It was a rather lame attempt last night at catching up on the weeks events I’m afraid, something to do with the uisge beatha (water of life) from Jura. However the news that I’m back ‘on shift’ and will be Joining the worlds first sea going hybrid Ro Ro ferry on Wednesday has cheered me greatly. Eleven months of a five day week having taken its toll on my usual enthusiasm, not to mention my grip on the ins and outs of life on Raasay. Living at Arnish can leave one bereft of news from the village but then a week on the ferry soon had me catching up with the ‘doings’ on the rest of the island. All that changed on the 24th of September last year when I headed south on a fine autumnal day having just heard the first roaring stag of the year.
What started off as a bit of an adventure soon deteriorated into homesickness as three months in a caravan in South Shields dragged by as autumn gave way to winter. The few months spent aboard MV Hebrides and Finlaggan whilst very interesting left me with ‘middle aged spread’ and precious little time on the croft. Still, it’s almost over now and I’ve enough certificates to wallpaper the porch. Actually I’ve probably enough to do the lounge but the porch is the only room with plasterboard walls
My first day of ‘normality’ so to speak was however a bit light on the achievement front, mainly due to the torrential rain that poured out of a windy grey sky for most of the day. Not that I’m complaining, a poor day at Arnish beats the air conditioned MCR (machinery control room) of the Finlaggan any day. I am not cut out for being inside all day with just a TV screen as a window to the outside world, sure in the winter it was bearable, in fact quite enjoyable. However at this time of year I need to have some sunshine, or at least daylight.
Anyway, I’ll try and pick up where I left off, or should I tell you the bits I missed out,
Carr Brae from my parents house by Loch Duich for one.
Having driven north on a sunny Friday with time to spare so called in for a visit prior to catching the 17:35 ferry to Raasay.
Photographing the Skye bridge (the newest on the A87) from the north end of Raasay seemed somehow appropriate after all those pictures yesterday of old ones.
Business opportunity anyone
The arrival of the Raasay Newsletter by email only the night before had included this little snippet of information about Borodale House
Development Opportunity on Raasay
By now most of you will have seen the large “For Sale” sign at Borodale House. A number of people have suggested that there may be an opportunity for the community to take it over. Ideas for its use include re-opening it as a guesthouse; turning it into self-catering holiday units; turning it into small business and retail units; or for affordable housing. For any of these ideas, or a different idea altogether, to have a chance of success it will be absolutely essential for a small group of passionate people to come forward to help develop the idea. If you feel strongly that the community should try to take advantage of this opportunity, and especially if you would have the time and energy to work on developing a project, please contact Lloyd. It is, of course, also a great opportunity for someone wishing to run a small Highland hotel. Details can be found at http://www.g-s.co.uk/Find+Property/ and type Borodale in the Location search.
Though it would appear to be a secret and
Graham and Sibbald’s website is carp. Not that I know anything about the internet but Google returns nothing for ‘Borodale house for sale’, ‘Raasay hotel for sale’ or even ‘Graham and Sibbald Borodale house for sale’. Anyway if you’re interested it’s on their website hidden in the search facility at the bottom of the page. For some reason the one at the top returns ‘no results found’ no matter what you type in and even when you find the page there’s no link just this.
The property comprises a detached building of masonry construction, arranged over two floors, which was formerly used as a hotel. The original section of the property was constructed in the 1870s with various extensions added over the years to include a two storey side extension to the west gable wall in the 80’s and various extensions to the north and east.The property is located on the Isle of Raasay a short distance from the Ferry Terminal, providing regular services to Sconser on the Isle of Skye.The Isle of Raasay is one of the Inner Hebridean Islands with the Scottish mainland to the east and the Isle of Skye to the west. It is a small island community with a population of approximately 200 and incorporates some residential properties as well as a small number of commercial properties including a post office/shop and community centre. Vacant
For more information please view the property brochure
The brochure can then be downloaded in PDF format, it is the worst website of a professional company that I have ever seen.
However at a mere 250k, about the price of a broom cupboard in Kensington, it would make a fine bunkhouse with bar or care home.
Once home I wasted no time in going out with the dude and terminating a feral pigeon that was eating wifey’s hen feed. Actually it was my boy that shot the flying rat with the .22, me I just stood by with the shotgun in case he missed. I was most impressed with his patience and aim
This morning I awoke with no headache, which was a bonus, and to pishing rain, which wasn’t However it gave me the opportunity to catch up on paperwork and a few indoor jobs like topping up the battery bank with distilled water. I’m a little obsessive about the 24 x 2v cells that store energy for our house and quite rightly so. The heart of any ‘off grid’ system is the back up generator, the brains the inverter, but the body and soul is the battery bank and it’s the part that needs the most care. Not that it needs much other than topping up with distilled water and regular SG and voltage checks but it is important to keep on top of these things. A constant ‘drink’ and ‘breathalyser’ in the form of water and a hydrometer will keep you well ahead of the game and tell you when something is amiss.
It was whilst in the shed checking the well charged batteries that I saw this with some disbelief, my solar PV ammeter reading 19amps at 54v which according to Ohms law equates to 1026w from my 940w panels. During the bright sunshine and clear skies of last week the best I managed was 750w due to the heat of the panels.
Other tasks included feeding the five hungry boys that will be with us until December, moving my trusty caravan http://www.thomson-caravans.co.uk/index.htm and going to check on the ‘Stream Engine’ hydro turbine.
The turbine was fine, the dogs got a swim and we collected some fine chanterelles http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chanterelle on the way home
A good bag full in fact that I’m going to enjoy for breakfast tomorrow with nothing more than butter and bread.
We also came across this fine girl in the birch woods on our way home
Yet another sad loss
I arrived back on Raasay to the sad news that Ronnie Macbeth had just been laid to rest, and there was me not even knowing that he’d passed away. I didn’t really know Ronnie very well, and sadly, spoke to him only in his latter years after he’d left Raasay to be cared for by his family. He had to leave as he’d become confused, I guess like my father, with dementia or Alzheimer’s, but whenever he returned he always had a wee glint in his eye and was happy to chat away. All of us at 3 South Arnish will miss Ronnie and our hearts go out to his family.