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.


  1. So good to hear from you

    Comment by cazinatutu — July 9, 2015 @ 11:29 pm

  2. Good to see you back, Paul – aye keep cawin’ awa!

    Comment by Frank McVey — July 9, 2015 @ 11:51 pm

  3. Great to see you, Paul! A few of your lovely pics are well worth the wait. Your house is looking good. How long before you move in?
    It’s been raining a LOT here in the mid-Atlantic, USA. Better than a drought. And the ears on my sweet corn are almost ready to harvest!
    Take care, and good luck getting everything sorted.

    Comment by flora — July 10, 2015 @ 1:33 am

  4. Dude glad your getting on ok, Arizona was starting to worry, we will take all the rain you can send.

    Comment by Tony Lucas — July 10, 2015 @ 3:31 am

  5. Well it’s good to hear from you and by the look of the comments so far you have been well and truly missed, it wasn’t my concerned facebook message that disturbed you from your slumber ha,ha.

    Comment by Stan — July 10, 2015 @ 7:16 am

    • Morning Stan, no it wasn’t your Facebook message, it was threats of violence from ‘The Wellie’ in Portree 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 11, 2015 @ 5:48 am

  6. SO Glad to hear from you, – could i suggest that instead of relying on Microsoft Office you try a cheaper Office product such as Open office or Libre Office, FREE to down load of the nterweb, and free from ads etc that you get with other free office products.

    Comment by Simon — July 10, 2015 @ 7:27 am

  7. Hi Paul
    Good to catch up with your doings – since your last post I’ve been to Raasay and back but you must have been well and truly hidden for there wasn’t a sighting! Did eat some of the postie’s eggs, though and looked at your new house from the end of the road. It didn’t rain for 5 of the days we were there – lucky, I guess, given what folk were saying about the weeks beforehand. It hasn’t been too wonderful here in Pennine Lancashire, either, though we missed the summer which was three of the days we were on the island.

    Comment by Sue — July 10, 2015 @ 7:58 am

  8. Hi, Paul.
    I think we probably all knew that you were busy on the new house and that you would surface eventually!

    If you still have the hard drive from your laptop, if you put it in something like this you might be able to read it like a USB stick and retreive your emails and contacts. You need to get a caddy that is appropriate for the HD – SATA or IDE.

    Comment by Margaret — July 10, 2015 @ 8:27 am

    • Thanks Margaret, I’ll give it a shot.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 11, 2015 @ 5:47 am

  9. I was wondering where you had gone!!

    Comment by v8mbo — July 10, 2015 @ 9:00 am

  10. Welcome back have missed you!

    Comment by Jean Camilli — July 10, 2015 @ 9:11 am

  11. Hi Paul, wee hoose looking good! Let me know if any vacancies arise on the ferry please? 🙂

    Comment by Lloyd — July 10, 2015 @ 9:54 am

  12. Hi Paul,

    Indeed good to see you back online. We had started to get worried about what caused your long absence.
    As long as everyone is in good health.
    Hope the weather improves where you live.
    Here in NL June (and before that May..) has been one of the driest months on record and early July some (high) temperature records have been broken also.
    Keep up the good work and maybe we’ll see you later in the year and in great weather.
    Our Norfolk friends have once again invited us to come to their part of paradise nearby 🙂 .
    Maybe we can’t refuse this invitation as this year it is 20 years since we first met them on the (very small) Sconser- Raasay ferry on our way to the MBA bothy up north, at the time provided with firewood (discarded pallets) by a fisherman called Paul….

    Cheers, Leonard

    Comment by Leonard — July 10, 2015 @ 10:02 am

    • Morning Leonard, yes, we look forward to seeing you here and on Fladda, safe journey.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 11, 2015 @ 5:44 am

  13. Welcome back! Don’t work too hard! Summer was slow to come here in NB as well. It only arrived this week.

    Comment by Linda Evans — July 10, 2015 @ 10:11 am

  14. Nice to see you back Paul.
    Would second Simon used libre office for years to me as good as office but free.
    Great pictures as ever

    Comment by Andrew — July 10, 2015 @ 10:39 am

    • Thanks Andrew, Linda, Steve, Jean, and everyone else, it’s good to be back, I’m starting to slow down a little now.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 11, 2015 @ 5:46 am

  15. good to see your still at it paul…. ive felt much the same about blogging ao late… maybe its the black dog!!. those trace inverters could come in handy.. i know who to call for spares now..;-)

    Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — July 10, 2015 @ 10:55 am

  16. So glad to see a welcome email signalling a new blig update from you. Your musings have been missed. The house is looking mighty fine so well done with that.

    Comment by Lisa — July 10, 2015 @ 12:19 pm

  17. Glad to have your news again. We have missed you,

    Comment by David & Margaret Gartside — July 10, 2015 @ 5:35 pm

  18. Hi Paul. Glad to know you and family are ok. House looks amazing and coming on really well. You must be shattered. Re ‘black dog’ seems to be imflicting Western Isles this year. Friends on Barra have had worst winter, spring and ‘summer’ in living memeory. They are all ‘brassed off’ and weary with it, dying for good spell of sunshine. Hang on in there, you’ll soon be moving in.

    Comment by Sal — July 10, 2015 @ 6:01 pm

  19. According to your photo the Dude is 15 tiles from belt to brow. Assuming 4″ tiles and standard counter height of 32″ that means he is now 7 feet 6 inches tall! What HAVE you been feeding him?

    Comment by drgeo111 — July 10, 2015 @ 7:00 pm

    • Seven foot six inches tall Dr G, about the same length as a ‘regular’ pair of Cal Mac overalls then 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 11, 2015 @ 5:43 am

  20. Great to see a posting from you, Paul. House is looking great!

    My blog died out at almost the same stage as your build. I now wish I’d carried on with it, but at the time something had to give. Glad to see you’re more persistent than me!

    I just hope my wife won’t see your latest posting. We’ve been in the house for 2 years and I still haven’t got the shower tiled… 😀

    Comment by ecobodger — July 10, 2015 @ 8:35 pm

    • Morning AC,
      wondered how you were getting on with your build, never realized you’d actually been in there two years!!!

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 11, 2015 @ 5:42 am

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