Life at the end of the road

August 23, 2019

The ‘Best Man’

Well, ‘that’s it’, almost the whole summer is by with and I’ve not written a word, truth is, much has changed and I’ve not really felt like it. Sure there’s been many a time I’ve felt like writing something, if for no other reason than to keep a record of it. This blog was after all a replacement for the diaries I kept for years. I last posted some 107 years after the RMS Titanic left Queenstown (now Cobh) in the Republic of Ireland and like the Titanic I hit an iceberg shortly after Smile Well, metaphorically at least Smile Unlike the White Star Line’s iconic vessel I’ve proceeded on my journey relatively unscathed, albeit maintaining ‘radio silence’ Smile

William Macleod

To be honest, had it not been for Willie Eyre I probably wouldn’t be writing even now, in fact had it not been for Willie I probably wouldn’t be where I am now and doing much of what I do. To say Willie was a huge influence on my family and I is something of an understatement.

I’m sure Willie made an impact on all the people he met with his gentle manner and unique outlook. Well Willie passed away around 18:00 on Tuesday evening after a long battle with dementia. Something that was particularly cruel for those that loved and knew him, as Willie’s mind used to be as sharp as a razor. Willie took in all that went on around him and missed nothing. He had a theory for everything, could tell you which birch tree on Raasay would be the first to turn green then offer the explanation of why. He could find scallops and drop me in on the best of marks despite not being able to swim let alone dive. Not only would he tell me exactly which way to swim he’d tell me exactly what the tide was doing on the bottom and be waiting for me wherever I ‘popped up’. Well apart from when he was changing Ross’ nappies that is Smile Willie not only looked after me, he looked after my son who also accompanied us daily on our fishing trips.

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Willie was the Best Man at my wedding and the ‘best man’ I have ever known, he is sorely missed by all that knew him. My thoughts and love to all that knew him especially Tekela and Duncan.

On Death
Kahlil Gibran

You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.
In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?
For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

Willie read Gibran’s works, or at least The Prophet and could pretty much quote the poem below, which he said was one of his favourite. Funny that cos I never had Willie down as a reader of poetry but that was the thing with Willie, he knew about everything.

On Children
Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Aye, there was a lot going on inside Willie’s head Smile 


The summer of 2019 in pictures 

When I left you I was just in the middle of a spell at Lochaline covering for MV Lochinvar that was having an unexpectedly long dry docking, problems with the rescue boat davit having delayed her departure from the Garvel Clyde dry dock in Greenock. After that me son came home from Uni, we did lots of diving, concreting and cooking Smile Boy, that son of mine is some mean cook.

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Taken in April from my ‘pitch’ down at Lochaline by the West Pier. Jifmar’s wee workboat MV Paul B, a regular visitor to the many fish farms in the Sound of Mull, hardly an attractive boat hey Smile The MV Isle of Lewis heading out to Barra from Oban at sunrise and sunset.


The old Ardtornish castle with it’s strategic outlook over most of the Sound of Mull guarding the entrance to Loch Aline.

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MV CEG Cosmos loading timber at my campsite, a Latvian registered coaster she hides her age well, built in 1983 she looks very well kempt, even close up.

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One of the many small coasters from the continent calling at the Loch Aline sand mine for quality silica sand.

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Molly the ‘wee dug’ exploring, Sound Diver loading hobby divers and OB26 MFV Creachan unloading dived scallops.

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MV Yeoman Bridge heading for Glensanda quarry, one of the worlds largest self discharging bulk carriers.


Big crane working at Lochaline pier.


The fully laden MV Victress heading south down the Sound of Mull.

That was my stint in Lochaline over with, I departed on the 1st or 2nd of May, heading back to Arnish with my caravan then getting ready for two new arrivals.

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Snowy and May seemed delighted with their new surroundings and May took great delight in eating Nigel Farage (if only) Smile


Oh it was so good to be back home for my birthday and an Arnish sunset Smile

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The day after was just as good with two large cruise ships passing my house heralding the start of Portree’s cruising season.

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The 20th May now with Portree Lifeboat Stanley Watson Barker in Loch Arnish and another fiery sky.

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June now and off out in the Searider with my sun for a spot of clam diving.

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More pesky sunsets and diving at the end of June.

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Scallops on the doorstep Smile a fine way to spend a summer evening, he’d just finished a full day’s work at the Isle of Raasay Distillery. Oh the joy of youth and enthusiasm Smile

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July now and The Old Man of Storr at breakfast time.

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The ‘Silly Season’ once more


What can I say, it’s that time of year again Smile Having got sick of towing people out last year I parked a large rock in the way so you could get by with the quad but not a car Smile There’s always one hey Smile

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All our hard work paid off at the slipway, some 22 cubic meters of concrete, 14 of which we mixed with the wee Belle mixer, easy enough now to launch and recover with the dumper at any high tide Smile

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A lovely Reliant Scimitar GTE at ‘the end of the road’ and the complete shed with ALL the plant, quads and Searider in Smile

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MS Columbus cruising by Brother’s Point Skye on the way to Portree and another boodly sunset.

The summer high

Sure it’s been a busy old summer on Raasay with much happening at our very own distillery , more employees taken on, new warehouses built.

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That’s the site being prepared in May, they’re almost finished now but I’ve no pictures Sad smile

There was also the ‘Gin launch’ in July,

Isle of Raasay Gin Launch Party

sadly Ross and I missed it as we were away wreck diving out of Lochaline with Lochaline Boat Charters on MV Brendan.

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Last time I dived down here was 1984 and it was a pure joy to visit some of the fine wrecks in the area, most of which I knew very well from ‘back in the day’. The joy was in sharing it with me boy though, Ross is just a natural diver, calm, relaxed, methodical and very economical with his air. We were sharing MV Brendan with a group from London who obviously took their diving very seriously with two or three times the amount of kit we carried. Consequently they only chartered boats with a diver lift!!!

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Still, they were a good crowd if not a little bemused by our basic dress Smile

The fantastic weekend rummaging around SS Thesis (1889) SS Breda (1940) SS Shuna (1913)  SS Hispania (1954) and MV Tapti (1951) was nicely rounded off by acquiring another vehicle.


Meet the ‘Wife’ YH 52 WFE Smile me new (to me) Disco, had no MOT and an alarm/immobilizer fault (don’t they all) but she’s all sorted now.

November 2, 2018

November’s here

Filed under: daily doings — Tags: , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:15 am

That’s it, the summer really is by with, the midge has gone, the clocks are back it’ll no be long until Christmas, indeed we got our first card today Smile 

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I gotta say, at 7:00am when I went outside to feed the animals it really did look wintery over on the Storr but less than an hour later as I head south to see Bonzo things had improved.


Amazing what just a little sunlight can do hey. I say ‘see Bonzo’ but truth is I needed to get some gas from the Raasay Store and help my mate Peter with a piece of plywood. I’ve also taken to collecting old limpet shells to enhance the grey Sconser quarry rock that adorns the paths and drive around the house. Methinks it’s me ‘hunter gatherer’ instinct and it takes me back to my happy days clam diving and wilk picking Smile

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After having tea with Peter and three impatient dogs we set off for their walk along the beach and my shell picking mission.


Returning half an hour later with three wet dugs and half a bag of shells.


The shells and two dogs got dumped in the car whilst Peter and I got on with making a panel for his ‘lean too’.


Old Peter was some skilled carpenter in his day, repairing furniture and boats as a hobby and making all the units in his kitchen out of real wood!!! Now it was down to me to act as his labourer and cut the wood for him. I was very conscious of not wanting to make any mistakes in front of this master craftsman.

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After cutting it and sanding it for him I left him to paint it and headed north and home to my own tasks. That will be the SD Warden off Brochel and a place in Loch Arnish who’s name I’ll not attempt to spell or pronounce but for most of the time (except in north wind) is very sheltered.


The ‘Port of the Waterfall’ was once the site of a mooring for a local fishing boat, indeed for a while I kept the fish farm work boat Ocean Unity there. It was a good spot for the boat but a helluva trek by land to access it and not much better in a tender from the fish farm slip as you had to cross a sometimes very exposed bit of water. Just above it to the left you can see the old boundary wall between South Arnish and North Raasay common grazing.

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The first of which was limpet spreading in the sunshine, though the showers were never very far away, not that they came to much.

After the manic last few days, Thursday was a little more relaxed with me just catching up on a few things, repairing a fence, spending some time on the phone in search of bug bits and making a fresh start on my car/boat port.

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This 9m x 3.6m shelter will be going atop the concrete pad I spent so long making in the summer. It’s main task will be to keep the weather and sunlight off the Searider. The boat will be 30 years old next year, most of which it has spent undercover and I don’t want the west coast weather and sunshine taking it’s toll now. It will have three sides with just the northern end open but I was planning to have the ends slatted to let the wind through so it would double as a clothes, diving gear drying area. It will also be sloping towards the south west so ideal for another 5kW of solar PV too.

Work had stalled a couple of months ago as I bashed on with the slipway and Callum of the Raasay Sawmill cut all the local larch that it will be made of. Well today’s restart consisted of me drilling holes in the 10mm and 6mm steel plates I’d blagged off the Hallaig. Whilst in the dock the Lloyd’s surveyor had insisted on some plating around the keel being replaced and I’s asked the yard to save the old stuff for me and they very kindly cut it for me on their guillotine too.

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The magnetic drill that I bought a couple of years ago when I was building my wind turbine base making light work of all the 14mm holes I bored, even in the 10mm plate. It can take up to a 42mm cutter and I’ve cut plenty of 32mm holes in 19mm steel, definitely a very useful bit of kit. A good one will set you back over a grand and even hiring one is not cheap. This Evolution one I got off Amazon for a couple of hundred quid and it’s paid for itself 10 times over between this, the wind turbine, and slipway work to name just a few of the jobs it’s done. Sure I guess if you were using it every day professionally it wouldn’t be up to much, it runs too fast really for larger bits. However, using good cutters and keeping it well lubricated when boring and it’s just peachy for me.

Anyway, that’s it for now, tis 6:00am and I gotta get ready to reluctantly visit the mainland, need a new tyre for the dumper, gotta take my neighbour to Skye and collect some stuff for me shelter from the Raasay Sawmill.

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