Life at the end of the road

February 13, 2012

The wonky weaning :-(

Filed under: daily doings, pigs — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 5:43 am

Sunday at last, my favourite working day and it’s nearly over. To be honest were it not for the fact that I’ve some stuff on eBay that finishes in an hour I’d be in my bed now. There’s hardly been what you’d call a ‘bidding frenzy’ on my DJ gear but the price is at £377 just now and that will almost pay half my surveyors fees 😦 Or perhaps buy two tickets for 🙂

Anyway being a Sunday I had a wee lie in bed for an hour before arising to go and have a good look at my herd for the first time in daylight since I’d started work.

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I’m always a little apprehensive when going to check on Bracken but this was the third day in a row that we’d not found any freshly squashed piglets so there’s a good chance the worst is by with now. At almost a week old they’re lively and noisy enough to get out of her way 🙂

Of course Molly came to check on  piglets that she’d helped deliver almost a week ago.

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Then wifey and I had a go at weaning Jamie Lea’s six bruisers

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but that didn’t go quite as we’d planned and Jamie came along as well 😦

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Whilst Bracken and her seven piglets came out to watch the hilarity 🙂

Luckily for me it was time to go to work so I left the Swineherd to it and headed south

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down the dreary commute to work 🙂

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This is looking over to the long abandoned settlement of Uags on the Applecross peninsular, a beautiful spot that I visited occasionally when clam diving. With no road and a good 5 mile walk from Toscaig it is, as I recall, surrounded by old and stunted oak trees 


When I was last there some 10 or fifteen years ago few people ever visited but now one of the houses has been repaired, or at least made wind and watertight by the MBA  Anyone can stay there FOC subject to the ‘bothy code’ below.


Respect Other Users

Please leave the bothy clean and tidy with dry kindling for the next visitors. Make other visitors welcome. If they are not MBA members set a good example.

Respect the Bothy

Tell us about any accidental damage. Don’t leave graffiti or vandalise the bothy. Please take out all rubbish which you can’t burn. Avoid burying rubbish; this pollutes the environment. Please don’t leave perishable food as this attracts vermin. Guard against fire risk and ensure the fire is out before you leave. Make sure the doors and windows are properly closed when you leave.

Respect the Surroundings

If there is no toilet at the bothy please bury human waste out of sight. Use the spade provided, keep well away from the water supply and never use the vicinity of the bothy as a toilet.
Never cut live wood or damage estate property. Use fuel sparingly.

Respect Agreement with the Estate

Please observe any restrictions on use of the bothy, for example during stag stalking or at lambing time. Please remember bothies are available for short stays only. The owner’s permission must be obtained if you intend an extended stay.

Respect the Restriction On Numbers

Because of over crowding and lack of facilities, large groups (6 or more) should not use a bothy nor camp near a bothy without first seeking permission from the owner.


There’s even one on Raasay a few miles north of here which I helped with some twenty years ago, not in the actual construction but with shipping materials to the remote site at Kyle Rona. Though my initial help was just to provide a flat field for the RAF Sea King helicopter that had been tasked with carrying stuff to land. Unfortunately It was called off on a rescue after only one or two trips so I helped finished the job off with the Ocean Unity, a 9m long steel fishing boat with a crane on it.

When the MBA first took over this house in the 1990s one of the builders was still alive in Portree, or so I was told. It’s hard to believe that people were still building houses like this in the 1930s and 40s in such remote places. It is no wonder that corrugated iron was the roofing material of choice. I wouldn’t like to carry slates up here 🙂

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This is a glass calm sea and an even calmer Loch an Rathaid, loch of the road, just north of Ballachuirn, though the road is long gone, perhaps it was never there and ‘the road’ has some other meaning.

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Cleaning, drills and maintenance where, as usual the  order of the day, though we did have an extra run in the morning for an ambulance.

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During the afternoon, once all was ‘shipshape’ I made good use of the fine and mild day to go for a wander.

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It was good to see the first slates on the roof of Raasay house, actually the first ones went on some while ago around the back but I can’t see those through the trees 🙂

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This old Thwaites dumper with its single cylinder Petter diesel engine brought back memories of my four year stint on Scalpay .  Where it was the preferred mode of transport, quads where not around in those days, or at least none that I could afford 🙂

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The back of the old steading with its acres of Ballachulish slate and clock tower,

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which once sported a fine spire and is rumoured to have stopped on the outbreak of WWI, though I think there are quite a few old clocks that have done that 🙂

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A ‘spot height’ carved into a piece of Torridonian sandstone on the corner nearest Raasay House. These are datum points shown on maps and give the exact height to the nearest meter, though it used to be feet above sea level. They’re usually marked on OS maps but often left out (as this one is) in towns and villages to reduce clutter.

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After my little wander I returned via the only good bit of road on Raasay to the Loch Striven

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just as the Enchanted ex Celtic Star was passing the pier and heading for Portree.

I managed to get home for the first time this year in daylight (just) only to find the swineherd still trying to sort out Jamie Lea’s piglets. I joined her with a bucket as we attempted in vain to move them into another field. Jamie herself was out on the hill but the six wee wains refused to stay in the same field all at one time 😦 We’d get five in leaving one out, then that one would go in just as two more exited, then we’d coax them back in just as three left 😦 By the time we gave up it was dark and we were sprakling about in the mud with torches 🙂

That was about it really my DJ gear made over £400, I went to bed then arose at the ungodly hour of 3:30 and finished this 😦 Now it’s 5:36 and I really feel like going back to bed but as my alarm will go off in less than twenty minutes that’s pretty pointless 🙂



  1. Hi Paul,
    Someone sure got a bargain with your DJ kit
    seeing your local clock that stopped at the outbreak of WW1 reminds me of the Lost Gardens of Heligan near us in Cornwall
    Nearly all the gardeners were lost fighting in the trenches and the gardens rapidly went into decline until they were brought back to their former glory by Mr Tim Smit in the very early 90’s. He also has a link to your turntables as in a former life was a successful composer and musical entrepreneur
    Spring feels just around the corner here, hope it is with you as well
    Best wishes

    Comment by chrisb — February 13, 2012 @ 12:43 pm

    • Morning Chris’s, all I need now is to get rid of all the massive speakers and amplifiers that I have 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 14, 2012 @ 6:33 am

  2. You’ll need to make some kind of cat-flap arrangement Paul, so that come weaning, you can just set it and let them do it themselves .. save a lot ofenergy .. and blue language! 😉

    Comment by Mike Cunningham — February 13, 2012 @ 3:18 pm

    • Morning Mike, the cat flap is something that I’ve considered myself right enough, though I have to say it’s not usually such a problem, it’s the deep mud that’s the issue rather than the piglets 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 14, 2012 @ 6:36 am

  3. I see the swineherd is a fashion setter wearing the new spring look — red & green wellies. Does she have another pair just like it?

    Comment by drgeo — February 13, 2012 @ 4:49 pm

    • She does have another pair just the same Dr but they’ve got holes in and if she wears them she doesn’t know her port from her starboard 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 14, 2012 @ 6:37 am

  4. Paul
    Nature, nothing wants die or leave the comfort of mammy and the exercise following the weaners better than driving to the gym.

    Comment by Michael Leonard — February 13, 2012 @ 10:16 pm

    • Good morning Michael, all ‘bonhams’ alive, well and thriving, we actually found another dead one in the bedding after about three days, so she must have had twelve in all, a record for her.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 17, 2012 @ 6:21 am

  5. What a wonderful variety of pics and activities, Paul! This is so interesting to read. Thanks for taking the effort to write. You must be exhausted!

    Comment by Flora — February 14, 2012 @ 2:25 am

    • Morning Flora, thanks for taking the effort to read and comment 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 17, 2012 @ 6:22 am

  6. I read your blog from time to time as it brings back memories of my summers as a child which I used to spend on Raasay. The pictures of the steading in particular as I went everyday (except the Sabbath of course) going and collecting the milk fresh from the cow. All of the kids on Rassay use to go at the same time and from which we used to roam/play all ove the island. My Grandmother , who was a McLean was part of a large family of 11 children who were brought up in the croft/fisherman’s at 8 Clachan Although she lived at the time in Edinburgh she and her husband had bought the building and went to Raasay in the Summer Months.
    I appreciate reading your blog and seeing the pictures of the different conditions

    Comment by Alan — February 14, 2012 @ 9:25 pm

    • Thanks for sharing that Alan, very interesting and glad you liked the pictures.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 17, 2012 @ 6:26 am

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