Life at the end of the road

November 27, 2018

Back to the ‘Bug’ :-)

Well, that’s it, the ‘two weeks on’ is by with and now the work can really begin Smile It’s only 19:00 and that will be my second glass of red in over a fortnight, thing is I’ve had em both in quick succession so have got a ‘real glow’ about me Smile Almost the end of November it is and what a spell of weather it’s been up here, sure the first day back was miserable and the second pretty draughty but since then it’s been boodly amazing.

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Mornings like the one on the left, days like the centre and evenings like the right being the norm for the best part of a fortnight, I kid you not, I’ve never known a spell like this in late November.


At least not for so long and not with such high temperatures. I didn’t even see the first sign of frost until Sunday morning and that was in a valley that’s renowned for it. Ice being first spotted by myself on Monday whilst walking the dugs.


A wee bit of ‘stiff’ water in an old boat at Suisnish being my first experience of ice this winter. Sure, there has been frost at Sconser and even one or two places on Raasay but Sconser will not see sunshine now until February and there are one or two ‘frost pockets’ here on the island that are notorious.

November weather

Not here at Arnish though, just look at the temperatures, I even saw someone cutting their grass the other day!!!

Power chaos

We’ve no had a power cut here at Arnish in thirty years, one of the joys of ‘off grid’ life along with no ‘standing charges’ or utility bills. However Skye and the mainland were not so lucky with a landslide at Invergarry taking out a pylon and causing untold chaos throughout Skye, the Isles and the mainland Just check out the video Anyway, this baby caused mayhem both here, on Skye and beyond, with much of Skye still running off generators even late last week. I had to laugh when we were bunkering Hallaig on Thursday, upon asking the driver how the power outages had affected the oil depot he said ‘you couldn’t make it up’. Half of Skye was running off generators that needed filling twice a day, the fuel depot had no power and SSE were screaming for more fuel Smile

Anyway the glitches sent Hallaig’s electronics a little ‘pear shaped’ too and I’ve spent the best part of my ‘fortnight on’ trying to fix them Smile 

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The battery charger and its fuses being just a couple of the casualties of the unstable shore power. Luckily I’ve now left that in the capable hands of my ‘back to back’ Smile


Like I said, apart from the lack of phone (we have a mobile in the house) and Internet, Sonas wasn’t affected, but in the unlikely event of a lightning strike or other failure we have a back up system in the ‘bunker’ consisting of a 900Ah forklift battery bank and 3kW Outback inverter.

Tomorrow’s project

So, now I’ve bade Hallaig goodbye for a couple of weeks it’s down to my own projects, number 1 being the Isle of Raasay Distillery ‘bug’ which is having an alternator conversion. Next it will be Lachie’s tracked barrow which needs a heater plug (easier said than done) followed by a course in Glasgow on ‘Ship security’ and a trip to see Groove Armada play live for the first time in seven years.

I seen em live a few times and they are awesome, the ‘DJ sets’ are OK and we saw em at Eden and Rockness but live  is something else. Yours truly managed to get tickets for a sold out gig at SWG3 so that’s where I’ll be Friday night Smile ‘Supersylin’ and ‘shakin my arse’ Smile

So, that’s it really and I’ll just leave you with some pics I took in-between being buried in the guts of Hallaig Smile

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Sun rising in the mirror and moon setting in the windscreen. Beinn Fhadda at the Sconser fish farm.


New fire appliance for Raasay arrives.


Hallaig, Creachan Mor, Speedwell and Lustre at Raasay pier.

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Moonset over Braes, sunrise and Goat Island.

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A misty Cuillin peak but I have no idea which one Sad smile

1000 casks

There may have been chaos with the power outages last week but that did not stop the Isle of Raasay Distillery filling its 1000th cask today Smile

Joseph and Iain busy filling number 850 of 2018 today, along with 150 from September last year that’ll be 1000 barrels of Raasay whisky in the making Smile

Poorly wee dug

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Molly wearing the ‘collar of shame’, she is not impressed Sad smile


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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