Life at the end of the road

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


April 2, 2018

Poking away :-)

Well it’s been a while hey Sad smile Easter’s here, Raasay is sinking under the weight of visitors and I’ve just been worn too out to post. I’ve mixed and ‘poked’ a gazillion tons of concrete since I last posted and filled up the croft with pigs. OK, more than a little exaggeration to be sure but I have been getting in late and going to bed early this last fortnight so I apologise for not being more ‘regular’ so to speak.

The memory aint getting any better so I’ll have to consult the camera as to what’s been going on, so here goes.

The Arnish ‘fish farm slip’

The latest project and one that’s been taking up most of my efforts of late has been trying to stabilize the ruined concrete slip way just below our house. The contractor that built it did his best to try and persuade the fish farm to build a better one but they wouldn’t have it. Consequently it was never wide enough to take even a quad down easily and the slab was way too thin. Still the access road down to it was good, if not a little steep for regular vehicles and it was a vast improvement (even now) on what was there before (basically nothing).

‘Back in the day’ when I was fishing I’d often have to carry up half a ton of scallops or crabs up from the shore by hand before the slip access went in. You couldn’t even get down with a quad, and believe me, I tried, rolling my Suzuki ‘Quad runner’ twice and nearly breaking my neck once before giving up. Abandoning this foolishness I resorted to using ‘Port Arnish’, which, whilst considerably safer was totally out of the question for anything larger than a quad. It was also much further from the road by about half a mile Sad smile

Almost twenty years on and with a sudden rekindling of my past obsession with diving and boats I’m looking to make it possible to launch the ‘Searider’ here. Quite insane really but there you go, you have to be mad to live here Smile

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As you can see, it’s in a bit of a mess and needs to withstand some severe weather.


Well, after a coupe of weeks ‘hard graft’ ten tons of aggregate and two tons of cement we’ve got the first section almost done and wide enough to get a vehicle and trailer down there.

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The ‘weather’ (seaward) side was shuttered with local larch from the Raasay Sawmill and then concrete poured in. A vibrating concrete poker was then judiciously wriggle about so the concrete would flow into the smallest of spaces and expel all the air.

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12mm steel ‘rebar’ being used profusely to ‘tie’ into the ground and previous ‘pours’.

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Once the seaward side was done we started on the shore side, all the while using the vibrating poker to ensure the concrete flowed into all the voids. Using a vibrating poker means you can make a nice strong 4.5 : 1 ‘stiff’ mix of cement and ballast yet still ensure the concrete ‘flows’ into all the right places.

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Of course none of this is any use unless you have a mooring or two to lash your ‘ship’ onto.

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So, the first one to sort out was my Mate’s at Port Arnish. Of course as soon as I tried to get into my dry suit one of the wrist seals failed so I had to use my son’s suit. We are no where near the same shape Sad smile Still, by some miracle I managed,


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got the job done,


and got expertly recovered Smile

The mooring at the ‘fish farm slip’


required a little more effort with some heavy ‘stud link’ chain and ‘Calum’ the digger.


Friends at last

Fifty years on from the assassination of Martin Luther King and six weeks on since we ‘inherited’ Leah from me dear old Mum.

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Molly and Leah are actually tolerating each other to the degree that they’ll ‘share the same bed’!!!!! OK, it’s not their bed but it’s a step in the right direction Smile

An awesome take on MLK’s speech ‘Free at last’ by DJ Simon, one of my favourite tracks.

Good for another year


Then of course there was the ‘Old Girl’s’ annual visit to the MOT station, where she managed to scrape through Smile Cost me £300 right enough but no bad for a 32 year old truck.

The pigs

Then there was the four new ‘wee darlings’ from Mike Mackinnon at Skye Pig Suppliers.

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These wee beauties were collected from Mike’s place at Glenburnisdale on Saturday and are now the latest additions to the croft. Two ‘large black’ boars. one ‘iron age’ gilt and one GOS x Tamworth gilt make up the latest batch at the ‘North End’.

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