Life at the end of the road

August 3, 2011

A ‘Rona rant’ :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, stonework, wind turbine — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 11:38 pm

22:00 and I’m not long out of my bed 😦 It’s been a bonny bonny day here on Raasay and I’m whacked. Getting up at the time I usually go to bed being a result of a busy day and me going for a wee lie down after dinner, a lie down that resulted in a full blown sleep. I’d still be there now were it not for wifey asking me an hour or so ago if that was me down for the night. In all honesty I should have stayed there and started this post at 5:00am but we’ve got visitors and I thought I’d make an effort 🙂

My first full day off started with the usual bout of feeding and watering before meandering down to the clinic for a 9:00am appointment.

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My day was just beginning but the fishermen were out early to get their catch of velvet crab and lobster stored before the midday heat.


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I’m not very good at visiting doctors or hospitals but our recently converted clinic on Raasay is probably the kind of place that many people would actually like to go for a holiday if they weren’t actually sick 🙂 Manned 365 days a year by various district nurses it’s visited once a week on Wednesday by a doctor from Portree.

I was there two weeks ago (only because wifey made me an appointment) to get blood tests. I have been inordinately tired of late even hungrier than usual and was convinced I had diabetes or something, for along with my lethargy came fits of weakness that could be boosted by eating lots of sugary things. Also wifey informed me that when in this state “you look like 5h1t” and have a grey pallor :-( 

The doctor took blood, measured my blood pressure and BMI and told me that I was no longer 30, remarkably healthy for a 55 year old and not to worry. However a day or so after I was speaking to another 55 year old who makes my physical antics look like a walk in the park. Bill Cowie of, upon hearing of my thirteen hour sleeps, general lethargy and insatiable appetite immediately asked me if I’d been checked for Lyme disease a bacterial infection transmitted by deer ticks. He’d had it and those were his symptoms, well it sounded reasonable, I’m certainly a bit of a ‘tick magnet’ 🙂

A quick ‘Google’ revealed this which did include one or two symptoms that I don’t have, like the characteristic red ring and swelling around the infected bit but I did have all of the others 😦

  • fatigue,
  • muscle pain,
  • joint pain,
  • headache,
  • fever and/or chills, and
  • neck stiffness.

and of course the

  • impaired memory,
  • difficulty concentrating

    but then I’ve always had those 🙂

    Anyway, it probably is just old age but the doc did take blood and I’ll have the results in a couple of weeks 🙂

    Forty five people and £1 😦

    After being informed that my previous blood test revealed perfectly functioning kidneys, thyroid, liver (that was a surprise 🙂 ) excellent blood sugar, no anaemia and happy blood cells I left for the 9:55 ferry. It was time for a dash into Portree for feed, fuel and a little shopping before the chaos that would ensue later in the day due to the Portree highland games

    Had Boots the chemist not recently taken over the long established MacLeod pharmacy on Wentworth street I would have made the 11:30 ferry back. However the ‘progress’ associated with this take over means that the quest to satisfy shareholders means that they no longer post out prescriptions. Of course Boots will probably argue that posting prescription drugs is dangerous due to all the junkies awaiting to rob the mail man. However I’d say it was much more likely that someone will become ill through not getting their medication on time because they can’t find anyone to pick it up for them.

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    As it was we had to wait for the 13:00 sailing and the Loch Striven to bunker 3500lts of fuel 🙂

    Arriving back home home just after 14:00, unloading the Land Rover and grabbing a bite to eat we headed down to the shore and hijacked my mates boat. Not for fishing but for a trip up to Rona to pick up a bottle of whisky, I know I could have got one in Portree but a bottle of but it was a gift for one who’s family came from there 🙂 Not only that but it was a good excuse to go and visit Bill and Lorraine, catch up and of course look for more ‘feed blower pipe’ for the hydro turbine.

    With 90hp on the back of my mates RIB we were up there in around 12 minutes and many more litres 🙂

     030811 007


    Arriving there just as the 40’ ‘Wildcat’ catamaran Seaflower was getting ready to leave the pontoon provided by the Rona estate. This is a serious boat built for Kenny Livingstone and his daughter Gemma to run day trips from Shieldaig on the mainland, a task that it performs admirably.

    I used to indirectly work for Kenny some 18 years ago at ‘Kenmore Salmon’ in Loch Arnish and I’ve not seen him since so it was good to catch up. He, along with his brother Dickie were directors but I was saddend to here from Bill that Dickie passed away last year through kidney cancer. I don’t know much about kidney cancer other than a long time blog reader and resident of Raasay, Shelagh Taylor suffered from, fortunately she was treated early and is now well but she has started a ‘Just giving’ page and is looking for worthwhile donations to this cause.


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    After depositing a meagre £1 coin each in the post box for the use of this excellent facility we headed up to Rona Lodge to see Bill.

     030811 009

    Of course Molly was so glad to get her feet on dry land that she went rock climbing 🙂

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    We walked up with Bill who’d come down to meet us and the boys shot off on his new 500cc Honda quad 🙂

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    After showing us his latest project

    030811 012

    the renovation of an old ruin we went up to the lodge for a drink and a moan 🙂

    I do sometimes despair at human nature, this place takes a lot of upkeep and Bill puts much time and effort into maintaining it. I remember when the lodge was in ruins and vandalised, the access difficult with risk of grounding and fouled propellers. All that has now been sorted, you can land safely at any state of the tide, do your washing and get a shower. I don’t know how much the pontoon cost to construct but it does cost £1300 PA to insure and in an effort to fund this a token £1 is all that is asked to be deposited in the honesty box. Now when you consider that poor people can’t afford yachts and some of the beauties that pull in here overnight are worth more than I’ll earn in ten years I was dismayed to read this.

    45 people

    It’s not just the ‘yachties’ on Rona it’s the cyclists on Raasay to, last year my friends daughter spent hours baking and left stuff in an honesty box on the Torran path, one day fourteen mountain bikers went past, cleaned out the box and left £1 😦

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    Anyway, after a wee juice, a look at the biggest antler I’ve ever seen (which came off a Rona stag) and a good rant about people who think that not only is there a ‘bin bag fairy’. That mythical nymph like creature that removes black bins of rubbish left by tourists but there is also a ‘dog 5h1t fairy’ that cleans up after their pooches 🙂 Anyway after all that, and much more we departed for ‘Dry Harbour’

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    with its ruined schoolhouse and renovated cottages.

    The last time I was up here was with Hugh Piggott and Bill helping to install that Proven wind turbine on the hill was it really three years ago!!!

    As it turned out our pipe gathering trip was fruitless

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    but it was a grand day out and a good time was had by all 🙂

    030811 023


    1. Thank you so much for your donation, Paul. It is very much appreciated. Thank you also for posting my donation page info on your blog. I was sorry to hear of your friends passing. Kidney cancer is a horrible cancer. It is hard to detect and a lot of people are diagnosed whilst being scanned for other medical problems. The only cure is removal of the kidney but the cancer can spread very quickly and invade other vital organs. The worst thing is it can rear it’s ugly head years later in another part of your body. Next week, I am going to have a surgical biopsy for suspected Lymphoma. Whether this is secondary to the kidney cancer, we don’t know yet. Fingers crossed every thing will be okay. Thank you again,


      Comment by Shelagh Taylor — August 4, 2011 @ 8:20 am

    2. Paul,
      I am stunned that people would be so dishonest as to not voluntarily pay the harbour fee. What is the matter with people nowadays? Lets face it, its a paltry sum to charge for a facility which, if it wasn’t there would make it very difficult to land folk on Rona. Maybe Bill should ‘name & shame’ by taking a photo of all visiting yachts and posting them on-line. Come to think of it, there’s probably a law against that!

      Comment by Derek — August 4, 2011 @ 11:57 am

      • I think that’s an excellent suggestion Derek ☺☺☺

        Comment by Carole & Finnie — August 4, 2011 @ 1:13 pm

        • Me too Carole 🙂

          Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 4, 2011 @ 7:01 pm

      • Hi Derek, bad show indeed, I’ll pass on your suggestion to Bill 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 4, 2011 @ 7:00 pm

    3. I’m with Derek on this one. Disgraceful and unnecessary behaviour. If these peole can afford the cost of a boat – some of which are no doubt gin-type palaces – surely to f**k they can afford a pittance to use the facilities provided. God knows what they must be thinking of!

      Comment by yractual — August 4, 2011 @ 3:12 pm

      • Disgraceful behavior Iain hey,

        whilst I’m sure that a few people may have inadvertently arrived on the pontoon with no money, I can’t believe that 44 out of 45 wouldn’t have a wallet or purse, unless of course they only had fifty pound notes in them 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 4, 2011 @ 7:18 pm

    4. you don’t get to afford posh yachts by being “Mr Nice Guy”

      Comment by carina — August 4, 2011 @ 6:00 pm

      • And you can bet half of them are self employed and would have a flakey if one of their customers defaulted 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 4, 2011 @ 7:21 pm

        • tight twats, and probably more money than a dog has fleas, bill should take the keys for safekeeping and not hand them back till some money is handed over, either that or have buffalo bill standing with the gun 🙂

          Comment by jimmy mcmillan — August 4, 2011 @ 10:25 pm

        • Excellent idea Jimmy, a bullet hole below the waterline 🙂

          Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 8, 2011 @ 7:54 am

    5. love mollie’s “I’m-king-of-the-world” pose and can just hear those ears flapping in the wind.

      Comment by jeannette — August 4, 2011 @ 10:30 pm

      • Morning Jeannette,

        no wind for flapping ears on Rona but plenty today on Raasay 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 8, 2011 @ 7:54 am

    6. Paul,
      I too am horrified at the despicable lack of respect and bad behaviour of certain yachting individuals. And the stealing of goodies by passing mountain bikers leaving a token £1. What is that all about? It’s theft on both accounts and needs to be accounted for. Remote areas are suffering because of this attitude. The yachting fraternity need to be charged to land on Rona. The honesty box is a joke to them, they’ve spoiled it for the rest. What about a wee article in the Free Press about it?
      Yours, very annoyed,

      Comment by Carolyn — August 5, 2011 @ 5:16 pm

      • Poor show indeed Carolyn, those that have it seem reluctant to part with it 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 8, 2011 @ 8:02 am

    7. A fairly long term but silent reader from Glasgow/Edinburgh direction here. Since I saw the Land Rover, the Loch Striven and I sillouete I took to be you at Sconser sitting in front of the fuel tanker from the bus up to Portree on Wednesday I thought I’d say hi and thanks for the quiet entertainment.

      I’m up to sail on a 38′ yacht, Emmaus (, for the week. We spent Wednesday night inside of Fladda, got up to Loch Laxford on Thursday and made it around Cape Wrath to Stromness last night. Not going too badly so far!

      Comment by Mark — August 6, 2011 @ 11:20 am

    8. Every boat that moors there should have a hole drilled in the bottom of it, requiring a special plug, sold only at a bombproof vending machine at the landing for £-cover the costs plus a bit.The mountain bikers you mentioned probably did not have any money left after shelling out £3-4k each for 2 wheels and a bit of tube and fittings(the bike).In either case the lack of common decency is appalling.

      Comment by Andy — August 6, 2011 @ 2:17 pm

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