Life at the end of the road

November 11, 2016

Twelve large holes :-)

Friday night and it’s boodly wild outside, not that you can tell from inside Sonas right enough, just I’ve been outside and got a bit of a shock. Sure, it’s been pretty windy all day but we don’t really feel it from the south east quarter. It’s been dry all the daylight hours up here so I was a little surprised when wifey said the school ferry was the last ferry. The Hallaig and her crew toiling to berth with winds gusting 70 knots at that end of the island.

The good ship Hallaig arrived back ‘on station’ yesterday afternoon and picked up the last sailing off Lochinvar who headed south this morning. Once more I failed to get all this ‘down on paper’ so to speak, me still being plagued with Internet woes, distracted by a digger and of course going to ‘parents evening’!!! Well, it’s my sons final year so I thought I’d better make the effort!! Not that I take little interest in his schooling, quite the opposite. However they’ve always coincided with work, it does mean a night away from the croft and of course a hotel bill.

A great visit

Methinks I probably left you on Tuesday morning with a ‘half baked’ effort  posted from the ferry as I headed to see my Dad in Aultbea.

 091116 002  091116 001

Was a great drive down to the ferry right enough with some fresh snow on the Black Cuillin and some progress on the distillery

091116 003 091116 004

The steel frame looks to be up and I believe some of the roofing sheets went on today, whether they’re still on there tomorrow is another question Smile

The Isle View may not be the nearest at almost 100 miles away but it is so good and the staff so amazing that it’s well worth the time and effort to get there. It takes the best part of three hours, four and a half from Sonas but we always break it up with a breakfast at the Whistle Stop Cafe in Kinlochewe.

091116 007  091116 010 091116 011

The roaring wood stove being most welcome on this particular morning. Despite being ‘crinkly tin’ the building has a Ballachulish slate roof and is of very solid construction having the distinct air of an old village hall or school. Anyway, the food is great, the staff friendly and the coffee excellent. Only problem is they close on Friday the 18th of November for the winter Sad smile Dunno what we’ll do then as there aren’t many other options for toilets and a snack Sad smile

091116 014

Once we’d got to Aultbea, and after a little shaky start on account of me pop being asleep we had a great visit. In fact he barely shut up the whole time we were there, not actually sure what most of our conversations were about but who cares.

Some amount of hydro

Another thing we see on the way to Aultbea is around half a dozen hydro schemes under construction. Off the top of my head there’s one up Attadale, one up Strathcarron, one up near Culags, one on the Coulin estate, this is the turbine for a large one near Kinlochewe, another at the side of Loch Maree and one at Badacro.

091116 005

Good to see the hills and glens being used rather than just admired Smile

I thought I’d seen the last of it!

Wednesday saw me in action on ‘Calum the Kubota’ once more clearing and draining the chalet site.


111116 005 111116 001

Trouble is, I no longer have a chainsaw, at least not one ‘man enough’ for trees this size. I’ve not cut any trees down for a couple of years now so having to clear these meant me borrowing my old one back for the day. This enable me to continue my drain almost up to the road, a task that would have taken me weeks with a spade Smile Moving the steel girders that once supported the chalet proved a ‘piece of cake’ with Calum. These were twisted in the fire and originally destined for the scrap heap, but now ‘I have a plan’. They are going to be part of the base for my 6kW wind turbine, which should help reduce the amount of concrete required.

111116 006

Every home should have one Smile

A night in the ‘Slig’

So, on Thursday evening after giving Calum a good pressure washing and greasing, wifey and I headed for ‘The Slig’ which was doing ‘end of season deals’. Not sure what they were but a double room for the night with two lovely meals and a first class breakfast came to not much more the £100. A lot of money for a ‘parents evening’ but our son received such glowing reviews it was worth it Smile We’d be joining a long line of famous and infamous guests to the hotel, including Aleister Crowley . Apparently it was ‘a pivotal moment in his life’ !!!


An excerpt from by Raasay’s most celebrated author Roger Hutchinson. No idea which room he stayed in but ours had a lovely view

111116 007

and I doubt he would have had the sea bass or lamb tagine for dinner like we did did Smile

Serious metalwork

It was on the 8:25 sailing back to Raasay that I collected the 700mm x 700mm x 25mm thick steel plate and 8mm plate for my turbine base.

111116 009

It may not look like much but this lump of metal must have weighed around 70kg and I had to drill 12 holes in it. This would be an important component in the 15m tall mast that would be supporting my latest wind turbine. When I bought this mast at the 2013? primary school ‘silent auction’ it did not include the base. Well it wouldn’t would it, that was well attached to Scotland at the time and a new one would set me back the best part of £1000. This is what Proven/Kingspan call a ‘root foundation’ for their 15m tower and I decided to make my own.



The steel plates I got for the £30, the threaded bar + nuts for £250 and the magnetic drill for £200 so still less than half price and I’m left with a useful tool.

111116 010 111116 011

Took me all day to mark out the twelve 32mm holes and bore them right enough


111116 013 111116 015

but it was very satisfying to get it done. Just hope all those twelve hole are in the right place!!!!



  1. Great name for the digger Paul!!

    Comment by v8mbo — November 12, 2016 @ 1:33 am

    • Hi Robin,

      it was Steve’s idea 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 12, 2016 @ 6:29 am

  2. The wife says I’m going to have to give my Volvo digger a name.

    Comment by Steve — November 12, 2016 @ 7:34 am

  3. Morning Paul

    I’m so glad that your lad has done well at school. I know he’s bright and has worked hard but with the journey, and the hostel hassle it can’t have ben easy. h seems he’s turning into a good crofter, too – skills for life.



    Comment by Sue — November 12, 2016 @ 8:50 am

  4. Great post as ever, I now know what a magnetic drill is!
    -10 here this morning.

    Comment by Andrew — November 12, 2016 @ 10:03 am

  5. Now you have the Kubota, I can imagine a few more buildings springing up before long! 🙂

    Comment by Lloyd — November 12, 2016 @ 9:05 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

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: