Life at the end of the road

September 30, 2018

Two bags short :-(

Filed under: daily doings, Trucks and plant — Tags: , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:30 am

Gonna be a bit seldom on the picture front today, I took plenty but my SD card failed and I never noticed until Jessie’s bench at Torran. Sure the morning had gone really well with a good hash of south west wind delivering the odd shower but also keep the turbines spinning merrily. A brace or two of rainbows lifting the spirits and the wee Belle mixer churning away all morning. The dogs could have late walk  giving me time to ‘bash on’ and the ‘Distiller’ a lie in bed Smile

It had become apparent yesterday afternoon that I was gonna be a little short of cement if I kept up with these strong and stiff mixes so rather than starting at one end of the trench and working my way to the other. I had concentrated my pours around where each upright would sit. I’m sure I could have borrowed a couple of bags off someone at the south end but that would take me time to go and get them and I was going to need more cement for the ramp and other projects. You can never have too much cement Smile Especially these days when it comes in manageable 25kg weatherproof seal bags. It’s not that long ago that it used to be sold in 50kg paper bags!!! so you only ever bought what you needed cos bags of cement very quickly turned into bag shaped bricks of cement, cement being hygroscopic draws in moisture from the atmosphere if not sealed. The West coast of Scotland is not the best place to store cement in a paper bag Smile

Me, I’m no weakling but 50kg is rather heavy if you have to ‘hand ball’ more than a few bags. I may live at Arnish but unlike generations past I haven’t spent my whole life hauling 56kg bags of grain and stores up from the shore!!!! I kid you not, it’s not that long since 10stone (140lb 52kg) was the standard bag size, a testimony to how weak and lazy we have become.

This reminds of some years ago when that mountain of a man Donald Eyre (a veteran of North Arnish) was tasked with repairing an old barn at Number 2. He’d just finished most of the dry stone work and was looking for some cement to tie in the corrugated iron roof. I told him I’d a spare (50kg)  bag he could have and offered to take over for him on the quad (it’s a good 300m of rough ground in a straight line). He declined and said he’d carry it, now this is a man in his sixties. I offered him a wheelbarrow, which again he declined! Well that man just picked up the bag, put it on his shoulder and set off waking across the valley to Number 2, he never broke step or slowed down the whole way, I couldnae believe it. And this was after helping me move a Rayburn! when he came over to ask for the cement three of us were struggling pushing the old Rayburn out of Number 3 up the concrete path from the door, Donald just moved us out of the way and pushed it up himself Smile

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Anyway’s, I managed to get it all poured bar a section between two of the posts which I can do later. After that we decided to go for a family walk to Torran and visit the neighbours.


Stopping on the way to sit and have a rest on Jessie Nicolson’s memorial bench, which is when I discovered my SD card wasn’t recording pictures. The bench sits on what is known as ‘The Green’ cos even in my time it was a lush green patch of ground overlooking what was once a fenced area that grew damn fine spuds. Now it’s a clearing of scrub birch and bracken, but that does not detract from the view over Loch Arnish to the Storr, which is still amazing. Not that you could see much yesterday Smile

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After a cuppa and some good craic Molly and I headed home leaving ‘the party’ which had been joined by Nicky from my old house Number 3 . I had a feeling it would get ‘messy’ if I stayed and I’d still much to do back home Smile


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So off we went by the Old Mission house, and you gotta ask, why on earth someone would plant what looks like a fig tree right at the gable end Surprised smile 

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Past the Mission house you come to the Old Schoolhouse which had clear signs of pigs rooting. Now the only way pigs can get here is if some numpty leaves the friggin’ gate open.


Not only had the gate been left open on Thursday it had been tied back! I mean there’s a ‘kissing gate’ there to walk through, why would you open the ‘quad gate’ and tie it back!!! Friggin’ tourists.

Maintaining the plant


Once back home and with all the concreting paraphernalia cleaned and put away I set about repairing a puncture on me dumper.

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And whilst I was at it I turned the tyre around as it had been fitted (by one who shall remain nameless with the tread pattern for a right hand wheel. I certainly wouldn’t like to fit four new tyres to a dumper in a hurry. Even using Calum to ‘break the bead’ I was pure wrecked by the time I’d finished it Smile

Luckily my next task was more leisurely,


the electric motor on my hydraulic tipping trailer had failed. When I came to tip the trailer to clean it the motor just hummed and got hot. The motor is just basically a 12v starter motor and exposed to all the elements. It has failed before and I stripped and cleaned it then, even had a go at sealing it up with silicon but it’s a losing battle. The winch on my Land Rover is the same and if you don’t keep using them regularly they seize up and this tipper has been used since my Land Rover went away in May. Not only that it’s been sat exposed to all the salt spray down at the slipway for weeks on end. Still (unlike the Land Rover winch) it’s easy enough to remove.

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Sure enough, once on the bench and stripped down, all four brushes had seized in their holders (which is exactly what happens on the Landy’s Warn winch). Plenty of patience with emery paper, a file and some Coppaslip grease had it all sorted, by which time the Distiller and Leah had returned from Torran. Methinks it had got a ‘little messy’ Smile

July 20, 2013

Not so far to the Raasay ferry :-)

Filed under: daily doings, New hybrid ferry — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:15 pm

Well, the heat has arrived here, not sure what it was on Raasay for my weather station died some months ago and I’ve never got around to replacing it but David at


recorded 25 degrees plus at 14:00 so I guess we weren’t far behind. It certainly felt hot, too hot in fact with all the pigs spending the day inside their arks or under the shade of a tree. Our water supply seems to have dried up for the first time this year, which is unusual as May are June are normally the time for rationing. Not that I think it’ll come to that for we have 5000lts of storage and rain is forecast for Wednesday .

Another 12 months

Anyway, I left you in a layby somewhere on the A87 north of ‘Slig’ on Friday, just as my day was ‘going to 5h1t’, though that would hardly have seemed the case to any casual observer. Sat in the sunshine looking over the Cuillins  on a Friday afternoon hardly seems stressful or strenuous but that is not where I should have been. I should at that time of day been tucking into my lunch on the MV Hebrides but banks of fog put paid to that and I couldn’t join in the afternoon as the ‘Old Girl’ was booked in for MOT at . As is usual at this time of year I get in a ‘right state’ whenever the MOT is due, more so this year because eleven months of ‘training’ five days a week, much of it away from home have meant that the Land Rover’s usual TLC has not been a priority.

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Fortunately one good thing about spending so much time walking in South Shields meant that the Old Girl had only covered 6000 miles since the last test and ‘flew through’. That was of course after I’d spent hours messing about with the dash warning lights, handbrake, number plate light and oil leaks.

Stunned that my twenty seven year old baby had passed her thirteenth MOT in a row I headed home via the Co op with a case of cider to celebrate Smile



Getting as far as this layby just before Sconser when I realized that I hadn’t got enough fuel, actually I had plenty but had forgotten that I’d be leaving the Landy with wifey. Raasay has many facilities but fuel and alcohol are in short supply Smile



Upon my return from Portree filling station I spotted some stranded sheep at the head of Loch Sligachan Smile



I just wonder if the grass tastes better when the tide is in, for you never see them grazing here at low water!!!!


Armed with my MOT certificate and a full tank of diesel I headed north on what must have been the warmest day of the year here by far. This being a stretch of road past Bealach Ruadh where the road crosses from west to east, always good for spotting eagles. It has a Gaelic name that is something to do with ‘the men of Oscaig’ or is it rallying to the princes call, whatever it is, it has some unique (to Raasay) grasses growing in it.


Not actually getting home until 18:30, having to unload the Land Rover and then go out with my son and shoot some pigeons not a great deal else got done and an early night was had by all. All that is but the teenager of the house whom I heard creeping upstairs at around 3:00am!!!! Still, that didn’t stop me dragging him out of bed at 8:30 to take the quad and trailer over to Torran to ‘ship out’ some American’s from the ‘Old Schoolhouse’ Smile That he did with a smile and got well tipped too, one thing about the Americans, they expect good service and are happy to reward it. We seem to put up with carp, get ripped off, say nothing and fail to tip when we should.

Once they were away the pair of us went back, I dealt with their ‘bin bags’ and my son got on with cutting the grass.


This is the old ‘Mission House’ just by the schoolhouse at Torran,


the ‘hipped roof’ end being the church bit and the part with two chimneys the house. Obviously the congregation were kept warm by their faith whilst the minister and his servants needed a fire Smile 

Leaving the Dude to tackle the rushes, grass, burdock, thistles and bracken I went back home and headed up to the water storage tanks for the new house.


This being the main 3600lt tank some 30m higher and 200m away from the new house overlooking Loch Arnish. The tank is fed from a 1000lt settling tank which in turn is fed from a ‘secret well’,


I say ‘secret’ because no one seems to know anything about it and I came across it whilst searching for water some years ago. Lined with stones it’s obviously been used at one time and has never run dry even when my own supply has failed.

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Anyway, that well feeds this grey fibre glass tank which I spent all morning emptying and cleaning out with bleach, once that is full it flows into the larger black one below. The plan being to construct a ‘slow sand filter ’ in this one but first I had to make a lid to keep out leaves, debris and creatures.


The lid needed to be secure, waterproof, windproof and bug proof, fortunately I had just the thing Smile


Though I have to say that the time that the Dude and I spent making this lid was of far more value than £12 for a sheet of OSB Smile

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Mind you it was a good deal heavier and stronger than a sheet of OSB, taking much effort, sweating and cursing to get it up the hill


and on to the tank.


Though I have to say that I’m well pleased with the result, all I have to do now is carry a ton of sand and pebbles up there Sad smile

And whilst we’re on the subject of ferries and ferry traffic,


the new hybrid Raasay ferry MV Hallaig went to dry dock on Thursday under her own steam Smile . Our new ferry being one step closer to arriving here after heading to the Garvel dry dock to have her ‘bum scraped’ Smile

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