Life at the end of the road

March 22, 2014

Well stoned :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, shed/house, stonework, The daily pothole — Tags: — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:33 pm

So much for the vernal equinox and the first day of spring, now instead of the rain we have hail and it’s boodly freezing. Having said that it’s not actually prevented me doing anything, in fact I’ve actually got loads done this last three days. That’ll be why you’ve not heard from me, I’ve been whacked, having just caught a bout of ‘spring fever’ despite the lack of sunshine and abundance of precipitation. Yup, it’s that time of year when I start getting up at ‘stupid o clock’ once more and I have once more developed calloused and grubby hands.

To be honest I’ve not done much other than work on the hen shed, starting with laying the floor on Thursday and finishing it on Friday.


I’d put most of the planks inside the structure last week in the hope of drying them out a little and it had worked very well and at 16’ long I got two floor boards out of each one.


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It was a perfect task for the the stormy and showery couple of days and I could even do a little work outside between the rain and hail.



With a good view to the south west it was possible to see the showers heading over from Skye and take cover accordingly.



When it wasn’t actually pishing with rain or pelting balls of ice it was actually quite warm and nice.



The storm on Wednesday night that had put a good deal of the power off on Skye, Raasay and the mainland had also snapped one of the steel wire guys on the 12v turbine mast behind the house. It wasn’t serious as there are plenty more guys holding it but it must have been quite a blow.


With two thirds of the floor done I reluctantly called it a day but was back up there before 7:00am on Friday, mainly on account of having to go to Portree at lunchtime. Of course that effectively means 11:00am to give me chance to put stuff away, get changed and drive south for the ferry.


Still, it was enough time to get the floor finished so I was well chuffed Smile

We left Arnish at 11:00am to allow for the dreadful state of the road, and to drop off eggs at the shop, however the road was like a motorway compared to what it was three days earlier. The wife and I were truly staggered by what two men could achieve with a load of tar in just three days. Of course that’ll be two men that live on the island and have a vested interest in doing the job properly.

The council way

HRC’s answer to the Raasay potholes is to ignore them as long as possible, then when enough people complain they send over one man in a 7m commercial with (if your lucky) half a ton of tar in the back. Man ‘clocks on’ at early to load up with tar then sit in ferry queue, then sits on ferry for another twenty minutes to arrive on Raasay in time for tea and another few pages of the Sun.

Pickup truck then drives around for half an hour ‘looking’ for potholes, then proceeds to shovel tar into pothole and then drive over it with back wheels. A couple of potholes later it’s lunchtime,  thereafter the process is repeated until it’s time to go and queue up for the 14:30 ferry and home. If Raasay is really, really lucky the pickup will not take any of the tar back to Skye.

This has been going on for years and makes absolutely no sense, the worker can only do two or three hours actual road work due to breaks, queuing and travelling. The cost of a 7m Transit with half a ton of tar on the back isn’t much cheaper than a 9m lorry with 10 tons in the back. The holes are never swept out or tamped down properly with a vibrating plate so never last more than a few months before they’re craters once more.

WHY NOT SEND A BIG LORRY OVER FULL OF TAR ANG GET SOMEONE LOCAL TO DO IT PROPERLY has been the cry on Raasay for years, well hallelujah they’ve finally done it. It’s not ‘rocket science’ is it, I mean you don’t have to go to business school or have a degree to work it out do you?

Anyway, a big, big thank you to ‘Slim’ and ‘Gofer’ for doing such a fantastic job on Raasay’s potholes, in just one week, at a fraction of the cost they’ve done more and better work than the council have done in years. The holes were swept out, drained of water, filled with tar then tamped down properly, well done chaps.

Once in Portree we loaded up the roofing sheets for the hen house then called at the Co Op. I’d heard that the Co Op were in trouble financially and had decided to sell off it’s farms

its chief executive, Euan Sutherland, will tell members of the Co-op’s regional boards on Saturday that its substantial farming operation, which includes 15 farms, will be sold



Good to see a little ‘lateral thinking Euan Smile Smile

Every nook and cranny

It was whilst in Harbro collecting my roofing sheets that I came across Rebecca Mackay’s latest book ‘Gach Cuil Is Ceal’, Every Nook and Cranny. This being another reason why I never got around to posting as I was engrossed in it.


Part 1 of “Gach Cùil is Cèal, Every Nook and Cranny” is a remarkable and unique collection of the placenames of the islands of Raasay, Rona, Fladda and Eilean Taighe. “Everyone who has an interest in the study of placenames will readily acknowledge their great debt to Rebecca Mackay for her dedication, her assiduous research and her achievement in making such a wealth of information so readily available.” Dr. John MacInnes

You can of course purchase a copy at the Raasay stores but for those further afield you could always drop Rebecca herself an email and get a signed copy .

All profits go to the Raasay Heritage Trust . Whilst it is specific to Raasay, Rona, Fladda and Eilean Tighe, it’s multitude of Gaelic ‘feature names’ can be found on hills, bays, islets, coves and skerries the length and breadth of the west coast so well worth buying by anyone with an interest in this part of the world.


Fine company for dinner last night knocked blogging on the head and I retired early ready for a ‘good crack’ at work today. With only three full days of my month off left I wanted to make the most of it.



The day even had a promising look about it, certainly the best morning I’ve seen in a long while, so long before 7:00am I was out feeding and shattering the peace with my Hatsan semi automatic shotgun Smile Our pigeon problem was once more getting out of hand, mainly because I don’t like using it in the pishing rain and I can’t remember when the last dry day was. To be honest it was just as much a method of waking up the rest of the household as scaring the ‘flying rats’.


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With ‘Arnish woken’ I turned my attention to repairing the snapped guy wire rope and was totally impressed with how I repaired it, trouble is none of the pictures are any good Sad smile My dilemma was how to splice a high tensile steel fencing wire onto a multi stranded galvanized wire rope


and I came up with the idea of using one of these spiral preformed connectors. It was a little small for the galvanized rope so I slid a copper tube over it and crimped it into position and it seemed to work a treat Smile

Once the Dude was out of his bed and we’d all been fed we went up to the hen house to fit the last five sheets



and only got driven inside three times by the showers. Working on a shiny tin roof is not recommended during showers of hail, they didn’t last long but the made that roof like a ski slope Sad smile

When that was done, wifey joined us on what turned out to be a mainly fine and sunny afternoon which we spent gathering stone for the gable end of the house.

030 033



That lump of rock my son is standing on proved too much for the rock breaker so we moved the house back two meters Smile



The Loch Seaforth

Cal Mac’s latest and largest ever ship was successfully launched at FSG on Friday,


pictures thanks to John Alan Gillies,

photo (1)

doesn’t she look amazing.

A couple of videos of her launch there and the second one has a familiar face on it to anyone who worked on Hallaig  Smile

Anyway, that’s it, it’s 22:30 and I’ve a few more tons of stone to move tomorrow.



  1. Paul,

    I had heard that the weather on Skye had been pretty pants & it is rather soft underfoot, the flip side being No 3 has probably been very snug, enough energy for a proper Sunday roast after your gathering of stone this morning?
    The stones will really make the gables, IMHO much smarter than rough casting the entire house.
    The hen house is a real gem, the roof will be dazzling passing planes, well until the PV panels are fitted.
    I think you can go back to work for a well earned rest. 🙂
    The Seaforth looks mighty fine, very sleek.


    Comment by Arthur T Bomber Harris — March 23, 2014 @ 6:51 am

    • Morning Michael,

      well that’s me preparing for two weeks on the Hallaig and the weather looks set to be fantastic for the next week at least, double figures and no rain!!!!

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 25, 2014 @ 6:44 am

  2. Paul, did I not tell you that Rebecca was your woman for Raasay place names? I’m looking forward to getting a copy when we come over next month. The new hen palace is looking fantastic, hens will be
    coming from miles around to join the hen lady’s flock!

    Comment by Anne Macdonald — March 23, 2014 @ 8:54 am

    • Hi Anne,

      you certainly did and what a fine job she’s made of it.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 25, 2014 @ 6:42 am

  3. Don’t make the hen house look too good or Lachie might get petulant and storm off in a huff.

    Comment by drgeo — March 23, 2014 @ 6:20 pm

    • Thinking of moving in myself DrG 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 25, 2014 @ 6:38 am

  4. Single to multi-strand splice the Sapper way, fast, simple and effective!
    Form a loop of about 3″ long in the single wire and wrap a further 3″ back on itself.
    Put on 2″ of a suitable copper tube and un-lay the cable by 9~10″ and snip out the centre strand.
    Pass the cable up through the wire loop and marry the two parts back together, following the lay to form, effectively, a Reef Knot.
    Snip off any excess strands, slide up the tube and swage down tight.
    Pukka job!!
    If you dont have suitable sized tube, that magic stick-all tape of yours should work just as well!
    It’ll likely work on different size cables too, I’ve done a good few on glider cables, which seem to lend themself to a really neat job!

    Comment by Caadfael — March 24, 2014 @ 1:31 pm

    • Good work Caadfael 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 25, 2014 @ 6:37 am

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