Life at the end of the road

January 2, 2012

2012 so far :-)

Filed under: daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 11:47 pm

Well it’s the year of Armageddon and so far all as been rosy, I can’t remember the exact date but it’s around the winter solstice. This only gives me just less than twelve months to build the house 🙂 I’m determined to watch the end of the world in comfort, we don’t get much of a view here at number 3 and I’d hate to miss it 🙂 Seriously though there’s gazillions of people who actually believe in this nonsense, I know one dude who refuses to get a job because ‘it’s pointless, the worlds about to end’ 😦

Anyways, I left you on Friday after having just received the MV Loch Striven back after her annual refit, the post is actually dated 31st December but that’s only because it went out at the ungodly hour of 12:18am or something.

Hogmanay started off like any other work day with a 5:30 start and trip down ‘Calum’s road’ around an hour later.


Harvest Anne


Unlike most other work days I arrived at the pier to find my ship already ‘alive’  and another boat moored alongside her. My compatriot ‘The Purser’ had got there before me and ‘flashed her up’, the boat lying snugly alongside being Ferguson Transports , Harvest Anne, a 24m long ex military landing craft loaded with fish feed.



Here she is in August 2010 delivering feed to the fish farm at Moll just at the mouth of Loch Ainort and only a couple of miles away from our berth.

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In an attempt to encourage our good friend Jessie to join us for Hogmanay I’d taken the ‘wee dug’ to work to complete her ‘induction’ aboard the Loch Striven. After her lecture and examination on the use of ‘PPE’, personal protective equipment I took her to School Park 🙂

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In all honesty, the ‘wee barrel’ would have mutinied had she been kept on the ferry a moment longer 🙂 She refused ‘point  blank’ to come into the mess room and undergo lifejacket training 🙂

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The picture is cra4p, probably on account of the spay from the power washer but I spent most of the day cleaning the ‘Forward Voith space’ that had just had a new sewage tank installed in it.

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Fortunately we had no late sailing, in fact we had no customers on either the 17:30 or 18:00 sailings, so after sharing a ‘wee drink’ with the rest of the crew on the pier I headed home. Well, that was after going to collect the ‘wee dug’ from Jessie’s. Being unable to persuade Raasay’s most senior citizen to join us for Hogmanay I gathered Molly and went home for a sleep 🙂


I’m not a late night sort of person as a rule so find this whole Scottish thing of not even getting warmed up until midnight a bit of a chore. Consequently I went straight home to my bed 🙂 Wifey awakening me at 21:00 and then the four of us heading south to the village after ‘yours truly’ had had a bath to wake up 🙂 Being unable to convince our good friend to join us for New Years eve we went to visit her and spent a great night in front of the TV and BBC Alba the Gaelic channel.



I’m not a fan of the ‘One eyed monster’ but the Vatersay Boys were on playing a gig at the Barrowlands in Glasgow and we were ‘riveted’.


The old dance hall in the east end of Glasgow has a special place in my heart, it’s been voted the best venue in the UK by many bands and the second best venue on the planet by others. Probably on account of it’s excellent acoustics and sprung dance floor, despite a capacity of just over 2000 many ‘superstars’ love it, due in no small part to the enthusiasm of Scottish audiences I’m sure. Me I love it because, not only have I seen some awesome acts there but it’s where my wife proposed to me 🙂 Well not actually there but afterwards at the Sarecen’s Head or ‘Sarryheid’ as it more popularly known 🙂 Reputedly the oldest pub in Glasgow, with not a stitch of fabric in the place, tables bolted to the floor and, until recently no ladies toilet, the Saracen’s Head is probably unique. The last time I was in there the sign’s read ‘people dancing on the tables do so at their own risk’ 🙂 I love it, cos sure enough, people were dancing on the tables, in fact the last time I was in there the barman asked me to ‘pull a pint’ for someone because he needed to take a leak 🙂

The Vatersay boys performance was followed by an enlightening documentary about celebrated singer Ishbel MacAskill who died earlier this year. All in Gaelic but with English subtitles, which is fine by me because my hearing is rubbish 🙂

The highlight of the evening was the live broadcast from Duisdale hall and the hotel on Skye. Sad I know, but we’d been to see Mylo at the old church that is now the Duisdale village hall in 2004 and spent the night in the hotel car park in the Land Rover 🙂 It was great to see some familiar faces, like the coalman and Co op employees having a great time whilst we relaxed on the sofa with a dram 🙂


The first day of ‘the end of the world’ was magic, I managed to stay in bed until midday 🙂 with my darling wife doing the pig feeding for me 🙂 A most leisurely consisted of a wander over to Torran to ‘first foot’ at the Old Schoolhouse.

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After that it was feed the pigs, a visit to our neighbours and a relatively early night in preparation for the single sailing of today.

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Or so we thought, no sooner had we left Raasay than we were informed of the need to go and collect the ambulance at 11:00 😦

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I do hope that the ‘casualty’ is OK.


  1. Mollie looks so cute with those muffs on. 🙂 But you can actually get ones for dogs…

    Comment by Phil Cook — January 3, 2012 @ 12:01 am

  2. Happy New Year to you and your family. Saw the Vatersay Boys on Barra, absolutely brilliant! They were in the pub and each tune lasted for ages. Is that snow on the ferry? How disjointed is all that? Did you ever find the writeup about the chimney pots? All the best, keep on writing! May

    Comment by may cruickshank — January 3, 2012 @ 12:59 am

    • HI May, I’m sure the chimney pot story appeared on here some time ago 🙂

      “right, maybe someone else knows or I can ask someone who uses wordpress. Meantime, will copy and paste and see what happens

      Alan Evans Memorial Hostel Chimney Pots

      On the chimneys of the Alan Evans Memorial Hostel in Raasay, there are two different chimney pots. Not unusual, you may say, but thereby hangs a tale of piracy!

      When Alan bought Creachan Lodge, as it was called then, one of the pots was broken. This was shortly after the end of WW11 when all building supplies were in very great demand and very short supply. Accordingly Alan, with his usual ingenuity, assembled a small team and using his yacht Rowter, we sailed up to South Rona, where we knew there were several good houses with solid chimney pots. I can’t recall which house we chose, but it was close to the shore in Acarseid Thioram.

      In those days, we were all into rock climbing and climbing on to a house roof was not a problem. By carefully chiselling away the cement at the base of the pot we tilted it sufficiently to pass a climbing rope through it. Belaying the rope at the top of the roof, it was possible to lower the pot to the ground. Anyone who has had to handle a chimney pot while perched on a roof will appreciate that this was no mean feat, nor was transporting it to the shore and getting it on to the boat and, of course, off it again back on Raasay!

      So, when you see a fine castellated chimney pot and an ordinary one you can guess which one is which ……

      Told by Colin Cruickshank “

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 4, 2012 @ 11:04 pm

      • I assume this is the Colin Cruickshank that worked for Ferranti and helped out at the Ferranti Apprentice camp at Kinlochewe. I recall Alan Evans driving the Hunters (of Dalkeith) bus to the various camp sites. Great days. PS. If it is the same person, then Grant Ritchie has created digital photo’s from A) the apprentice camps and B) those taken of the Ferranti Mountaineering Club.

        Comment by Jack Kerr — July 16, 2012 @ 3:05 pm

      • Morning Jack and welcome, yup, I think that will be the same Colin, perhaps May will be along shortly.

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 17, 2012 @ 5:28 am

      • Jack, sorry to take so long to reply – your comment was received when I was on holiday. Colin did go on Ferranti apprentice camps he says but it was his brother Jimmy Cruickshank who worked at Ferranti. He has written a piece about his memories of Alan Evans, some of which might be relevant to you – if you would like me to send it let me have your email address. You can send it to I think we may have seen photos on the Ferranti Mountaineering Club website, some of which I think Colin supplied. Were you an apprentice?

        Comment by may cruickshank — August 3, 2012 @ 8:12 am

      • Hello May,
        I have replied to your email address. I recall Alan Evans being held in high regard by Ferranti apprentices and being told about Ferranti Apprentices travelling to Raasay with Alan to constuct (or possibly repair) a bridge. I was a Ferranti apprentice but too young to be involved in these sorties, but would be interested to know if the bridge still exists.

        Comment by Jack Kerr — August 3, 2012 @ 3:33 pm

      • Hello, Jack
        I will send you Colin’s writeup. It was with a Sea Scout troop that he went to Raasay and no mention of a bridge. I will ask him though – just embarking on a ‘sailing’ trip (Portavaddie to Auchinstarry) – when he get back.

        Comment by may cruickshank — August 3, 2012 @ 3:40 pm

  3. Happy New Year

    Comment by Marjorie Stintzi — January 3, 2012 @ 2:31 am

    • Happy New Year to you too Marjorie 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 4, 2012 @ 11:08 pm

  4. happy new year to the divine miss m., i know she prolly can’t hear with the ear protectors on. fine ears they are, too.
    i’m thrilled to think of your bringing in the new year with miss jessie, please give her picante warm regards from new mexico.
    good new year to you and yours.

    Comment by jeannettesmyth — January 3, 2012 @ 8:03 am

    • The divine M has been out repairing roads today Jeannette (without her ear protectors) 🙂

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 4, 2012 @ 11:10 pm

  5. Morning Paul

    The path to Torran looks amazing! What a difference from when the birch woods were first cut back and the old path ‘improved’ in the early ’90s or thereabouts. I’m looking forward to walking it again (and more happily, with the new hip) in June. Hope the gales that have even affected us badly on the Pennines haven’t been as bad as they were forecast for you.



    Comment by Sue — January 3, 2012 @ 8:57 am

    • Hi Sue, see today’s post for my feelings on the long neglected Torran path. A path that the council neglected for twenty or more years much to the annoyance of people that actually lived here and paid council tax. Then when someone got off their ar5e and attempted to upgrade it to a standard that they’d could actually drive to their house (not and unreasonable aspiration) the council stopped them when the job was barely half done 😦 Not because the council actually gave a fig but because ‘lovers of the landscape’ wrote in and complained 😦

      So now we have a half finished track that is left up to me and the folk at Torran to maintain because some people south of the border like the fecking birch trees. Well thirty years ago there were no friggin birch trees there and if people had not whined about the friggin track being widened , there would be a road there now and the trees would have grown once more 😦 Life at the north end would be easier for those that actually live here and I wouldn’t have to spend days in the pishing rain repairing it cos the council don’t give a toss.

      It makes my blood boil, it’s like all the pish spewed out by objectors to our wonderful harbour, anyway I’d better shut up before I bust a blood vessel 🙂

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 4, 2012 @ 11:30 pm

  6. Gott Nytt År, as they say in Sweden. I remember the Barrowland all too well from my youth and who could forget the Sarrie Heid. ‘Tas a bit of a right of passage as a youth in Glasgow to visit the place and have a glass or two of their famed beverage, White T! Bloody Hell……..

    Comment by yractual — January 3, 2012 @ 11:21 am

    • Ahh Iain,

      the Sarrie Heid, I’m not a ‘pub person’ in fact as a rule I hate the places, overpriced drink, smoke, and noise 😦 Twas about 12 years ago and I’d got tickets to see Morcheeba at Barrowlands. As usual we were early and wifey told me about this pub we should visit, just across the road. “It’s great” says she, “We used to go in there when I was a lassie, you can get all these mad drinks if you take your own plastic bottle in, all the wino’s go in there and people come up to you and try and sell you stolen stuff”. Not really my kind of place thinks I, especially as we approached the pub and a police car hauled two people out of it. “I’m not going in there, it’s only 7:30 and the police are dragging folk out” I announced indignantly. “Well that’s OK then” she retorted, “they’ve obviously removed the trouble makers”. Reluctantly I was taken into a seedy pub with not a stitch of carpet on the floor, wooden benches and tables firmly bolted to the floor.

      I have to say that it was the best pub I’ve ever visited, especially when we returned after the gig to a full blown party with people dancing on the tables and bar 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 4, 2012 @ 11:47 pm

  7. Happy new year to you and the family Paul all the best for 2012 (well what time we have left anyway 🙂 )

    Comment by jimmy mcmillan — January 3, 2012 @ 1:42 pm

    • Hi Jimmy, hope to see you before ‘we meet on the other side’ 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 4, 2012 @ 11:51 pm

  8. hope your croft wasnt damaged by todays storm Paul down here we have had roofs riped off like sardean tins . god love the wee dug for letting you put them its ears lol

    Comment by jay mitchell — January 3, 2012 @ 6:13 pm

    • Hay Jay, hope all is well with you, it seems that you got it much worse than us.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 4, 2012 @ 11:52 pm

  9. Hi
    A new follower and enjoying every read so far :-)) This is a really mundane question and probably answered by you many times a year but here goes:
    How on earth do you manage to stay dry?
    My somewhat cheap ‘water’ waterproofs keep me dry from the external stuff but make me sweat profusely and the (again not too expensive) so-called breathable ones leak like a sieve during a deluge. Is the answer to spend the fancy money and get ocean-going gear? And if so, how do you evaluate which gear is actually going to be value for money in the long run? Any preferences?

    Comment by Carrie — January 5, 2012 @ 8:26 pm

    • Hi Carrie and welcome aboard, not a mundane or silly question at all, the secret is in the leggings and we use these Guy Cotten ‘bib and brace’. As for the jacket, well that depends on just how wet it actually is and what work you’re doing. The beauty of a ‘bib and brace’ is that you can actually leave your jacket open in all but the most severe or driving rain so you don’t sweat so much. With a good b&b you can get away with a poor jacket but if it’s REALLY wet then you need a smock Though you have to bear in mind that I don’t actually walk any great distance in this kit 🙂

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 5, 2012 @ 9:31 pm

      • Hi Paul
        Thanks. Yep, ‘bib and brace’ makes perfect sense. You say you don’t walk too far in that gear so I assume you have a different take on wet weather stuff for work around the Croft? Same bib and brace approach of lesser quality (given you don’t need buoyancy aid and harness) or different approach altogether?
        I have ‘stuff’ to do which involves quite a bit of walking and getting in and out of a van, etc and recently I’m ‘bleep’d’ off with being inappropriately wet!

        Comment by Carrie — January 6, 2012 @ 12:55 pm

      • Aye Carrie, tis a dilemma indeed this waterproof carry on. On a boat or on the croft and a quad your not walking so much and don’t have to climb in and out of a vehicle. Wifey works on the post and just has to accept that she’s going to get wet 😦 The Royal Mail kit is OK but you either put a waterproof seat cover in the van and sit in a puddle or leave it off and get a wet arse on the dry days 😦 A divers ‘dry suit’ is the only answer 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 8, 2012 @ 9:54 pm

  10. S’pose it would be a bit lame to say “Oh bum!” :-)) I am toying with a bib and brace because that would come in handy for allotmenting (I want the allotment to be more productive year round) and for doing chicks – and keep my (cheapish) but sweat-making Super B-Dri jacket more open (if possible) over the top. As you say, a conundrum. Thanks for the info and sources – I’ve been looking for a reasonably priced Sou’wester for ages… Now I know where to buy one. Ta.

    Comment by Carrie — January 9, 2012 @ 9:50 am

    • Morning Carrie, I like the B&B because I can tuck my camera behind the bib and it also has has a pocket in it 🙂 Try Guy Cotten for a souwester, I’m sure that they used to do them.

      Good luck, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 11, 2012 @ 6:32 am

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