Life at the end of the road

March 13, 2012

Three otters and one ferry :-)

Filed under: animals, boats, daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:59 pm

Now don’t go getting too excited as the Otter pictures aren’t that good 😦 In fact they’re pretty carp, but I’ll get to that later. I left you on Saturday just before departing Raasay for Sconser with the Loch Bhrusda moored just behind us.

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As we pulled away from the slip the purr of her  V12 Cummins diesels was replaced by a roar as she left her berth to take our place. They would need to load their vehicles ready for an early start in the morning for the trip to Oban.

With our last sailing out of the way I headed north up ‘Calum’s road’ for a late night safari under a crystal clear sky. The promise of ‘northern lights’ evaded me but woodcock, owls, bats and a startled deer did not. The young deer at Glame got into such a flap that it got caught in a fence and fell over. Thinking it may have been injured I stopped the ‘Old Girl’ and walked back down the road but it was away.

Arriving home after 22:30 I went straight to my bed after saying ‘hello and goodnight’ to wife, child and ‘the boys’ or at least two of them, one of them was already in bed. They’d had a pretty busy day hauling fire wood over to Torran on the quad as well as checking the battery bank and hydro turbine.

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Up very early on Sunday I made the fatal mistake of feeding the sheep first, no sooner had I done so than Bracken’s wains came charging out and chased them away 🙂

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I arrived at work after spending a couple of hours pottering about the croft to find the harbour inhabited by just the Loch Striven and the trawler Lustre, the Loch Bhrusda having departed before 7:00am. Funny I didn’t hear it at Arnish 🙂

Sunday was the nice leisurely day that it usually is with just a couple of runs, a little maintenance, a drill or two and of course an early finish. Home in daylight I managed to load up my mates rock breaker into another mates trailer with another mates forklift, where would you be without mates 🙂


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Well I can’t really remember much about it really, the prawn ‘creel boat’ Golden Rule called in briefly at the pier

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and I finished off the ramp ‘finger flap bolts’. These M30 high tensile bolts have a spring behind them that allows the six ‘fingers’ on the end of the ramp to move slightly, thus compensating for movement by sea, unevenness in the slip or an angular approach. We’d adjusted them last week but it’s always a good idea to let them settle in for a few days before re tightening them, packing them with grease and covering them with ‘Densotape’.

Once again I was in my bed long before 21:00 and without a bath 😦


It was full daylight when I left the house this morning, OK, I was five minutes later than normal, but what a difference a day or two makes 🙂

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Before leaving home I went into the battery shed (as I usually do) to check the hydro turbine output and found this cat tucked up on my dry suit. Lord knows where all these cats come from, we’re ten miles from anywhere and must have four or five of them living in various out buildings, there’s even one lives in a trailer and another in the wood store. Still, we don’t have a rodent problem 🙂

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This will be Ben Tianavaig in the mist, or at least part of it 🙂

Another sad loss

Today, just short of his 83rd birthday Charles Macleod, ‘Charlie Bayfield’ was laid to rest in Portree. He died last Sunday after a long battle with prostate cancer. Sadly I never really knew Charlie despite him living in my house for many years and seeing him on the ferry often. The brother of Calum, who built the road he too was a fine mason, and just like Calum worked for years at the Rona light, or at least servicing it.

During his last ten years of servicing the light Charlie would have used this boat,


the ‘Janet Mackenzie’

charlie's letter

I received that picture from the last but one owner who’d lovingly restored her, he was making enquiries as to her previous life as a lighthouse tender. Charlie’s niece was kind enough to speak to him about it and above is a letter he typed about her.

   janet mackenzie

Top left is the hammer that Charlie speaks of that the new owner found in the bilge 🙂

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Here’s a map he drew from memory of the south western corner of Loch Arnish, the hand may have been a little shaky but it’s very accurate and contains names that few people now remember.

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It may have been Calum that built the road but it was himself and Charlie that built the ‘short cut’ to Fladda from Torran between 1949 and 1952. Prior to that the path went over the hill by ‘Pipers rock’ and thence downwards towards Fladda. This shorter and far less steep route follows the coast but necessitated some huge dry stone embankments along the steep terrain.

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This is a stone shelter along the way that afforded respite and a good view of a particular rock, that once awash indicated that the tide was low enough  to walk to Fladda .

The otters

Three otters

I told you not to get excited, but there they were, three of them playing around midday, between the old and new pier. These will be the otters that were going to be ‘driven away’ by the new harbour, these will be the shy otters that don’t like being disturbed putting on a show for all the people in the car park 🙂


  1. loch bhrusda is safely in largs

    Comment by andrew metcalfe — March 13, 2012 @ 11:57 pm

    • Hi Andrew and welcome aboard, Largs hey, well I never, didn’t realize that’s where she was bound, hope they have their earplugs ready 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 15, 2012 @ 7:38 pm

  2. That,l be the same otters when we were pouring concrete we stopped to watch one swimming alongside the pier with a conger that was about twice the size of itself, and it didnt seem to be complaining about the noise we were making 🙂

    Comment by jimmy mcmillan — March 14, 2012 @ 12:12 am

    • Hi Jimmy, ‘and it didn’t seem to be complaining about the noise we were making’ not like some folk hey 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 15, 2012 @ 7:41 pm

  3. Otterly lovely pic thanks. Sometimes I could scream when I see perfectly good plans to develop an area and it gets held up or worse scrapped because ill informed campaigners say the wildlife will depart. On Cairngorm mountain the birds nest within yards of the ski lifts and funnycolour railway.

    Comment by Gary Brindle — March 14, 2012 @ 10:04 am

    • Hi Gary, don’t get me started on environMENTALists, wildlife and the friggin view 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 15, 2012 @ 7:45 pm

  4. Sorry to hear about Charlie MacLeod. Thanks for reminder photos of the short cut to Fladda.

    Comment by drgeo — March 14, 2012 @ 5:14 pm

    • Aye sad indeed about Charlie, like I said, I never really knew him but these last few days I keep coming across things in and around the house that he must have done in his many years here. Sheds he must have built, or at least repaired, stones he must have moved and a WW2 mine in the garden 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 15, 2012 @ 7:50 pm

  5. Hey Paul, there was only one otter when we arrived about 15 mins after you left, and it just was too far away to photograph…was munching something in the middle of the bay.but thanks for the shout anyway!! Great to see them…do you think they were all the same age or 1 adult and a couple of younger ones?

    Comment by George Rankine — March 14, 2012 @ 10:14 pm

    • Hi George, think it was one adult and two wains, or perhaps smaller females ??

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 15, 2012 @ 7:51 pm

      • Well, let’s hope for lots of young ‘uns!!

        Thanks again, George.

        Comment by George Rankine — March 15, 2012 @ 8:06 pm

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