Life at the end of the road

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’.


February 12, 2018

Engineerless :-(

Sunday already and chance to get of blogging in at last, just cannae manage work and posting, it’s just too much for an old fart like me. Truth is, that apart from last night we’ve both been in bed before 21:00 every evening. Darling wife is too feeling the strain of full time employment, mind you she smells lovely when she comes home from work Smile 

Work got off to a great start on Tuesday with me heading off to see me Mammy first.

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Gotta say I was a little surprised when I drove down ‘The Avenue’ on my way for the 8:55. Last time I was down there, only a few days previously there were considerably more trees standing. There was a John Deere harvester and forwarder working just by the Raasay Sawmill (convenient hey) and a truck coming off the ferry.


After a pleasant few hours with Mum and Leah the Labrador it was onto work to join the 15:00 ferry and start my ‘two weeks on’

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Looking towards Glomach from Ratagan over Loch Duich. The Storr, Raasay and the Moll fish farm. Ronja Commander at Caridh fish farm in Loch Ainort.


‘Work’ arriving to collect me Smile

Two dogs walking Smile

So, now we’re both out at work all day, at least when I’m ‘on shift’, we now have a ‘latch key’ wee dug, or at least we would have if I didn’t take her to work. Molly accompanied me on Wednesday morning and now lives in the car until lunchtime when she joins Bonzo and I for our afternoon stroll. I can’t say she was too impressed with sitting in the back of the car,


but she sure did enjoy the walk with Bonzo and they seemed to get on well enough.


I guess not needing to put Molly on a lead makes her ‘boss dog’ so she was just fine with that.

With the weather for the foreseeable future involving showers and a cold wind I decided the engine room was the place for me this week


so concentrated on some cleaning and painting of the aft engine room bilge.

Being buried in the engine rooms certainly beats the carp out of clam diving at this time of year but that didn’t stop these two in the Inverness registered, INS94, ANT IASGAIR, (The fisherman)


At least the Sarah has a cabin.


Don’t think Ant Iasgair will around for long after Sarah has already been here for a couple of months now and those boys really do know their stuff Smile

Me, when I was doing it, I surfaced to a nice warm boat with an insulated cabin, two heaters and a sleeping bag for a ‘wee rest’ between dives. These dudes are much, much hardier than I ever was!

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Yup, give me the bowels of a nice warm ship at this time of year any day. Having said that it was a great way to earn a living and it was only age, responsibilities and a few ‘near misses’ that stopped me doing it.

Battery operated cars and ferries Smile

Well, that went a little ‘pear-shaped’ I accidentally posted the above prematurely, pressed the publish instead of save! Anyways, the painting kept me occupied for most of the week, which was pretty quiet, I guess due to the weather. Not the weekend though, far from it, Raasay seemed to be overflowing with visitors this weekend. No doubt helped by some good deals at Raasay House, the great weather and the new Distillery’s ‘Whisky club’ which seems to be getting well used.

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And you don’t have to own a Tesla model S to be able to afford to join Smile The wife took me around a few weeks ago and the rooms are just lovely.


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The next best view on Raasay, after the one from Sonas of course Smile

Raasay Engineering is no more Sad smile

It will be great missed by both the inhabitants of Raasay and the ferry in particular, Simon was always at hand for the odd welding or fabrication job and often pulled us ‘out of the brown stuff’ with some of his ingenious repairs. However he’s relocating to France this week and we all wish him, Lynn and the dogs all the best. The ‘Macleod Hauler’ name and business lives on, though now at Kishorn Mechanical Services Ltd . The only ‘upside’ of this being that Simon kindly gave me a whole heap of steel and fastners that I now need to find room for in my shed!

Sunday was a lovely drive to work in daylight with the sun rising on fresh fallen snow.

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The extra weekend traffic made for the the busiest ferry of the year so far and the battery powered Tesla departed along with 17 other cars on a fully battery powered ship.

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The day wasn’t all ‘rosy’ right enough


though most of that is the ‘deck drencher’ system. A little while later the sun was out once more.

The Eberspacher

Having some time on my hands I ran some tests on my Eberspacher D1LCC, heating up the flame and temp sensors with a heat gun then checking the resistance using multimeters and an IR thermometer.

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They supposed to conform with the tables below.


and whilst my temp sender did, my flame sensor didn’t but in my experience with these type sensors. If the value alters smoothly as the heat rises then everything is usually peachy. I’m certainly not going to fork out £75 for a new one on the ‘off chance’. I’ll give it a good testing as soon as I can find the rheostat switch. The thing about old age is, you spend half your time looking for stuff you’ve put somewhere safe!!

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Clouds clinging to the north shore of Loch Sligachan and Ben Tianavaig.

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