Life at the end of the road

January 5, 2018

It’s all over now :-)

Well that’s it, a ‘dry’ January ahead and ‘the party is over’ so to speak. Just as well really cos me liver couldn’t cope with any more drink and we’ve all had waaay too much in  the way of rich food and treats. The last side of hot smoked salmon is just about to go into a creamy pasta and we officially stopped drinking yesterday, though me thinks that’ll just be a temporary thing once my figure returns Smile Smile Gonna take more than stopping drinking to get rid of my belly right enough.

A proper rest

After all the excess and activity on the diving front I’ve been taking easy this last couple of days which really is not like me. The weather has been good with light winds and hardly any rain but I’ve been staying in my bed until after 8:00 and just pottering about outside for an hour or two before coming inside and doing a little reading or net surfing.

On Thursday I managed a couple of wee jobs outside, dumping the old scallop shells on the shore for the crabs to clean them and collecting the cleaned ones for spreading around the house.

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Trust me, in few years time it will look lovely, it’s amazing how quickly they mount up, there’s only so many ashtrays you can have so this will be a good way of using them.

Also tried out my new cordless grinder that me mum bought me for Christmas.

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The exhaust had broken on the Benford PST3000 dumper (again) so I hacked it in bits and re routed it a different way, hoping it would be less prone to breaking.

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Also replaced the fuel return pipe which was looking decidedly dodgy, just about every injector ‘leak off’ pipe has split over a few weeks so I’ve replaced those previously. This pipe is made of the same stuff and is the same age so I figured it can’t be far behind.

Apart from taking ‘wee dug’ out for a gentle walk and making a beef curry I didn’t do a lot else as my ‘right hand man’ boat driver, dive partner and son wasn’t feeling great.


Even before I’d gone to bed on Thursday completely sober for the first time in ten days I’d decided to do a repeat performance today. It would be my son’s last day before going back to uni and I’d rather enjoyed Thursday, so at 8:30 I got up having had the best sleep since the full moon. I let out the hens then took ‘wee dug’ for her wee walk on a short leash. Now it’s really not uncommon to see golden or sea eagles daily pretty much anywhere on Raasay and the North End is probably better than anywhere. What is unusual though is to hear them, I cannot ever recall hearing one in all the years I’ve lived here. Well this morning (perhaps cos I had my hearing aids in) I heard a pair. They were right over head but very difficult to follow with the camera


Much less vocal than the buzzard, the golden eagle can sometimes be heard making a ‘yelping’ call. The male and female may also perform aerial displays, where the male will make mock attacks at the female and the two will cartwheel downwards uttering their call.

And that just about sums up what they were doing, which struck me as a little early for mating. Pretty impressive I’ll tell you Smile

I also solved a mystery from last night and on previous dark nights.

P1130249 We’ve been seeing a large vessel off Manish Point from the living room windows late at night. The lights suggested a vessel over 50m with an aft wheelhouse but that row down the side made it look like windows lit up. Well it headed back north this morning having spent the night in Portree, the 63,3m long fish farm vessel Vestland. Strange how we’ve never seen it in daylight before.

Topping up the thermal store

It was whilst removing my boots in the ‘Bunker’ that I heard a noise from ‘Immersion 1’ we have 5 in the store and this one is connected right into the house grid rather than dump load circuits. It’s at the top of the 1500lt store for the DHW (domestic hot water) and I switch on most mornings till the store top reaches 80 degrees C. I used to leave it on 24/7 as the store is extremely well insulated. However this was causing my inverter to loose track of the battery SOC (state of charge) over a couple of weeks. The noise sounded just like a kettle starting to boil and had me puzzled for a while, then I figured it must need the pressure topping up in the store. The Akvaterm thermal store is designed to run at 3Bar.


Trouble is, what I thought was the store pressure gauge for two years turns out to be the heat pump one!! The store does not appear to have one!! Nay problem methinks, I know my water pressure from the well above the house is 2Bar so I just topped it up with that.


We have a pump at work with a gauge on so I can take it up the final 1Bar with that and add some more corrosion inhibitor at the same time. I shouldn’t have been surprised but it was interesting to hear the noise get quieter as the pressure rose. Funnily enough the addition of the cold water didn’t alter the temperature of the store so I guess it couldn’t have been much water.


Wee dug loves the smell in there Smile so do I right enough, nothing quite like the smell of curing salamis and ham.

More dumper work

The starter switch packed up on the dumper about a month ago, mainly cos it lives outside and gets power washed regularly. So rather than spend £40 on another I got a couple of waterproof ‘button types’ from China.

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The magnetic drill proved more than a match for the 8mm steel bulkhead where I mounted it. A magnetic drill is one of those things that you don’t realize just how useful it is until you’ve had one.

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Next it was a few air cleaner mods, rather than spend £50 on a Benford air filter element I fitted a £9 Land Rover one which is actually better cos it’s longer. However, it does mean that the element sticks out of the housing making the dumper even noisier than it already is, well one of my wife’s modified plant pots sorted that Smile

Out for the winter

It would have been nice to ‘bash a few clams’ before my son went back to uni tomorrow but he’d much to do and still wasn’t feeling 100% so I went to collect the Searider from the sowf end.

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Nice big ebb round the Sgeir Chnapach, had many a productive day around there with my good mate Willy Eyre Smile


Lashed the Searider to the trailer, put all the cylinders, weight belts and fuel tanks in the Landy and tootled home.

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Snow covered Torridon mountains, the solid rock ‘North End’ and Brochel Loch from the top of Croc an Uan (Hill of the lamb)


That was it really, I flushed out the Tohatsu 90TLDI and my son did a couple of hours in the digger on the Torran track. Even when not firing on all cylinders you can do a lot of work with a Kubota 360 Smile


December 19, 2017

They’re gone and he’s back :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, food, pigs, Trucks and plant — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 5:05 pm

Well, that’s me back at work as of Saturday evening after that epic pig dispatching and butchering session. Though I must confess to having done less than I’d have liked and nowhere near as much as the rest of the team. I left them some time after 15:00 on Saturday and they didn’t finish until 21:00 on Sunday!! Well, I’m guessing there will have been a little sleeping and eating in between right enough but even so it was a lot of extra work for them.

Me, I had the much easier task of being the motorman on the MV Hallaig for the remainder of the year, they had to back to their regular jobs in London and Europe. Saturday evening being a pretty easy day to go back, with just 3 sailings and then the late start on Sunday. The Sunday being a little busier than usual as we did two weeks maintenance on account of next Sunday being Christmas eve.


Though I did do a little more physical work than I’m used to these days in delivering  a couple of hundred kilos of coal to Balachuirn for Skye Coal at Sconser. The pre Christmas rush had meant they needed to bring the larger lorry over on Friday. This particular lorry cannot get turned at the end of the single track road so they’d asked me if I do the honours. As they’ve helped me out a time or two in the past I don’t mind one little bit, though I usually use the Land Rover, not my son’s car Smile


Dun Caan from the top of the road down into Balachuirn.


The houses at Balmeanach from the same place.


My destination from the bottom of the European funded road, prior to this it was a bit of hike over the top I guess. That’ll be the Storr on Skye in the background too. So, that was it, after a couple of anchor drills, a boat drill, fire in the engine room and blackout drill, not to mention going to Sconser and back twice, I went home.

Monday, the first ‘proper’ day back got off to a very promising start,

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a nice sunrise, a shipping container on Jan’s Volvo 

and the Lywrra Bay heading for Portree.


The four hire cars containing the pig butchering team and their families departed on the 15:30 with the Swiss surgeon’s ham in his airplane ‘hand luggage’ bag Smile I kid you not, these would be the biggest pair of pigs we’ve butchered by far, sure Ginger was much larger but I skinned him, just saved the hams and cut most of the meat off the bone. These two got the full treatment, sausages, black pudding, hams, cotechino, chorizo, salami, brawn and of course my favourite the hot and spicy sausage type thing made of pork fat and chili. Methinks it’s called oodja, whatever it is it’s boodly delicious with anything from toast and eggs to fresh scallops.

Well they’d managed to get everything done and packed, leaving me a selection back at home, which I dealt with after work.

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Most of it I hung in the barn but some went into the fridge and that will be a sausage casserole for dinner tonight Smile The ham was so heavy that I couldn’t lift it with one hand Smile

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That was it really, today was pretty quiet on the traffic front, Bonzo and I went out for our lunchtime walk and my studious son arrived back from university Smile

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