Life at the end of the road

October 25, 2021

The return of ‘The office’ :-)

Filed under: daily doings, food, pigs — Tags: , , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:47 pm

When I got up this morning around 6:00AM the good ship Hallaig had just departed Oban’s North pier, less than 11 hours later and she’s back alongside the Raasay pier from where she departed over a month ago. If she wasn’t ‘back on service’ today (which I doubt) she’ll be plying her home route tomorrow and I for one will be glad to have her back. At least now I’ll be able to set off for the ferry half an hour before sailing and still be pretty certain of getting on. With the poor old MV Loch Tarbert it was far from a certainty so important appointments off the island meant me leaving Arnish an hour before sailing to be guaranteed getting on the ferry. 

The first perambulation with Bonzo was just a short walk through the woods and back up the Torran track to home. I’d not planned staying out long as it was pishing down so never took a mushroom bag. They were getting quite thin on the ground in the area I was heading anyway. So, I was most surprised to find a nice little clump of hedgehogs almost as soon as I cut into the birch wood.


Not only are hedgehogs delicious but they remain firm even in the pishing rain, appear late in the season and are fairly ‘idiot proof’ as regards identification. The tiny ‘spines’ on their underside which give them their being as far as I know (amongst UK mushrooms) unique. Luckily I had a rag in my pocket that I turned into a bag and with my parcel in hand wandered deeper into the wood.

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I had a sow once that chose to have a litter of 13 piglets up here in February one year! There was snow on the ground yet she’d made a nest in a little hollow atop this cliff. Sure it was a nice view but a long way from home for me to feed her! I ended up cutting some branches and trees down so I could the quad up there carrying food and water her Smile


Continuing down through the trees following deer tracks I manged to loose Bonzo, nothing fresh with that but I heard some muffled yelping and found him in amongst the rocks trying to extricate some creature form within.


I dunno what it was but it was in that hole and I left him to it figuring he’d get fed up eventually, sure enough, he somehow managed to arrive home before me Smile

Once back inside my toasty house and after sharing my muesli with Bonzo, Molly being stuck in the back of the car refusing to come out. I went back out to make a few adjustments to my diff lock selector which had stuck in the locked position. Unusually I managed to achieve this simply and with no drama, so with the morning brightening up I went over the hill to Tarbert and beyond with my ever bouncy Bonzo.

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The houses on Fladda and Holm Island off Skye taken from near ‘the Hill of the Hind’ above Tarbert.

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Some suicidal sheep that must have wandered north across the cattle grid at Brochel.

It used to be a jam jar

Lunch consisting of the last two rashers of home cured bacon was followed by trip to Torran to weigh up a task I was planning for day or so later this week.

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It involves some large pieces of timber to make a frame that needs bolted into a concrete pad and Scotland. For carrying the 4m plus timbers along the track I’d need to make up a frame for the Mule. The drilling and bonding into the founds would need resin and various threaded bar and tools all of which I needed to gather together in readiness for a weather window. With that done I took the quad up to Pipers Rock and beyond for no other reason than, I felt like it and the views are amazing, well they were when I left the Torran Schoolhouse Smile

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By the time I got up there it wasn’t so nice Sad smile

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The Pipers rock is that buttress on the left, the centre pick is taken from the T junction where the path to Fladda splits off from the path to Kyle Rona and Umachan. The well is just before the junction and some kind soul has replaced the jam jar with a proper cup complete with string Smile The water tastes divine, far better than mine and light years ahead of the stuff you get out of a regular tap Smile If you ever happen to be in the area the well which certainly has a name is about 200m before the junction to Fladda on your right about 25m off the path.

Once back home I set about making a frame for the back of the Mule so we’d be able to carry the timber on the roof.

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A few bits of timber cut to length and an old repurposed and shortened Discover ladder rack did the trick.

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That was it really, fed the pigs then came in and fed myself venison and mushrooms cooked in white wine and garlic.

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Just west of Oban :-)

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

Twenty minutes past six in the morning, the good ship Hallaig must have departed Oban’s North Pier around 6:00 cos she’s entering Loch Linnhe heading for the Sound of Mull. Looks like she’ll be home tonight Smile 

west of Oban

Me, I’m sat drinking strong black coffee staring out into the pitch black void into the eyes of the Storr cat. My name for the pin pricks of light from the car park toilet block that watch over me these days. I suppose at least I’ll get ‘early warning’ if there’s been a power cut on Skye these days Smile That way I can set off early for work to get the blacked out Hallaig ready for action Smile She may be a pleasure to work on, quiet, smooth and comfortable but she’s a pig to get going if the power goes off overnight Sad smile The first time we had an overnight blackout it took me six hours to recover the ship! the second time two hours and now, after years of practice and drilling around twenty minutes so we still sail on time even from a ‘dead ship’, it’s just nice to be prepared Smile


The Sabbath wasn’t a great day with plenty of showers that were just shy of being truly wet and miserable, just not bad enough to skip the morning walk with Bonzo. So after my usual hour or so at the table drinking coffee, checking Facecloth, the forecast, blog and seeing which ships were torpedoed, wrecked, sunk or missing ‘on this day’, I went out. Today we headed east up the narrow valley behind Sonas toward my water tank then over the rock and heather northwards.

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The water tank was full and we continued to the summit where on a good day the views are spectacular, Skye and the Outer Isles to the NW and Brochel Bay, Dun Caan and the whole of Raasay’s eastern shoreline to the SE.

It’s was hard to imagine yesterday that even this bleak, barren and rocky landscape was the site of small cultivated areas.

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Potatoes were once cultivated in this bit of ground, the remnants of the walls and fences still being visible. Now just a place frequented by stags that wallow in the peaty mud to make themselves look fierce and intimidating.

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A rock fall below the cliff that borders the northern end of this ‘field’ is the site of a shelter, store or perhaps hen house from long ago.

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Loosing Bonzo around here I headed back home figuring he’d probably got pi55ed off with the rain like me.


Fine views of Arnish and Torran despite the weather.

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And from way up here I could hear Bonzo barking to be let in my house which is on the left by the wind turbine so I headed down the valley home.


Spending most of my Sunday under the Land Rover before driving it down to the village to collect a parcel and take the dogs for a gentle stroll in the wood by Henderson’s bridge.

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That blob in my hand must have been a mighty fine cep a week ago Sad smile, now it was just mush!

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