Life at the end of the road

November 16, 2013

The ‘GRAND’ day out

Filed under: daily doings — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:14 pm

Another scabby kind of day here on Raasay, and much of the west coast by all accounts. It’s been pretty much the same all week to be honest, which is fine when you’re working and the house is powered by wind and water but not so good if you outside in the elements. Luckily the extra crewman on the Hallaig means I’m not as crucial to ‘on deck’ operations as I was on Striven Smile Not only that there’s plenty to do down below, which I love, and lots to do in the ‘office’ which I hate, still you gotta take the rough with the smooth and it is a lovely office.

I’ve been trying to get to grips with all the ‘paperwork’, only now most of it actually isn’t on paper, its digital, live and ‘online’. To think that when I first came to Raasay, if head office wanted to speak to the ferry they had to phone someone on the island who’d ask a crew member to phone in when they came ashore. Now they know just what we’re looking at on the computer and can track us via the AIS Smile


AIS track

That will be me asking the skipper to do some hard manoeuvring so I could check some temperatures.

Anyway all the trials of the worlds first sea going hybrid RO RO ferry took second place today once we’d braved the 55knt winds to Sconser and back. Yup, the shakedown of our £11,000,000 boat was put on hold for an hour as we tied the ship up, plugged it in and went for lunch at the primary school. Seriously the ‘Raasay Primary School Coffee’ day is a bigger event here than Rangers meeting Celtic, Liverpool Everton or Man U Man City. It is in short a great local institution supported by everyone.

I have to say that I was feeling a little sorry for the organizers as we plied between Raasay and Skye during the morning, we’d a clear view of the school from Hallaig and it looked miserable up there. OK, most of the stuff would be going on inside but there’s the poor fire crews doing the carwash and Nairn and Donnie to consider on the ‘Raasay Digger Challenge’. Still, just after 12:30 we all abandoned ship and headed up there for lunch, and what a turn out there was.


The place was ‘mobbed’ and we had to wait to be seated as most of the island seemed to be there eating home cooking and baking. Chicken curry, macaroni or chilli as a main course, potato & leek or carrot & ??? to start, plus some spectacular cakes as a sweet, it was delicious, all of it. The staff, parents, pupils, ex pupils and, and well everyone just ‘mucked in’ to help and support the school that nurtures the youth and therefore the future of our community.

The lunch is of course what everyone goes for as it’s a chance to mingle and speak to people you may not see very often but there is so much more going on.


The ‘Raasay Digger Challenge’ for one, which has now increased from a 3ton digger to a 7.5ton one Smile Seriously peeps where else would you be able to get your hands on one of these at a primary school. Thanks to the generosity of our local contractor ‘Hugh Mackay Plant’ who supplies machine, fuel and a qualified instructor for what has become a traditional event.


However every year it’s a different ‘challenge’, tubs of water, to be moved without spilling or timed events, this year it was ‘catch the tennis ball in the bucket’. For most of the afternoon Robert had the lead at two out of three,



me, I never managed any,


but I wasn’t alone Smile

However along came Simon of who managed a ‘hat trick’

022 024 025

which just got ‘Lightning MacLennan’  all ‘fired up’



and he won the day with two lots of three. Still, he’s been well trained here at Arnish Smile


A great place to swap stories


and to get your car washed by the fire brigade,


the Raasay School coffee day has something for everyone.


Sadly we had to leave early and get back to Hallaig so missed out on the raffle winners and prizes, of which there were many. Times may be hard but the day was supported by many local businesses both here and on Skye who donated prizes. Sadly I couldn’t remember them all but certainly Jewson’s of Portree Rhona Campbell our local vet and the Urquhart Caledonia hotel were just a few that provided gifts and prizes.

Not all the money is in yet but the day has so far raised well over £2000, a ‘Two grand day out’ so to speak!!! and this is from a population of less than 200 people. This is indeed a community to be proud of Smile



  1. ” do some hard manoeuvring so I could check some temperatures” is also a good thing to tell HQ after a dram or two.
    Hardy congrats to Lightning MacLennan for his dexterity!

    Comment by drgeo — November 16, 2013 @ 10:50 pm

  2. Next year the digger challenge could be making the chilli- with a 35 ton machine- just imagine getting the lids off the tins and adding the chilli 🙂

    Comment by Andy — November 16, 2013 @ 11:11 pm

    • Just imagine trying to get it in the kitchen 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 17, 2013 @ 7:15 am

      • And doing the washing up 🙂

        Comment by Andy — November 17, 2013 @ 11:51 am

      • That’s easy, do it on the Hallaig. That fire drencher will make it easy. 😀

        Comment by Phil Cook — November 21, 2013 @ 10:06 am

  3. Glad to hear about such a great community event.

    Comment by tonylucas63 — November 17, 2013 @ 2:30 pm

  4. i think i love this annual tale best of all your wonderful stories. love to all who learn, all who cook, all who eat, all who love and support the children of raasay. ❤

    Comment by jeannettesmyth — November 20, 2013 @ 1:50 am

  5. No posts for almost a week, so I hope all is well with you and yours Paul. Perhaps it’s a small thing like the snow disrupting your internet cable? I checked to see if the Hallaig were still afloat, and she is. My best to your parents.

    Comment by drgeo — November 22, 2013 @ 6:53 pm

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