Life at the end of the road

May 27, 2013

A fine single malt :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, shed/house — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 5:34 am

Five in the morning now and I’m guessing that will be the MV Hebrides nicely warmed up ready for the 5:30 sailing out of Uig right now. It’ll be a good few hours before I join them on what promises to be a very long day this bank holiday Monday. True to form it’s blowing a gale right now and pishing with rain but XCWeather – Forecast for IV40 8PF (Postal Code) assures me that it’s going to be all ‘fine and dandy’ by 10:00am and the optimist inside me believes it.

Anyway, as I was saying last night we boated the six or so miles north to see Bill and Lorraine on Rona. A long overdue house call and the first time this year, the first time in fact that we’d been out in the boat. The journey north was everything it should have been, calm, mild and interesting with a couple of puffins seen and one solitary porpoise in the Sound of Rona, the narrow but fast flowing straits that separate the north of Raasay and Eilean Tighe from it’s identical neighbour. Not that Rona resembles the rest of Raasay, just the north end past Brochel, where the geology changes dramatically from Torridonian sandstone to Lewisian gneiss. A landscape that has more in common with Harris than the rest of Skye, a hard and rugged land that drove many men to sea on account of there being little soil to sustain sheep or cattle.

It’s also a place where people were herded to make room for the ‘lairds’ sheep and one which proved the final straw for many who went to seek a better life in the new world. Not through choice but quite simply because the barren rock could not support them. It is however, with the benefit of a job, modern conveniences and good health a beautiful place to live and a younger me could quite easily cope with life on Rona. Having said that Bill and I are the same age and he’s managed just fine for more than a decade, which says allot about the man. If you think I get quite a bit of work done in a day then Bill does the work of ten men and after all this time has never lost his enthusiasm for Rona.


A tireless worker he expects the same from those around him, something that was evident in the road improvements that he’d commissioned my mate ‘the grumpy digger driver’ to do Smile

 The Tricky Bit Quarrying Stone

Hugh had been up there for ten days and had just left having widened the road to Acaisaid Thioram (Dry Harbour) and built some reservoirs for the Big harbour water supply




The first thing we did though, prior to ‘tea and biscuits’ was to check out the new Outback inverters that Hugh Piggott of had fitted. These two 3kw inverters replace the 4.5kW Trace that used to power Big Harbour, stacked like this one of them is asleep until the power demand increases above 3kW whereupon it ‘wakes up’ and shares the load.


This will be the Lister TS2 generator that makes up the ‘balance of power’ when the solar panels don’t produce and the wind turbine is still. Like my system it’s fully automatic, seamless and far more reliable than the grid.



After an hilarious bout of craic on subjects as diverse as the Isle of Man TT, trapping mink and running into deer Bill took us for a tour of Hugh’s work and other improvements he’d done.


033 034

The wider and smoother track that now enabled the use of an old Daihatsu instead of the quad would be a blessing for the visitors that stay in the cottages there. At least now people could be kept dry when doing a ‘change over’ in inclement weather, and as Bill says, £5000 for new quad, £300 for old truck, it’s a ‘no brainer’ really Smile



I was really keen to see his ‘slow sand’ filtration system, this tub full of rock, and gravel being the first part but then I was so engrossed in the rest of it that I forgot to take pictures Sad smile



Gosh, the Dude is taller than me now!!!

So after a grand tour of the estate we collected our whisky, a present  by the way and not for me, and headed south.



I’m not a whisky drinker but this is a fine smooth and mellow malt that even my wife can drink, it’s also to replace one I bought last Christmas for a friend and ended up drinking myself!!!



The very first time that I’ve seen the new house from the sea Smile

The rest of the day was spent cutting bedding, clearing out pigs and various other jobs around the croft,




watched closely by wifey’s hens.

052 051

Well, all the ones that weren’t resting that is, the new Black Rocks do like to have a wee nap in the afternoon and seem to love plastic.



That was it really, the Dude went over to the Schoolhouse to cut the grass only to find someone else had beat him to it,



well, at least we know how they get in now Smile



That was it really, at 19:00 I hauled up the Pioner and at 19:30 settled down to a fine pot roast three year old joint of pork that I’d found in the freezer yesterday.



  1. I hope that the weather does as the forecast suggests, a cracking 48hrs down south for a change and even on a bank holiday. Great to see pictures of Rona & other peoples of grid workings, can’t wait for when you get time to be home & round to posting a section on creel fishing.
    Good pictures of your new additions in the poultry & pig department, sorry that our paths did not cross last week, hopefully later on in the summer.


    Comment by Arthur T Bomber Harris — May 27, 2013 @ 6:13 am

    • Aye Michael, it’ll soon be time to get some creels out, though this five day week really fecks things up 😦 I’m sure our paths will cross again.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 28, 2013 @ 5:28 am

  2. Morning Paul

    Good to see all those pics of Raasay and Rona – thanks for posting them. Quite amazing to see a motor vehicle on Rona (apart from a quad) – would that be Bill making history?

    The weather here seems to mirror what you are having: sunny and fine one day then the wind gets up again (serious wind, I mean). I’ll try the XC weather postcode forecast before heading north in 2 weeks – not that it will make any difference knowing what the weather might be, and forecasts on the island are so often wrong anyway.



    Comment by Sue — May 27, 2013 @ 8:16 am

    • The resident lighthouse keepers on Rona had a landrover to get the stores up to the lighthouse, maybe in the 1940s but certainly in the 1950s.

      Comment by SOTW — May 27, 2013 @ 8:31 am

    • Morning Sue,

      Bill would only be making history as far as the south end of Rona is concerned. As She says the lighthouse had at least one Land Rover, an International truck (the engine of which is in my garden) and a Mercedes Unimog which now resides on Willy Eyre’s croft. I’m sure you’ve seen it next to Elisabeth’s house at Eyre. Last time I was up there the Navy had gone back to using a Land Rover.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 28, 2013 @ 5:25 am

      • Of course! I have a photo of it and assorted pieces of farming hardware on the croft. The new owners may have cleared it away – seem to remember missing some bits last year.


        Comment by Sue — May 30, 2013 @ 6:58 am

  3. Great pictures Paul. Good to see someone making such a success of island living. I am over at Gairloch this week, I do hope that our friends at XC are right!!

    Comment by Simon — May 27, 2013 @ 8:37 am

    • Lets hope so too Simon, it’s long overdue.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 28, 2013 @ 5:20 am

  4. Evening Paul, The house is looking great, its fair coming on, in by autum? My 6 weeks of Brindisi was ok, then i went home of SIX days and now back off Brindisi for 6/8 weeks..
    Can i have a job on your Ferry please? BTW do you have a list of places to stay for when i head up exploring?

    Comment by v8mbo — May 27, 2013 @ 6:52 pm

    • Morning V8,

      enjoy the fish whilst you’re away 🙂 As far as accommodation goes, apart from the youth hostel it’s all in the sidebar of the blog. Raasay is a little lacking in that department, though Raasay House may be worth a look.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 28, 2013 @ 5:16 am

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