The day started off really good, no wind no rain and I even stayed in bed until 7:00. Well it was still pitch dark outside and I’d done all the preparation yesterday, so no point getting up early. Chances are I’d have got involved with something, got side-tracked and been late. Happens every Sunday when I’m working so no reason for it not to happen this Sunday.
The preparation was of course for two of the wiglets, who were due to go to Dingwall today and return next week in six large cardboard boxes. The Landy ‘levels had been checked’ the trailer filled with bedding and the lights fixed. Scot EID forms filled in and the abattoir booked.
Ferry at 10:00 so my son and I left at 9:00 to give us plenty of time to load up two off the ‘wee darlings’ at Tarbert and have a nice leisurely drive south. Just as I was leaving I remembered to collect my 900mm long ‘strong arm’ from the workshop in case I had a puncture.
With two of the gilts safely in the trailer we continued to the ferry feeling very smug and actually looking forward to a ‘boys day out’. Well, I was, it’s hard to tell with a teenager
It did not last long!!!!! two miles down the road we had a puncture, still we had plenty of time and all the tools. Trouble is one of the most important ones didn’t work. My trusty 1980’s vintage Ford Transit 5ton hydraulic bottle jack refused flatly to lift the ‘Old Girl’ high enough to get the spare wheel on Ah well, the ‘best laid plans of mice and men’ and it was a nice day for a walk.
Whereupon we came across this Astute class submarine https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astute-class_submarine perhaps HMS Artful? due for commissioning early this year.
It was at this very spot six years ago that I filmed the first of the class diving. HMS Astute went on to run aground near the Skye bridge, then one of her crew members ran amok with an assault rifle killing an officer and wounding another https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Astute_%28S119%29 . Not a lucky ship, wonder if she was launched on a Friday! Apparently the average tar considered it very bad luck to launch ships on Friday. Legend has it that to put paid to this ridiculous superstition the ‘Lords of the Admiralty’ commissioned a HMS Friday and then launched it on a Friday whereupon it sank Sadly or perhaps fortunately that’s just an urban myth
Anyway sorry to Keane and Richard Hughes in particular for the unlicensed use of that song, it just happened to be playing in the Land Rover at the time!
On the way back we retrieved a casualty of Gertrude, two Pioner boats that had been blown off their trailer.
After a cup of tea at home we returned to the Old Girl and her cargo of pigs
and got on with putting on the spare, having abandoned all hope of taking piggies anywhere until next week. Monday is the only day for pigs at the slaughterhouse and the ferry looks dubious for tomorrow afternoon.
Some two hours after first picking them up we deposited the pigs back at Tarbert and any fears that I had of their being stressed by their ordeal proved unfounded. The wee darlings were quite reluctant to actually get out of the warm trailer!!
The broadband mast
Being totally ‘off grid’ without any ‘hard wired’ or piped services in or out means we’ve gotta be quite resourceful at times. We may have the most reliable electricity supply on Raasay or even Skye for that matter, probably on the whole West Coast in fact. We most certainly have the most reliable and fastest internet on the island but it has let us down once or twice of late. We lost it on Christmas Eve for a day and it went off during Gertrude for a few hours. Not bad for two years and three months service. The problem was at the mast which I ‘power up’ for the Applecross Community Company http://www.applecrosscommunitycompany.org/index.asp?pageid=354111 . All the recent storms had loosened it’s mountings somewhat so my son and I went to sort that out.
It’s a bit of an epic hike up there, even after taking the quad as far as North Arnish, which is pretty much halfway of the almost 1 mile of armoured cable that feeds it.
We decided to fit extra rock anchors and four guy wires and had to lug all the kit up there. OK my son carried most of it leaving me with just a roll of fencing wire and the 24V Hitachi drill.
Was well pleased with the result
but left some of the tools and a couple of scaffolding clamps behind for future use. I once went all the way up there to discover a broken clamp and had go all the way back down to get one
fine views though, that’ll be the Applecross peninsula and Applecross Bay.
That’s Loch Arnish, Skye, Holm Island and hidden by cloud the mighty Storr.