Life at the end of the road

January 31, 2018

Numb fingers :-(

Well, it’s boodly freezing here at my mate’s where I’ve come to do my tax return. It was the first thing I planned to do on my first day off last Wednesday. Typically the Internet went down as soon as I tried, hardly surprising really as it was almost hurricane force winds and the power was off on Raasay at least. Not that that affects us, we’ve not had a power cut of more than a few minutes in 29 years. Being led to believe it would be back on in a few days I didn’t do anything about it (the tax return that is). Then I had to work for a couple of days, then it was the weekend, all the while the 31st of January deadline was creeping up on me.

Not being able to get online at home I’d already printed out the forms and filled them in manually so I thought it wouldn’t  be such a hard job just to go online and transfer the info. How wrong was I, they have to send you a code to a phone, only the phone that’s registered is the fixed one at home!!!!!


So, I went back home and brought the phone with me (it’s a fixed mobile)


Kinda like that one and despite having very poor mobile reception at the house the external aerial means it works just fine in ours despite triple glazing and a meter thick stone wall. Just got my phone bill in yesterday too and it was £10.38 for unlimited calls. Beats the carp out of BT and their rip off charges. You know we actually ordered a landline and paid for it, BT said it would be installed on the 23rd of March 2014, which of course it wasn’t. Not that I was expecting it to be, we are a little remote to say the least. Next thing I know I get a bill for ‘Early termination of contract fee’ including call charges I’ve made on a phone I’ve never had!!!! You couldn’t make it up really. Then there was the Indian merry-go-round that lasted three months and a gazillion phone calls before they admitted their cock-up, refunded my money and compensated me. Net result, I thought blow this and got the phone above Smile We’re 11 miles from the exchange so cannot get broadband down the phone line anyway Sad smile

Hence I’m sat here freezing my nuts off in my mate’s hoose using a 3 MiFi 4G dongle thing

   Main device image for Huawei E5573 4G Mobile Wi-Fi in white.

it’s not much bigger than a credit card and I can pick up 4g here from Scriag on Skye Smile It will run up to 4 devices and is ‘chap as chips’. Can’t remember the data allowance, perhaps 20Gb but it’s  £13 a month or  something, just wish it worked at home as a back up to our normal provider

They had a bit of a disaster last week,


hopefully it’ll be sorted soon but the weather is still atrocious.

Land Rover heater and starter.

After the euphoria of actually completing my tax return I returned home to the relative warmth of my shed to crack on with the starter and heater on the ‘Old Girl’. OK, I severely doubt it was warmer in the shed than the schoolhouse but at least I was moving around and not frozen to the spot Smile

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I had actually planned to remove the whole heater unit but the bulkhead is so rusty (another job on the list) that it proved impossible, or at least not worthwhile. Instead I drilled out the rivets, bent the top of the heater unit out of the way, removed the hoses and lifted out the radiator quite easily. As you can see, it’s beyond repair or at least a repair where it would actually still produce any heat. A new one is less than £30 anyway so not really worth while.

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The heater radiator is ‘in the post’ so to speak so I turned my attention to the starter, a Bosch exchange unit that was twice the price of a Chinese clone but will hopefully last much longer.

Well that’s it for now, there was more,


Tug and barge in Kyle,


Viking Gripfisk and Ronja Commander at the Railway Pier,


Inver Lussa’s Naomi Jennifer,


The Sky Bridge with Ben na Calieach and the Cuilin mountains in the distance.


Hallaig, Ben Tianavaig, the Storr and Troternish ridge.

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A goat at Ratagan and Bonzo’s rear end Smile Wee Bonzo heads straight for this upturned boat every time I walk him, he once chased a cat under there and has never forgotten, despite it being moths ago and never having returned.

January 29, 2018

It’s just not the same :-(

Looks like our Internet problem isn’t as simple as was first thought. Initially diagnosed as a router problem at Glenelg, it now seems that the Applecross mast blew down as well. No surprise really, for when it did go of on Wednesday morning I was convinced it was our mast that had blown down. The Internet disappeared just as I was about to look for a cotechino recipe prior to doing my VAT and tax return. The cotechino I improvised with and instead of having the traditional lentils I made butter beans and harissa to accompany it. The VAT return is done but with only 3 days to go until my tax deadline I’ve still not done me ‘Self Assessment’ form, tis a little difficult doing an ‘online return’ without the Internet Sad smile That’s not to say I have not tried, I went to my neighbour who has a satellite link and used his, trouble is I seem to have downloaded the wrong form, no surprise there then Smile

So that’s the reason I’ve no been blogging recently, sure I can write ‘off line’, like I am now whilst ‘ripping’ Dire Straits album Love Over Gold but it’s just not the same. I cannae check out facts, post links or put the video of ‘Telegraph Road’ (the first and best track) on here. Don’t have many regrets in life right enough but not seeing Dire Straits live is one of them Smile

Just down the road

The storm that destroyed my Internet also stopped the ferry on Wednesday so I never got to see me Mammy until Thursday, which wasn’t so bad cos I met John Hearach who had just put a headstone on me Pop’s grave just down the road. So Molly and I went to check it out.

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That’s me Mum’s wedding picture, at 16 aint they a beautiful couple and from his resting place you can see the Five Sisters he was so in love with.


OK, not quite all of them Smile Still, it is a beautiful spot.

Back to work

It was whilst awaiting the 16:15 ferry after returning from me Mum’s that I was asked to work a couple of days so that’ll be another reason for me not spending much time on here. By Saturday afternoon however I was ‘free’ once more so took up the offer of a tour round the new Raasay distillery by its newest employee Smile

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I was most impressed, especially by the stone work.

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Even on a shitty day like Saturday the views were amazing.

After that I went to collect a scaffolding tower that needed taking over to Torran.


That I unloaded at ‘the end of the road’ and then set about fixing the exhaust on the Subaru.

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And what an epic that turned into!! Reluctant to spend £300 plus on a Subaru one I got a Polish one from Germany for around £85 delivered. Some UK companies wanted almost that for delivery. Turned out to be a bad move cos it was too small a diameter and a couple of inches too short. However with a little ingenuity, lots of silicon sealer and a welder I had it sorted by this morning.

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I then turned my attention to hauling the scaffolding the last and most perilous bit to Torran on the quad.

Yamaha 350 Bruin starter brushes

The trusty Yamaha starter packed in but I’d been expecting that for four months when I last bodged it up by grinding the brush holders. Fortunately as soon as I’d ‘fixed it’ last year I ordered a new set, so really my bodge had done well to last four months or so.

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Fitting the new brushes is pretty straight forward and at around £20 off eBlag they’re better than a new starter or genuine set. They are also the same brushes as most Honda quads too. The hardest job on the Yam is getting the starter, out as the seat, top cowling and fuel tank need lifting off, though you can get away with just loosening the rear fuel tank bolts, lifting it up at the rear and propping it with a piece of wood or something.

The Old Girl

Next on the agenda was some major fettling on my 31 year old ‘daily driver’, which has done some quarter of a million miles now that I know of Smile Well the last month or so there’s been a whiff of anti freeze in the cab. Lately this has started to turn to steam and she’s using water, a sure sign of a leaky heater matrix.


That’s it behind the washer bottle and whilst you don’t need to remove the manifolds normally, I was also going to replace the starter and for that you do. Or at least it makes life much easier. Like the quad starter motor, I’d bodged this one up last year, unlike the quad I am going to fit a new one. This is far too messy a job to be doing every few months.

I guess you could remove by attacking it from the front by taking off the power steering pump and perhaps the nearside engine mounting but these days I prefer to work upright so I took off both the manifolds. The inlet is pretty straight forward but the exhaust is a bit of a pain as it’s jammed in with the turbo and cylinder head studs. It would be easier to do by removing the studs in the head but they were seized in so I had to loosen the turbo stay that fastens to the cylinder block in order to lever the manifold out. I can see that being great fun when I replace it! 

Anyway, that’s it for now, it’s almost 8:00am, I’m gonna feed the wild birds and head off to see me Mum, so I’ll get this posted on the way. So I’ll just leave you with a few images I took whilst working on Friday and Saturday.


The world’s best clam diving outfit, old Sarah may look a bit tatty but this 23’ Wilson Flyer lifts more scallops in a day than I could in a week.

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The Braes fish farm ready for a new batch of smolts.


Looking east toward the mainland, Scalpay, Crowlin, the Applecross peninsula and beyond.

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