Life at the end of the road

August 31, 2016

Preparing for the porkers :-)

Filed under: daily doings, stonework — Tags: , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:54 pm

Well, it’s been more like April than August the last few days with even the midge conspicuous by it’s absence, a good hash of south wind keeping those wee monsters at bay.  Having said that it’s been warm, sunny in between the showers and all in all a cracking end to the summer, at least that’s how it felt here. I guess if I’d been caught out in some of the heavier ones I would feel quite so chipper Smile

You get a good enough warning here at Sonas if you’re about to get ‘dumped on’ with the wind in this quarter. The Storr disappears about ten minutes before the carp arrives here, sometimes it never reaches North Raasay but the clue is when you look over towards Portree. Darkness in that direction means only five minutes to get under cover.

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So, yesterday, when the weather was good, I was wandering the hills with ‘wee dug’ as part of my new chilled regime, and when it was pish I was servicing the Yamaha.

Yamaha YFM 350 service

My mates trusty 350 Yamaha had stopped charging the battery and most of the ignition controlled circuits only worked when the engine was running. This suggested a simple fuse or broken wire and true to form it meant removing all the cowlings to find the problem.

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It turned out to be a broken earth wire under the fuel tank on the left hand side but I didn’t find that until I’d removed and refitted every connection on the quad and replaced a couple of bulbs.

With the quad in this state of undress it seemed logical to give it a good service whilst I was at it. This machine is truly incredible, in 12 years it has shifted literally tons and tons of materiel both for me and and my mate. This it has done in all weathers without ever complaining and rarely has it missed a beat. Sure it’s had a couple of batteries, several sets of tyres, disc pads and one or two spark plugs. The track rod ends have failed a couple of times and the steering column bushes wear out very quickly but I don’t recall it ever failing to start.

So, I gave everything a good greasing, removed the rear brake cable to the handle bars to free that off and changed the engine oil. I removed the worn out top steering column bushes and trimmed them down on my belt sander.

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This is hardly an ‘approved repair’ but it does take  the play out for a while and beats the carp out of spending over £25 on two new bits of plastic.

More road works

The last day of August wasn’t very inspiring to begin with so I spent a few hours avoiding doing my VAT return before going over to Tarbert on the rejuvenated Yamaha.


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Having just ordered 4 weaners for collection in September it was time to get their home ready. The old sheep fank at Tarbert being a perfect place to start them off. We used this last year, firstly by fitting a gate then locking them in for a few weeks. There’s plenty of room, shelter, a burn through the middle and a shed to store feed. Once they’ve gotten used to it as home we opened the gate and let them out to ‘free range’. This seemed to work well and discourages them from hanging around the house about half a mile away.

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The stone work here is in many different styles indicating years of use by varied folk of different skill, all of them far better than I. After a couple of hours I had the drains cleared, the bracken cut and fresh bedding in the converted oil tank that will be the piggies home.

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The pathway down to the fank was none existent but last year my son and I cut one into the hill. It worked so well that this year I took the bold step of starting widening it to fit a quad.


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This will hopefully make carrying feed down there much easier as I’m not getting any younger Smile


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I was at this for most of the afternoon, stopping only to speak to some of the many walkers, cyclists and drivers busy travelling along ‘Calum’s Road’. Needless to say I am now pretty ‘tired and shagged out after a long squawk’.

August 30, 2016

The 11 hour whine :-(

Filed under: boats, daily doings, stonework — Tags: , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:55 am

Almost time for bed now, so little chance of finishing this tonight, still, I’ll make a start, it’ll be less to ‘make up’, sorry, remember tomorrow Smile

Well, the ‘Bank Holiday Sunday’ was a pure peach, that’s for sure and i ad a truly awesome day pottering about with a small dry stone wall at the back of the house.

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It’s been on the ‘to do’ list for a while to tidy this little corner up and on Sunday I made a start.


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Nothing too serious and all at a very leisurely pace in the sunshine.

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It has to be extended to the right of the last picture, hence the random stones on the end nearest the camera but I was well chuffed with the result. Took me most of the day right enough but it was a very ‘laid back’ and relaxing exercise. I was really struggling for flat stones for the top of it so My son and I took a run up to North Arnish to see what we could find there.


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It was a bit of an epic but we came away with four nice flat slabs for the top from the abundant piles lying around the ruins there.


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Like I say, still very much ‘work in progress’ but well pleased Smile

Not stop whining

The beautiful day that was Sunday spilled over into the ‘Bank Holiday Monday’ and I was up at ‘stupid o clock’ preparing to go and visit me dad in Aultbea.


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This will be Bambi eating our newly planted hedge at 6:00am, if she’s at it tomorrow she’ll have a severe case of lead poisoning Smile The freezer has just about enough room in it for four quarters and some mince!! She got off with a click from the camera and a ‘shoo’ today Smile

Anyways, after getting chauffeured down for the 7:55 sailing to Sconser by our son we headed to Aultbea some 100 miles away with ‘wee dug’ whining in the boot. Molly is not a good traveller but usually shuts up after about 3 hours, not today, she whined all the way to Aultbea and back, some 11 hours in total and I swear, it’s the last time or she’ll be joining Bambi!!

Oysters in the loch!

After an hour of her whining we pulled over at the head of Loch Ainort to let her out and give our ears a rest, much to my great surprise I found a huge pile of oysters washed up on the shore! Seen plenty of oysters at the ‘big ebbs’ of spring tides in my time but usually just the odd one or two and never enough to justify a meal.


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Here there was more than enough, sadly they must have been washed up at the last lot of ‘springs’ a fortnight ago and where a little whiffy. Must add a visit here at LWS (low water springs) onto my ‘to do’ list.

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The next stop was in Kyle and wasn’t planned, the MV Vectis Eagle was discharging her cargo of wind turbine parts.  Unfortunately we got caught behind three wind turnip blades heading for Glen Moriston, I think. Luckily we turned north at Auchtertyre a few miles west.

The hidden advantage of the ‘prat nav’

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The next ‘whine stop’ was at the head of a very picturesque Loch Carron, with the added bonus of finding three nice flat stone for our wall Smile

For a change, and in the hope of missing some of the traffic we took the unusual route to Kinlochewe via Kishorn and Shieldaig. Distance wise I don’t think there’s much in it, but it is all single track so generally slower. Well, it was deserted, which for sunny a ‘Bank Holiday Monday’ must be quite unusual.

I can only put this down to peoples lack of map reading in preference to using their ‘prat nav’. We noticed this years ago on our annual pilgrimage to Rockness, quite often we’d be one of only a handful of cars travelling the much quicker route up the south eastern shore of Loch Ness. The sheeple preferring the main road and chaos of Inverness. Same going to Belladrum, we always go the ‘back way’ via Drumnadrochit.

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Whine stop three was by this little fresh water loch before Shieldaig which has a lovely stone boat shed on its shore. Not sure what that channel in the wall was for though, there’s a matching one on the opposite side.


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Lovely old path down to it through the ancient Scots pine, covered in chanterelle mushrooms too but a little too like a dog walking area for picking them.

That was it really, my dad was on good form and after a couple of hours we left, once more taking the Shieldaig route, only this time it was grey and wet. Got back home at 20:00 and felt like throttling the ‘wee dug’!!!

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