Life at the end of the road

November 25, 2014

The ‘X Box’ has landed

Filed under: boats, daily doings, New hybrid ferry — Tags: , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 2:17 pm

Tuesday, 13:30 and I’m ‘live from the mess room Smile

Blogging after work just aint going to happen, much as I’ve tried, by the time I get home it’s well after 20:00, some thirteen and a half hours after leaving it. Not that I’m complaining, work on Hallaig is a pleasure, unlike the constant noise and vibration of the Striven and her sisters. However, it is a long day and by the time I get home I’m pure wrecked, especially now with the extra sailing in the winter.

Even Sunday, the day when I thought I’d get a little ‘puter work done turned into a late one. It started fine enough with me up early and out doing the feeding and allowing wifey a wee lie in.



Then it was down the road in the ‘Old Girl’ in daylight for a change, stopping briefly to photograph my favourite ‘splash of colour’ at Holoman. This gorse bush at the side of the road here is quite often the brightest sight of a winter’s day. Often regarded as a nuisance I find gorse a breath of fresh air when all around is grey and brown, it’s a rare month indeed that you don’t see at least one yellow flower somewhere on a gorse bush.

The day was busy enough with much of the weekly maintenance and cleaning being done

007 008

along with a ‘boat drill’.

009 010

However the leisurely Sunday soon turned into a ‘late one’  not through work right enough but from moving house, or at least from moving out for a little while.

Moving the X Box

Our new neighbours and owners of ‘number three’ have kindly offered us a ‘stay of execution’ until the New Year. Anyway with the sale going through this week we’re moving house for a ‘wee while’ at least, and what a house it is Smile Our good friends from ‘down sowf’ have offered, nay insisted that we move into the ‘Old Schoolhouse’ at Torran and trust me the advert does not do it justice.

The once busy school with a roll of dozens of pupils has it’s place in crofting history and the lore of the north end of Raasay. In May 1883 it was where delegates from the Napier Commission met with the downtrodden local crofters.

A crofter is a person who occupies a smallholding.  A cottar is a tenant who works on the croft/farm and lives in a farm cottage.

Up to 1880, the legacy of the Clearances for remaining crofters was: soil depleted by sheep grazing, land turned over to deer forests, and crofts lying empty because they were too small to provide a living. In late 1881, a band of crofters from the township of Braes on Skye demonstrated forcefully against increased rents and loss of pasture rights. Rents were withheld until rights were restored, resulting in eviction notices.

The Battle of the Braes (1882) involved barricades and demonstrations, and had to be curbed with troops and a gunboat. But nobody was shot, and the crofters had made their point.

In 1883 a Commission was set up under Lord Napier and took evidence of extreme hardship across the Highlands and Islands.

From the Napier Commission came the Crofters’ Holding Act of 1886. It established the Crofters’ Commission to guarantee fair rents, security of tenure and some compensation for land improvements.  Called ‘the Magna Carta of Gaeldom’, it recognised at last the distinctive land tenure system of the crofting community.

Many areas in the 1890s were named as Congested Districts, with not enough resources even for subsistence living. It wasn’t until the Crofting Reform Act of 1976 that crofters could buy out their own crofts and manage them more effectively. That gives you a flavour of the proceedings.

Calum himself, the great road and path builder of Arnish lived there for a while with his wife Lexy, the then Schoolteacher.





Just like on Scalpay

Anyway, it was after work on Sunday and in the pitch black that we started shifting stuff to the Schoolhouse in a move that took me back 25 years to my life on Scalpay where there are no roads or streetlights either. In fact the quad that I was using to move the bedding didn’t even have working lights at the time. Luckily I managed to follow wifey, my son and X Box on the Yamaha without incident.


After the cosy little tin roof shack I’ve called home for 25 years it all seemed a little grand,

018 019 020

opting for two of the three downstairs bedrooms with their stunning views over Loch Arnish.


However, by the time my son had installed the X Box in ‘his’ room, we’d made the beds and I’d fixed the lights on the Honda it was a little late for blogging.


Up as usual at 5:45 I couldn’t help but think that when we move into the schoolhouse it’s gonna be 5:15 to allow for time to get along the half mile track. Not that it takes that long on a quad but you gotta allow for punctures and broken lights Smile Don’t want to be late for work, or at least any later than I was on Monday, when I arrived there the lights were on.


The day wasn’t as nice as it had been been,


the ‘sailors warning’ red sky being almost true, with a little rain and blast of south wind later in the day.


Still, it was a fair enough day for the end of November with all the Portree fishing fleet out, making the most of the winter velvet crab fishery.


There are always more crabs/scallops/prawns under a ferry Smile


Anyway, that’s it, almost time to sail once more.


  1. Wow what a house now that has some kitchen in it, looks like the grand design set dressers have just been in. Mind you the whole house looks like it should be on a channel 4 program.

    Comment by Alistair — November 25, 2014 @ 4:19 pm

    • It has been on Channel 4 with me in it 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 26, 2014 @ 6:18 am

      • hahaha what can i say, deservedly so

        Comment by Alistair — November 26, 2014 @ 9:12 am

  2. The Schoolhouse is lovely, but I thought the plan was to move into the static, until the new house was completeed?

    Comment by Lloyd — November 25, 2014 @ 10:04 pm

    • Well it was either a cold, small, draughty caravan on an exposed hill burning 30kg of gas a week to keep warm or a five bedroomed luxury house with oil fired central heating. Sometimes your plans need tweaking 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 26, 2014 @ 6:07 am

  3. It was Alfies brother Tommy who married the Torran lady. They all lived in the schoolhouse with their family.
    They had the ‘Boy Andrew’ and later in Portree had the ‘Virgin’ and ‘Clan Gordon’. Why are boats referred to as ‘she’ ? Hope you enjoy the Torran microclimate, and that the weather is kind when you are on the track !

    Comment by SOTW — November 25, 2014 @ 10:32 pm

    • Morning She, well I got that wrong big style then, whoops 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 26, 2014 @ 6:04 am

  4. Paul how many people are needed to run the ferry at any one time. I.e. on a crew?

    Comment by willie — November 26, 2014 @ 12:00 am

    • Morning Willie, the regular crew is four, though we had an extra body last week for training.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 26, 2014 @ 6:02 am

  5. you’re certainly spoiled for space in the schoolhouse, you won’t want to move out (maybe)

    looking at all the furniture in there, surely that stuff, especially the sofa, couldn’t be fitted onto a quad … how do they get stuff in there, do they have to carry it down the track

    Comment by cazinatutu — November 26, 2014 @ 1:21 pm

  6. Paul

    Comment by Ewen — November 26, 2014 @ 7:06 pm

    • I thought that might make you smile Yogi 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 26, 2014 @ 10:50 pm

  7. Had a missed call from you today I was out on the hills will call you tomorrow ok

    Comment by MW — November 26, 2014 @ 8:49 pm

  8. I thought the schoolhouse looked familiar.

    We will really have to book into it some time

    And this months music recommend

    Comment by thinfourth — November 28, 2014 @ 9:26 pm

  9. Stunning Sunrise pics… Torran Schoolhouse looks like heaven

    Comment by chrisbbbbb — November 29, 2014 @ 4:35 pm

  10. Found this video on YouTube and thought of you and the Hallaig – hope this never happens to one of yours. It’s a ferry that’s been sent to Turkey for dismantling and it’s driven on to the beach at full speed –

    Comment by Andy Poulton — December 11, 2014 @ 9:19 am

  11. wishing you and your family a happy Christmas, Paul, and best wishes for 2015 xxx

    Comment by cazinatutu — December 24, 2014 @ 10:21 am

    • Thanks Caz.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 27, 2014 @ 9:47 pm

  12. Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2015.

    Comment by Steve — December 25, 2014 @ 12:00 pm

    • Thanks Steve.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 27, 2014 @ 9:47 pm

  13. Have a good one mate.

    Comment by MW — December 25, 2014 @ 9:30 pm

    • You too matey, was sorting through the old pictures recently, some crackers of you and Grumpy Pete.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 27, 2014 @ 9:47 pm

  14. Merry Christmas to you and your family Paul. Hope all of the moving business and life are going well. Cheers from California, Morgan

    Comment by Morgan — December 25, 2014 @ 11:49 pm

    • Thanks Morgan, perhaps we’ll make it over to the US one day.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 27, 2014 @ 9:46 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: