When our vet, Rhona Campbell http://www.rhonacampbellportree.co.uk/vetsportree.html phoned me a few weeks ago asking if it would be OK to bring some students up to see the herd I thought she was kidding. especially as it was part of a ‘Rural skills’ course run by the West Highland College and University of the Highlands and islands http://www.whc.uhi.ac.uk/courses/environment-rural-and-maritime-skills/rural-skills . What do we know about pigs I thought 🙂 OK we’ve been keeping them for seven years but our approach is rather unconventional and we certainly don’t do it for the money.
Then when I found out that the group would also be visiting other crofts on Raasay to see how sheep and cattle were moved, gathered and handled it began to make more sense. We may not be experts in the field of pig husbandry but our herd is friendly and used to being handled. They’re all of good temperament, even the boar, we have a couple of different breeds and a good spread of ages.
However being a Tuesday I did at first have to go to work, or at least to Sconser and back to collect my ‘back to back’ who’d come in early to let me away 🙂 Of course I’ll have to do the same for him next week 😦 But what are friends for 🙂
The group would be catching the 9:25 ferry and heading to see my good friend and fellow crofter Nairn Duncan at the south end of the island first to find out about cattle. This would give me chance to do a little tidying up around the place and clean out Bracken’s bedding before they arrived. In retrospect I should have got them to do it for some ‘hands on’ experience 🙂
Not being in a particular rush I stopped around the back of Raasay house and clambered onto the bonnet of the Land Rover to have a look over the walled garden at progress.
I’m guessing that this hole is where the new concrete staircase is going in
and here’s some of the beautiful lead work and expert slating at the eastern done by http://www.macleodroofing.co.uk/inverness_roofing_services_portfolio.htm who are no strangers to historic buildings.
Here’s one they did earlier 🙂 http://www.cawdorcastle.com/
Home just after 10:30 and with ‘second breakfast’ out of the way we gave Bracken a good clean out and washed down the yard outside the barn.
Then it was a new set of bearings for our livestock trailer
and yet another puncture on my mates quad trailer. It turned out to be a leaking rim but I’ve already re seated this tyre on the rim so fitted a tube instead.
With of course a little help from Bracken and her wains,
pigs really are inquisitive creatures.
The group of six students, Richard their lecturer and Rhona turned up, I guess around 12:15 and we spent an hour or so showing them around and answering questions. The herd behaved impeccably, though it did take us quite a while to find Rocky, Bramble, Toots and Jamie Lea who were ‘out on a mission’.
So after a good scrub with disinfectant they headed off to Glame and the North Raasay Sheep Stock Club who were gathering sheep.
After a spot of lunch and a wee sleep (it’s my age 🙂 ) we went up to the new house and barn site to admire Hookies holes 🙂
These are the seven for the barn uprights, the odd one being for the sliding door
and these the four corners of the house.
That done I went over to the Torran Schoolhouse to check the battery bank then down to my turbine shed to check the Stream Engine http://www.microhydropower.com/
The turbine was just fine but I was somewhat surprised to find a dead heron in there !! Perhaps it was sick and sheltering in there getting a little warmth off the turbine, whatever it was doing it had been dead for a couple of weeks at least 😦