Life at the end of the road

July 24, 2012

The first blocks :-)

Filed under: daily doings, listers, shed/house, Trucks and plant — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:58 pm

Sleep overcame me last night before I had a chance to get it all down, a day that could have easily gone pear shaped went like a dream. The Old Girl got her twelve month ticket, we got rid of (sounds awful) two sows when I was only expecting to part with one and I got two bottles of wine given too 🙂

It had been a mad rush of a day with little room for error with the ferries but it had all gone like clockwork, even amusing the two girls for a couple of hours had proved drama free 🙂 So after the sows had departed I decided to introduce Ellie to the wee Tamworth’s,

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something that had unexpected results. She must have been coming into heat because the two boars, one in particular spent the next few hours chasing her around the field 🙂 Another couple of days and she’ll be chasing him 🙂 As sows start to come into heat and generate the right sniffs it gets the boars excited but the sow’s not in the least interested for two days. After that she’ll go looking for a boar and it will take a stout fence to keep her away from one. I can’t wait to see what this young chaps makes of it in the absence of Rocky 🙂

As wifey had been working on the post, myself and one of the wee girlies did the feeding and egg collection for her.

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This is the point where 32 chooks come charging at you from all directions and peck at your laces. A few scoops of mixed grain gets them out of the way whilst we collect the eggs and remove the broody hen.

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The same broody hen with the ‘sour crop’, or at least the ‘squidgy one’ so we gave her another dose of sunflower oil and massaged it for her in the hope that she’d throw up. She didn’t, even after quite a while so I let her go, after which she did 🙂

After feeding pigs and dinner I removed the starter solenoid off Harry

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my Lister HR2 so that I could fit it to my mates ST2 as a ‘stop gap’ until his new one arrived.

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Even though the generator can still be hand started it will not charge the batteries with this missing, at least not without moving a wire or two. Anyway all went well with just one minor modification to a terminal, one of mine is a bullet type on account of a previous bodge, sorry repair 🙂

‘On the ball’, on the case and up the road 🙂

This morning, being my last ‘rest day’ was a bit of a mad rush getting things done, for my next ‘rest week’ will be spent in Aberdeen and I’ve a gazillion things still left to do. Ensure there’s enough oil, change gas cylinder, organize a couple of tyres for wifey’s Nissan, sort out feed, clean the oil stove, etc, etc 😦 This is as well as do a VAT return and make loads of phone calls that I’m dreading as I find it almost impossible to use the phone on the ferry 😦

With all done that could be done we loaded up both cars an headed for the 9:55 ferry, the Nissan to get us to my parents and the Land Rover to get me home after work. Squeezing into the back of wifey’s car with the two girls to get on the ferry I made a mental note to drive the car once on Skye 🙂 Delightful they may be but very loud at close quarters and better separated 🙂

Once at the other side I spotted Willie from

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with a load of blocks for our new house 🙂 Not that we are actually ready for them yet but Willie had checked out the road last week


and decided to ‘give it a go’. He wouldn’t be the first artic up ‘Calum’s road’, that hour goes to Colin of but he’d certainly be the heaviest and longest. Hence his enthusiasm to get up there whilst the weather was good.

The video I shot gives you some idea of the road, the song ‘Calum’s dream’ by Graham Ross giving you an inkling of the herculean task. A great CD that was launched here on Raasay last year



   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.
    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?
    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.
    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!

To be honest I was gutted that I could go up with Willie to get some pictures but my back to back loaned his camera to Lachie Gillies our builder who would be going with him.

Leaving the experts to it I headed off for my parents house for a spot of water supply fixing


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with their dogs

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and my helper 🙂 All the while half expecting a call from Lachie to inform me that there was a rather large truck stuck on Calum’s road.


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No surprises so far, plenty of big trucks got this far

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but only a handful to the ‘horseshoe bend’ at the bottom of cnoch an uan, ‘the hill of the lamb’

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and even less to the road itself 🙂

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I always get the name of this hill wrong so I’ll not even attempt it


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but this I call ‘snow plough corner’ on account of the snow plough almost going over the edge. It was saved only by the driver digging in the blade, the rocks being added at a later date by the council.

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It may well have a new name ‘brown trouser bend’ but we’ll not go into that 🙂


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What can I say,

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job done,

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thanks chaps 🙂

on the ball

I just wish Askernish quarry sold oil as well as aggregates and blocks 🙂


  1. Morning Paul
    So when do the builders start will you be back from your training. Also how far are the blocks from the new house site?

    Comment by rob — July 25, 2012 @ 7:49 am

    • Hi Rob, the blocks are just at the bottom of the drive, Willie’s doing a full load next time, as for starting, well I’m in no rush now with all this college carry on 😦

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 25, 2012 @ 8:25 pm

  2. Obviously a very professional and capable wagon driver. Hats off to him and his like.

    Comment by Richard — July 25, 2012 @ 8:13 am

    • Aye Richard, the likes of Colin and Willie are a different breed to these local delivery types 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 25, 2012 @ 8:26 pm

  3. Excellent driving skills and a cool head! Well done to that man for his huge effort and the reward of a job well done! I wonder if Callum ever expected such huge vehicles to travel his road when he was breaking his back building it!

    Comment by Thomson Caravans — July 25, 2012 @ 5:17 pm

    • Hi Graham, and I’m worried about towing up my static, what a whimp 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 25, 2012 @ 8:28 pm

      • Different thing altogether Paul, with the smaller wheels and axis in the middle it gives you a greater overhang at the back, might be easier than a big rig but don’t envy you trying. How long till the epic journey?

        Comment by Thomson Caravans — July 30, 2012 @ 2:34 pm

      • Morning Graham, that would be the Strathavon caravan park in Girvan. It was OK, we had a lovely quiet pitch by the river the campers were friendly but the place was a little seedy and scruffy. At the time I thought it was expensive but it was the first site we’d ever stayed at and was actually quite cheap by comparison to others we’ve stayed at. Have you heard of Lizard Lane in South Shields?? or Sandhaven?? apart from the reviews on the web. Looks like the old Thomson will be getting an outing after all 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 31, 2012 @ 5:15 am

      • Thanks, that is the one I heard about via facebook a few days ago and forgot to bookmark it!
        Not been to either of the sites in South Shields but did hear that last year the first one was a bit of a mess as it was undergoing transformation having been sold by the council to a private company
        sorry cannot be of more help as its not an area we have been to, who knows maybe next year on the way south to see family.
        Sounds like a good idea to take the old Thomson down for the training though, although you may have to build a temp Egg packing plant to cope with the loss of the present one lol!
        All the best

        Comment by Thomson Caravans — August 1, 2012 @ 7:32 am

      • Hi Graham, temporary ‘egg packing station’ sorted and caravan cleaned. Need to sort out mantels and a glass for my gas lamp, check the brakes and lights then wire up a mains hook up. Can’t say that I’m looking forward to the drive or being away from the family but the thought of having my own self contained space rather than the halls, hotel or B&B appeals. Dunno about November on the east coast right enough 😦

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 1, 2012 @ 10:50 pm

      • You certainly can’t beat your own bed when away and the peace and quiet when not at lessons. Look out for wee sites that have hook up and WC facilities, often a lot cheaper than proper sites, Known as CL sites in the caravan club but some do take non-members. Hope some of your followers have a few ideas on them.

        Comment by Thomson Caravans — August 2, 2012 @ 10:03 pm

      • Hi Graham,

        you’ll love my Thomson tale for tomorrow but I’m to tired right now, the long arm of coincidence and “life at the end of the road” 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 4, 2012 @ 10:22 pm

      • Looking forward to it Paul.

        Comment by Thomson Caravans — August 5, 2012 @ 1:31 pm

      • I camped for a couple of nights on Lizard Lane some years back, it was very clean and right by the coast road with buses going past … it seems to have changed ownership because back then I’m sure it was run by the local council but the reviews now say it’s owned by the hotel … stunning views over the sea in nice weather but not sure what it would be like with a wind off the sea … right next to Marsden Rock which is a beautiful spot

        Comment by cazinatutu — July 31, 2012 @ 6:39 am

      • Hi Caz, that’s just what I was hearing about Lizard Lane, but surely they must have finished the building work by now. I did have a look on Google earth etc and it looked OK.

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 1, 2012 @ 10:28 pm

      • Paul, have you thought about looking north of the river towards Whitley Bay … there’s a ferry from North Shields to South Shields with bus links either side

        Comment by cazinatutu — August 2, 2012 @ 10:35 pm

      • Hi Caz, I’d ruled out north of the river but didn’t know about the ferry.

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 4, 2012 @ 10:23 pm

    • Hi Paul, the ferry is integral to the Metro transport system, see the map at and information about the ferries here… however when I do a search the only caravan site I can find is the one up by St Mary’s Island north of Whitley Bay which I don’t think is of any use at all to you… sorry, not much use is it

      Comment by cazinatutu — August 5, 2012 @ 6:20 pm

  4. I can’t help thinking that Callum would be very pleased that all his hard work has achieved the viability of the settlement … not only is it still in existance but expanding

    Comment by cazinatutu — July 25, 2012 @ 6:20 pm

    • I just dunno what he’d have made of it Caz. I wouldn’t have believed it myself 23 years ago and the road was much better then 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 25, 2012 @ 8:29 pm

  5. Hi Paul
    We are on our way up to Raasay on Friday and I can’t wait for some peace and tranquility, and the opportunity to buy some free range Raasay eggs! I can remember as a boy getting eggs from Annie Macrae and they tasted like nothing else :-). Might see you on the ferry

    Comment by Derek — July 25, 2012 @ 9:51 pm

    • Good afternoon Derek and sorry I missed you on the ferry, or at least didn’t spot you until you were driving off. Not so nice today but looks like a reasonable week ahead. Can’t believe that I was just speaking to wifey and she’s about to put out her second wash !!! It’s been pishing down on and off all day here.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 29, 2012 @ 12:55 pm

  6. If it’s not a daft question, did the blocks actually come from South Uist or do MacAulay’s have a depot on Skye as well?

    Comment by neilking — July 26, 2012 @ 10:29 am

    • Hi Neil, MacAulay’s make all there blocks on South Uist and can sell them on Skye cheaper than Jewsons!!!

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 29, 2012 @ 12:57 pm

  7. Eagerly awaiting your account of your visit to the parents because I wondered if you got to carry your new assistant during your 4 mile walk with Dad?

    Comment by drgeo — July 26, 2012 @ 6:03 pm

    • Hi DrG,

      no walk with pop 😦 but mum is buying me a new camera 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 29, 2012 @ 1:15 pm

      • oh good on your mum, you without a decent camera would feel like you had an arm missing … now all you’ve got to figure is who’s buying you a new laptop for your bithday/christmas pressie

        Comment by cazinatutu — July 29, 2012 @ 3:28 pm

      • Morning Caz, new laptop ordered 🙂 a Lenovo 🙂 with Windows 7 😦

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 31, 2012 @ 5:01 am

  8. Hi paul
    These guys should be on Ice Road Truckers.
    Just got back from amazing trip across from Castelnuovo Garfagnana and Pietrasanta by public bus.
    Two hours of white knuckle ride for 3 euro can’t be bad on roads like Calum’s, well probably not so narrow
    We meet a lot of locals who emmigrated from these remote regions many years ago and now have returned
    We haven’t tried to got to your village, that’s even if buses go there
    We were amazed at the glacial appearance of the marble quarries.
    Good luck with the new house

    Comment by chrisbbbbb — July 27, 2012 @ 8:09 am

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