Life at the end of the road

August 31, 2017

Testing the bag :-)

The old midge was pretty fierce this morning but once the sun was out and a wee breeze got up it was bearable. That didn’t happen until after 11:00am right enough but I managed to work my way around the ‘wee devils’ by staying inside blogging until almost 9:00 then going to visit my mate at the Torran Schoolhouse to blag some fresh sweet coffee.

P1040391 Walking the dug Smile

You know the stuff the Italians drink out of a percolator with enough sugar in it to stand your spoon vertically, well, not quite but you get the gist. Funny thing is, much as I love coffee like this, we never actually make it at home. Methinks if I started then I’d be drinking far too much of the stuff. So for now I’ll just keep scrounging it off me neighbours Smile

After arranging a ‘plan’ for the day’s diving and agreeing that afternoon would be best I headed back home. He’d ordered some mooring tackle from the usually very efficient Gael Force Marine However, despite several assurance it had not, as yet arrived, which is very unlike them. They started off making creels in Stornoway in the 1980’s and now are into everything from yacht chandlery to fish farm feed barges. I wouldn’t at all be surprised that if these fish farm anchors we’ve been lifting were made by them.

Back in the day when I was fishing I used to buy all my creels from them and much else besides. It didn’t matter how many years passed between my infrequent visits to their warehouse in Inverness, the directors would always remember me by name and ask how things were on Raasay. I guess that’s why they’re so successful because I kept returning and recommending them to others. I’m sure the stuff will be here tomorrow Smile

More path prep

Once back to Sonas and with the day improving I set about working on the path around the house.

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I just loosely arranged these, the wife will then keep adjusting them to find the best place for footfall and colour. Once she’s happy we can dig them in the chuckies and set them permanently. We’ve done some already around the ‘bunker’ and they look great, not only that but now the wee dug can walk around the house. The chuckies must be really unpleasant for dugs, deer and pigs, which at times is not a bad thing.

Once I’d unloaded those I set about making a border around the front of the house to separate the chuckies from the ‘meadow’. We don’t do grass cutting here at Sonas Smile


Life is so much easier with a digger,


you would not be moving these here by hand.

Just like riding a bike

That done we set off for the shore with our kit to go looking for another anchor by yet another disused fish farm site.

Smolt bin

Here it is some twenty years ago having smolts delivered, the chopper drops that bin in the middle of the cage then lowers it nearby to have the tipping mechanism reset before flying back to the hatchery for more.

This was once a cost effective method of transferring smolts to remote farms but now they’re all brought in by large ‘well boats’ which is a lot less stressful on the fish and staff. I had a few scary moments with those bins on a rope Smile 


Here it is today with the picture taken from just behind where the cages would have been. The helicopter was dropping the bin on that outcrop of rock just above the centre.


These two steel rings for the running mooring and a few more for the ‘land fasts’ being all that remain. We were thinking that there may have been some tackle left behind so got ready to check it out.

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The anchor hunting wasn’t very successful but at least the new scallop bag got a good testing Smile

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My boy is most definitely getting ‘his eye in’, we gonna really miss him when he goes to uni Sad smile


Those are seriously good clams Smile

Driven in :-(

Filed under: boats, daily doings — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:47 am

Just after 20:00 now and I’m reluctantly sat behind my laptop plinking away on here, it’s a beautiful evening with the sun setting over Skye


but the dreaded midge got the better of me. I had been out in my shorts but gave up on those around 7:30 whereupon I came inside to don overalls, buff, hat and Smidge in an attempt to finish what I’d started but and extra ten minutes was all I could handle. The wind fallen away to nothing, the ground was damp and the air warm, the ‘wee devils’ were loving it (and me) so I gave up.


The day got off to a fine start with yet another cruise liner heading for Portree.

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This time it was Windstar cruises MS Star Pride

Star Pride, 8 January 2016.jpg

one of a trio of identical ships built for Seabourne Cruises around 1988


That’s her in Portree as I headed south to do a few errands and get some messages from the south end of the island. I’m that used to using the word ‘messages’ now that forget most folk reading this won’t have clue what I’m on about so I’ll enlighten you Smile

Also gave my wee pal Bonzo a walk whilst I was down in Inverarish, he was very glad to meet me, if not a little confused why I’d come during my ‘off weeks’. Dogs know these things Smile I also took the opportunity to go and look for some ‘shrooms down there, I was a few days too late.

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The truly massive ceps were all waterlogged and eaten,


Though I did manage to pick up one hedgehog and a couple of lovely chanterelles which I fried in butter with a duck egg, awesome.

By the time I got back home it was around 14:00 and time to break out the cement mixer and pour a couple of tons of concrete.

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That went really well, until the ‘wee dug’ tried to help!

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Head hung in shame but that didn’t stop her doing it again!


just as we finished!


Wednesday morning was kinda showery and filled with rainbows, most of which I failed to capture cos they were so frequent and I had to keep my camera out of the rain.

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The centre one was particularly spectacular with the ‘pot of gold’ slap bang on Grian a Sgier to the west of Fladda. From the extra elevation of the hen shed above the house it was far sharper and the islets much more visible. However, by the time I got the camera it was all over.

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The Portree fishing boat Mhari Bhan lifting creels in the loch, shed be after prawn here but it looks like she’s a few fleets around the shore for lobster too.

A proper clam diving bag

With my recent foray back into diving I figured it was about time I made me a proper bag, though it’s a more lightweight affair than what I used to use.

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Some old trawl net off the shore is stitched up into a bag shape then  length of heavy rubber hose threaded through the top. A piece of 20mm MDPE water pipe (I used yellow gas pipe cos it’s what I had) is then used to join it with a couple of stainless steel screws to prevent it parting. The purpose of this is to allow you top drop the clams in easily. It really does make a difference to how quickly you can fill the bag, a draw string around the top and a 5lt container as a float finish it off. The float has a hole cut in the top so you can fill it from your demand valve as you add clams to the bag. A proper commercial one would use heavier mesh, be bigger and have a larger float cos you’d be getting more and doing three dives a day dragging this thing along the sea bed. My old ones would hold around 120 scallops, some 30 plus kg and I’d use a 10lt float.

Flag stones and chuckies

The afternoon was spent visiting Sconser Quarry

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where Yogi loaded me with 2 tons of 20mm chips for around the house. That’ll be his fine old Foden truck on the left.


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