Life at the end of the road

September 1, 2013

In with a bang :-(

Filed under: daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:24 pm

That’s autumn here, a little slow over the threshold this morning but firing on all four cylinders right now with a good gale of west wind beating at the door. My enforced ‘digital detox’ and yes there is such a word/phrase, it entered the Oxford English dictionary yesterday.



Anyway as it had come to an end I was stuck in the house a good hour longer than I had been of late so didn’t get out to check the mink trap until well after 7:00. Even so, I skipped taking the quad and once more chose meandering course through the birch wood with shotgun, dog and camera. The mushroom bag I left behind to discourage me from collecting more than a pocket full. Yes, I know that I could dry them and keep them for years, indeed my house was usually full of them at this time of year but my son is not a fan and one thing about dried mushrooms is they certainly make things taste of mushrooms Smile 



I was barely at the end of the road before I found my first, a birch boletus, which dries extremely well but after heavy rain like last night, is a little soggy and slimy fresh.



Soon we were off the beaten track and into a hidden gorge not far away, a little boggy underfoot here just now but I guess at one time it would have been well drained judging by the walls and ruins round about.


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It really is like another enchanted world in these woods at the north end, the ferns giving it an almost prehistoric look.

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It wasn’t just the ferns that gave the place that enchanted air Smile

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Chanterelle on the left and an edible rusela , only trouble is there are a few that look very similar that aren’t, so these days I pass them by.



This is a nice wee mushroom with a kick, called the peppery boletus, it is just that, and very easy to distinguish from the many other mushrooms with pores rather than gills. This has a dark brown almost furry cap and very distinctive saffron coloured pores underneath, with just a few in my pockets i continued to the shore and an empty trap.



On the way back, just before the Torran gate I startled a couple of hoodies and brought one down with the Hatsan, only wish they were edible.



Once through the gate we struck east and up a rocky outcrop where, a few years ago Jamie Lea farrowed in a February blizzard!!!



I can see why she would, there’s a lovely view Smile

International Rescue

By the time I got home to feed it was well after 9:00, and I was just about to when wifey came out in her pyjamas to tell me that some friends at Brochel were stuck in the mud and wanting to catch the 10:00am ferry. No problem for the Land Rover and I but it took longer to work out how to attach the towing eye than actually hitch up and drag the VW out of the mud. Hopefully they will have made the ferry as they’d a long drive ahead of them.

Next it was over to Torran to refill and bleed the diesel through to the generator, the previous clients there having been rather heavy on the old electricity usage. Perhaps it’s just me, and I’ve been ‘in the sticks’ too long, but why would you go to a remote island house and take a hair drier or toastie  maker as some folk do??

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The fuel tank is quite a way from the generator so it took a wee while to get going, however, my mate ‘cranked up’ the hydro and that got the batteries charged up enough to do the chores. After that it was a well deserved lunch and then an inordinately long time lagging the silencer on Harry, by which time the weather really had turned into autumn.

Once the silencer and some cable tray was fitted into the new generator shed i gave the floor its third and final coat of red paint prior to feeding the pigs and then going to retrieve my mink trap for the week.


It was only when I came to try and remove the bait, a nice piece of ling given to us by Jessie Nicolson, ( or should I say the fillet remains ) that I noticed that it had been eaten from underneath through the trap Smile Methinks this mink is taking the Mickey, one thing for sure though, it has decimated the seagull population. Visits last year and this to their breeding colony on Grian a Sgeir  revealed no eggs and precious few chicks.

Mink attacking juvenile Gannet

Here’s one attacking a young gannet, taken by John W Anderson . A native of North America they were bred in captivity for their fur, the exploding wild population of the escapees due to their having no natural predators.

A good night was had by all

Alas we never made it, but Friday night saw an excellent band playing at the village hall and some serious barbecuing Smile



The Outsiders rocked (though I wish they’d picked a more original name, there must be a dozen ‘Outsiders’)


and ‘the usual suspects’ cooked Smile

More ‘interesting pictures’ on Smile wish we’d been there!

Anyway, that’s it, I’m off to bed, taking the Dude to school in the morning then heading off for the Clyde and Hallaig who is due her ‘endurance trials’ on Tuesday Smile

Awaiting midnight

Filed under: boats, daily doings, listers — Tags: — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 5:06 am

Well that was the last day of summer by with, and what a day, not in the weather department but in the ‘to do list’ stakes. Actually the weather weren’t all that bad either come to think of it, the odd shower right enough but a good hash of west wind to fill the wind turbine blades and keep the midge at bay. I’ve surpassed myself today, and to be honest I think it’s due to not having any internet, or at least anything worth using.

Getting up early, as I often do, I made use of it this morning, whereas normally I’d be plonking away on here massaging my ego by checking out the ‘blog stats’ and talking carp on various internet forums. Spared as I was the glowing screen and incessant tapping of keys this morning I went out early to catch breakfast and check the mink trap.


Armed with shotgun, fresh bait and a bag for collecting mushrooms I set off west about 6:30 just as the sun was rising above ‘Calum’s house’. The shotgun was ‘just in case’ the bait for the mink trap and the bag for mushrooms, chances of seeing a rabbit are slim, but it’s been an exceptional year for mushrooms so at least I’d not starve.

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I wasn’t even off the croft before I’d spotted half a dozen hinds and a couple of calves enjoying the morning sun, but they were not on today’s menu and I struck off into the woods to fill my bag with chanterelles.


Right in the thick of the enchanted birch wood amidst the odd rowan lies this ancient hazel tree, blown over a generation or so ago it’s grown along the ground and now has three vertical trunks.



From a clearing in the wood I got a good view of a sunny Manish point before striking westwards once more and heading for the shore.


Just shy of the high water mark, a few meters to the south of Port Arnish I came across one of the many strange little ruins that are scattered all over the north end. An hen house perhaps, a store, a shelter, who knows but there are plenty of them in the old birch wood.


Plenty of these too that thrive on dead birch stumps but for the life in me I cannot remember their name, just that they’re not edible, though I don’t think they are actually poisonous. Having said that the verges are full of death caps this year, a mushroom that can make you ill by just handling it and ingestion is fatal Sad smile

Moving Mister Lister

The mink trap was undisturbed this morning when I finally arrived  at the rocks near the Port Arnish shed, yesterday it had ‘sprung’ but was empty, so I changed the bait and moved it. This morning I left it be and turned tail with my bag of mushrooms and headed for breakfast, a simple affair of homemade bread, home laid egg and chanterelles fried in butter.

It must have set me up for the day, for after feeding everyone I hatched a plan. Moving around one ton of heavy duty Lister HR2 generator is not a task to be taken lightly, I’ve moved plenty of ST2’s, SR2’s, Rayburn’s and fishing boats using jacks, rollers, leavers and pulley’s. However, whilst getting Harry the HR2 into the trailer was easy enough, I was a little perplexed at how I was going to get him out. Access to his custom built shed isn’t great, involving a long reverse then a trick 90 degree turn, though in all honesty I’d always planned on coercing Lachie or ‘GDD’ to put it in with either a digger or telehandler.

The problem would be how to drag it out of the trailer and through the 4’ wide doorway without doing irreparable damage to my concrete floor and back.


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Well I decided to bolt a bracket with a ring in it to the concrete floor and just for good measure I fastened it to a piece of wood that I secured to my serious battery shelf.


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Then after a 200m reverse I pulled it out of the trailer using a 400kg ‘Tirfor’ winch,



carefully marking the floor first and drilling it to take two 10mm ‘Rawlbolts’, it had four before but to be honest that rubber mounted skid isn’t going anywhere once the exhaust is mounted.


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Mounting the exhaust in such a manner as to not shake the shed to bits took longer than actually unbolting and moving the generator. It’s still ‘work in progress’ as I need more pipe and brackets but I think we’re on the right track. It would have been far easier to take the exhaust out next to the front door but I’m wanting it to face away from the house for the sake of ‘peace and quiet’, though with any luck old Harry won’t actually be needed much.


As for yesterday, when I left you on the car park, well that was a rush into Portree for feed

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after having spent the morning power washing Harry and repairing fluorescent light fittings then giving them a good painting for to go in the new shed Smile


This Castlebay registered clam dredger was busy scraping away all day in the Raasay Narrows.



Portree seems to have a new fishing boat, unless it’s just passing through, a Tarbert registered Cheetah catamaran with two large four stroke Honda outboards on the back. Pride N Joy at her home port

TT 276 Pride N Joy

in May 2008, photo from the above link.


That’s it really, it’s almost 23:30 and if I waited until midnight I’d actually be able to post this as my internet should start to work again then. However my eyes are heavy and I need to think about what I’m going to do tomorrow Smile

Well that’s it 6:00am on the first day of autumn, “rabbits, rabbits, rabbits” Smile

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