Life at the end of the road

August 11, 2011

A real ‘marag dubh’ :-)

Filed under: daily doings, food, hydro — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:15 pm

I know it’s been a while but my bed has been far more inviting than the laptop of late, in fact I’ve been a bit peed off in the IT department of late. It started at Belladrum by not being able to get online, escalated when I got home and spent the best part of my remaining ‘week off’ trying unsuccessfully to upload or edit videos and finished yesterday with a virus on my clockwork IBM and some infected files on here 😦 However, all is ‘sweetness and light’ now, well apart from leaving my glasses at work, so I’ll give it a go 🙂 I did manage to find a pair but they’re not mine and I’m hunched over the kitchen table about 18” from the screen. So unless my back gives in I should be OK 🙂

It’s been so long since I posted that my memory is a little hazy, last I recall was exiting a rather muddy field near Beauly on Sunday and driving along rivers that passed for roads towards home. Well we made it in plenty of time for the ferry and I spent much time drying stuff out and removing the reddish dried up mud  from between toes. Well, at least the mud hid the nail varnish, the things I do at festivals 🙂

A great ‘catch up’

Monday was spent with my parents and Tuesday arrived far sooner than my liking, so soon in fact that I went back to bed at 9:30am after almost cutting the lawn, nearly starting my VAT return, feeding the pigs and changing their bedding. With a houseful of children and relatives this was easy to do unobserved and it was not until 11:30 and a knock on the door that I dragged myself out of bed.

It was just the perk that I needed, two former companions from the island of Scalpay had come to look at my hydro turbines and there’s nothing like ‘showing off’ to boost an already inflated ego 🙂 It’s over twenty two years since I left the isolation of with no phone, power, road or ferry and I’ve seen precious little of my former employer and  friends since. They were great times with the Tilley lamps, Petter generator and CB for communication, indeed they made ‘life at the end of the road’  seem like a ‘walk in the park’ but I’ve often gazed over there on thought what a great place it would have been with a hydro turbine 🙂 So when when my former boss’s brother phone me recently enquiring about mine I was eager to oblige with what little knowledge I’d gleaned.

He, like myself had already come to the conclusion that a from Hugh Piggott the UK dealer at would fit the bill nicely. Indeed it’s the very turbine that I’m about to order if all goes well with my pipe laying epic and more . Anyway before we went to look at my my and my mates we had lots of coffee and talked over old times. If you think that ‘life at the end of the road’ is unusual then life on Scalpay was bizarre 🙂

pontoon and sea truck

How else would you ship cattle to Skye 🙂

quickstage 2

and would a sane person even consider moving this building from Kishorn to Scalpay 18 miles away by the same method, those were the days 🙂 This building from the Howard Doris yard at Kishorn was called a ‘Quickstage’ and was on rails, covered in tarpaulins it was designed so that stuff could be fabricated inside then the whole structure wheeled out of the way. If memory serves me correctly it was 25m x 100m and broke down into four sections. When Howard Doris went bust everything went up for auction and we all went over for a look, I put bids on a couple of Land Rovers, and my mate put bids on everything from cement mixers to aircraft hangers, none of which he won. However as he walked casually past this alien like monster he put a ridiculously small bid on it and won it 🙂

Sadly the evening came around all too soon, they had to leave and I had to work 😦 What should have been just the last couple of runs turned out to be the busiest day of the year so far and yours truly had to do an extra run :-( 


By the time I got home from picking up my laptop it was almost 21:00 so I went straight to bed, waking up and driving down to work on what was a truly miserable day. In the week I’d been off a good deal of the forest by the Orchard Cottage had vanished and two coasters had been in for timber.

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The 108 cars of Tuesday dried up to a trickle and I did not do a great deal other than direct cars and bury myself in the engine room 🙂


Today was a much better day and I headed south at 6:30 to catch the fisheries patrol vessel Minna heading north towards Manish.

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It was a routine kind of day doing a little painting, cleaning filters and freeing off a sticky flap in the starboard generator discharge sight glass.

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That’s what it should look like 🙂


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I also fitted a new bit of lagging to the exhaust, no great hardship but I was well pleased with the result 🙂


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By a complete fluke I managed to photograph this chap on his tractor doing a charity tractor ride around Skye for the Buhdmor care home which is in danger of being closed.

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A fine new boat got launched at Sconser fish farm

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and I came home to this. Not only an excellent meal of Eddy and two veg but the finest black pudding that I’ve seen in a long while 🙂

I have to say that I was a little baffled when  wifey phoned me to say that a parcel had arrived. I don’t remember ordering anything, and when quizzed about the long heavy cylindrical object that the postie had delivered I instantly thought of the Land Rover. However upon opening the mystery parcel I discovered the above, a perfectly formed ‘marag dubh’, no label, no invoice, no letter ????? Now methinks this must be a blog reader who knows my obsession with black puddings, but who could it be, no clue from the post mark cos I’ve not got my glasses 😦 Upon careful dissection of its multiple coverings I discover two things, one a label from LR Series (obviously a Land Rover ‘anorak’ 🙂 ) and two an address on Lewis 🙂 An address that reminded me of some ‘Hot Car’ magazines 🙂 Well, all I can say Willie is you’ve made my day 🙂


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Just the right amount of fat, and by the smell of it the perfect blend of spices, I can’t wait for breakfast 🙂



  1. God, that blodpuding (as they say in Sweden) looks great; enjoy! Here in the Alpujarra they also do a very good ‘un, morcilla, a bit of a local speciality which i oft enjoy – it’s one of those small sausage types, though! I like the fact that you’re still managing to only ‘almost’ cut grass. zDefinitely a step in the right direction. And that Kishorn contraption looks great – ideal for a sci-fi movie. We had friends from Staffin who worked over there back in the day when we were in Connista. George Nicholson, a great guy with a liking for the odd glass of malt, as I recall. Unusual for a Skye man, I’m sure!

    Comment by yractual — August 11, 2011 @ 10:49 pm

    • Hi Iain,

      aye there’s quite a few worked at Kishorn in its heyday and some awesome tales that need written down 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 12, 2011 @ 9:37 pm

  2. Black pudding, not had that for a long time,.. i will have some in the cafe tomorrow with bacon, egg, fresh tomatoes, beans, fried bread ( must be stale bread ) mushrooms well fried, french fries, with a cuppa tea

    Comment by Gaz — August 11, 2011 @ 11:10 pm

    • Hope you managed to find a black pudding Gaz 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 12, 2011 @ 9:37 pm

  3. Why does the exhaust need to be lagged? Is it just so you don’t burn yourself by touching it accidentally or is the heat being recycled somehow?

    Comment by Neil King — August 12, 2011 @ 11:15 am

    • Hi Neil,

      the heat, and burning oneself is an issue but it also helps keep the engine room cooler.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 12, 2011 @ 9:39 pm

  4. Hi Paul,

    Glad you got it in one piece, one thing about having a Land Rover is that you always have lots of packaging lying around from the spare part deliveries 🙂

    Your marag dubh is a Cross stores (Ness) special, thought you would prefer that to their Guga… Halfway through the magazines! If you are ever passing pop in for a cup of tea.

    Comment by Willie — August 12, 2011 @ 2:18 pm

    • Hi Willie and thank you so much for the marag,

      it went down a treat with both the wife and I, funnily enough my crew mates cousin works in the shop and he was over there last weekend 🙂 Also we were just just discussing guga as his father had just taken delivery of one on Raasay 🙂 Never tried it myself but if it’s anything like sgarbh I’d give it a go 🙂

      Wish I’d known you were a Land Rover sufferer for I could have thrown a pile of those magazines in as well, anyway, I’ve got your address so if we’re ever over we’ll pop in.

      Thanks again, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 12, 2011 @ 9:51 pm

  5. First time reader here from Prince Edward Island Canada, my gran
    was born on the Isle of Raasay a niece is there now and will try
    to find her birthplace.
    You sound like a happy scot and the pitchers are wonderful.
    Belated Happy Birthday to your Jessie from this Jessie MacArthur

    Comment by Jessie Graham — August 15, 2011 @ 6:28 pm

    • HI Jessie and welcome aboard, more of an Englishman and Italian I’m afraid 😦 Hope your niece enjoys Raasay, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 15, 2011 @ 10:17 pm

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