Life at the end of the road

October 26, 2011

The first turf to the new hoose :-)

Filed under: daily doings, food, hydro, pigs, shed/house — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:30 pm

It was a bit of a rush yesterday on board the good ship Loch Striven, and that was despite the fact that I was up at an insanely early hour, and at work long ahead of sailing time. It was the last day of the working week, almost month end and I’d lots to do before finishing at 18:30. A combination of the local schools going back, the English ones on holiday  and a fine spell of weather ensured a busy enough day on the deck. A mountain of things to ‘button up’ for my ‘back to back’ and a 45minute shorter day made it all fly by.

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Our resident heron, (I say heron but there’s actually two) had given up his usual perch on the harbour steps for a mooring buoy in the bay.


These birds are part of the wildlife that was going to be ruined if the new harbour got built at Clachan 🙂 I’ve got to laugh really or I’d bust a blood vessel at all the cr4p that the objectors to our fine new harbour came up with. Objections that delayed the project by years, made the harbour smaller and wasted gazillions on a public enquiry . I worked my fishing boat from the old tidal pier at Clachan for years before the new harbour was built and I don’t ever remember seeing so many otters, dolphins, porpoises or herons in the bay before.


The early finish even meant that we tied up in daylight, though it was dark by the time I got home at 19:00. It was however light enough to see a sight that cheered me greatly.

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Though this picture of the 7.5ton Hitachi was taken at 8:00am this morning on the way to feed the pigs up at the new house site.

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My good mate, true to his word had ‘put a machine on site’ even though this is usually code in ‘contactor speak’ and generally means ‘if I put some plant on site it will give the impression that I’m doing something and keep the moaning customer off my back’ 🙂

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Not only had he put a machine on site but when I came back out from breakfast he was hard at it 🙂 Scraping off the top soil to see what lay beneath and adeptly dodging piglets whilst he was at it 🙂

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We’d put Bramble and Jamie Lea within the new house and barn site a couple of weeks ago but Bramble, the nimbler of the two kept escaping over the wall. She couldn’t get back in right enough as the wall was much higher on the outside, so we put up an electric fence to discourage her.


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Electric fences are great for pigs but they do need training to them, putting one up in a field and expecting it to work will leave you disappointed and the pig free. A fence should initially be put in front of some kind of barrier so they approach it with caution, sniff it with a wet snout and get a belt, putting one up first where it’s likely to come between a pig and its dinner will never work as the pig will just charge through it without even feeling the shock. However if it’s placed where the curious pig can find it before discovering that it can charge through it then it will work fine and piggy will keep well clear.

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It does however not work very well on ‘wee dogs’, for despite being traumatised by a good shock on the nose that left her shaking for yonks Molly went back to try again 😦

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When the fence was finished and tested on both dog and pig we walked back for breakfast, which we found on the way. A hoard of winter chanterelles on the old path from the walled area to our croft soon found themselves inside my upturned hat, fried in butter and on a slice of toast.


There’s a better picture that I lifted from here where the author had this to say about cooking them,

 Preparation Try only a little the first time. These have a really nice aroma that is almost identical the the chanterelle. The smell when drying is outstanding. They can be sautéed for truly great flavor but are less interesting when deep fried. They are often best plain or in ways that showcase their subtle flavor. They reconstitute better than a chanterelle and make a nice mushroom powder that is outstanding for flavoring alfredo, and béchamel based sauces. Since the flavor is subtle it should only be mixed in certain ways. A cantharellus/craterellus mix is nice. Chicken, pork or fish, rice, pasta, some vegetables and soups are good choices for recipes using these.”

and I can’t argue with that 🙂

The disgrace of ‘Calum’s road’

After our mushroom feast wifey retired to the garden whilst Molly and I headed over to the hydro scheme,

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Raasay’s world famous road was deteriorating by the day and the council seem reluctant to do anything about it.

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I phoned them a week ago but got little joy


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time to email some pictures me thinks 🙂

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Not the most striking of rainbows on film but it was much better in the flesh  so to speak 🙂

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After dragging three lengths of pipe from over the hill to Tarbert where I planned to extend the current pipe nearer to the sea we headed back for lunch. Extending the pipe will not only shorten my electrical cable but it will give me more head and therefore more power. The three lengths of 90mm pipe I towed off the hill totalled 69m and I paced out the extra run to the turbine site at 60m so that should be just right.

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By lunchtime the rock breaker was on the end of the digger and progress was spectacular


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despite a minor hydraulic oil leak that was soon fixed 🙂

I spent the rest of the afternoon with the wee dug working out the best route for my power cable.


cable route

It’s not the shortest route but it’s by far the easiest, utilizing a proper full width culvert right under the road rather than one of the narrower ones that just drain the ditches.


Map picture

That was about it really, by the time we’d fed the pigs and admired progress on the access road it was starting to get dark.

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The pigs seemed to like it too 🙂

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I wonder what Calum would have made of all this 🙂



  1. Sounds like a busy day Paul. Congratulations on the start of the new house, when are expecting to be moved in 🙂
    I made (with the kids) over to Skye today, but went down to Elgol and over to Coruisk. I can see from your busy day that there was no chance of seeing the old girl in the Coop car park. It certainly was a day of rainbows, we counted no less than 11 separate ones, including a lovely one over Dun Caan.

    Comment by Simon — October 26, 2011 @ 9:13 pm

    • Morning Simon,

      that was our only rainbow, looks like we missed quite a few showers 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 27, 2011 @ 5:41 am

  2. Hi, I just found your blog yesterday and I obviously have a lot of catching up to do!
    I am reading Calums Road just now (hoping to finish before seeing the stage show at Eden Court) and am pretty obsessed by everything Raasay. We did visit last year and probably passed you on the road, I do remember passing a manny on a big quad bike. Hoping to come over again before the end of the year, just needing to check out availability for accomodation on the island. We live in Tain.
    I was a fan of the Clash and knew Joe Strummer had connections with Raasay and that’s how I found your blog. I am so glad I did. Your writing and photos are just so addictive, I have given up on housework for a few days (doing the basics :o)) and just wanting to spend any free time I have reading this.
    Thanks for all the effort you put into this. It’s much appreciated!

    Comment by Rachel McCullough — October 26, 2011 @ 9:18 pm

    • Good morning Rachel and welcome aboard,

      the Joe Strummer connection is quite something hey, well worth the trek to Umachan to see the place.

      Enjoy the play, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 27, 2011 @ 5:43 am

  3. is the best paul thats what we use you can send the pics directly with it to if that doesnt work i then send both fix my street again and thru the councils own website reporting and if tat still doesnt work e-mail the scottish goverment with the location and pics ect seems to get them off there backsides down here in lanankshire. pitty they have left the road in that state they forget we pay council tax road tax fuel tax and the normal tax on our incom (income tax ) the least they can do if fix the roads when asked i bet that road hasnt had much money spent on it since it was adopted by them all those years ago . i hope you get it fixed . rant over lol

    Comment by jay and sharon mitchell — October 27, 2011 @ 8:16 am

    • Thanks for that link Jay & S I did it last night as well as another wasted one to the council 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 28, 2011 @ 5:46 am

  4. Maybe the WHFP will start doing pothole of the week again soon!

    Comment by sarah — October 27, 2011 @ 8:26 am

    • Morning Sarah,

      perhaps they should start ‘cattle grid of the week’ 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 28, 2011 @ 5:49 am

  5. Hi Paul, Good to see progress on the new house front, I’m sure. You must be itching to get cracking now. Those piggies will enjoy mucking about in all that stuff around the digger. I take it it’s not your old buddy, ‘grumpy digger driver’, he of the 9in)famous greeting who is on-site? Best.

    Comment by Iain — October 27, 2011 @ 8:47 am

    • Morning Iain, it is indeed GDD himself but I don’t want to upset just yet 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 28, 2011 @ 5:50 am

  6. you’ve broken ground! er, granite!
    i’m following ana white’s progress as she blogs about the house she and her family are building secure against 40 F below zero weather in a quiet spot in alaska — i think you’d be much interested in the panel forms their using to pour concrete walls. arxx i think she calls them.

    Comment by jeannette — October 27, 2011 @ 3:41 pm

    • yes. icfs, insulating concrete forms.

      Comment by jeannette — October 27, 2011 @ 3:42 pm

    • Some scenery there Jeannette 🙂 but I got cold just looking at the pictures 😦

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 28, 2011 @ 5:56 am

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