Life at the end of the road

July 20, 2013

Not so far to the Raasay ferry :-)

Filed under: daily doings, New hybrid ferry — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:15 pm

Well, the heat has arrived here, not sure what it was on Raasay for my weather station died some months ago and I’ve never got around to replacing it but David at


recorded 25 degrees plus at 14:00 so I guess we weren’t far behind. It certainly felt hot, too hot in fact with all the pigs spending the day inside their arks or under the shade of a tree. Our water supply seems to have dried up for the first time this year, which is unusual as May are June are normally the time for rationing. Not that I think it’ll come to that for we have 5000lts of storage and rain is forecast for Wednesday .

Another 12 months

Anyway, I left you in a layby somewhere on the A87 north of ‘Slig’ on Friday, just as my day was ‘going to 5h1t’, though that would hardly have seemed the case to any casual observer. Sat in the sunshine looking over the Cuillins  on a Friday afternoon hardly seems stressful or strenuous but that is not where I should have been. I should at that time of day been tucking into my lunch on the MV Hebrides but banks of fog put paid to that and I couldn’t join in the afternoon as the ‘Old Girl’ was booked in for MOT at . As is usual at this time of year I get in a ‘right state’ whenever the MOT is due, more so this year because eleven months of ‘training’ five days a week, much of it away from home have meant that the Land Rover’s usual TLC has not been a priority.

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Fortunately one good thing about spending so much time walking in South Shields meant that the Old Girl had only covered 6000 miles since the last test and ‘flew through’. That was of course after I’d spent hours messing about with the dash warning lights, handbrake, number plate light and oil leaks.

Stunned that my twenty seven year old baby had passed her thirteenth MOT in a row I headed home via the Co op with a case of cider to celebrate Smile



Getting as far as this layby just before Sconser when I realized that I hadn’t got enough fuel, actually I had plenty but had forgotten that I’d be leaving the Landy with wifey. Raasay has many facilities but fuel and alcohol are in short supply Smile



Upon my return from Portree filling station I spotted some stranded sheep at the head of Loch Sligachan Smile



I just wonder if the grass tastes better when the tide is in, for you never see them grazing here at low water!!!!


Armed with my MOT certificate and a full tank of diesel I headed north on what must have been the warmest day of the year here by far. This being a stretch of road past Bealach Ruadh where the road crosses from west to east, always good for spotting eagles. It has a Gaelic name that is something to do with ‘the men of Oscaig’ or is it rallying to the princes call, whatever it is, it has some unique (to Raasay) grasses growing in it.


Not actually getting home until 18:30, having to unload the Land Rover and then go out with my son and shoot some pigeons not a great deal else got done and an early night was had by all. All that is but the teenager of the house whom I heard creeping upstairs at around 3:00am!!!! Still, that didn’t stop me dragging him out of bed at 8:30 to take the quad and trailer over to Torran to ‘ship out’ some American’s from the ‘Old Schoolhouse’ Smile That he did with a smile and got well tipped too, one thing about the Americans, they expect good service and are happy to reward it. We seem to put up with carp, get ripped off, say nothing and fail to tip when we should.

Once they were away the pair of us went back, I dealt with their ‘bin bags’ and my son got on with cutting the grass.


This is the old ‘Mission House’ just by the schoolhouse at Torran,


the ‘hipped roof’ end being the church bit and the part with two chimneys the house. Obviously the congregation were kept warm by their faith whilst the minister and his servants needed a fire Smile 

Leaving the Dude to tackle the rushes, grass, burdock, thistles and bracken I went back home and headed up to the water storage tanks for the new house.


This being the main 3600lt tank some 30m higher and 200m away from the new house overlooking Loch Arnish. The tank is fed from a 1000lt settling tank which in turn is fed from a ‘secret well’,


I say ‘secret’ because no one seems to know anything about it and I came across it whilst searching for water some years ago. Lined with stones it’s obviously been used at one time and has never run dry even when my own supply has failed.

 009 010

Anyway, that well feeds this grey fibre glass tank which I spent all morning emptying and cleaning out with bleach, once that is full it flows into the larger black one below. The plan being to construct a ‘slow sand filter ’ in this one but first I had to make a lid to keep out leaves, debris and creatures.


The lid needed to be secure, waterproof, windproof and bug proof, fortunately I had just the thing Smile


Though I have to say that the time that the Dude and I spent making this lid was of far more value than £12 for a sheet of OSB Smile

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Mind you it was a good deal heavier and stronger than a sheet of OSB, taking much effort, sweating and cursing to get it up the hill


and on to the tank.


Though I have to say that I’m well pleased with the result, all I have to do now is carry a ton of sand and pebbles up there Sad smile

And whilst we’re on the subject of ferries and ferry traffic,


the new hybrid Raasay ferry MV Hallaig went to dry dock on Thursday under her own steam Smile . Our new ferry being one step closer to arriving here after heading to the Garvel dry dock to have her ‘bum scraped’ Smile


  1. to have her ‘bum scraped’ ??? … Paul, please do enlighten me

    Comment by cazinatutu — July 20, 2013 @ 11:26 pm

    • Morning Caz, as she’s been lying idle for seven months now she’ll have a ‘dirty bottom’ so will be going for a clean, have any mussels removed from her intakes and that kind of stuff.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 21, 2013 @ 5:53 am

  2. I always enjoy your blg stories! Thanks for keeping us all entertained!

    Comment by Vivian — July 21, 2013 @ 2:51 am

  3. Errr….that should have said BLOG not big!

    Comment by Vivian — July 21, 2013 @ 2:52 am

  4. Great Blog! I was having a Facebook discussion yesterday with 2 Australian friends about water supplies, and how us lowlanders tend to take them for granted. When you live out in the sticks, you don’t have the option, do you? I also had a friend who lived up the head of a Welsh valley, and he survived a dry summer when his spring was producing only 1 drip every couple of seconds – no water wasted there!
    Good about the MOT – my 18 year old Volvo went through her 2nd successive MOT with a clear round. I treated her to a service on the strength of that ! :0)

    Comment by Rob — July 21, 2013 @ 7:06 am

    • Hi Bob and welcome,

      water was back on this morning, I suspect it was just heavy usage that had prevented it filling during the day, overnight the tanks are full once more 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 21, 2013 @ 8:34 am

      • Morning, Paul. Out of curiosity, what is the source of the water supply and is it possible to increase the amount stored?
        Great news about the old girl, by the way. Fine vehicle, that. 🙂

        Comment by Lloyd — July 21, 2013 @ 9:23 am

      • Afternoon Lloyd,

        it’s a tiny wee spring on the hill and extra storage is possible, just a case of adding more tanks but 5000lts is quite a lot and I managed with 2000lts for years. I suppose the only reason that I’ve not increased it further is that I’ve never found another free tank 🙂 All mine came FOC!!!

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 21, 2013 @ 11:31 am

  5. Hi Paul, I’ve got a spare transmitter for the weather station we have, if that’s what’s gone t*ts up I’ll get it up to you.
    Send me an email.


    Comment by George — July 21, 2013 @ 5:08 pm

  6. Hi Paul
    We left Raasay yesterday and topped off our weeks holiday today with a trip on the Waverley from Glasgow to Campbeltown and back. The triple expansion steam engine is hypnotic! We sailed past MV Hallaig’s sister ship (Lochinvar?) sitting on the Clyde at Greenock.

    Comment by Derek — July 21, 2013 @ 9:45 pm

  7. Paul sorry I missed you at kishorn if I new you were at raasay I would have stopped bye when I passed sconser on Thursday maybe next time

    Comment by kenny millar — July 22, 2013 @ 5:05 pm

  8. Batteries are prone to failure. MV Hallaig use Finnish made LiFePO4 lithium ion batteries. Factory was in Varkaus Finland . Company was European Batteries Oy. In june 11:th it went belly-up. Delay is for sure… No service and no august sailings… 2014?….

    Comment by Jaska. Finland — July 31, 2013 @ 7:14 pm

  9. I enjoy beer after hard work, relaxing sauna and lovely good Koff beer . Jura Whisky is great but extremly expensive in Finland.
    Prices in euros: : in Finland we have top alcohol tax. Top in union as Sweden. Ex EU Norway is even 2 times as Finland.

    I wish you nice time, Paul.

    Best regads Jaska..

    Comment by Jaska. Finland — August 2, 2013 @ 10:10 pm

    • One Norwegian krone is 0.11 sterling.

      State monopoly price list “vinmonopolet” In Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Finland. Govorment alcohol monopoly.

      Best regards Jaska. Sorry my mistakes, Paul

      Comment by Jaska. Finland — August 2, 2013 @ 10:45 pm

      • Golly gosh Jaska, that’s £52 a bottle, only £27.50 here 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 3, 2013 @ 11:35 am

    • Well I never Jaska, it was a Jura that I was drinking 🙂 Having spent all week sailing past the island itself, I thought it was quite appropriate 🙂

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 3, 2013 @ 7:19 am

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