Life at the end of the road

August 27, 2014

Herbal tea tonight :-)

Filed under: daily doings, How I, reading, shed/house — Tags: , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:04 pm

Just after nine fifteen in the evening and it’s almost dark a red glow to the north west throwing out the vestiges of the day’s brilliant sunshine. Tomorrow should arrive with some rain to test out the new guttering I fitted to the solar powered hen shed. It’s also the day that the ‘Old Girl’ is booked in for her annual MOT, something she’s been without since July. Fortunately it’s not required on Raasay and you can even tax you car here without one, so long as you don’t leave the island in it that is.

One thing for sure, there’ll be no scrumpy passing my lips for a while, apparently I fell asleep at the computer last night and was snoring like a pig with an empty glass in my hand. The wife put me to bed downstairs then was awakened by the sound of me calling for Huey, from the bathroom. Luckily he never arrived and I managed to get to sleep without the grim taste of recycled Beef risotto in my mouth.

Surprisingly for such a ‘session’ I awoke to a beautiful morn with nothing more than a mild headache and no memory of the previous evening. You can always tell quality drink my the nature of the hangover Smile Anyway, filled with horror I hastily turned on my laptop to check out what pish, if any that I’d written the night before amazingly enough it did not look like it had been written by the gibbering wreck that I must have been. A quality vintage scrumpy indeed was my Norfolk tipple!

I must have figured it was going downhill rapidly as a closed down early, missing many of the pictures I intended to post, so here they are today.


Our new home for a little while at least, the Old Schoolhouse at Torran, a place steeped in history with more than its share of eccentric occupants. One who purported to be of Libyan royal blood, one axe wielding fruitcake that the police hauled away and of course ‘Steve the Buddhist’ or ‘Cosmic Steve’ as he was sometimes known. It was also where Calum himself lived for a while and the place where the ‘Napier Commission’ met on Raasay in May 1883 Next to the school on the left is the Old Mission House that gets more than a passing mention in John Nicolson’s excellent book ‘ I remember’



John was born there and gives a fantastic insight to a hard life, not that long ago. He is after all only 33 years older than myself but life at the ‘north end’ then was akin to life ‘down sowf’ a hundred or more years ago. I thought it was a great read but it didn’t go down that well with the kirk and some of the relatives Smile


A miniature egg came as a bit of a surprise as I collected them from the nesting boxes,




well most of them came from the nesting boxes, some of the hens preferred laying ‘al fresco’ due to the weather I guess.


I know, I know, it’s just a couple of sheep but these two rascals are a long way from home and in great fettle, no doubt due to all the good grass and heather on our lightly grazed hill. They’ve been visiting me regularly the last couple of days.


After the wobbly start to the day it was a visit to the quacks for more drugs to add to my cocktail, I’ve now got codeine to add to the list and hopefully replace the tramadol.


The ‘beetleman’ who arrived on Saturday accompanying us as far as the shop so he could stock up on supplies. I dunno what it is about the north end of Raasay that attracts people who can’t drive. Eleven miles down a single track road and the vast majority of it’s inhabitants can’t drive!!! When I first viewed the property in 1989 the chap who saw it before me had a family of four and couldn’t drive!! Now bear in mind that at that time the nearest living soul was seven miles away and there was no phone or prospect of getting one. Imagine the lunacy of that bringing your wife and kids from a town in Wales to the middle of nowhere and not having a car!! How on earth was he going to educate the kids? This part of Raasay is definitely a ‘fruitcake magnet’, I’ve said it all along, I mean, why else would I be here Smile

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Two old tree stumps on the croft, probably scots pine from the last ice age, or at least long before Raasay was mostly heather, bog and rock, these were truly magnificent trees at one time.

Anyway, after the sojourn south and wee walk with the dug I gently eased myself into some pottering about the solar powered hen house.


Firstly I fitted some facia boards then with a tight line spread along the boards I marked out a gentle fall for the guttering I was fitting.


This was all done with my tee shirt off wearing shorts!!!!!



And, I have to say, that I’m pretty ‘chuffed’ with the result,


even if it did take me until 20:00


and sundown.


October 24, 2011

Winter’s here :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, reading, weather — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:59 pm

Not really, but it is the first day of the winter timetable, actually the first day was Sunday but as the sailing times are the same year round for the Sabbath you only notice it as of today. Not that it felt like winter right enough, in fact it was positively summery with a high of over 14 degrees. The stiff south easterly had come all the away from southern Europe losing little of its Mediterranean heat during its brief crossing of the southern North Sea. It was in short a lovely day, no sunshine but sharp colours, dry air and mild temperatures.



  winter table

Not much change from the summer really, the 11:30 from Sconser is now the 11:25, there’s one less ferry in the afternoon and the last sailing from Sconser is now at 18:00 🙂 Most important though, the Saturday late sailing is now by request so you must phone Uig before 12:00 on Saturday to book it.

There was no posting last night for a couple of reasons, first Molly and I had to take some baggage over to the old Torran Schoolhouse for the new arrivals . Secondly we had a friend round for dinner who kept us entertained with stories of her youth in Arnish. It’s kind of strange having someone point to various bits of your house and describe in detail each item of furniture that resided in each corner sixty years and more ago.

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The ‘Minister’s bed’ here,

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though the minister would probably only ever use it every fortnight or so and I’m sure it would have not lain empty when the revered man was not in residence 🙂

The window is a recent addition, around twenty five years ago just before I arrived and it must have been a gloomy room then, lit as it would have been with candles or Tilley lamps.

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Where our cooker now resides was a huge chest of drawers,

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our stove replacing the huge open fire with its great sandstone lintel, no doubt hauled from Fladda or at least the Fraoch Eilean (heather isle) off the northern tip of Loch Arnish. Our living room was at that time the kitchen with a cast iron ‘Esse’ in the hearth, that I can vouch for as I found its remains outside many years ago. It really makes you wonder how they ever got all this stuff here before the road. I suppose much of it came in by sea but even so it’s a long way from the shore with a cooker, bed or chest of drawers on your back 🙂


Well I was actually up about an hour earlier than I need have been, I even set off for work early but got distracted by yet another sod pushed into the hydro turbine inlet by the pigs, I’m sure they do it deliberately 🙂

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Dun Caan looked lovely as we left Raasay for Sconser to pick up what was a surprisingly little amount of traffic, a theme which continued throughout the day. In fact we’d a couple of empty, or near empty runs 😦

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The Portree boat Green Isle III was busy fishing for velvet crab,


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obviously there are always more of them directly under the ferry 🙂

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The Green Isle was not the only vessel out today,

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the UK Border Agency’s Valiant headed north during the late afternoon according to the blurb it’s not armed but that looks like a gun on the front to me 🙂


Class and type:
Damen Stan Patrol 4207[1]

238  GRT

42.08 m (138.1 ft)[1]

7.11 m (23.3 ft)[1]

2.52 m (8.3 ft)[1]

Installed power:
4,176 kW (5,600 hp)


  • Two Caterpillar 3516B DI-TA Elec
  • Two 3.5:1 reduction gearboxes
  • Two 4-blade controllable pitch propellers
  • One Promac bow thruster
  • Two 106kWA generator sets

26 knots (48 km/h)

1,750 nmi (3,240 km) at 12kn

14 days

Boats and landing
craft carried:

  • One 7m RIB (32 kn)
  • One 3.8m Rescue Boat




Well actually it’s 5:10 just now and I’ve been up for an hour, probably the gale of south east wind hammering the roof of the house had something to do with it. No doubt a hangover from my fishing days when every gale meant a restless night unless the boat was tucked behind a pier, even so I seldom had unbroken sleep during storms. If it wasn’t the thought of my boat filling with water it was the fear of not getting my catch landed, especially if it was velvet crab. The scallops would keep an extra week or two and it just meant a wee while longer to wait for the cheque, another week in the ‘keeps’ for the velvets would mean high mortality 😦 A waste of a life for the crabs and a tragedy on the wallet 🙂

So much for the 12 to 15mph winds !!!

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sailings from the old pier at Suisnish would be unlikely this morning 😦

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Anyway it’s almost 5:30 now so I’ll just do some much hated paperwork before leaving for the last day of the ‘working week’.

Raasay: Landlords and people


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But before I go I’ll just leave you with this excellent little book written by John Nicolson of Raasay that I picked up on Skye recently Can’t seem to find it through the usual net retailers but they do have copies at in Portree. An excellent little read crammed full of short stories and a condensed history of the clearance of Raasay to make way for sheep. There are also some excellent photographs of Raasay and one or two of the north end.

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