofters transporting the bull at the time.

“During the 1900s the island became known mostly for rearing beef, and for lobster fishing. Cattle were transported to market by ferry from Castlebay, but they first had to swim the 250m Sound of Vatersay to Barra. In 1986 a prize bull called Bernie drowned while making the crossing, and long-standing calls for a fixed link to Barra increased.”

from with some pictures here of the victorious crofters who won their case


Today’s bull comes over in a trailer but it was not always so on Raasay 🙂

deartment bull 1993

Here’s how it was done in 1993 🙂 🙂 The elfin safety bods would have a flakey, many thanks to JA Gillies for sending me that photo and for Dr Crieghton for taking it.

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I know it’s pretty lame but it’s after 22:00 now and I’m needing my bed 😦

windchill 200511

Look at that, with the wind chill it barely got above 4 degrees all day 😦

graph 200511

weather 200511



  1. Hi Paul
    Ner cast a clout till May is out’ I think this one is still apt for the weather your having. Now I understand why your indoor heating is at 24 oC.

    Comment by politescouser — May 20, 2011 @ 9:38 pm

    • Yebut it’s the may tree (or rather it’s flowers) rather than May the month. See Paul’s blogs passim.

      As far as bovines are concerned, were the Hebrides and her two sisters (one of which is now the uberluxe Hebridean Princess) the last Cal-Mac boats built with cattle carrying incorporated in their design?

      Beef buls are usually pretty docile provided you don’t come between them and their hareem. dairy bulls on the other hand are known to be nutters, especially Jerseys.

      Comment by Phil Cook — May 21, 2011 @ 11:32 am

      • Hi Phill
        As a lad who’s mum was born in Middlesbrough and use to make reference to the month of May and I guess it was because of the local sayings as //
        There’s an explicit mention of the month in the version of the rhyme from F. K. Robertson’s Whitby Gazette, 1855:

        The wind at North and East
        Was never good for man nor beast
        So never think to cast a clout
        Until the month of May be out

        Wise words for the North Sea-facing Whitby, which can’t match Seville and can be icy cold even in mid-summer.

        All in all, although the May blossom interpretation seems appealing, the ‘May’ in this proverb is the month of May.

        Comment by politescouser — May 21, 2011 @ 10:22 pm

      • Morning Walter,

        probably FK Robertson’s version makes far more sense in Whitby 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 22, 2011 @ 7:19 am

  2. Hi Paul

    I could be doing with one of these Crosman Ratcatchers to get rid of some pigeons (flying rats!)in the loading bay at work. It’s probably against the law to shoot them but they are fithy creatures :-/

    Comment by Derek — May 20, 2011 @ 9:46 pm

    • Hi Derek
      Here is a link that can help you or deter you. I agree with you and the same for Grey Squirrels.

      Comment by politescouser — May 20, 2011 @ 10:01 pm

      • Hi PS

        Thanks for that link it made very interesting reading. I will check the price of an air rifle online 😉

        Comment by Derek — May 21, 2011 @ 1:27 pm

  3. Sorry about the weather; it’s all my fault as I started making solar warm air collector inspired by April’s sunshine.

    Comment by Ed — May 21, 2011 @ 11:28 am

    • Morning Ed,

      how about starting to make a hydro turbine, then perhaps it will stop raining 🙂 well that’s if your still there that is, I thought the world was about to end 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 22, 2011 @ 7:14 am

  4. DAFS black Aberdeen Angus bulls caused human injuries in the past at Raasay /Portree piers. They had to walk up/down the wooden gangway like the other passengers..wonder if they were driven mad by seasickness – the sail from Kyle of Lochalsh could be interesting at times….

    Comment by sotw — May 21, 2011 @ 7:22 pm

  5. What the bloody hell is going on here, bringing a bloody bull to an island. Has nobody ever heard of AI it is called artificial insemination.You don’t need a bloody vet to do it you need a long rubber glove that reaches well above the elbow a tank of liquid nitrogen for storing the frozen semen a type of syringe and and a plastic tube. I learned the technique twenty years ago from the lad who came round to do it on my father in laws farm. I learned it out of curiosity as the E.U. in there wisdom had cut back the milk quota for his herd. My father in law started to cross his milking herd with beef bulls to try and make a little extra money producing beef, bit like putting a great Dane dog on a Yorkshire terrier bitch. I have lost count the no. of times I have had to get up in the middle of the night to help the vet perform a caesarian. The secret is to wear safety shoes when you are pushing them against the cowshed wall some of the vets go a little too easy on the local anaesthetic, and the cows can get a little bit irritated when he makes the incision and the have a tendency to kick

    Comment by Yorkshire Miner — May 21, 2011 @ 9:04 pm

    • There was a chap tried the AI for a while Dave, even got a grant for all the stuff but it never caught on and is far less interesting 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 22, 2011 @ 7:16 am

  6. Paul Thanks for mentioning Lord of the Glen. I’m going to check it out hadn’t heard of it before butsounds my cuo of tea.

    Comment by eileen scott — May 21, 2011 @ 9:49 pm

  7. Yorkshire Miner … why are you trying to deprive the poor bull of all his fun … as a man I thought you would have applauded the hard task ahead of him

    Comment by carina — May 22, 2011 @ 2:29 am

  8. Carina personally I would have thought it was better all round. The prize bulls spend most of there days mounting a artificial cows so I can’t see how they miss out, and you tend to have your arm up the cows bum longer that a bull takes to service a cow so you are not like the bull a wham bam thank you mam

    Comment by Yorkshire Miner — May 22, 2011 @ 7:30 am

    • 🙂 🙂

      “Carina personally I would have thought it was better all round. The prize bulls spend most of there days mounting a artificial cows so I can’t see how they miss out, and you tend to have your arm up the cows bum longer that a bull takes to service a cow so you are not like the bull a wham bam thank you mam”

      Cheers for that Dave

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 23, 2011 @ 5:04 am

  9. No sign of the fabled “worst British drought since 1976” here, either. Heavy rain and/or hail several times a day for the past fortnight or so. Several decent squalls swept over today’s rugby tournament, dumping torrents of rain and a good lashing of hail on all. A slippery ball and a greasy pitch always make things more interesting, but the Wee ‘Un did make it across for two tries. 😀

    Comment by Stonehead — May 22, 2011 @ 4:40 pm

    • Good morning Stoney,

      I remember that drought well but I wonder if it was the same as this one insomuch as it was a very English one 🙂 Like the summer floods of a few years ago when we were basking in sunshine.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 23, 2011 @ 5:10 am

  10. your pictures every day of raasay and its life in all weathers sometimes just bring tears to my eyes, dunno why. the beauty — of the department bull sitting so peacefully in the sunshine, in such a beautiful field, with the grass (?) blowing in the wind and the water and the gloaming and the mountain behind. it’s a good old world. sometimes i need reminding. thank you.

    Comment by jeannette — May 23, 2011 @ 12:28 am

    • That is a very contented looking bull Jeannette, love Walt’s song 🙂

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 23, 2011 @ 5:12 am

  11. From “Song of Myself”
    By Walt Whitman

    I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and
    I stand and look at them long and long.

    They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
    They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
    They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
    Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of
    owning things,
    Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of
    years ago,
    Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.

    Comment by jeannette — May 23, 2011 @ 12:30 am

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