Life at the end of the road

January 18, 2012

A serious first :-)

Filed under: daily doings, shed/house — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 11:04 pm

Well the VAT return ‘first’ had nothing on today’s first, I only had my ageing memory and anecdotal evidence to support doing a VAT return early and after a days work. What turned up ‘at the end of the road’ today at 16:10 was most definitely a first for Arnish. I suppose there’s been an awful lot of them over the years but this one was much anticipated, but quite frankly in my view, highly unlikely. It was in fact the arrival of our shed from Robinson’s of Lockerbie, two years after I’d originally contacted their local agent Donnie MacKay of Lochcarron metalwork, in, well, Lochcarron 🙂

Not that it takes Donnie or Robinson’s two years to organize a building,  just that it took yours truly two years to do all the paperwork and fence the site 🙂 No surprise there then, as you may have gathered I’m not very good on the ‘admin’ front 😦 It took so long to ‘apportion’ the land to put it on, a complicated process that allows me to fence off part of the ‘common grazing’  for my own ‘agricultural use’. It took so long to do that and apply for the 50% grant towards its erection that I had to get two fresh quotes, both of which were significantly more expensive 😦

When I initially asked for quotes the local haulier phoned me up and asked if it was possible to get an articulated lorry up ‘Calum’s road’, not a chance says I. Not that I’m any expert but I did ask folk who knew and all shook there heads. I thought it made sense because I’d struggled when towing a 7m long wind turbine mast behind the Land Rover. So when Rachel from Robinson’s phoned me last week to say that an articulated lorry would be on its way soon with a shed on the back I told her it wouldn’t fit. Right enough says she, there’s a note on the order saying so.

The delivery was rescheduled from Monday to Wednesday as the doors were still at the galvanizers but that was just fine by me as I’d be at home then. Lachie Gillies my contractor of choice was primed to drive his all terrain fort lift the eleven miles north and I awaited news eagerly. The lorry was actually booked on the 16:15 from Sconser which was far from ideal as that would mean a journey north and unloading in the dark.

The news came via the phone in a strong Cumbrian accent at 9:55 that the driver was in Callandar only 175 miles from Sconser. What sort of lorry are you in I asked and was informed it was an articulated one, but only short, I was not convinced it would make it up here. The driver however was having none of it and shrugged off my concerns.

Ah well thinks I, I’ve told them it won’t fit, there’s a note on the order saying ‘no artic’ so if it gets stuck at least I’ve tried 🙂

So with almost a full gale of west wind blowing I got on with clearing out some drains and ditches whilst awaiting Lachie and Angus to arrive with the fork lift and pickup to start marking out the site.

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Sorry, that’s not Lachie and Angus 🙂 that’s Molly and Bracken heading into a pig ark an hour or two earlier. Bracken is due piglets soon and I’m trying a little experiment. At the moment all of the herd is out on the hill (apart from Jamie Lea and her wains) and I’m trying to encourage Bracken to move into this ark which is some way away from Rocky, Bramble and Toots. What I’ve started doing is leading them all around to one of the croft gates, separating Bracken then feeding them all at the gate with Bracken locked on the croft. When the others finish eating and head off for their nap I lead Bracken down here with some food in the hope that she’ll pick it as a place to farrow.

There’s a certain degree of risk because it is the winter and she may go off somewhere mad to farrow, or worse still have her litter in with the others who will probably squash them. However pigs are really intelligent and we’ll see over the next week or so if she starts heading down there on her own once she realizes that she’ll get extra food 🙂

The pigs are far happier on the hill roaming free, it’s a matter of trying to manage them in a way that they all get fed fairly and don’t squash piglets.

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Lachie and Angus arrived around 11:00am with forklift cement mixer and laser level 🙂

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The ‘Grumpy digger driver’s’ work was given the ‘thumbs up’ and I left them to it 🙂

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Well, Molly had had enough anyway 🙂

After a few hours of ditching and draining I headed back up to the site just after 16:00 to mark out some more fencing, I’d spoken to the driver at 15:00 and he was on the ferry. Normal ‘rule of thumb’ is one hour after leaving Sconser you arrive at the end of ‘Calum’s road’ if you don’t stop. Of course that’s in a car and not driving a friggin great truck.

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No sooner had I arrived up at the site than Molly picked up the roar of diesel and started barking 🙂

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Not a great picture as it was pishing with rain just then but here it is, the first ever articulated lorry to drive down ‘Calum’s road’, I wonder if Calum ever envisaged this after all his labours 🙂 It’s a testament to his labours that a lorry of this size ever made it up to the north end of Raasay!!

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end of public road


The very end of the road in fact 🙂 They should write a song about this 🙂 ‘The artic at the end of the road’ 🙂


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In an effort to get the lorry off Raasay we unloaded him on the car park,

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rather than up at the site and off he went shaking his head

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and shouting something about sending pictures off to Lockerbie 🙂

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Map picture


That was a seriously skillfull piece of driving 🙂



It’s bad enough by Land Rover 🙂

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