Life at the end of the road

July 26, 2011

The ‘hundred yard dash’ :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, hydro, weather — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:28 pm

That’s it then, the holiday is officially over and I’m not long back in the house after doing my first stint on the Loch Striven. Only one run to Sconser and back to let my ‘back to back’ away, but working nonetheless, no more wine or pipe epics for a whole week at least but at least it will give my muscles (and liver) a well earned rest 🙂

A trip to my parents on the mainland yesterday and guests for dinner made a welcome change from the more physical side of my ‘holiday’ and the most strenuous thing that I did all day was trim a hedge.

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Not my own I hasten to add, for I prefer the more ‘rustic’ look and I’ve never even picked up a hedge trimmer in my life, let alone used one. Still it made someone very happy and I was rewarded by a fine plate of pasta 🙂

The evening at ‘the end of the road’ was a very civilised affair with eight around the table eating the finest sea food that Loch Arnish could provide followed by chicken breasts wrapped in bacon with a haggis on the side. We usually stuff the breasts with the haggis but the fine Scottish offering is not to everyone’s liking. As it turned out there was not a scrap of it left on the eight clean plates so it could have gone in anyway 🙂

A full hundred meters 🙂

Me, I bailed out early and was in my bed for 22:30 leaving wifey with the ‘hardcore party people’ around the kitchen table with several bottles of claret and the boys on the Xbox. They would pay for it in the morning 🙂 me I wanted to be fresh 🙂

The relentless north wind that has kept the midge away, dried out the croft and kept temperatures at respectable level for ‘hard labour’ has also built up quite a sea. Over the last couple of days it has eased somewhat but not enough to poke the Pioner Maxi’s nose out of the loch. As is also quite common with this wind is for it to fall away overnight then pick up again around 11:00am.

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It may not look like much on the graph, indeed from any other direction 10mph would barely cause a ripple. However with nothing between the Sound of Raasay and Iceland, and a lazy ground swell from a week in that quarter it’s no place for a 12’ boat.

If there was one thing that I just had to do before going back to work it was salvage some more ‘feed blower’ pipe for my hydro scheme, and I’d been reliably informed there was some west of Fladda. It was going nowhere on the neap tides just now, but who knows where it would end up on the springs with a change of wind direction.

Arising early to a bombsite of a kitchen and a dying wind I fed the pigs, cleared the wreckage of the previous evening, mixed up fuel and dragged the boys out of their pit 🙂 At shortly after 8:30 we were in the ‘rock proof’ Pioner and heading west toward the Camas Bahn on Fladda.

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Portree’s Cygnus Cyclone 26, the Marie Bhan was in the shallows searching for lobster

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and the Green Isle was in the muddy depths of Loch Arnish hunting prawns.

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Ten minutes later we were at the Camas Bhan on Fladda with our quarry in sight.

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Leaving the ‘idiot proof’ boat taking no harm from the rocky shore we set foot on land to check out the best approach to removing it. As it happened the other end was in the sea so we just got back in the boat, motored around the point, tied it on and dragged it off, it was VERY long 🙂

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A far cry from the five hour tow from Loch Ainort with the last batch we had this one, or at least half of it ashore in twenty minutes.

A quick trip to lift one of our creels that hadn’t been lifted for a week, a spell at home for breakfast and then back down with the Land Rover to drag it out of the sea and measure it.

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That’s the ‘Old Girl’ in that clump of trees up the hill, and with my newly recalibrated legs I reckon that to be a full hundred meters 🙂


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We towed the pipe onto the heather before hitching it up to the quad, only this time I’d the good sense not to get ‘bogged’

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The boys, that’s them on the horizon, took it as far as the old peat cutting,

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after which I took over,

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as it gets a little tricky 🙂

Wee Millie

Just before I took the helm the boys spotted a man and his dog walking across the heather towards us, probably not an uncommon sight in other parts of the country but a rarity here. This chap was obviously heading our way so we went to investigate.

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It turned out to be wee Millie, Molly’s seven month old pup who was on holiday from Perthshire for a few days

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and what a little character she’s turned out to be 🙂

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The views up here are stunning, that’s Aird Torran in the foreground, Fladda is the large mass behind it and the Camas Bahn is that bay on its left hand edge between the breaking reef and the small island.

We got the pipe more or less in position, but whilst it was a full uninterrupted 100m long it did have five kinks in it, four of which had punctured the tube. Not the end of the world and easily repairable but that will have to wait for another day, as will the rest of the ‘days doings’. It’s almost 22:30 now and I’ve work tomorrow so I’ll save them for another day 🙂


  1. Hi Paul,
    Lovely photos again, the island looks good today. By the way, did you know that a play has been adapted from the book by Roger Hutchinson and also called Calum’s Road? Its coming to Falkirk in the middle of October and its the National Theatre of Scotland and Communicado Theatre who are performing it. Adapted by David Harrower and directed by Gerry Mulgrew. It may be doing a tour, will let you know!

    Comment by Carolyn — July 26, 2011 @ 9:57 pm

    • Morning Carolyn,

      yes I did know about the play because some plonker, who reads the blog, so should know better phoned me up around 23:30 to tell me. Of course I was fast asleep and working so thought we were getting called out for an ambulance run. I was not amused 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 27, 2011 @ 5:01 am

      • Oops, I wouldn’t phone anyone after 9.30pm and if he reads your blog he should know your early bed-time!
        Yes, the play is being taken on tour, starting I believe in Coatbridge, where the synopsis stated that the the road was built on the Isle of Skye! I do hope they stick to actual facts as well as the inevitable fiction. Its also doing Perth as well as Falkirk.
        Cheers, Carolyn.

        Comment by Carolyn — July 27, 2011 @ 2:36 pm

      • I look forward to seeing it on Raasay Carolyn 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 28, 2011 @ 7:33 pm

    • be nice if they did a version for the TV then we could all watch it

      Comment by carina — July 30, 2011 @ 11:39 am

      • Hi Carina,

        I’m sure that the video and T shirt will be out shortly 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 31, 2011 @ 9:05 pm

  2. Hi Paul,
    Thank you for taking us all on a lovely trip the last 3 weeks. I feel like I had a vacation on the other side of the world without having to leave Silicon Valley. I look forward to your retirement someday as I am hopeful it will lead to the kind of daily posts and pictures you have spoilt us with on your holiday.

    Comment by Morgan Will — July 27, 2011 @ 1:00 am

    • Good morning California 🙂

      thought you’d abandoned me Morgan 🙂 Looking forward to retirement myself, none of this ‘working on’ for me, I’m off like a shot 🙂 Perhaps I’ll write the book that I’ve always said I would do about the hundreds of wrecks that I’ve dived on 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 27, 2011 @ 5:09 am

  3. What a beautiful garden hedge by the road, and what a view! What a fascinating life you lead, and you’re so lucky to live in such a beautiful area. Thanks for sharing it. I do have to laugh, for some days I don’t know what your meaning, your local terminology is a long long way from me! Generally I figure it out eventually. Love the little spotted pigs, so cute!

    Comment by Kate — July 27, 2011 @ 6:50 pm

    • Hi Kate and welcome aboard, don’t worry about not being able to understand, I was the same when I was in Denver 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 28, 2011 @ 7:39 pm

  4. Millie! All the way from Perthshire. Great to see the wee lass.
    PS 100f here today in Maryland, and 42f with an earthquake for my sister in Alaska. What a world!

    Comment by Flora — July 30, 2011 @ 12:57 am

    • Hi Flora,

      it really was a treat to see wee Millie, saw her again on the ferry the other day and got a farewell lick, as you know ‘I am not a dog person’ 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 31, 2011 @ 9:03 pm

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