Life at the end of the road

May 29, 2011

Looking at the lochs

Filed under: daily doings, hydro, pigs, weather — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:01 am

I apologize profusely to all those people that I’ve been telling to visit the west coast in May, and it’s rather a lot because I’ve been saying to for thirty years. I don’t have hard and fast data but I do have diaries and log books going back to 1976 and can say with some certainty that this is the worst May that I’ve ever experienced :-( 

graph 280511

The actual figures are pretty meaningless as my rain gauge has never worked right but you can clearly see that it’s rained every day since the 5th of May 😦

This morning however, like yesterday it was dry and I was up early to do some ‘pig juggling’. We were actually supposed to be delivering Bracken to a customer on Skye today but she’d phoned last night with second thoughts and cancelled. Not a problem because taking on a pregnant sow is a big commitment and I’d rather hang on to her than see her go to someone who was not fully prepared for looking after her and her brood.

So the first job was to move the Tamworth sow onto fresh ground as I’d just put her in a small enclosure for the night.

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Taking her out via the rear of the croft we called at my neighbours for a few empties to finish off the path in wifey’s garden 🙂 Bracken knew the way so we let her lead 🙂

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Once in the field she quite happily munched away and we went in for ‘second breakfast’ 🙂

Sunday morning

Sorry, I fell asleep there, it’s now 6:30am, seven hours later and I’m feeling fully refreshed 🙂 Anyway, up until around three weeks ago we actually had a bit of a drought so after breakfast yesterday we went to have a look at all the wee lochs that supply our various hydro turbines. The level on these had gone down towards the end of April so it would be interesting to see if they had yet recovered.

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Our first port of call was the hollow high above Torran that holds the dark shallow and muddy Loch nan Dubhan that supplies both power and water to the ‘Old Schoolhouse’ at Torran .

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This rocky windswept and remote area of Raasay that is now watched over by golden eagles was once a hive of activity, if all the ruins, walls, and old peat cuttings are anything to go by. The virtually treeless rocky escarpment may seem a little bleak but closer inspection reveals many tiny flowers, stunted juniper clinging to the rocks like a carpet and of course the birds and wildlife.


Map picture

The first loch was well and truly overflowing,

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that blue pipe usually being visible at this time of year.

When I first started looking at this loch a few years ago a friend who’d lived here many years ago as a child said to me, that’ll be the loch that’s full of leaches. I can’t say that I’m a fan of of leaches and I have been in this loch several times without seeing any. I was beginning to think it an old wives tale until my last visit some weeks ago to connect another pipe to the higher loch.

The drain that the blue pipe follows as it exits the loch was full of leaches 😦 I will not be so keen now to go back in this loch to clean the filter 🙂 It may be pretty barren up there but in a few weeks this loch will be covered in water lilies 🙂

Next stop was the dark deep and round spooky loch that boasts an unpronounceable name that translates as ‘The loch of the one night shieling’ or Loch Airigh na-h Aon Oidchie or something like that. Again when I consulted my local friend he informed me, that’ll be the one with the red throated diver on it. Again, I’ve been up here loads of times and never seen one, today however my luck was in though the camera was not  out quickly enough and the bird that had been floating on the loch flew off to distract us away from the nearby chicks.


Photograph by Chris Rodger and lifted from

I say nearby chicks because my companion could here them though we never actually saw them or their mother as we had to run for shelter at the onslaught of a nasty hail shower.

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Once the shower had cleared we headed north west towards that loch at the top of the map who’s name I know not. It’s more of a large deep bog than a loch but I was surprised to find what at first appeared to be a road there.

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It’s not a road for it goes nowhere, but neither is it a wall, it is however clearly man made with stones piled up to form a flat wide surface some twenty or thirty meters in length and slightly curved around the rock.

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There are some fine views from up here 🙂


Returning home for lunch I was unable to persuade my son and his friend back outside afterwards,  hardly surprising really for it was pretty grim in the frequent downpours. Molly however needed no coaxing, indeed I could not persuade her to stay so off we went towards Brochel on the quad.

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To Loch Beag infact, which I’m hoping will go a long way towards powering our new house. Whilst not actually producing any power at the moment, I do have a pipe in it extracting 3lts per second just to asses the feasibility.

Two weeks ago at the end of the drought it was down about 5” but now it’s well up again 🙂

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Here’s Fladda, just behind Aird Torran in the foreground with Eilean Tighe in the background.

Anyway it’s almost 8:00am now and the pigs will be getting hungry, true to form it’s pishing with rain yet again but I better go and feed them.


  1. Hi Paul

    Shame about the wash-out May – in nearly all of the years over the past 30 that I have been coming to Raasay it has been May, and most of those times there was sun and warmth with only some rain and wind. At least it has replenished the water supply. I just hope that June is better.



    Comment by Sue — May 29, 2011 @ 8:37 am

    • Morning Sue from a very warm and dry Arnish 🙂 fingers crossed for a proper June 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 30, 2011 @ 5:59 am

  2. We’re coming up to Knoydart and Skye in July so I’m hoping the weather improves by then!

    Comment by Rachel — May 29, 2011 @ 8:48 am

    • Good morning Rachel,

      I’m sure the weather will improve by then, it can only improve, it could not possibly be any worse 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 30, 2011 @ 6:01 am

  3. Hi Paul.
    Been going to Loch Etive, Taynuilt for the last 10 years around the 18th of May and have always found the weather mixed more to the sunnier side than rainy, the winds were more of a problem.For the last three years I’ve also visited Etive in Late June and find this more settled but the “midges can be a killer” when fishing from the shore of the loch. But I find Scotland welcoming no matter what the weather.

    Comment by politescouser — May 29, 2011 @ 6:09 pm

    • Morning Walter,

      sun blazing through the windows now and all is rosy 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 30, 2011 @ 6:07 am

  4. My tip is the first week of October for a visit to Scotland’s ‘wet’ coast. I’ve never failed to have at least two good days out of seven that time of year, schools are back and the midges are in decline. Avoid July unless its a spontaneous visit with a good forecast.

    Comment by Max — May 30, 2011 @ 7:54 pm

    • Aye Max, October can be good right enough 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 31, 2011 @ 5:50 am

  5. Two wheel barrows full of empties????
    Looks like you all have figured out a good pastime during the rain. Great green pictures Paul, very brown here, dry but brown and boring……..Tony

    Comment by Tony — May 31, 2011 @ 3:14 am

    • Good morning Arizona,

      could do with a little of the dry boring stuff right now Tony, been blowing a force seven all night with pishing rain since just after midnight, so much for the ‘change in the weather’ 😦

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 1, 2011 @ 5:03 am

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