Life at the end of the road

January 20, 2017

Here comes the sun :-)

Friday the 20th of January and the days really are getting longer, in the ten days I’ve been working a noticeable extra hour and twelve minutes have been added to the hours of daylight. Admittedly there’s been one or two days that you wouldn’t believe it but not today.

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Nope, today was a ‘pure peach’. The last quarter of the setting moon disappearing behind Glamaig as the sun rose above Scalpay. Sure it’s not been all roses, we’ve had some proper January weather along the way too.

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The fish farmers at Sconser getting a bit of a battering here as we left Sconser at 9:25 last Wednesday. Dunno what’s going on round at Marine Harvest’s Moll fish farm just now but they’ve certainly ‘putting the hours in’ of late with all manner of boats large and small working around there until well after dark.

The snow and ice hasn’t been too much of an issue this shift with the resident gritter lorry  returning at last and a new contractor who takes over from Andrew Gillies. Andrew will be a ‘hard act to follow’, his sterling efforts over the past thirty years have ensured my wife and I have got into work on many a poor day. The flashing lights and yellow lorry being just about the only vehicle I ever meet on my 11 mile journey into work at 6:30. Can’t imagine I’ll be meeting Nairn in thirty years time as I’ll probably be in a wooden box but here’s wishing him good luck in the new job and looking forward to getting the ‘craic’ some frosty morn Smile

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The Black Cuilin’s looking decidedly un black

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the Storr and Ben Tianavaig on the same day.



The neat terraces of Inverarish village, Raasay’s capital ‘city’ built to accommodate iron ore miners a hundred years ago it’s not your regular west coast architecture. I guess it’s more akin to the villages around mines in the central belt than the crofting communities of the Highlands and Islands. Still, they are solidly built houses and a big step from the ‘black houses’ that would have been common at the time.


When the north wind doth blow

The snow came on the back of a good hash of north wind that was by no means ‘ferry stopping’ but it did provide the customers and their cars with an early morning wash.

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Annoying really because this issue was predicted and even catered for in the original harbour plans. The problem being the ground swell passing unrestricted through the small gap between the Arduish and Goat Island. The gap is only there above ‘half tide’ and once the tide gets below that level the gap closes and the swell diminishes, it is not ‘rocket science’. Trouble is the highest tides are always around the same time of day, morning and evening, again it’s not ‘rocket science’ this has been happening since time immemorial.

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Indeed, even the architects foresaw it, sadly the council in their infinite wisdom did not Sad smile

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Just like they don’t have the sense to grit the ferry slip!!! taken just before we all went to push the customers cars up the hill!!!

Trucks galore

I can’t say that we’ve been that busy on the ferry, indeed, were it not for the distillery traffic we’d have been pretty quiet but we’ve certainly had a good few commercials of late.

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Eyre Plant’s Scania ‘batcher’ heading for the for the distillery, hopefully Ross will be at Sonas shortly with a load for my new turbine base.


Another Eyre Plant Scania, this time with aggregate for the distillery, this one has already been to Sonas. Ally brought 16ton of the stuff up for the concrete slab at Sonas.


J & T Morrison’s MAN delivering building blocks, again to R&B Distillers project at the Borrowdale House

With the promise  of a good few full time and permanent jobs this is going to be a great ‘shot in the arm’ for Raasay.

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So we can all put the old still away now Smile Picture courtesy of Gairloch Heritage Museum which is most definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area. You may even find some relics from Sonas there Smile

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The fisheries research vessel MRV Alba na Mara passes by Raasay House and Raasay’s only fishing boat the MV Lustre sits peacefully on her mooring at Clachan.

The new quad

Apart from that, well, not a lot really, I guess everyone is still recovering from New Year and awaiting the half term rush. The middle of February can be an awesome time up here, many is the holiday I’ve had on the West Coast during the English ‘half term’ and gone home with a sun tan!! OK, it was only once but it was on Skye in around 1984 Smile Me and a mate of mine were salvaging an ex MFV called Poseidon off Fladda Chuain at the time and we both went home with a tan. Trouble was, I was officially ‘on the sick’ so had to say I’d been under a sun lamp when I went back to work. I was ‘signed off’ cos of a problem with my leg so had to walk around with a nut and bolt in my shoe to remind me to limp Smile I kid you not!!!

Then of course there’s the new quad


a 2006 Honda TRX500 Foreman with only 1035 miles on the clock. Sure I could have got a much newer one for the same price but this one has only 400 hours on it, one careful owner and is like new. Not only that but it’s the earlier air cooled version and has no power steering, both of which add complication, weight and expense to a quad. Some 80% of all engine breakdowns are related to water cooling. Think about it, head gaskets, water pumps, radiators all things that fail with great regularity. Sure I’d never touch an air cooled car in the town, but an air cooled quad on the West Coast of Scotland, no contest.

Of course it was 400 miles away near Clitheroe in Lancashire but I have a pal who went to check it out and build a custom pallet. With a bit of luck it’ll be here next week ready for work and I’ll make supreme effort to look after it Smile


  1. My quad died a couple of years ago… never got around to replace it… but i have a kubota rtv 900 lined up… that could be useful 😊

    Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — January 20, 2017 @ 11:33 pm

    • Yes Steve, been trying to convince my mate that’s what he needs rather than a quad and trailer. By the time he arrives home with his shopping half of it has fallen out of the trailer only to be collected by the people that have to walk 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 21, 2017 @ 6:12 am

  2. Paul,
    Great as you say to see the days lengthening and your new wheels, all that’s missing is the fish crate.

    Comment by Arthur T Bomber Harris — January 21, 2017 @ 6:32 am

    • Fish box on standby 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 21, 2017 @ 6:33 am

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