Life at the end of the road

June 3, 2011

After the rain, the holes :-(

Filed under: boats, daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:15 pm

This is going to be a lightning quick post, it’s 20:45 and yours truly is knackered after actually doing some work today (for a change) 🙂 Seriously though I was up long before 5:00am with the sunshine streaming through the Velux and just raring to go. The lack of enthusiasm instilled in me after three weeks of wind and rain was a distant memory and I was ready to go 🙂 Probably years of being self employed doing  weather dependant work have conditioned me to being as high as a kite when the weather is good and as low as a snakes willy when the weather is bad 🙂 Whatever the reason, this morning I was bouncing 🙂

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Literally, I was bouncing down ‘Calum’s road’ in all the friggin pot holes left by three weeks of rain 😦 This particular bit has been submerged since the beginning of May and only now is the true extent of the damage visible 😦

To be fair to the council, they seem to have abandoned their policy of sending over one man in a very long and expensive pick truck to carry tar to and from Raasay in favour of doing a half decent job. This week they had the hot box over with a roller, a squad of guys and did some much needed repair work around the village. It was only for a couple of days and they barely scratched the surface, but with thousands of miles of roads to maintain on a diminishing budget it was a pretty good effort. Lets just hope they come back to sort these before they get much worse :-( 

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Now I’m not even going to attempt to spell the Gaelic name of the place where this is near but here it was just two days ago.

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Calum Don Mackay is attempting to teach me a Gaelic name a day for the landmarks on the way to Arnish but I think he’s going to be struggling 🙂 The hill just before this when you’re heading north is called ‘Beallach ( I got that bit, which means pass or hill) ruar ( which is probably spelt entirely differently) and means red or brown, which kind of makes sense because it’s a reddish brown Torridonian sandstone 🙂


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And here is the view north westwards from the ‘beallach’ towards Holm island and the white sandstone cliffs beyond. Legend has it that an old woman used to live on there, I dunno about that but it was a great place for scallops 🙂

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Here it is from the wheelhouse of my boat ‘Conqueror’ many years ago, the scallop shell bottom right is marked with average numbers of shells to meat ( 1lb = 13.3 scallops) , just behind that is the ‘lucky pencil’ and to the right, the large rubber for ‘BIG’ mistakes 🙂 Top left is an image of John William Waterhouse’s ‘Hylas and the nymphs’ that my skipper doctored on ‘photoshop’ 🙂 Happy days 🙂

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Here we are at the bottom of ‘Galme Brae’ looking towards Glamaig on Skye,


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and here’s coaster Fingal arriving around 7:30 am ready to load timber from Raasay.

The day at work was busy to say the least, not just with traffic but with a manic attempt to catch up on some of the painting work that had been made impossible by the cr4p weather.

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The good weather also brought with it a beautiful 1969 Mk III Triumph Spitfire all the way from Germany, I never owned a Spitfire but I did have it’s big brother the Triumph GT6, a far superior car to the more popular MGB GT. Mine too was a 1969 and I had a good chat with the owner of this one who also has a GT6 in Germany 🙂


Mine was just like this one from photo stream.

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Whilst both these cars are of a similar age the GT6 had the raised bumper to comply with US regulations, the Spitfire followed suit shortly after. The air vents on the wings of this one actually belong to the GT6 but only an ‘anorak’ or purist would know that 🙂

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The triple wiper blades and extra vents were not the only none standard thing about this little ‘English rose’, a pair of twin 40 ‘Dell Orto’s’ and a highly modified engine lurked under the bonnet 🙂



  1. I always thought the GT6 was an underated bit of Brit engineering with a gorgeous bit of body styling – a truly deserving classic. I remember servicing Spitfires kerbside in Glasgow as a lad/app mechanic for friends who ran them back then, and that high, notchy gearstick when testing them.

    Comment by Iain — June 3, 2011 @ 9:33 pm

    • Morning Iain,

      the old GT6 was indeed underrated and streets ahead of the MGB, an extra two cylinders, more power, much smoother, independent rear suspension, and a wooden dash 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 4, 2011 @ 5:12 am

  2. Everyone here on Lewis has been bouncy today with the sunshine today, it’s amazing the difference the sun makes and you don’t mind being woken up at 5AM.

    Absolutely wonderful car, I’ve always hankered after an old Triumph but never had the mechanical aptitude that would allow me to look after it.

    I think (but don’t quote me on this) the Gaelic spelling would be “Bealach Ruadh” but I’m quite likely wrong on this. (The other red I know of is dearg).

    One of the interesting things about Gaelic colours is that they’re named after natural colours rather than the rainbow so the colours do fit in with the natural landscape more than the usual English ones.
    (I put a list together some time ago here )

    Comment by Tony Giles — June 3, 2011 @ 10:11 pm

    • Morning Tony,

      I always wondered why the colours were named so, grey being confused with green and red with brown. That makes perfect sense for in the natural environment they often are.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 4, 2011 @ 5:15 am

  3. Back in the 70’s I used to have an MGB GT. Being a female, I didn’t (and still don’t) know anything about the mechanics of a car, but it was a great car to drive! Glad you’ve got some sunshine back. ‘fraid I won’t be coming up to the YH this year – I’m going to Canada for 6 weeks instead! Will miss Raasay though!

    Comment by francesp — June 4, 2011 @ 9:26 am

    • Morning Frances,

      sorry we’ll not be seeing you this year, that’s Graham away, wearing his road map 🙂 🙂

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 6, 2011 @ 4:58 am

  4. What a beaut, bet it sounded great!
    If/as/when we have sunny days, it’s not uncommon to see a good few Austin Healy 3000s round here there’s a car!
    Other rara aves include a couple of Daimler Darts, a VERY well sorted Mk 1 Cortina a la hot rod and an oldie Rolls rag top … all too breifly seen to ID it but lovely just the same!

    Comment by Mike — June 4, 2011 @ 2:42 pm

    • Morning Mike, it sounded so nice that I had to ask the owner if he had a 6 cylinder in it 🙂 The Austin Healy 3 litre, don’t you just miss the days when they used the same engines in saloon cars, tractors and trucks 🙂 and the old Lotus Cortina, there was a car, fell out of tune at the drop of a hat 🙂 Available in any colour you like so long as it’s white, the Mk I was far more appealing to look at than the MkII.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 6, 2011 @ 5:04 am

  5. Both the wife and I had Spitfires – beautiful to look at – but let’s be honest – absolute shite. The boot lids used to rust; there was always problems with the differentials rattling themselves to pieces and the handling was primative. It took Mazda to make a reliable budget 2 seater.

    Comment by Richard Barrett — June 4, 2011 @ 8:36 pm

    • Although I use a Honda CRV, which has been extraordinarily reliable – even in sub zero Sweden – I have no time for the copycat Nippon car industry. The old Spitfire was a bit of a bag of nails but the TR4 etc., were lovely cars. And Mike mentions the big 3 litre Healys – now there was a car! I had Sunbeam Rapiers and then Alvis, both enjoyable in their way. The engineering quality of the Alvis was superb and every bit as good as Bentley, in my view.

      Comment by Iain — June 4, 2011 @ 9:31 pm

      • Morning Iain,

        give me a TR4 over an MX any day but lets not kid ourselves here the Mazda will be more reliable, faster, more frugal, and it won’t leak oil 🙂

        Cheers, Paul

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 6, 2011 @ 5:15 am

    • Morning Richard,
      ” Both the wife and I had Spitfires – beautiful to look at – but let’s be honest – absolute shite. The boot lids used to rust; there was always problems with the differentials rattling themselves to pieces and the handling was primative. It took Mazda to make a reliable budget 2 seater. ”

      I could not have put it better myself and while you’re at it you could add motor cycles and 4X4s to the list 🙂

      Much as I love British bikes, cars and Land Rovers, it’s more about nostalgia for a bygone age than appreciation of the engineering and quality. We just had two beautiful old British bikes on the ferry that marked their territory with oil and one had to be pushed off 🙂 They may have had a combined age of around 140 but they’d have been just the same when new 🙂

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 6, 2011 @ 5:12 am

  6. Our local council appears to be trialling a one man pot hole patching lorry complete with a front mounted,belt fed tarmac dispenser.Met the thing on a narrow country lane recently and only twigged what it was doing, when I saw all the potholes behind it were freshly patched.Years ago an old boy down the road from us used to swear by the powers of topsoil for tarmac pot hole filling.It worked well until the stuff was tried on the M6 and grass started growing up the middle of the fast lane 🙂

    Comment by Andy — June 4, 2011 @ 9:35 pm

    • Sounds like a good idea Andy, no doubt designed to stop people from actually using something so physical as a shovel 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 6, 2011 @ 5:17 am

      • Hi everybody!
        just to let you know, it is our Spitfire, thank you Paul for emailing me the Blogadress! We`ve done 100000kms ( thats more than 60000 miles) the last ten years with the Spitfire and this , when we met Paul, was our Honeymoon :-)) we married in Oban a week before….. Your Islands are the most beautiful places we`ve ever seen, really great! Enjoy it as long as you can! Here in Germany everybody is too busy to have a look at these natural beautys ( exept ourselves:-)) ) If you like to hear the Sound of the Spit, look here: it has nearly a hundred bhp and goes 120 with roof open…..
        best regards from south germany, Chris and Karin

        Comment by Chris — June 22, 2011 @ 5:34 pm

      • Great videos Chris, love the ones of the Vitesse sounds sweet 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 23, 2011 @ 10:43 pm

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