Life at the end of the road

August 28, 2017

A ‘shroom a day :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, food, How I — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:42 pm

Monday night is practice night for ‘Stanley Watson Barker’ the Portree Lifeboat and that’s me just in having watched him, or is it her head into Loch Arnish and then back out.

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It was a long way off and well by Manish point when I finally found the camera but well spectacular nonetheless, not that you’d believe e from the carp pictures Smile

It’s been a busy coupe of days right enough with much achieved, if not a little seldom on the bloggin’ front. Trouble is that last night we got invited round to friends ‘along the track for dinner and that was a far better offer than a night inside with TV and laptop.

Mushroom magic

Sunday kinda started a bit grey and damp, in fact it must have pure ‘pished down’ during the night cos there was, once more, water everywhere. So first thing I did was finish off putting the Yamaha back together and then delver it to my mate at Torran Schoolhouse. He was going out fishing, invited us for dinner and promised us a mackerel meal. The once plentiful fish that was frowned upon by many and usually used as bait has become somewhat scarce of late at the ‘North End’. Sure they’re catching them a plenty in Churchton bay, off Raasay pier and Loch Duich but they’ve yet to show their face here. Well yesterday the loch had a pod of porpoises within it and a squadron of gannets diving into it, so they must have been eating something.

So I left ‘em to it and walked back through the woods with the ‘wee dug’ looking for ‘shrooms of which there were plenty but sadly mainly waterlogged.

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Hunners of chanterelles and a few yellow russula types though I’ve never seen one growing on a birch tree before.

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The ‘trippy’ fly agaric I gave a miss and I’ve no idea what the one on the right is, not actually unpacked my ‘mushroom bible’ from the container yet.

If you are into mushrooms then this is the only book you will ever need, of course you’ll need a rucksack to put it in if you take it out ‘into the field’ but forget all the pocket sized books, this is the biz.

Once back at Sonas I made breakfast then turned my attention to the Torran track. A spate of half wits getting stuck down there this year has prompted me into action so I tracked Calum the Kubota KX7-3 digger down there and sorted it.


Smile Smile Smile Though not before I’d repaired the damage the clowns had done to the ditches. Methinks you’ll struggle getting a hire car campervan by that rock yet you can still get a quad and trailer passed it with ease.

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Feeling quite smug in the knowledge that no longer would I be disturbed by morons needing a tow back out of here I set about getting ready for more concreting.

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Helped along by Molly, Lulu and Cilla,

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the latter pair insisting on trying to eat the tyres on me mates Volvo and my quad!!!

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Next job was an hour or so setting sandstone slabs into the ‘chuckies’ around the house. The wee dug and wife do not walking on the 20mm chips in bare feet so some ‘stepping stones’ are needed Smile 


That done, it was back to some fencing to try and keep the deer out, not that that is going to happen ‘overnight’ it’s a bit of a long term project with me tackling the easy bits first.

As soon as I’d screwed that last board onto the fence I had a shower, got changed and we headed to Torran on the quad with a bottle of red wine in me pocket.

The mackerel was conspicuous by it’s absence but the lobster, pollack, roast onions, roast potatoes, lentils, mayo and various sauces cooked to perfection were more than adequate compensation. And after spending most of the night slating Donald Trump and discussing moorings we ‘wobbled’ home on the Honda without hitting my BIG rock on the way Smile


A wee ‘lie in’ until 7:30 was the order of the day followed by a visit to my mum on the mainland and another car load of sandstone slabs. On the way back up Calum’s road I spotted two of these from the car.

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Now that is a seriously large horse mushroom and it would be going into dinner along with some Aultbea black pudding and Loch Arnish scallops. First though I had to do a spot of tamping on the area I was about to concrete.


That done, it was back to dinner,

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my son and wife making the mushroom sauce and myself doing the black pudding and scallops in butter and paprika.


I always chop the roe (gonad) off the scallop and fry it much longer than the meat. The meat needs very little cooking and so does the roe truth be known but many people find the roe to0 strong and well fishy. I find that if you put the roe in first then the black pudding (or bacon) and give it a right good doing it soaks up the flavours of the meat and butter. When the pudding is cooked, that’s when I put the scallops in and just do them lightly. Yum Yum 


August 27, 2017

The wandering anchor :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, How I — Tags: , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:28 am

After ‘shepherds delight’ of last night,

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which saw Loch Arnish with three different pods of porpoises within its confines. Today was no a bad day at all and my commute to work was nothing short of amazing. Yesterday I’d seen a pair of golden eagles, a pair of sea eagles and the porpoises.



This morning it was red deer hinds at Brochel and the cruise ship Rotterdam all 61,000 tons of her heading for Portree.

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Her starboard (whoops, port Smile ) anchor already walked out to the waterline, cheers Ed Smile


Portree just waking up a few hours earlier.

It moved

Today’s plan was to set the anchor we’d roughly positioned the other day, due to the necessity of lifting the anchor at a very high tide we’d dropped it in a rough position only. The anchor had been floated out using half a dozen 25lt drums which just lifted it nicely. Air was let out when we thought it was in about the right place and it sank gently to the sea bed some 7m below. However, 6 hours later when the tide was some 3.2m lower it rose off the sea bed and floated off!!! I guess as the tide ebbed the air inside the drums expanded and the buoyancy increased. Net result being that the anchor made a bid for freedom, luckily it caught on a reef a few meters away and didn’t sail off into the sunset.


So, first job was to send my son down with a spare air cylinder to reflate the drums, adding another for good measure as one had become detached. This we did at half tide so as to get a better idea of the position. The apprentice did this without a hitch and shortly afterwards the anchor arose from the sea bed in a plume of bubbles. After towing the anchor into position air was let out of two drums and it gently submerged once more. This time it was my turn to go in armed with tools for shackling up the ground chain and a spare air cylinder to dig it in. The task was soon accomplished and a very solid mooring was fit for duty.

Another one!!!

Next dive was further out into 32m of water to investigate an old overgrown buoy that we’d partially explored a few days ago. We suspected it may lead us to something interesting but when we last checked it out we were towing a marker and it got wrapped around the riser preventing us from going any further. It was over 30m and we’d not much air left for messing about so we called it a day. Today we went down without a marker to follow the rope down only to find it just snaked along the sea bed around a few rocks and was just tied to a stone Sad smile Abandoning that we set off into shallower water looking for scallops and guess what, we found another anchor. This time it was the Nicolson’s of Torran mooring which had been lost a few years ago, luckily there was a large heavy rope attached to the tripping eye. The rope carried no buoy but it was long enough to reach the surface and we did manage to get a buoy onto it Smile

 Yamaha YFM 350 Bruin starter repair

That done I headed back on the Honda and my son the Yamaha which was in need of repair as the starter motor had failed. Funny thing about these quad starters is that most of them are the same, at least internally anyway. The Honda TRX 350 that I had for about 10 years required a new set of brushes every year and they were extortionate, around £35 for genuine Honda ones. The Yamaha which uses the same brushes in virtually the same starter has only had one set up until now, that was a couple of years ago when it was ten years old!! A ‘couple of years ago’ my foot, I see that post is four years old so not bad. I also see that last time I removed the fuel tank, this time I just loosened it and lifted it up at the rear.

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Sadly, this time I had no spares so had to improvise.

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As usual the brushes had worn out and were no longer touching the commutator. As it’s a bank holiday and the quad is in daily use the chances are that one will not arrive until my mate actually leaves, so I did some bodgeneeing on it. I use a small die grinder and cut a few mm into the brush holders which allowed them to drop a little deeper and touch the commutator. It worked a treat and I’ve now ordered some replacements which should do both the Honda and Yamaha.


At low tide, around 18:00 Molly and I went to check on the mooring position and help my mate shackle on the riser. With all ‘fine and dandy’ in that department we returned home and shucked the days catch.


Fine quality scallops indeed these and just look at the size of this one. Here’s a video taken on Christmas eve some 7 years ago of how to do it, complete with dinner table banter from the family and Jan Turell’s unique laugh. How we all miss that here on Raasay and at Arnish in particular.

I guess that was about it so I’ll leave you with the MS Rotterdam heading north under the Storr after a day’s visit to Portree.

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