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 http://www.rbscotland.co.uk/ 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 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Callander 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.

 180112 002

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.

180112 004

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!!

180112 017

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’ 🙂

 

180112 016

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

180112 018

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

180112 020

and shouting something about sending pictures off to Lockerbie 🙂

180112 022

 

Map picture

 

That was a seriously skillfull piece of driving 🙂

 

 

It’s bad enough by Land Rover 🙂

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42 Comments »

  1. Wow! What a driver, but bet he was glad nothing coming the other way (at least you’d have known that!). What a triumph and a tribute…hadn’t seen the landrover video, it really is a great road and, having walked it when we came I remember every inch of it! Good luck with shed construction now.

    Comment by may cruickshank — January 18, 2012 @ 11:36 pm

  2. Paul,

    Going back to my comments on ‘Tam’ – getting ‘smokey’* is a term used by us in the Royal Navy to express that , on rare occasions , you let your guard down, and let some emotion get to you, This was one of those occasions. There is no purple haze , only a genuine concern for Flora, you and the departed Tam

    *Smokey – room full of smoke = can cover up for emotional bits in films your oppos don’t seeing you crying at!

    Den

    Comment by Den — January 19, 2012 @ 12:40 am

    • Whoops Den, got the wrong end of the stick there 🙂 Very interesting, and yes you’re right, makes much more sense 🙂 Especially for one like me that greets at all the emotional bits of films 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 19, 2012 @ 8:31 pm

  3. man this video is dynamite, gives a sense of what it was like to build, how hard a job and how beautiful a spot. i love it. thank you for taking it and living at the end of the road.

    Comment by jeannette — January 19, 2012 @ 3:33 am

  4. Morning, Paul

    What an amazing feat by the artic driver! I bet he drinks out on that for years to come. It’s not just the narrowness of the road but also the bends – ‘snow-plough corner’ as you call it; the left-hand bend after a down-hill stretch -with bridge!- and the right-hand bend after an uphill bit with a precipice the other side! Wow!

    Hope Bracken takes the bait and doesn’t do a Shona on you.

    Cheers

    Sue

    Comment by Sue — January 19, 2012 @ 8:36 am

    • Hi Sue, May, Jeannette, Andy and all,

      that was some serious bit of driving hey, just been down the road today and was totally amazed at how few times he’d clipped the verges, as Lachie said, “he’s an old hand at it” 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 19, 2012 @ 8:34 pm

  5. A fine road, Paul. Even got Passing Places. I wouldn’t have thought Calum saw much need for those and the extra toil needed to provide them. Or am I wrong? Or did the council eventually put them in?

    Comment by Iain — January 19, 2012 @ 8:51 am

  6. Have had another look this morning at the video (and shown Colin the arctic – equally amazed!) – how on earth did you manage such a brilliantly clear video? Was the camera mounted on some sort of ?gimble? if that’s the right word (for compasses eg)?

    Comment by may cruickshank — January 19, 2012 @ 8:54 am

  7. Have had another look this morning at the video (and shown Colin the arctic – equally amazed!) – how on earth did you manage such a brilliantly clear video? Was the camera mounted on some sort of ?gimble? if that’s the right word (for compasses eg)?
    (this may post twice, once or not at all, funny things happening with internet explorer!)

    Comment by may cruickshank — January 19, 2012 @ 8:55 am

  8. A six axle Artic. What size and weight of shed have you bought ??????
    Steel cutting has started Paul with the “official” cutting taking place on the 30th Jan with all sorts of media attending. I will get you some pics.

    Comment by John Salton — January 19, 2012 @ 9:54 am

    • Hi John, you can never have a shed that’s too big, it’s 40′ x 20′ and already I’m planning an extension :-)Can’t wait to see the pictures.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 19, 2012 @ 8:36 pm

  9. This Guy should be on World’s Toughest Trucker on Monday Channel 5 at 7.00
    It’s good you’ve got the week off to put it all together.
    Best wishes for favourable weather and hope all the bits are there
    Chris

    Comment by chrisb — January 19, 2012 @ 9:58 am

  10. thing is with truck driving, is the diesel gets in ur blood
    once you have been on the open road u will never get a normal job
    and think what sort of braging rites the driver now has
    i envey him that journy and how many more yrs will it be b4 it is repeted if it ever is

    good louk with ur shed

    Comment by wiggy — January 19, 2012 @ 10:06 am

    • Hi Wiggy, now we know it can be done we’ll be getting materials for the house on one too 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 19, 2012 @ 8:38 pm

  11. Time to swop the Land Rover for a Volvo A25.Good ground clearance,excellent load carrying capability and a high drivers seat 🙂 Well done that driver with your shed. Have heard of one or two artics that have taken a wrong turn and gone over the Bealach in the past.Regards to Lachie and Angus.

    Andy

    Comment by Andy — January 19, 2012 @ 12:26 pm

    • Morning Andy,

      funny you should say about the Bealach http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bealach_na_B%C3%A0 ‘the pass of the cattle’ for Angus said that someone he had taken an artic over it !!!!! and I figured if it was someone he knew then he must have done it deliberately. Now that I would like to see 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 21, 2012 @ 8:20 am

  12. Hi Paul

    Until I saw the excellent video, I had no real concept of what a testament that road is to one man’s vision. And what a community task it is to ‘keep up behind it’ when the council don’t – or won’t. And utterly necessary if you are to keep the North end alive.

    That trucker will dine out on that trip for a long time. To use the vernacular, chap with plenty of b**ls and some top notch articulated-lorry-driving skills. No doubt he said it was “all in a days work”! Good on him.

    I’m curious, is the ‘apportionment’ of common land done under ancient Scottish crofting rights then? Look forward to watching/reading about the progress of the ‘shed’.

    Comment by Carrie — January 19, 2012 @ 3:34 pm

    • Morning Carrie, some feat indeed with the truck 🙂 Not only that but he went south a different way for some reason reason and took the lorry around the back of Raasay house. There is a particularly tight corner by the walled garden that NOBODY ever thought you could get an artic by and he did it without scratching the wall, amazing.

      I’m curious, is the ‘apportionment’ of common land done under ancient Scottish crofting rights then? Look forward to watching/reading about the progress of the ‘shed’.

      That just about sums it up, if all parties to a ‘common grazing’ are in agreement then you can fence a bit off for your own ‘agricultural’ use.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 21, 2012 @ 8:29 am

      • That corner is bad enough for a Land Rover if anything is coming the other way! Hope he didn’t harm Jim’s garden! On that route there are alsos bends at Oscaig and a cattle grid. That man should pass into Raasay folk-law!
        Sue

        Comment by Sue — January 23, 2012 @ 9:12 am

      • Yup Sue I think that Schihellion should add a verse in their song just for him 🙂

        “”CALUMS DREAM”

        Graeme Ross

        Sometimes there are stories
        That simply must be told,
        O’ sorrow,joy an’ glories
        Past tae young fae old,
        Here is such a story,
        I’d like tae share wi you,
        About a son o’ Raasay,
        An Eilean man sae true,
        He was known as Calum,
        Macleod that was his clan,
        The isle he loved was dyin’,
        But Calum had a plan.

        CHORUS-
        Calums road aye Calums road,
        Built wi sweat an’ toil,
        For future generations,
        An’ those driven fae the soil.

        Tae turn the tide o’ history,
        As hard as that would seem,
        An’ secure the islands future,
        That was Calums dream,
        So in the north at Arnish,
        In nineteen sixty four,
        He began tae dig the land,
        The factor cleared before,
        If he could join the-gether,
        The south end an’ the north,
        Maybe life would spring again,
        In the homeland o’ his birth?

        CHORUS.

        Depopulation rife again,
        Never far fae mind,
        If he began tae weaken,
        In God strength he would find,
        Wi barrow,pick an’ shovel,
        Workin’ night an’ day,
        Wi nuthin’ but his callus hands,
        Calum cleared the way,
        Six days he’d be workin’,
        The saabath rest an’ pray,
        Then Calums road completed,
        Two decades past the day.

        CHORUS.

        Calum died in “88”
        A legend amoung men,
        The self-belief that drove him,
        None would see again,
        But he lived tae see his dream,
        His vision had come true,
        The north o’ Raasay breathes again,
        Calum thanks tae you,
        So tae that humble man,
        I dedicate my ode,
        Raise yer glasses tae him,
        Tae Calum an’ his road.

        Calums road aye Calums road,
        Built wi sweat an’ toil,
        For future generations,
        An’ those driven fae the soil,
        Calums road aye Calums road,
        As people come tae view,
        The north o’ Raasay breathes again,
        Aye calum thanks tae you!”

        http://www.spanglefish.com/Schiehallion/lyrics.asp

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 23, 2012 @ 5:12 pm

      • That corner is bad enough for a Land Rover if anything is coming the other way! Hope he didn’t harm Jim’s garden! On that route there are also bends at Oscaig and a cattle grid. That man should pass into Raasay folk-law!
        Sue

        Comment by Sue — January 23, 2012 @ 9:13 am

  13. Diesel be bu66ered, that guy must be running pure EP 90!!

    Comment by Mike Cunningham — January 19, 2012 @ 5:51 pm

  14. Talking of roads, I got an acknowledgement today from Highland Regional Council:-

    “Re Raasay Roads

    I refer to your correspondence dated 13th January 2012 in connection with the above.

    I have asked the Director of Transport, Environmental and Community Services to look into this matter on my behalf and he will contact you as soon as his enquiries have been completed.

    Yours sincerely

    Alistair Dodds
    Chief Executive”

    Hmmmm

    Comment by cogidubnus — January 19, 2012 @ 6:51 pm

    • Cheers, Cog, can you remind me of t hose pothole reporting links, I’ve informed the council via http://www.fixmystreet.com/ and mailto:Tecs.complaints@highland.gov.uk but a few more would not do any harm 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 21, 2012 @ 8:33 am

  15. Wouldn’t have liked to have been travelling in the opposite direction and met that giant lorry on the road! It’s bad enough getting round some of those bends in a normal car, he did a good job there!

    Comment by francesp — January 20, 2012 @ 11:11 am

    • “Wouldn’t have liked to have been travelling in the opposite direction and met that giant lorry on the road! It’s bad enough getting round some of those bends in a normal car, he did a good job there!”

      Someone was Frances and could not believe their eyes 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 21, 2012 @ 8:35 am

  16. Hail the Articulated Truck Driver, a truly remarkable piece of driving, even more appreciated once the Calum’s Road video had been watched. I once drove 40 footers and some of the roads in Scotland are a challange but Callum’s one is awe inspiring. This driver has surely earned the title of Greatest Trucker in the world, especially when one remembers that the bin men couldn’t get up to the croft to collect the rubbish in their wee lorry! Great pictures as always Paul. Those Scania’s are a great truck, next step is to get an Eddie Stobart one on the island, or has that already been done!

    Good luck with the construction Paul, as said hope the weather holdsfor you and you get it erected OK.

    Getting smokey, hadn’t heard that before but appreciate the explanation Den, certainly more understandable now.

    Comment by Graham Thompson — January 20, 2012 @ 3:51 pm

    • Morning Graham,

      may be a week or two before serious construction starts, the founds for the uprights need digging out then the concrete will have to set for a couple of weeks. Just as well as the weather is atrocious right now.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 21, 2012 @ 8:39 am

  17. I notice cogidubnus has an identical letter to the one I got from the Chief Exec about the roads – only difference is the date it was sent! Do you reckon Alistair Dodds doesn’t atually exist and there is this standard letter sent out on automatic? Great way to keep the salary bill down!
    Anne Macdonald

    Comment by Anne Macdonald — January 20, 2012 @ 8:18 pm

    • Makes a change from Spartacus…I’m Alistair Dodds…no I’m Alistair Dodds…I’m Alistair Dodds…

      Comment by cogidubnus — January 20, 2012 @ 9:35 pm

    • Morning Anne,

      “Do you reckon Alistair Dodds doesn’t atually exist and there is this standard letter sent out on automatic? Great way to keep the salary bill down!”

      🙂 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 21, 2012 @ 8:40 am

  18. Long ago before Calum’s Road, there was Half Quad Track

    Comment by Lorenzo — January 20, 2012 @ 11:14 pm

  19. ,” it’s almost £1000 but hey, it’s real wood with a granite top costs you sweet FA to have it ‘fitted’ and you can take it with you… ”

    £1000 would get you most of a galvanised chassis for the old girl, now you have a nice dry shed coming for the swap…and you can take it with you every day.

    There must be thousands of off-the-record off-grid hydro plants in Scotland, and ours is on a salmon river -oops better get it notified.

    Max

    Comment by Max — January 24, 2012 @ 9:04 pm

  20. just read all the comments about the artic. boy i wish i drank. have to buy a new hat me heeds got so big. didnt no id taken the wrong road back,but i didnt think i had gone round that walled bit on the way to you.good luck with your shed(if i can get it there,u can build it).and if u want an extension,i retire in 2 years, get it after that(only kidding)it was a pleasure bring it.

    Comment by colin — February 3, 2012 @ 6:51 pm

    • Hi Colin, they’ll write a song about you and you’ll go down in Raasay folklore as the man who drove the first artic up ‘Calum’s road’ 🙂 Pity it was a crappy day and time was precious, I’d have loved to have got some better pictures. Until I saw you coming around that last corner I had my doubts, the wind was quite strong from the south and I heard you long before you arrived but I was convinced it was you revving her up cos you were stuck in a ditch.

      I should send that picture of you on the car park to Scottish Fuels as they refuse to send the short four wheeled tanker up here as ‘it’s too dangerous’.

      Many thanks, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 3, 2012 @ 7:52 pm

  21. Well done i bet that wasnt an easy task i have watched the video and the road looks ruff .hats off to you grampa for gettin there you truly are the world best trucker. 😉 …….. Keep on Truckin.

    Comment by Wilson — February 4, 2012 @ 6:39 pm

    • Hi Wilson, is Colin really your grandpa???? He really is a seriously good driver, tell him thanks again if you see him.

      Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 5, 2012 @ 6:34 am

  22. Hi paul Yes Colin is my grampa.And i will. But he will not stop talkin about how hes such a Great driver hes got a bit of a big head HAHA

    Wilson

    Comment by Wilson — February 5, 2012 @ 4:21 pm

    • thick ear for you boy

      Comment by colin — February 5, 2012 @ 4:39 pm

      • Morning Colin and Wilson 🙂 now now guys, behave, no falling out on here 🙂 What was your classic truck Colin, I forgot, was it a blue Foden?? I’ll keep an eye out for you next year. I did take some picture as some of them passed Sconser but can’t find them yet.

        Cheers, paul

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 8, 2012 @ 6:22 am

  23. Hi Paul i have found a picture of the old ERF on skye. Heres the link.

    Millican's GHH 149L

    Here is another. unfortunately this one isnt taken on skye sorry i couldn’t find another picture that was.

    GHH 149L  1972  ERF A series   Jos.Millican

    Wilson

    Comment by Wilson — February 9, 2012 @ 5:18 pm

    • Nice pictures Wilson, yup I definitely remember seeing Colin in the ERF with the tarp covered load on the trailer, I remember thinking, ” I wonder if that’s just pallets under there” 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 11, 2012 @ 6:23 am


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