Life at the end of the road

August 3, 2013

Back to normal :-)

Filed under: daily doings, life off grid — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:26 pm

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 Smile 

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.

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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 and type Borodale in the Location search.

Though it would appear to be a secret and

Graham + Sibbald

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

Status: Available

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 Smile


This morning I awoke with no headache, which was a bonus, and to pishing rain, which wasn’t Sad smile 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 and going to check on the ‘Stream Engine’ hydro turbine.

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The turbine was fine, the dogs got a swim and we collected some fine chanterelles   on the way home Smile


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 Smile 

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.



  1. This is a terrific blog, and a most enjoyable read. love the pics too. Thanks for writing!

    Comment by Rob — August 4, 2013 @ 6:37 am

  2. Paul , I seem to recall you said recently that you had another month of training on the big boats. As you are going to Hallaig next week does that mean you won’t get some certificates?
    great news about you finally getting to Hallaig

    Comment by Nigel Macleod — August 4, 2013 @ 10:00 am

    • Hi Nigel, you’re right, I still have fifteen days ‘sea time’ to do but I’ll finish that in September once I’ve done my induction and familiarization on Hallaig. Though it may well be possible to finish it the Hallaig if she turns out to be over 500 GRT. I think she’s hovering around 499.1 at the moment 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 4, 2013 @ 10:48 am

  3. Paul
    It’s been a long time coming but finally the moment you’ve been working & training for for over a year as finslly arrived. Whats the plan surely you don’t have to drive down to Glasgow to pick the new girl up do you? Mind you all that travelling must have done your head in, I commute sixty odd miles to London 5 days a week and that’s enough.

    Comment by Stan Henderson — August 4, 2013 @ 10:21 am

    • Gosh Stan, sixty miles a day, that would kill me. Not sure when the boat will actually arrive here or who’s bringing it up, I’d love to be on board though 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 4, 2013 @ 10:50 am

  4. Hi Paul,
    Great to see you are back to the old routine! I wonder if you will be about next Friday 9th August? Our broadband guys (George from Apx and Simon from Eigg) are travelling over to Raasay on the 3 o’clock ferry to have a look at the potential site for a mast they have identified in Arnish. If you’re on the ferry they could talk to you there, if at home they would be delighted to meet with you there. It’s been a long time since I first contacted you about this – we have had problems with funders which have delayed things, but all is good to go now. We will provide you with a free connection (2 connections if you need them for old and new houses) and any other houses within line of sight of your house or the mast can get connections for £18 a month. Should be around 6mbps download speeds.I’m sorry I have carelessly lost your phone numbers – my number is 01520 744348.


    Comment by Alison Macleod — August 4, 2013 @ 11:03 am

    • Hi Alison,

      great news but I’ll be down with the new boat, still tell the chaps to pop in and see the wife for a cuppa.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 4, 2013 @ 11:26 am

      • Sorry to bother you again Paul, any chance you could e-mail me your mobile number please? Simon would really like to speak to you about the site he thinks is the only suitable place for the mast in Arnish. He’s not sure how accessible it is and thinks we may need to ask the Rona helicopter to drop the gear off. We also need to know who the land belongs to as the funders require us to have legal agreements in place with the owners for all the masts. I don’t know if the site is part of your croft or not, but on the offchance that it is, are you a tenant or an owner? If a tenant is the owner SCRPID?

        Comment by Alison Macleod — August 4, 2013 @ 8:46 pm

      • Alison, I did email you this morning with my phone numbers, did you not receive it ?? Had a look up there this afternoon and reckon we found the spot around 600m from the house and yes SCRPID are the owners and me the tenant.

        Cheers, Paul

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 4, 2013 @ 9:55 pm

  5. Hi Paul,
    have a look here if you want to catch up with some of what’s been going on while you’ve been away.
    It’s been a busy summer with ceilidhs, kittens and the Big Weekend, not to mention the odd enormous shroom.

    Cheers, Davie

    Comment by Davedaveydave — August 4, 2013 @ 11:28 am

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