Life at the end of the road

April 12, 2022

A tale of two plugs :-)

Well that’s it, the holiday is over, this afternoon I’ll be back at the office and to be honest, I can’t wait Surprised smile Not that I’m fed up, bored or miss my work so much, no I can’t wait to get back to work and get it over with Smile then I can start doing all the jobs I didn’t get done on me hols Smile The main one being to fit the rear chassis to the Disco and MOT it but there’s painting the house and a whole load more tasks to look forward too. Sure, I could have made a start on the Disco but I decided to go down to Girvan for a few days instead. Four days with the family celebrating various birthdays and seeing Ross seemed far more attractive than a week’s welding under the Disco. Trouble with this plan was I’d have to take the ‘Old Girl’ which isn’t half as comfortable, fast, quiet or economical as the Discovery. Still it would be an adventure Smile but first I had to get presents and for that I decided to buy local Winking smile 

Tiny roost

next door at my old house in fact . After viewing a selection of Lisa’s beautiful Harris Tweed bags and selecting a nice one for my sister in law I headed down to Kirsten’s Craftavan by the shop

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to view more locally produced crafts.

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There are seven people from Raasay who display a selection of locally made gifts and articles in the Caravan just by the shop. After leaving with a Harris Tweed bag and half a dozen duck eggs I returned home to pack the land Rover for the trip on Tuesday.

Departing Raasay on the first ferry and stopping regularly on the way to walk the dugs.

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It was a lovely quiet drive south with even the normally busy Ciste Dhubh parking spot in Glen Garry being deserted.

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After stopping to top up with mocha and a bacon roll at the Well of the seven heads takeaway who’s name comes from a gruesome episode in clan history which took place nearby.

Eventually after more stops at Fort William, Barrhead and probably other places too we finally came in sight of Ailsa Craig

 Ailsa Craig from the southeast

The vast granite plug in  the lower reaches of the Clyde that heralded our destination. Known as ‘Paddy’s milestone’ because it also heralded the arrival in Scotland of many Irish immigrants in years gone by.

Four days of partying, dug walking and shelf fixing later we found ourselves packing the Land Rover once more to head home having averaged 35MPG on the journey south Surprised smile Not bad for an old tank and much better than the 25MPG I averaged towing the caravan to Mull. With a full tank of fuel we headed north at 7:00AM on lovely quiet roads until just after Tarbert on Loch Lomond when my fan belt snapped Sad smile

Not having a spare or any tools to change it if I had I decided to improvise using one of the dog leads which was not a success, after five miles it snapped. I guess at the knot I’d tied, so after creeping northwards along the loch side whilst keeping an eye on the temperature gauge. I finally found a place to safely stop


the now derelict Bonnie Banks Café where I managed to find a length of 6mm rope that I spliced together after guestimating the correct length to go around the crankshaft and water pump pulleys.

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I figured that I would get home on the juice in my battery as long as I switched off the heater and CD player and I’d just have to manage without the power steering. The water pump requires very little effort to drive it whereas the power steering and alternator sap a couple of horse power. Sure it would be a long slow drive at 40MPH and quite boring without the audio book I was listening to but I made it to Sconser where the car park was full for the first time in years Surprised smile


Though they only left two cars behind and went back for them Smile

The other plug

With my voltmeter reading just 10V I finally arrived home around 18:00 and after unpacking the Land Rover and making dinner went to bed. The next couple of days being taken up by fitting the spare fan belt I should have taken with me Smile


I also serviced my Pals 2.3 Honda outboard,

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delivered it to Torran,

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where there’s a fine if distant view of Raasay’s very own volcanic plug, Dun Caan Smile


That’s it really, I came home to a much greener garden than I’d left and now I’m off to do some work.

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April 4, 2022

The frog filter :-)

To be honest the thoroughly miserable day that was Monday the 4th of April was perfect for what I was doing today, well so long as you exclude walking Bonzo but he didn’t seem to mind  the rain. Which was the first thing I did after my third cup of coffee and updating the blog, after that it was into the shed to construct a filter for my Mate’s Harris turbine intake.

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The turbine which draws water from a loch down a 63mm MDPE penstock some 700m long with 90m head only uses a 4mm jet and very little water to produce enough power to run his house. However of late we’ve been experiencing a frog epidemic. Well three or four blockages in as many weeks and as we’ve only had three or four previous frog or newt blockages in 12 or so years I reckon a new filter was needed. The original one being made from a steel quarry screen for riddling fine stones cos it was all I had at the time. I had intended it to only be a temporary measure so it was about 10 years overdue changing anyway. Sadly the one I spent all morning making is in a similar vein as I couldn’t find any stainless steel so had to settle for some 1mm perforated galvanised steel with 2mm holes. However this time I WILL order some of the right stuff Smile The piece I found just needed trimming on one side to make it 500mm x 1000mm, my original plan being to wrap it around and weld it to some old brake discs that would ensure the filter didn’t move.

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However I quickly abandoned that idea when I felt the weight of it and realized I’d be carrying half a mile over a hill Sad smile Instead I used a brake disc as a template to cut two ends out of an old piece of ‘stock board’ a materiel made from recycled plastic that’s used in fish farming and agriculture. Its about 13mm thick very durable and easy to work with woodworking tools.


Once I’d had my lunch I donned my dry suit, loaded my filter and tools onto the back of the quad and headed to Torran.

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My first stop being the turbine itself which I intended to switch off, but alas it had claimed yet another frog since yesterday Sad smile I turned the valve off anyway and took the perilous path up to Pipers Rock.

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Well I never used to think it was such a big deal in the past but with age one gets more cautious Smile The normally spectacular views of Skye, Fladda, Loch Arnish and even Dun Caan and the Brochel lochs being lost in the murk. Even the houses and crofts of South Arnish being shrouded in gloom. Leaving the quad by the boundary fence I loaded my gear and set off eastwards along the fence toward Loch nan Dubhan. The weather may have been miserable for photography but in my diving suit at least I was dry and not sweating or overheating as normally would be the case.

I thought I had it tough

Not far to the east of the gate there lies and old sheep fank complete with a sheep dip dug into the ground and lined with stone Surprised smile 

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The dipping trough itself is just east of these two pens

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the sheep would be herded down between these two walls down a slope into the dip.


You can still see the stone retaining walls and base but the nearest water available to fill it would have to carried in buckets several hundred yards Surprised smile Thinking about that I grabbed my filter and walked off to the loch thinking how easy life is these days compared to back then.

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My task seemed a lot less onerous and pretty soon I was in Loch nan Dubhan fitting the new filter.

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The old one having rotted away completely Surprised smile

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Then it was back west to the quad past some remains of the old boundary wall that existed long before the fence I was following.

Once at the quad I set off gingerly down the hill and turned on the hydro turbine before heading home to feed the dugs whom I’d left behind for fear of loosing control on the track up to Pipers Rock Smile

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