Life at the end of the road

January 23, 2012

Where to start ??

Filed under: daily doings, hydro, Land Rover — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:42 pm

A full five days since I last posted, even when at deaths door with the ‘man flu’ or completely trashed at a Rockness I’ve managed to post a few words every couple of days. It’s been so long since I was on here I’ve forgotten what I’ve done, actually that’s not hard, I can’t remember what I did this morning let alone on Thursday. Luckily I have the bombproof Panasonic DMC FZ38 to assist with that 🙂


The first full and exciting day off work when the shed arrived was followed by a day, that were it not for my parents could be described as pointless. Now the Dude used to have an account at the Post Office but they have in the interests of ‘progress’ stopped that so we had to open him an account with the Bank of Scotland. Well, OK we didn’t ‘have to’ but figured that it would be easier, after all I’ve had four accounts with them for twenty odd years and wifey for the same. Of course when you phone up you can’t actually speak to the branch that knows you ‘face to face’ you get someone in Edinburgh with no concept of geography who insists that you go into a ‘local’ branch with passport, birth certificate, utility bills and photographic ID.

Obviously their computer tells them that Kyle is more convenient than Portree, or they’ve made so many staff redundant  that Kyle branch is the only place with a person in it capable of operating a computer. So we leave at 7:15am in the dark to catch the 7:55 ferry. The appointment is not until 14:00 but we thought we’d make the 100 mile round trip more worthwhile with a visit to Ma and Pa on the mainland.


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And I can’t remember which one of the Cuillins this is whether its Blaven or Garbh Bheinn but it looked pretty spectacular in the grey light of dawn.

They day at Ma & Pa’s involved a little fettling of the water supply and an awesome bean casserole before  heading back to Kyle and the bank. The 14:00 appointment at consisted of a photocopying of all the relevant documents we’d brought and an interview with a lassie ON THE PHONE in Lochcarron !!! Now what the heck is all that about ????? is there no one in Portree or even Broadford who is capable of operating a photocopier ???


I wont even start about our next visit to the social work department in Broadford to hand in (yet again) passports, utility bills, and driving licences but eventually we got home in the dark and fed some very hungry pigs. Friday was yet again a trip off Raasay, though this time not until the 10:55 ferry.

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Rocky our Tamworth boar was going to Skye to serve a couple of sows at Kilmuir. He’s a bit of a wimp so we weren’t sure how he’d react to the journey, but as it turned out he was ‘brand new’ and seemed to enjoy the ride.

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You can always tell how happy a pig is in a trailer by how hungry they are and Rocky wolfed down all the treats we gave him 🙂

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His new home for a couple of weeks at least was not only the residence of some fine young and pretty girls but also the repository of some fine garden furniture.

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This beautiful chair being made from whisky casks and they’re well tested for durability in the wilds of Kilmuir.


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Rocky soon settled in so we left them to and set off  for Portree and a spot of shopping

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passing the MV Hebrides at Uig on the way.

Posting on Friday night went ‘t1t5 up’ in favour of kitchen design for the new house, it was about time wifey and I got down to the ‘nitty gritty’ of budgets on the ‘new hoose’ 🙂

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A couple of years ago we’d met Oliver Kieren of the ‘Free standing kitchen company’ at the ‘self build’ exhibition at the SECC in Glasgow and were much impressed by the quality of their oak units. OK they’re probably made for buttons in Vietnam but it’s all recycled European oak and pine with not an ounce of MDF or chip board. It’s not cheap but the quality is excellent and the cupboard doors open 180 degrees, I hate these poxy modern units where the doors only open 90 degrees 😦



I know, 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 if you move 🙂


Well this is where my ‘week off’ went seriously wrong, it started off just fine with the boys being all revved up for action. ‘The boys’ being the two ‘R’s that we’d acquired on Friday night on the way home.

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We started off by repairing yet another puncture on the quad trailer and changing its wheel bearings,


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before heading over to Torran to clean up a few salamis 🙂

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A cloth soaked in vinegar soon had the mould off,

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and a few hours of running the Lister ST2 generator dried them out out 🙂

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The snake in the grass

That done we headed down to the old traditional landing place of ‘Port Arnish’ to check on the boats there and cut some telegraph poles.

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It was pretty wild down there, the worst I’ve seen it in a long while in fact but we soon had a few poles cut and loaded into the trailer to take home.

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They were cut into 7’ lengths to use as strainer posts up at the new house/barn site and after lunch we attempted to install them but the 60mph winds and hail showers got the better of us.

After the abortive strainer post installing session that involved everything getting covered in mud and hail we gave up and returned home via the post box at the end of my drive. And this is when my week went severely ‘tits up’ with a letter from SEPA that was nestling in my post post box ‘at the end of the road’. A letter that could only have been inspired by someone with a grudge who reads the blog, a letter that almost made me give up on the blog. That was until today and I spoke to SEPA at 9:30am 🙂 OK I’d not slept or eaten for two days due to the worry, which should give the ‘snake in the grass’ some comfort, but all seems peachy now and things will take their course 🙂


The strain of the ‘snake in the grass’ took its toll, I was in my bed at 20:30 on Saturday night and spent most of Sunday replacing the heater motor on the ‘Old Girl’

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And I’ll finish this off tomorrow, it’s 22:30 and I’m shattered 😦



  1. “someone with a grudge who reads the blog, a letter that almost made me give up on the blog” … don’t let the trolls win, Paul

    Comment by carina — January 24, 2012 @ 12:51 am

    • Good morning Carina, it’s hard enough sitting down every night to write the thing without people using it to ‘inform on you’ for breaking regulations that were never intended for such small and insignificant schemes (SEPA’s words not mine)

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 24, 2012 @ 8:07 am

  2. Are you building a new house up there or just a new kitchen (girl talk.. maybe I should ask the swineherd) .. c

    Comment by ceciliag — January 24, 2012 @ 12:56 am

    • Morning Cecilia, new house and kitchen, eventually 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 24, 2012 @ 8:08 am

      • I suspect it’s a new kitchen with a house attached…


        Comment by Stonehead — January 25, 2012 @ 8:19 am

  3. Hope things are sorted for you, I would really miss your blog. Looking forward to seeing you get the new house up. 🙂

    Comment by Mimi — January 24, 2012 @ 1:15 am

    • Morning Mimi and thanks.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 24, 2012 @ 8:09 am

  4. yer your salt of the earth mate (please dont give up) I love your outlook on life , truly inspiring. Only been reading since around xmas, but feel like I know Raasay.
    dont let the (you know whats) get you down (think of it this way I’m sure your writing has earned you a drink/friend in almost any city for your efforts, or at least Newcastle anyway).

    all the best

    Comment by mike — January 24, 2012 @ 2:27 am

    • Thanks Mike and welcome, life at the north end has always been a wrestle with authority and the powers that be, you only have to read ‘Calum’s road’ to see that. Fortunately the people at SEPA are very helpful and understanding.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 24, 2012 @ 8:12 am

  5. Good on ya’ for not letting the trolls divert you from living, in all honesty, out in the open. I would hope SEPA would insist on first hand observations before considering ANY complaints. Otherwise you could photoshop the Palace of Versaille in Arnish and make all sorts of officials visit the island during a gale. Although that’s not such a bad idea, if they would each carry a pocketful of pot-hole filler with them.

    Comment by drgeo — January 24, 2012 @ 4:04 am

    • Good night Drego in Texas, well I suppose it must be 2:am now 🙂 Good idea about the pocket full of tarmac 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 24, 2012 @ 8:14 am

  6. Fun to notice my comment above was logged in at 4 am, because I always thought we on the other side of the world near Dallas, TX were 8 hours behind you–turns out we are only 6 hours off!

    Comment by drgeo — January 24, 2012 @ 4:12 am

  7. Hugs. sorry about the ijit with the grudge. I enjoy your blog so much.

    Comment by Marjorie Stintzi — January 24, 2012 @ 5:24 am

    • Good morning Marjorie and thanks, it really had me ‘down in the dumps’ there for a couple of days, hardly eating, in bed at 20:30 but not actually sleeping. Still it’s good to know the blog is appreciated and not all officials are, well officious 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 24, 2012 @ 8:18 am

  8. you, your photographs, and this blog have done more for wind energy and hydroelectricity as well as the environment of scotland than any number of vicious and obviously ill-informed informants. next time put up a petition and ask your one million friends out here in cyberspace to sign it.

    Comment by jeannette — January 24, 2012 @ 5:34 am

  9. Dont give up on the blog! Its one of the few interesting one’s I’ve come across. I found you via the navitron site as I’m interested in the energy generation stuff but as I’ve got friends and family on and around Skye I find the posts doubly interesting.

    Comment by gareth — January 24, 2012 @ 9:40 am

    • Golly gosh Gareth, Andy, Iain, Frances, Simon, Jay, Steve, Callum, Rob, Arthur, Carrie, Steve B, Max, Cog, ATM, Flora, Tony and all, I’m overwhelmed, thanks.

      I just don’t get it either, the things that some people whine or complain about to the authorities never ceases to amaze me and quite often they react only because they have to and not because they want to.

      It was the same with my pig signs Pig and hump Someone wrote into the council and complained about them so they reluctantly removed them

      Rocks and pig
      Fortunately I was undeterred so replaced them 🙂

      Well I replaced one of them, I’d no pink paint to do the other 🙂 Not that I’ll be starting my hydro turbine without the thumbs up from SEPA but it makes you wonder just how small minded and petty some people are.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 25, 2012 @ 6:35 am

  10. Chin up Paul, hopefully common sense won the day.It would not be worth firing up the computer if your regular updates on island life were no longer available.



    Comment by Andy — January 24, 2012 @ 9:55 am

  11. Hi Paul, ‘Don’t let the boogers grind you down…..’ : I’m sure you won’t. I’d never heard of Sepa – sounds a a bit like the Swedish state security t*ssers, Säpo, to me! Another bunch of meddling prats. Anyway, hard to think of anyone more environmentally friendly than your crew at the North End!

    Comment by yractual — January 24, 2012 @ 10:09 am

  12. Dare I ask, what were you ‘in trouble’ for? So many of us enjoy reading your blog and would be really upset if you gave up! Put my name down on the rota for 2 weeks on Raasay in August a couple of days ago, but it seems that the conditions have been changed, so don’t know if I will get them – keeping everything crossed!

    Comment by francesp — January 24, 2012 @ 10:22 am

  13. Don’t let any idiots stop your wonderful writing Paul. There are far too many people who think they know it all when it comes to the environment and have no idea about the reality of living on a remote croft. Your blog has been a real education to me as well as being so entertaining. You seem a man of such integrity, I am sure you have nothing to worry about.

    Comment by Simon — January 24, 2012 @ 11:36 am

    • Paul, I just want to echo what Simon says about people who think they know everything their is to know about ‘the environment’ but actually know ‘feck-all’ about the reality of making a living off of the land. Not that I know a great deal about it either, but I know the voice of care and concern for a community and environment when I hear it. I too have only been reading since Xmas(ish) having followed a link from but in that short time I, like Simon, detect a man of integrity behind the words that I so much enjoy reading.

      My plea would be: don’t give up on it and don’t temper it to be politically correct. Tell the reality of daily life in your bit of Raasay as it is Paul – it is entertaining and educational. And if your ‘I know my rights’ reader were truly dedicated to care of the environment – rather than spiteful politicking – they would be eager learn from you and your community.

      Comment by Carrie — January 24, 2012 @ 6:27 pm

      • Oh dear, sorry about the typo: …everything there is to know… would be better!

        Comment by Carrie — January 24, 2012 @ 6:30 pm

  14. hi Paul don’t let some little p***k with a grudge beat you. we enjoy your blog daily but if it means that you get some peace from the go tell mommy brigade i would understand if you weren’t on here much anymore but i hope you give them the lovely one fingered salute . These people are just insanely jealous of your life you have got and you cant please everybody mate so there is no point in trying hope you keep your spirits up and the blog mate

    Comment by jay mitchell — January 24, 2012 @ 11:41 am

  15. Why would someone try to spoil it for you, I just don’t get it. Anyway Paul keep up the good work, you have many followers here who enjoy reading your blog. I have had a couple of dealings with SEPA and I found them to be very practical and good to deal with as well.
    Good luck with the new build.

    Comment by Steve — January 24, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

  16. The comments above say it all, Paul. You have a huge following who wish you and your family nothing but success and the very best of good fortune in all your endeavours. You are a true inspiration. Never ever let those with narrow minds and blinkered vision deflect you from your goals.

    Comment by Callum — January 24, 2012 @ 5:30 pm

  17. Phew!!!! Just read comments 1-15 and couldn’t agree more with the sentiments expressed for your lifestyle, location and the near daily update of happenings at TEOTR. Just missed the opportunity to come and shake hands with you in Portree (when you parked in Somerled Square M/Cycles only area (tut tut) or should it be putt putt. However, you soon noticed your error and moved on. Hope all continues to go well on Raasay, and I look forward to seeing the new “meccano set” (shed) completed.

    Comment by arthur — January 24, 2012 @ 5:50 pm

  18. been reading your blog for a year, keep it up its great, i too live much like you, off grid on a small holding and at the end of a road. and sorry to say we have locally some small minded individuals who have moved out from the towns seeking the good life. its not that they are eejits it’s the fact they are ill informed of how the countryside works and how they can fit in not how they can change it. sorry to all townies who are well balanced individuals

    Comment by Steve batey — January 24, 2012 @ 9:00 pm

  19. Just remember “Nihil Illegitimi Carborundum” mate…and stay with us!

    Comment by cogidubnus — January 24, 2012 @ 9:15 pm

  20. Very disappointed not to see an video clip of two pigs ‘at it’ in this posting. That could have gone ‘viral’

    But seriously, ignore all the rubbish and good luck with the erection.

    Comment by Across the Minch — January 24, 2012 @ 10:00 pm

  21. By the way I had a really smooth ride with SEPA. We run our ‘grey water’ through a pod of Puraflo pods so it’s pure enough to drink – (come over some time and have a glass) – and once they heard this, SEPA said it was completely OK to let it flow out into the loch. We paid the £75 registration and it was all done.

    Comment by Across the Minch — January 24, 2012 @ 10:04 pm

  22. I’ve lost track of the number of inspections we’ve had because someone, or several someones, delight in informing on us to any and all relevant authorities. Some of the officers/inspectors are decent folk, do their job quickly, efficiently and with smiles while making it clear they think the complaint is spurious. Others? Well, I’d probably get reported for saying what I think of them.

    What I find particularly irritating is that every complaint ‘has to be treated on its merits’. So the inspectors won’t take into account that someone is deliberately using the system to further a grudge and that numerous previous inspections found no problems.

    Anyway, keep your chin up and don’t let the buggers get you down. It’s what they want. If you’re not downhearted you’ll wind them up no end.

    Comment by Stonehead — January 25, 2012 @ 8:17 am

    • Morning Stoney,

      perhaps I now have to look forward to a barrage of visits from the VAT, Animal health, the Buildings Control Officer and Northern Constabulary 😦

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 26, 2012 @ 6:07 am

      • Better lay in the tea and biscuits then. Coppers in particular are fond of those. Animal Health like scones, Planning went for drop scones and Environmental Health were on a diet last time. 😀

        Comment by Stonehead — January 26, 2012 @ 8:14 am

      • Hi Stoney, what do you suggest for the VAT man 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 28, 2012 @ 11:23 pm

  23. Emigrate to Sunny Tasmania dear PC,
    We would welcome a man of your near unlimited ability and noble intent with open arms.
    We have no cursed MOT to worry you, so you can sleep easy with the beast (in your garage that is)
    in fact no inspections whatsover (unless the beetlecrushers stop you for undue noise, bald tyres etc, whereupon you may be subject to a thorough inspection) and our petrol is about 1pound a litre, and we drive the same cars.
    The Australian Dollar during the last 3years has dramatically strengthened against the UKP, Euro,USD etc due to the huge demand for iron ore by our Oriental neighbours to the north, and our well managed Financial system (no Banks here went belly up when RBS etc were rescued by the UK TAXPAYER). Thus your savings wont buy what they might have, but most things including houses are much cheaper than Pommieland.
    Great blog, (as always) meanwhile I must attend to the matter of my unfortunate divorce…….

    Comment by The Tasmanian Ambassador — January 25, 2012 @ 9:21 am

    • Oh and NO Midges, but as old Callum once said to me, “anything that survives the (Raasay) winter deserves a drop of blood!”.
      I now see that SEPA and SITG (a snake in the grass) have been taxing your thoughts.
      Tasmania’s Regulations and Redtape, Paperwork etc are said to be only a fraction of the UK+EU according to a Dairy Farmer who emigrated 10years ago (as a former UK tenant farmer, he also said he doesnt miss the English “Class System”!!).
      Certainly our State bureauracy and laws have not grown to UK standards or even mainland Australia’s standards.
      There is something to be said for living on an island.

      Comment by The Tasmanian Ambassador — January 25, 2012 @ 9:40 am

      • Morning Taz 🙂 I wouldn’t be the first person from Raasay to leave for Tasmania hey 🙂 Sounds perfect but I’m too old, and anyway, I’ve no passport 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 26, 2012 @ 6:09 am

      • My lot didn’t need passports to go to Oz. All they had to do was nick a few sheep and take pot shots at the English soldiery. Mind you, I needed a passport to come back!

        Comment by Stonehead — January 26, 2012 @ 8:12 am

  24. Hi Paul and family, Sorry to hear that things went a bit downhill for a wee spell, thankfully SEPA are on your side and the busy body has lost this time, again!
    Reading through all the above comments I have to agree with all these great people, as you know ill health is a blight for me and reading your blogs is a highlight of the day for me. I don’t always manage to read on the day of posting but when I catch up I read the lot and it always makes me feel so much better. One could say that it is the best tonic of the day for me!

    Keep up the excellent blogs and brilliant pictures and video’s, they are an Oasis in my somewhat dreary day and always give me a laugh!

    All the very best


    Comment by Graham Thompson — January 25, 2012 @ 1:46 pm

    • Morning Graham, time of year I think, brings out the worst in people and encourages the ‘glums’. Be just fine once we start dragging the Thomson’s about 🙂 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 26, 2012 @ 6:13 am

  25. I’d just like to add my support to everything that has been said already. I have also looked forward to reading about your lifestyle, hard work, integrity, ingenuity and inventiveness since we visited Raasay in Oct. Don’t know much of the technical stuff or what anyone could have to complain about but sorry to hear that someone has felt the need to do so underhandedly – admiration would have been more appropriate! I’m sorry, but not surprised, since you put your whole self into what you do, that it made you so down. Hope it is sorted soon.

    Comment by may cruickshank — January 25, 2012 @ 11:10 pm

    • Good morning May and thanks 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 26, 2012 @ 6:26 am

  26. On a different topic, the piece of graph paper with the scaled items of furniture really took me back to a few years ago when I was designing our holiday letting apartment and kitchen and trying to see if various items of IKEA furniture would fit in!

    Comment by Neil King — January 28, 2012 @ 1:02 am

    • That’s what Portree needs Neil, an IKEA 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 29, 2012 @ 7:38 am

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