Life at the end of the road

June 30, 2015

Flaming June, “aye right”

Filed under: boats, daily doings, shed/house, Trucks and plant — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:46 pm

Six weeks and more since I’ve been on here, well that certainly is a record after seven years plus of regular(ish) updates on the ‘daily doings’. Truth is, ‘yours truly’ has been pure wrecked most nights, not from ‘the juice’ I might add, I’ve had precious little of that too. Nope, the truth is that I’ve seldom been in the  caravan before 21:00 and 22:00 some nights. Sonas is taking shape nicely and I’ve been working late, even after a ‘hard day at the office’ Smile ‘aye right’.

Of course that’s not the whole of it, the ‘black dog of depression’ has been looming over more people than just the residents of South Arnish.

The traditional driest and sunniest months of the year here on the West Coast have been ‘pure pish’, everything is a month behind and I can count the days on my fingers that it’s not rained in two months.

So much for ‘Flaming June’ Smile  A poster of Sir Frederick Leighton’s finest effort graced the wall at ‘Number 3’ for many years. Now I’m lifting my mood with another ‘Flaming June’.

Well that didn’t get very far!!!

Over a week since my ‘half hearted’ attempt above, can’t remember what happened but there you go ‘the best laid plans of mice and men’.

There really is just too much going on at the moment and today is just typical.

Thursday 9th July

Up at 6:00am, dealt with hens then spent a couple of hours ‘quarrying’ before wifey departed for work. Next turned my attention to the shower, which I’ve been tiling and plumbing for weeks now.

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I had planned to complete the job today but got distracted.

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My good mate Bill Cowie from Rona had returned a call I made earlier regarding some old Trace SW4548e inverters. Bill had a couple of scrap ones and I was hoping to salvage some parts off them for my neighbours. Ten years ago these inverters were the ‘dogs danglies’ and both himself and I fitted them for that reason. However technology has moved on, Trace Engineering were bought out by Xantrex who were in turn ‘swallowed up’ by Schneider whom promptly stopped supporting them. Sure they still make inverters under the Xantrex name (mainly in China) but they no longer service these older models. In fact there is no longer a UK dealer, which is a shame because they are first class inverters and have an inbuilt multi relay generator start system. Most other inverters just have one single ‘no volt’ contact for generator operation.

Anyway, after discussions with Bill about the weather it seemed like we might as well just ‘go for it’ as the 6 mile journey in the ‘wee boat’ was looking dodgy for the rest of the week. Today it was ‘flat calm’, the tide was high enabling an easy launch and short cut through the Fladda gap. With that in mind my son, wee dug and I set off on the two quads to Port Arnish and launched the Pioner Maxi, within an hour and a half of speaking to Bill we were at Acharsaid Mhor or ‘Big Harbour’.

The next stage of the trip was by quad and Jeep to what was once the main settlement on Rona, Achairsaid Thioram or ‘Dry Harbour’. Here the two defunct Trace units sat next to the newer and more modern Outback VX3048 .

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This is the ‘power station’ for the three holiday cottages here

Escape, Seascape and Skyescape
Isle of Rona

The cottages on the Isle of Rona The cottages on the Isle of Rona

Your destination is the island of Rona, to be found off the coast of Raasay, which in turn lies between Skye and the north west coast of mainland Scotland. Once home to a thriving community, it was finally abandoned by its human inhabitants in 1922. (Almost eighty years later, Rona was, in fact, considered for the television programme ‘Castaway’.) In 1993, it was purchased by a Danish ecologist, who has set about a remarkable regeneration of the land and the fauna of this beautiful place, introducing some deer and a small herd of highland cows. She has also restored two of the original dwellings to make most delightful, snug and comfortable semi-detached holiday cottages, Escape, Seascape and Skyescape far, far removed from the basic Highland bothies they once were – double glazed, centrally heated, with an open fire, polished wood flooring and furnished by Habitat throughout.

 The adventure begins when you arrive at Portree on Skye, where you will probably spend the night before embarkation, and stock up on the provisions you will need for your stay. In the morning, you will be collected by your private ferry (a 33ft MV) which will take you across to Rona (about 1 hour’s sailing: there is a £60 charge which is in fact only a contribution towards the cost of the outward and return trip.) The entire resident population of Rona will be waiting to greet you, in the form of Bill, the island’s caretaker. He will regale you with tea and scones before you don your boots for the mile-and-a half walk along the track to your accommodation, while he transports your luggage on his quad. Once there, let the peace and glorious scenery wash over you – no traffic, (except, perhaps, the odd passing yachtsman) no hassles, the tranquillity broken only by the sound of the waves on the shore and the cry of the birds.

When you have unwound and sat for a while at the window or the picnic table in the enclosed natural garden ( Seascape and Skyescape share a garden area), just taking in the sublime views, you may want to explore. The history of the island is palpable, and Bill will tell you all about it. You can walk round the ruined cottages (the largest settlement was on the hill behind the properties), visit the Church Cave, where the inhabitants used to worship and which still retains a deep spirituality, or just wander at will. You can set the cottage creel too, in hopes of catching a lobster, or you can hire rods from Bill to try your hand at fishing. He is always on hand in case of any questions or problems, but will leave you to be as private as you wish.

Wildlife enthusiasts can expect to see dolphins, whales, seals, otters and all kinds of seabirds in this wonderful place.


After removing the two old units we loaded them into the quad trailer and headed back to ‘Big Harbour’.

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Once the two 63kg lumps were aboard the Pioner were aboard we headed south out past Garbh Eileen and its lonely inhabitant.

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Claire Calder (and her dogs) are spending a month on the tiny uninhabited ‘Mouth Island’ in aid of


Poor Claire’s tent blew down on Tuesday night in a northerly gale but it looks like she’s got it sorted Smile


The journey back to Loch Arnish took the best part of an hour in the heavily laden Pioner and of course coincided with low water Sad smile

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Nay problem to a Honda quad though, with 63kg over each set of wheels it just dragged the boat all the way up the shore with barely a wheel spin.

The last six weeks

As you’ve probably heard I’ve had a few ‘issues’, firstly the old Lenovo G570 crashed and left me ‘puterless’ for long enough, but to be honest I was far too busy for blogging anyway. Luckily it had starting acting up whilst we were at the ‘Old Schoolhouse’ so I’d backed up most of the documents and pictures. However I’ve lost all my ‘sent’ emails, contacts and the newly purchased ‘Microsoft Office’, which is now ‘not transferable’ to a new machine Sad smile I got a new hard drive fitted and ‘all is peachy’ but I’m pure ‘scunnered’ with all this computer pish at the moment so you’ll have to bear with me. I was even using the old Fujitsu Amilo 3438g for a while but that was worse than clockwork until I doubled the RAM to 2gb, after that it was just plain slow. Mind you the huge screen was better than the TV (which I’ve taken to watching of late) Sad smile That along with watching YouTube videos of gigs that I could be going to if I wasn’t ‘up to my neck’ in house related stuff.

That will be Deep Dish from Creamfields 2004, the very last set I heard before collapsing against the security fence and waiting for the coach to take me back to George Square in Glasgow. Was that really 11 years ago!!!

Sadly, the lack of inspiration  also manifested itself on the camera front so I’ve precious little in the image department to remind me Smile

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Looks like the Hebridean Princess came to visit, typically it was pishing with rain.

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John Neil Macleod’s prize winning DAF delivered a load of 10mm concrete mix for Sonas, this would be the stuff that Lachie was putting around the ducts and soil pipe to protect them.

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That’s the water, sewage and power cables all safely buried then.


During the last six weeks I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time doing something I’ve never done before.


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Not only that but my son proved to be invaluable in the adhesive spreading department. OK, I hate the colour but I’m sure it’ll ‘grow on me’ Smile

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The utility room I do like Smile

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Not a great picture but it is after 22:00 and a long way away,

but that’s the Survey Vessel James Cook passing by half an hour ago.

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