Life at the end of the road

November 6, 2011

Still five ‘elephants’ :-)

Filed under: animals, boats, daily doings, Land Rover, shed/house — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:57 pm

Sunday night and now it’s all ‘downhill’ to the three week holiday 🙂 🙂 OK, I’m not actually going anywhere, and three weeks on the croft is hardly most peoples idea of a vacation but I love it. There’s been great progress on the road, the hydro turbine is almost ready for installing and the forecast is good. I will have my proper holiday on Rothesay in a little under a months time when I join the boat at . A week in the dry dock, may again not seem like the ideal holiday venue, but Bute is a beautiful place even in the winter and with a bit of luck I’ll be in here 🙂


Was one of those days, and there have not been many in the last eight or so years that I’ve worked for when I wished I was clam diving.

061111 003

This was my favourite time of year for clam diving, at least when the weather was like this it was. After a calm spell the visibility can be exceptional at this time of year and the water is still at it’s warmest. Not quite as warm as September but the cooler air temperature make it feel so. In fact on a frosty day it is warmer in the water 🙂

061111 005

Four shags on the Serene’s tender seemed to agree with me 🙂

061111 004

It would also have been a fine day for a walk up Dun Caan, not that that’s something I do very often, it took me thirteen years to make it to the top 🙂 Shameful really as my son had been up and down three times before he went to school.

Sadly I saw little of the day having spent most of it down below cleaning the bilge

061111 006

and giving it a lick of paint. This may on the face of it seem close to lunacy, as in three weeks time dozens of dock workers and engineers will be cutting, welding and overhauling engines and pumps down there. However it is much much easier to clean something that is freshly painted than something already covered in oil and rust. I also live in the vain hope that if something is clean to start with then people are apt to be a little more careful 🙂

 061111 002

Another task, in between bouts of ‘coming up for air’ was to service the Lister LV1 emergency fire and bilge pump. This little 7.8hp, 2800rpm screamer lives in the aft void space and is for use when the ‘SHTF’ 🙂 Total electrical failure, engine room fire or serious hole in the ship scenario. It sits in this space towards the stern of the vessel in a watertight compartment away from the engine room, fuel tanks or any other likely sources of ignition and can be used to either pump water out of any of the spaces or put water into the fire main for fire fighting. Like the emergency generator it’s run up every week and serviced annually despite only ever doing a few hours work a year.

At lunchtime I got off the boat for a while to stretch my legs,

061111 007

tightened up the alternator belt on the Land Rover and saw the output at idle jump from 10 to 30amps!! And it wasn’t as if the belt was that slack.

After that I wandered up to School Park to have a cup of tea with my good friend Jessie Nicolson

061111 008

and was surprised to see the progress made on the new houses. Both roofs slated and one house already clad with larch boards. I’m sure they’ll be nice and warm and the wood is certainly more ‘environmentally friendly’ that blocks and rendering but I’d like to see what the planners would have said if we’d tried to build one of these at Arnish 🙂

 061111 010

Now I know that it’s only an oil tank but this stainless steel work of art on Eyre Plant’s Scania truck that came over on the lunch time ferry is a work of art 🙂 Made on Raasay by Simon Whitehead of and ‘Loggit’ fame


I only noticed it because the last time it was over it was red, rusty and leaking oil 😦


That was about it at work and I never got to my bed until after midnight on account of a bonfire party round at my neighbours chalet. By the time I got there, after 22:00 the fireworks were long gone but the fire was still going, the wine flowing and the craic good 🙂

So good and flowing in fact that I awoke late and with a headache 😦 fortunately I’d acquired three extra helpers

 061111 011

who fed the pigs whilst I issued orders 🙂

061111 012

Once the ones on and near the croft were done we all went up to feed Bramble at the end of ‘Hooky’s road’, Calum may have been the man that kept Arnish alive by connecting it to rest of Raasay with his road but Hooky is the man for building roads in the twenty first century 🙂

061111 013

I’m just lost for words,

061111 014

061111 015

less than a week ago this was a bog,

061111 016

now I could drive the wife’s car up there 🙂

Back to the ‘elephants’

After that it was the mad rush to work, but at least it was in daylight and I could confirm how many elephants were coming down my pipe 🙂

061111 017

Regular readers will know of my trials and tribulations with air locks in my siphon, but in the past I’ve been able to see if water is flowing down the pipe as I drive to and from work just by stopping the Land Rover and looking. Dark mornings and evenings put a stop to that so now I have to rely on wifey and the elephants. I’ve been checking the flow from this (and others) for so long that I can tell at a glance how much water is coming down it, even from a couple of hundred yards away.

The swineherd however has to go down and count elephants, that is put the bucket under and see how many it takes to fill it, and for the last six days it’s been steady at five elephants and around 100psi 🙂 So it’s looking good for fitting the Powerspout .

061111 019

The day at work was spent finishing off the engine room painting,

061111 020

and refitting the floor plates.

061111 021

Whilst lunchtime saw me going for a wee wander with Molly, whom I’d brought to work, mainly because I couldn’t get her out of the Land Rover in the morning 🙂

061111 022


061111 024



  1. Love the photography

    Comment by gaz — November 6, 2011 @ 10:58 pm

    • Glad you approve Gaz 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 8, 2011 @ 6:30 am

  2. I suppose that right at the end of that road will come the new barn and then the house

    Comment by Yorkshire Miner — November 7, 2011 @ 7:44 am

    • “I suppose that right at the end of that road will come the new barn and then the house” Aye that’s the plan right enough Dave 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 8, 2011 @ 6:31 am

  3. Paul,

    I saw this and remembered your recent post I wonder how much more paperwork has to be filled in before the super spade can be deployed?

    Graham Sutherland

    Comment by Graham Sutherland — November 7, 2011 @ 8:15 am

    • Good morning Graham, glad you’re still keeping up 🙂 thought I’d lost you 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 8, 2011 @ 6:34 am

      • There’s no chance of that Paul, your’s is the one blog of many, that I read every post. It’s very informative and to the outside world it must appear that there’s never a dull moment on the Island Of Raasay or indeed it’s reliable ferry.


        Comment by Graham Sutherland — November 9, 2011 @ 9:55 am

      • Morning Graham, I’m flattered, and yes you’re right, there is never a dull moment here on Raasay, just wish I could tell you about ALL of it 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 10, 2011 @ 5:33 am

  4. why would the planners not approve a wood-sided house at arnish?
    the road is fabu, i know somewhere calum and all the displaced crofters of your north end are smiling.
    as usual love the space you give to things proudly made in the highlands and the islands, from mr. eyre’s tunnels to the road, the loggit and the tank, thank you.
    finally, my regards as usual to that hardworking dog.

    Comment by jeannette — November 7, 2011 @ 6:29 pm

    • Morning Jeannette,

      “why would the planners not approve a wood-sided house at arnish” I could give you about half a dozen reasons, ‘the natural and cultural heritage’, ‘area of outstanding natural beauty’, ‘massing on the landscape’, ‘pressure on local services’, ‘out of character’ and so the list goes on. Basically they want people to live in little boxes all in the same area so it’s easier for them to service.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 8, 2011 @ 6:39 am

  5. Why do they insist on bilges being red? I have done mine white on the barge and the little boat. Light and clean and I can see any rusty bits!


    Comment by billy — November 8, 2011 @ 8:36 am

    • Morning Billy,

      aint that just an insipid colour 😦 The one good thing about it being that it’s a little tolerant of oil, Hemple’s Crankcase red is the name of it, just wish they did it in other colours than, well pink 😦 Personally I prefer a nice beige or yellow 🙂

      Say hi to the marshes for me 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 9, 2011 @ 6:39 am

  6. You should to talk to your mate Hugh over in Scoraig about planning processes. I visited the peninsular once, and was amazed by the collection of structures that they have over there. I rememeber reading once a section of Ian Mitchell’s “Isles of the West” book where he said that the planning officers paid little attention to what the residents of Scoraig got up to. It is a good book, in case you havent seen it before.

    Comment by Simon — November 8, 2011 @ 1:12 pm

    • Cheers for that Simon 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 9, 2011 @ 6:41 am

  7. Hi Paul, stick my name doon for one of those hooses, that and a wee fishing boat would suit me fine 🙂

    Comment by jimmy mcmillan — November 8, 2011 @ 5:34 pm

    • Get your own name down quickly Jimmy before they give them to some ‘pelter’ with a hoodie and ‘doon the arse’ trousers 🙂 There’s even a boat here waiting for you

      Good luck, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 9, 2011 @ 6:44 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: