Life at the end of the road

October 24, 2011

Winter’s here :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, reading, weather — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:59 pm

Not really, but it is the first day of the winter timetable, actually the first day was Sunday but as the sailing times are the same year round for the Sabbath you only notice it as of today. Not that it felt like winter right enough, in fact it was positively summery with a high of over 14 degrees. The stiff south easterly had come all the away from southern Europe losing little of its Mediterranean heat during its brief crossing of the southern North Sea. It was in short a lovely day, no sunshine but sharp colours, dry air and mild temperatures.



  winter table

Not much change from the summer really, the 11:30 from Sconser is now the 11:25, there’s one less ferry in the afternoon and the last sailing from Sconser is now at 18:00 🙂 Most important though, the Saturday late sailing is now by request so you must phone Uig before 12:00 on Saturday to book it.

There was no posting last night for a couple of reasons, first Molly and I had to take some baggage over to the old Torran Schoolhouse for the new arrivals . Secondly we had a friend round for dinner who kept us entertained with stories of her youth in Arnish. It’s kind of strange having someone point to various bits of your house and describe in detail each item of furniture that resided in each corner sixty years and more ago.

241011 001

The ‘Minister’s bed’ here,

241011 019

though the minister would probably only ever use it every fortnight or so and I’m sure it would have not lain empty when the revered man was not in residence 🙂

The window is a recent addition, around twenty five years ago just before I arrived and it must have been a gloomy room then, lit as it would have been with candles or Tilley lamps.

241011 020

Where our cooker now resides was a huge chest of drawers,

 241011 021

our stove replacing the huge open fire with its great sandstone lintel, no doubt hauled from Fladda or at least the Fraoch Eilean (heather isle) off the northern tip of Loch Arnish. Our living room was at that time the kitchen with a cast iron ‘Esse’ in the hearth, that I can vouch for as I found its remains outside many years ago. It really makes you wonder how they ever got all this stuff here before the road. I suppose much of it came in by sea but even so it’s a long way from the shore with a cooker, bed or chest of drawers on your back 🙂


Well I was actually up about an hour earlier than I need have been, I even set off for work early but got distracted by yet another sod pushed into the hydro turbine inlet by the pigs, I’m sure they do it deliberately 🙂

 241011 002

Dun Caan looked lovely as we left Raasay for Sconser to pick up what was a surprisingly little amount of traffic, a theme which continued throughout the day. In fact we’d a couple of empty, or near empty runs 😦

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The Portree boat Green Isle III was busy fishing for velvet crab,


241011 009

obviously there are always more of them directly under the ferry 🙂

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The Green Isle was not the only vessel out today,

241011 017

the UK Border Agency’s Valiant headed north during the late afternoon according to the blurb it’s not armed but that looks like a gun on the front to me 🙂


Class and type:
Damen Stan Patrol 4207[1]

238  GRT

42.08 m (138.1 ft)[1]

7.11 m (23.3 ft)[1]

2.52 m (8.3 ft)[1]

Installed power:
4,176 kW (5,600 hp)


  • Two Caterpillar 3516B DI-TA Elec
  • Two 3.5:1 reduction gearboxes
  • Two 4-blade controllable pitch propellers
  • One Promac bow thruster
  • Two 106kWA generator sets

26 knots (48 km/h)

1,750 nmi (3,240 km) at 12kn

14 days

Boats and landing
craft carried:

  • One 7m RIB (32 kn)
  • One 3.8m Rescue Boat




Well actually it’s 5:10 just now and I’ve been up for an hour, probably the gale of south east wind hammering the roof of the house had something to do with it. No doubt a hangover from my fishing days when every gale meant a restless night unless the boat was tucked behind a pier, even so I seldom had unbroken sleep during storms. If it wasn’t the thought of my boat filling with water it was the fear of not getting my catch landed, especially if it was velvet crab. The scallops would keep an extra week or two and it just meant a wee while longer to wait for the cheque, another week in the ‘keeps’ for the velvets would mean high mortality 😦 A waste of a life for the crabs and a tragedy on the wallet 🙂

So much for the 12 to 15mph winds !!!

 graph 251011

sailings from the old pier at Suisnish would be unlikely this morning 😦

weather 251011

Anyway it’s almost 5:30 now so I’ll just do some much hated paperwork before leaving for the last day of the ‘working week’.

Raasay: Landlords and people


241011 024 241011 025

But before I go I’ll just leave you with this excellent little book written by John Nicolson of Raasay that I picked up on Skye recently Can’t seem to find it through the usual net retailers but they do have copies at in Portree. An excellent little read crammed full of short stories and a condensed history of the clearance of Raasay to make way for sheep. There are also some excellent photographs of Raasay and one or two of the north end.



  1. Hi Paul
    I saw the Valiant in Mallaig harbour on Sunday and my kids can confirm that is a very big gun!!
    Glad she is heading north, I was out in the kayak near Arisaig today and they could have easy mistaken me for a drug smuggler 😉

    Comment by Simon — October 24, 2011 @ 9:25 pm

    • Morning Simon,

      5:00am here and it doesn’t sound like kayaking weather outside 🙂 take care now

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 25, 2011 @ 4:02 am

  2. Morning paul a friend gave me a book the other week. Island Quest by Prunella Stack there is a good bit about Raasay in that book don’t know if you have heard of the book or the author.

    Comment by MW — October 25, 2011 @ 8:00 am

    • Hi MW and Paul. If you enjoyed Prunella’s book I would recommend her other one “movement is life”. A truly remarkable tale of the most special person I have ever known and who sadly died just after christmas. It is hard to move on Raasay without tripping over the past. Luckily quite alot about it has been written down. All the best Leo

      Comment by anoldtractorinasmallwood — October 25, 2011 @ 9:07 am

    • Hi Leo, MW,

      I really need to expand my reading material from technical stuff 🙂 No I’ve not read either of her books chap but I’m going to make a point of doing so.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 26, 2011 @ 6:08 am

  3. Glad to hear the Med weather reached you, albeit briefly. We wondered where it had disappeared to. We’ve had three days of gloomy cloud and heavy rainfall yesterday, at times so much mist and rain it could have been Storr! Back to normal today, thankfully!

    Comment by Iain — October 25, 2011 @ 11:06 am

    • Morning Iain,

      another nice day here but I don’t think it’s going to last 😦

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 26, 2011 @ 6:10 am

  4. Possibly a gun that fires a big flag saying “Bang” in many different languages.Could you imagine the outcry (and paperwork) if they actually shot at something 🙂


    Comment by Andy — October 25, 2011 @ 7:31 pm

    • And the ‘risk assessment’ before they actually pulled the trigger 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 26, 2011 @ 6:12 am

  5. Hi Paul now that the winter is upon us just thought your readers would like a bit of knowledge to protect their machinery from the rain and use around the house with a well known product.

    Before you read to the end, does anybody know what the main ingredient of WD-40 is? Don’t lie and don’t cheat.


    Who knew? I had a neighbour who bought a new car. I got up very early one Sunday morning and saw that someone had spray painted red all around the sides of his car (for some unknown reason). I went over, woke him up, and told him the bad news. He was very upset and was trying to figure out what to do…. probably nothing until Monday morning, since nothing was open. Another neighbour came out and told him to get his WD-40 and clean it off. It removed the unwanted paint beautifully and did not harm his paint job on the car. I’m impressed!

    WD-40 who knew? ‘Water Displacement #40’. The product began from a search for a rust preventative solvent and degreaser to protect missile parts. WD-40 was created in 1953 by three technicians at the San Diego Rocket Chemical Company. Its name comes from the project that was to find a ‘water displacement’ compound. They were successful with the fortieth formulation, thus WD-40. The Convair Company bought it in bulk to protect their atlas missile parts. Ken East (one of the original founders) says there is nothing in WD-40 that would hurt you… When you read the ‘shower door’ part, try it. It’s the first thing that has ever cleaned that spotty shower door. If yours is plastic, it works just as well as glass. It’s a miracle! Then try it on your stove top … Viola! It’s now shinier than it’s ever been. You’ll be amazed.

    WD-40 uses:

    1. Protects silver from tarnishing.
    2. Removes road tar and grime from cars.
    3. Cleans and lubricates guitar strings.
    4. Gives floors that ‘just-waxed’ sheen without making them slippery.
    5. Keeps flies off cows . (I love this one!)
    6. Restores and cleans chalkboards.
    7. Removes lipstick stains.
    8. Loosens stubborn zippers.
    9. Untangles jewellery chains.
    10. Removes stains from stainless steel sinks.
    11. Removes dirt and grime from the barbecue grill.
    12. Keeps ceramic/terra cotta garden pots from oxidizing.
    13. Removes tomato stains from clothing.
    14. Keeps glass shower doors free of water spots .
    15. Camouflages scratches in ceramic and marble floors.
    16. Keeps scissors working smoothly.
    17. Lubricates noisy door hinges on vehicles and doors in homes.
    18. It removes black scuff marks from the kitchen floor! Use WD-40 for those nasty tar and scuff marks on flooring. It doesn’t seem to harm the finish and you won’t have to scrub nearly as hard to get them off. Just remember to open some windows if you have a lot of marks.
    19. Bug guts will eat away the finish on your car if not removed quickly! Use WD-40!
    20. Gives a children’s playground gym slide a shine for a super fast slide.
    21. Lubricates gear shift and mower deck lever for ease of handling on riding mowers…
    22 Rids kids rocking chairs and swings of squeaky noises.
    23. Lubricates tracks in sticking home windows and makes them easier to open..
    24. Spraying an umbrella stem makes it easier to open and close.
    25. Restores and cleans padded leather dashboards in vehicles, as well as vinyl bumpers.
    26. Restores and cleans roof racks on vehicles.
    27. Lubricates and stops squeaks in electric fans
    28. Lubricates wheel sprockets on tricycles, wagons, and bicycles for easy handling
    29. Lubricates fan belts on washers and dryers and keeps them running smoothly.
    30. Keeps rust from forming on saws and saw blades, and other tools.
    31. Removes splattered grease on stove.
    32. Keeps bathroom mirror from fogging.
    33. Lubricates prosthetic limbs.
    34. Keeps pigeons off the balcony (they hate the smell).
    35. Removes all traces of duct tape.
    36. Folks even spray it on their arms, hands, and knees to relieve arthritis pain.
    37. Florida’s favourite use is: ‘cleans and removes love bugs from grills and bumpers.’
    38. The favourite use in the state of New York , WD-40 protects the Statue of Liberty from the elements.
    39. WD-40 attracts fish. Spray a little on live bait or lures and you will be catching the big one in no time. Also, it’s a lot cheaper than the chemical attractants that are made for just that purpose. Keep in mind though, using some chemical laced baits or lures for fishing are not allowed in some states.
    40. Use it for fire ant bites. It takes the sting away immediately and stops the itch.
    41. WD-40 is great for removing crayon from walls.. Spray on the mark and wipe with a clean rag.
    42. Also, if you’ve discovered that your teenage daughter has washed and dried a tube of lipstick with a load of laundry, saturate the lipstick spots with WD-40 and rewash. Presto! The lipstick is gone!
    43. If you sprayed WD-40 on the distributor cap, it would displace the moisture and allow the car to start.

    P.S. The basic ingredient is

    FISH Oil


    Comment by polite Scouser — October 26, 2011 @ 9:37 am

    • Well I never Walter, I’ve been using the stuff for over thirty years and never knew what it was made of, though you did miss one essential use, It’s highly flammable so you can turn the can into an excellent flame thrower 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 27, 2011 @ 5:37 am

    • Here’s what Wikipedia says
      Note the urban legend about fish oil.
      WD-40’s formula is a trade secret. The product is not patented to avoid completely disclosing its ingredients.[2][3] WD-40’s main ingredients, according to U.S. Material Safety Data Sheet information, are:

      50% Stoddard solvent (i.e., mineral spirits: primarily hexane, somewhat similar to kerosene)
      25% Liquefied petroleum gas (presumably as a propellant; carbon dioxide is now used instead to reduce WD-40’s considerable flammability)
      15+% Mineral oil (light lubricating oil)
      10-% Inert ingredients

      The German version of the mandatory EU safety sheet lists the following safety-relevant ingredients:

      60–80% Heavy Naphtha (petroleum product), hydrogen treated
      1–5% Carbon dioxide

      It further lists flammability and effects to the human skin when repeatedly exposed to WD-40 as risks when using WD-40. Nitrile rubber gloves and safety glasses should be used. Water is unsuitable for extinguishing burning WD-40.

      There is a popular urban legend that the key ingredient in WD-40 is fish oil.[4] However, the WD-40 web site states that it is a petroleum based product.[5][6]

      Here’s a link to the MSDS for bulk WD-40:
      Other data sheets are available :).

      What’s an aliphatic hydrocarbon?

      Comment by San — October 31, 2011 @ 9:13 pm

      • Many thanks for that San, most interesting having used the stuff ever since I left school in 1972. I have to say that I had my doubts about the fish oil, it burns far too fast and smells much too nice for that 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 31, 2011 @ 9:44 pm

  6. if you go to you cab find loads of old books on Raasay at really good prices including John Nicolson’s I remember, memories of Raasay, just punch in Raasay for the key word on their search section, I use them a lot to find really old, good books on the Highland and islands. Cheers, Jackie

    Comment by Jacqueline (Jackie)Gow — October 26, 2011 @ 10:01 am

    • Hi Jackie and welcome aboard 🙂

      thanks for the tip, I’ll get busy reading 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 27, 2011 @ 5:38 am

  7. Sometimes we just learn such interesting stuff here. All the techy bits go over our collective heads, but fpu is casting envious glances at your cooker, ingenious microwave shelf and enclosed stove, whilst being totally intrigued by polite Scouser’s WD-40 Saga. A frenzy of cow-spraying, mirror-wiping, sticky-label-removing, bug-guts-scrubbing and zipper-loosening will now ensue🙂

    Comment by Kingdomcat — October 26, 2011 @ 2:26 pm

    • Morning KC, fish oil hey, and not a single mention of putting it on cat food 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 27, 2011 @ 5:40 am

  8. Perhaps the Valiant was just pleased to see you…


    Comment by Stonehead — October 27, 2011 @ 2:20 pm

  9. Hi Paul, we’re just back after 4 days on Raasay and you are so right about the roads! We went down to Fearns and scraped the bottom several times not to mention cracking into huge potholes. I intend to write to the Highland Council and complain – and complain and complain! It’s nonsense, how can you expect to have returning visitors if they can’t even drive around the roads, and God knows what bikers do! We didn’t even attempt Calum’s road. It was good to be in Raasay just the same.

    Anne Macdonald

    Comment by Anne Macdonald — October 28, 2011 @ 7:02 pm

    • Morning Anne,

      that would be great if you write, the more that do, the more they’re likely to act.

      Tanks, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 30, 2011 @ 8:06 am

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