Life at the end of the road

June 5, 2018

The ‘Red Caves’

Filed under: animals, Avon Searider, daily doings, pigs — Tags: , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:41 pm

Well, that’s it, the boat is out the water and the caravan packed, we’re off to Eden tomorrow and it’s a bit of a trek Sad smile Rockness is no more, Belladrum caravan tickets sold out in February and my camping days are long gone Smile Never been to this ‘boutique’ festival in the Borders before but know plenty of folk who have and it gets great reviews. Didn’t realize it was a four day event right enough and I dunno if an old codger in his sixties can last that long Smile Still, I’ll give it a shot and who knows, perhaps I’ll even get my nails painted again Smile


Sure it’s gonna be awesome with the likes of the Peatbog Faeries

and Shooglenifty

doing the banging ‘Acid house Celtic croft rock’ thing and Groove Armada

heading up a headline DJ slot.

Sure it would have been nice to be taking a newly refurbished ‘Old Girl’ but she’s in the middle of major surgery just now so it’ll be Wifey’s Subaru pulling the caravan 330 miles to Moffatt via Girvan.


A long day

First task of the day was to get the boat out of the water, it’ll be at least three weeks before it’s used again and whilst the mooring is perfectly safe I don’t want to antifoul the Searider’s hull so there’s no point having it in the water gathering barnacles and weed.

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That’ll be my son trying out our ‘tender’ last night and the ‘wee dug’ trying on her lifejacket, she was not impressed. In fact she refused ‘point blank’ to move from the spot, probably not a bad thing really, perhaps she’ll no run about the boat like a wee dafty Smile

Anyway, whilst my son had a great paddle around Loch Arnish last night


I opted just to put on me dry suit and just swim out to the boat this morning.

After a few ‘start up checks’ it was off south at an economical 3500RPM and just short of 20knots, stopping only once to have a look around the ‘Red Caves’.


Directly east of Portree on Raasay’s western shore and carved into the ancient pink and white gneiss are a series of sea caves and arches known by fishermen as the ‘Red Caves’. It’ll be know as something completely different here on Raasay but that’s the way of it. Few locals on Raasay will refer to Kyle Rona, that narrow tidal race between Rona and Raasay as the ‘Blind Sound’ but that’s what all the trawler men and creel fishermen call it. Same with the cliffs on Raasay’s eastern shore south of Brochel, I think referred to locally as Cathedral rock or its Gaelic equivalent. Me, I call it the ‘White Face’ cos I worked with a Kyle fisherman long before I move to Raasay and that’s what he called the white sandstone cliffs.

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They really are spectacular and had the tide been high with the sea this calm it’s possible to put the boat inside them.

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When the tide is high that last rock looks like the head and shoulders of a man and probably has a Gaelic name that reflects that.


Not long after I was at the ferry terminal and dragged the boat out of the water easily using the Subaru that Wifey had deposited there for me. The 90HP Tohatsu TLDI (two stroke, low pressure, direct injection) was still running off the same tank of fuel as when we launched it there on Saturday morning. It’s a standard Quicksilver 25lt tank so not bad for all the running about we did around Fladda and Loch a Sgurr.

With the boat back home and washed out with fresh water I spent the rest of the day pottering about getting the caravan ready and making the most of what had turned into a cracking day.

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No wind for the turbines but plenty of sun, fine views towards Harris and Torran Croft.

No water Sad smile

The ‘secret well’ that serves our house is only ever a trickle but hasn’t yet (to my knowledge) dried up even in the driest of months. It may not be much of a flow but it is constant and well capable of replenishing even heavy usage over night. However, ‘your truly’ left a tap running today and emptied 4000lts of fresh water into the heather Sad smile

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So, no toilet flushing or showers until the morning Smile


The weather certainly brought the visitors out


which in turn kept Leah barking all friggin day Smile


The pigs did some epic roaming and kept ‘popping up’ everywhere,


even the septic tank soakaway, which I guess was working overtime due to the running tap Sad smile


It was hard work though, so they had a rest after dinner Smile

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And that’ll round up tonight.


May 4, 2018

She’s away !

Well, May’s not been much to shout about so far Sad smile My favourite month has gotten off to a pretty shaky start really, though April really did ‘go out like a lamb’ with Monday being a pure peach so much so that I shaved my head on Sunday night in anticipation, come Tuesday I was regretting it right enough but it was good whilst it lasted and I got a fine tan on me bonce Smile

At least 14 tons

Over half way through my month’s holiday now and quite pleased with the results so far with the repairs to the old fish farm slip coming along nicely.

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A good 14 tons of aggregate, 70 bags of cement and lots of rebar. Ideally you’d be doing a job like this with much larger ‘pours’ but I can only work with what I have, which is a wee Belle mixer and 2 to 3 tons of aggregate at a time. Not ideal but a good strong mix and then drilling and pinning each fresh batch will help tie the different batches together (I hope Smile )

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So, that’s pretty much the first section finished and now it starts to get complicated. The second section (after that crack) is gonna need a lot more support than the first section and it’s obviously underwater for more of the time. Methinks I’m gonna have to put a lot more rock and steel under before I start concreting in earnest. I’m also going to be restricted by the sea state Sad smile Still, even if I couldn’t do anymore then with what I’ve done now I’ll still be able to get the Searider in and out at the larger tides, which will save me having to drag it 10 miles to the ferry slip.

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The garden

Next major project has been the garden

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and wind proofing, which is going well and getting a boodly good testing at the moment Smile

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Then there’s all the regular stuff like bins and sunsets Smile

Boats and stuff

Then there’s the regular boaty stuff,

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the FPV Hirta spent a good part of the 1st of May patrolling the mouth of Loch Arnish.

The day after we were treated to the Norwegian frigate Thor Heyerdahl


in the same place for an hour or so.

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FV Serene and the sgoth Oigh Niseach at Raasay pier. The Northern Light Cruising Company charter vessel Hjalmar Bjorge anchored at Tarbert in Loch Arnish.

New chassis, bulkhead and B posts

Sure, as Les M says about the trusty old broom having four new heads and three new shafts, the ‘Old Girl’ is getting a new chassis, bulkhead and B posts, all galvanized of course. OK, she’s on her third engine, third gearbox, second set of doors and umpteenth set of brake discs, springs, shockers and suspension bushes but she is over thirty years old and still my ‘daily driver’. Having covered over a quarter of a million miles (mostly with myself at the helm) she’s like part of the family. Having owned her since the new millennium I aint gonna part with her now. Sure, I’ve lost count of the times I’ve considered getting a comfortable truck with a windows that work, a heater that’s hot, a radio you can hear above the road noise and performance akin to a ‘hot hatch’. Then I look around at all my mates driving ‘crew cabs’ that they have to change every four or five years cos the engine is fecked or the chassis as fallen off. This is after spending a fortune on dual mass flywheels DPF’s and ball joints every MOT. OK, so I spend an inordinate amount of time under the Landy but in all the years I’ve had her she’s only ever failed one MOT and that was debateable, I mean ‘brake pedal rubber’, headlamp alignment and corrosion near an unused seatbelt.

So, after much deliberation I figured ‘better the devil you know’ and having continuously owned a Land Rover or Range Rover since around 1978 I thought why change? Don’t get me wrong, I’d never recommend one to anyone. They’re over priced, unreliable, noisy, smelly, uncomfortable and only suitable for small people but they’re probably the best ‘off road’ and towing vehicle on the planet, the ‘Old Girl’ weighed in at over six tons once on the quarry weighbridge!!!! She’s also got me into work when the snow plough couldn’t get to Arnish for over a week!!! So, with that in mind I took her down to Perth today


and left her in the capable hands of Matthew Webster at Tayside Land Rover

Tayside Land Rovers

MiL collected me from the Broxden roundabout on the A9 and finally I’m home Smile

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