Life at the end of the road

January 31, 2019

It was on the list :-(

18:30 now and that’s me fed, watered and in for the night. Sure with my nice well lit and dry shed there is stuff I could be doing but I feel no guilt in sitting here in the nice warm house staring out at the blackness. At least not now anyway, a few moments ago I did cos there was a light below the Storr but even that is now extinguished! For as long as I’ve been off work there’s been a light burning brightly just below the Old Man of Storr. So what I can here you say but the truth is despite being able to see from Portree Bay to Harris without moving from the kitchen table bright lights are a rarity here at Arnish. Sure I can see the glow of civilization from Portree reflected on clouds from the bedroom window, I can fishing boats going too and from their grounds. I even get the rare glimpse of a snow plough heading towards Staffin and the odd late commuter some six miles across the sea.

This one however had me puzzled as it was always in the same area just below the road and was often burning when I went to bed and awoke in the morning. Apparently it was a timber harvester and as they cost around a quarter of a million and the operator gets paid by the ton I guess he preferred the heated cab to his unheated caravan Smile Well, even he’s turned in, the light has gone out, you can just see it in the first image taken on Tuesday. The other two are from today and what a peach of a day it’s been.

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Another alternator

I never got posting yesterday cos I was in my bed at ‘stupid o clock’ with two dugs and a good book, the freezing weather forcing darling wife to abandon me in favour of the ‘toon hoose’. A more than sensible decision considering her 6:00am start and the icy road conditions.

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In the ‘grand scale’ of things it’s hardly a ‘huge dump’ or particularly cold but the road is steep and treacherous with both of us having come off it at times. Phone reception is dubious and it’s at least seven miles to the next house. When Ross and I came off the road in the Land Rover a couple of winters ago I had to walk over a mile to get a phone signal and he had to walk two miles home. That was it yesterday morning and even when I headed sowf some five hours later than Wifey would have, had she stayed at home, it was pretty boodly slippy.

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Normally ‘wild horses’ wouldn’t have dragged me down the road yesterday but I’d an appointment to see the Doc so thought I’d better make the effort, especially as he’d telephoned from the ferry to say he’d made it despite the state of the roads on Skye!!!!


Still, it gave me a chance to call on Callum and Jay at the Raasay Sawmill to see how me shed was coming along. Also managed to pop in and see Peter to give Bonzo a walk before heading back home.


Good to see the gritter in action at Scrapeadale

For the want of a shovel

Once home I jumped on the quad to go and check my hydro turbine at Tarbert which had stopped.

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Having to first negotiate a lake in the road that’s been growing daily for weeks now. It’s not alone right enough, there’s hunners of them on all the roads but 10 minutes with me wellie had the tide going out on this particular expanse of water. Now if I can do that with my foot just imagine what a well directed Council worker could do with a yellow pickup and shovel!!!! I mean it’s not friggin’ ‘rocket science’ is it. The drains get blocked, the water makes a lake which either freezes or turns into a raging river every time someone drives through it. Either the ice fecks it or the waves feck it. There’s no money in the budget they say, fer fecks sake how much money does it take to give a man a spade and tell him what to do with the friggin thing.


  • Chief Executive – £146,517 (2016/17)  £147,989 (2017/18)
  • Depute Chief Executive and Director of Corporate Resources – £116,370 (from 1 April 2017)
  • Director of Care and Learning – £111,370 (from 1 April 2017)
  • Director of Community Services – £111,370 (from 1 April 2017)
  • Director of Development and Infrastructure – £111,370 (from 1 April 2017)

For £111,370 you would think you could find someone with the gumption to give a man a spade hey Sad smile

After the road repair and turning off my hydro turbine I turned my attention to the storm damaged deer fence at the back of the house and put some stays behind it.

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Then, as darkness fell I got on with the 10 or was it 11kg ham that had been drying in the bunker. The ham had been soaking in all manner of goodies for over a month. So much so the the sweet smell of cider, sugars, spices and wine had been lingering around for days Smile I’d decided that it was way too big so reckoned I’d chop it up into manageable pieces, put one in the fridge for the weekend and the others in the freezer.

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The only problem with hams is passing them without hacking a bit off to eat Smile I kid you not, this baby had been hanging in the shed for a few days and the aroma was just impossible to resist, it was even worse when it was on the bench in front of me with a knife in hand. Of course a month in brine had made it rather savoury so I had a bottle of San Pellegrino at hand to quench my thirst. Even so, by the time it cut it up I’d lost my appetite for dinner Smile

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Mind you, that didn’t stop me turning the bone and some off cuts into a fine soup Smile


Another sharp but fine day

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with the day’s first task being the removal of the alternator from this lighting tower that was deposited on me yesterday Smile I’d already had a look at it and discovered a poor output, further investigation this morning confirmed the problem to lie within the alternator.

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It wasn’t too bad to remove the alternator after taking out the control panel, transformer and mounting brackets.

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After just a couple of hours work it was in the back of the Subaru ready for delivery to its owner who would either get it repaired or more likely replaced. Methinks these Linz alternators are quite sensibly priced.


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Of course whilst down at the sowf end I had to go and check on me shed and wife Smile The shed was coming on fine and darling wife was busy forklifting, I was greatly impressed Smile

Creosoting in January

OK, I know it’s the last day but still Smile

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I didn’t do it all right enough cos some of it was still covered in ice!!! but I got a good deal of it done Smile

Beko washing machine drawer leak

And, I almost forgot, the washer is fixed, I managed to stop the annoying leak on our otherwise excellent Beko machine just by turning the cold fill tap down a touch.


Sure, it takes a minute or two longer to fill but it still washes far, far quicker than our extortionate 4star plus Panasonic piece of carp.

How could I leave these out ?

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Glam, the Five Sisters of Kintail and a daft dug in the snow Smile

January 24, 2018

Two weeks ‘on’ and a proper January gale today!

Filed under: boats, daily doings — Tags: , , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 12:06 pm

Well, that’s it, the ‘two weeks on’ is over and with a bit of luck I’ll get back into the ‘blogging’. Truth is, I’ve just not got the energy these days to do any whilst I’m working on the ferry. Sure, it’s not a particularly demanding job, far from it, I still wake up in the mornings and pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. Many years of self employment constantly reminds me that I’ve got a boodly good job and best of all I only work some 22 or 23 weeks of every year. Much as I enjoy it and easy as it is, I’m still ‘pure feckered’ when I arrive home some 13 or so hours after leaving it.

Now, I appreciate that this is no great hardship for many but I’m the wrong side of sixty now and like my sleep Smile Not only that but it’s actually been a pretty busy week on the work front, not by any means on the traffic front but certainly in the ‘Motorman’s’ department.

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I’ve spent much of the shift down in the bowls of the ship monitoring the performance of the ship’s inverters that drive the 375kW water-cooled PMG motors. It’s pretty similar to monitoring my own 6kW inverter that ‘drives’ the house Smile Just 50 times more powerful!!!


The Vacon inverters and VFD’s (variable frequency drives) that propel the good ship Hallaig are very similar to the SMA inverters that ‘propel’ our house so to speak and the diagnostic and monitoring software is similar enough to give me ‘half a clue’ as to what to do Smile Consequently, whilst most people would find monitoring temperatures, frequency, current, power and voltage extremely boring, I kinda enjoy it.


Of course painting the ‘Forward Propulsion Room’ at the same time helped, especially as I was as ‘high as a kite’ at the time on the paint fumes Smile OK, not really as the space was well ventilated at the time (that’ll be the 375kW motor on the left) and I’d ‘risk assed it’ done a ‘permit to work’ and was taking regular breaks Smile

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With all the cables, pipes, boxes and trunking it’s a pretty tricky area to paint but I pottered away quite happily, usually when the weather was bad. It’s been a pretty ‘mixed bag’ on the weather front this last fortnight.

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A few nice sunny days, the first picture being taken on the way to Inverness as my son and I headed to the railway station, that’ll be him back at university now. That’ll be three of the ‘Five sisters of Kintail’, the Red Cuilin, Raasay harbour and lastly looking north from the Raasay Narrows with the Storr shrouded in cloud.


A couple of early morning ones of Scalpay and the Moll on the left and Sconser quarry on the right.

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The 6kW wind turbine at home and the Storr at sunset and sunrise.


The Five Sisters again but this time from Tarbert near home looking across the Inner Sound.

That was the best bits since I last posted,

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these were taken on the first Sunday when we sailed in the morning but cancelled the afternoon due to 60 knot winds.

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Then there was the snow and ice, a lot of it Sad smile but the Land Rover got me to work and back safely, if not slowly. Still, it did make for a couple of photogenic sights once it stopped and the sun came out.

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The Raasay war memorial, Ben Tianavaig and Church


The fortnight has seen a few ships passing by too,


the NLB Pole Star on a scabby day passing by Eyre light, no doubt off to service some navigation buoys or unmanned lights.


The trawler Dunan Star II BRD123 passing through the Raasay Narrows.


The cargo ship Vestland berthed on the end of Raasay pier, methinks she’s been servicing fish farms whilst the MV Fame was being repaired. Fame was the subject of a dramatic rescue last year when she lost power west of Lewis in a northerly Force 10. The fame was towed in to Stornoway and was berthed there for a few weeks being fixed.

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So, that was the ‘fortnight on’ and I’m glad I’m not at sea today. The severe gale that’s hammering Raasay just now was well forecast and it seems to have put our Internet off. Things are flying about outside and there are three ‘wheelie bins’ up against the front door so methinks I’d better go and sort it now daylight is breaking. The first and most important task of the day was gonna be a quarterly VAT return and my annual tax return but that’s gone west with the Internet so I’d better get on with something else in my shed and go and check out the schoolhouse. Hopefully I’ll get online there and post this.

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