Life at the end of the road

January 29, 2008

Lowering a wind turbine

Filed under: daily doings, life off grid, wind turbine — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:07 pm

Well it was a perfect day for lowering my mates ‘Hugh Piggot’ style home made turbine but before I could go and help with that I had to catch 2 piglets!. So at first light armed with a bucket of feed and covered from tip to toe in water(mud)proofs I set off, trapping all 9 of them in a corner of the field with a gate. I’d decided yesterday which 2 of the boys were going, the largest one and a distinctive one with a white mark on his face. I had done this cos in the mele which is feeding it’s very difficult to tell the girls from the boys. Pulled the first one out with ease then carried him off to a pen I’d made away from all the mud, when I went back for number 2 I was greeted with a sight something like this.


only muddier!! so finding the one with the white mark was tricky to say the least.

With the 2 pigs in there wee pen for mrs C to deal with I went down to help John with his turbine. John had already undone the base nuts and the turbine was just supported by it’s 3 guys. John then set off up the mast to attach a pulley for the rope that goes to the ‘gin’


Next the ‘gin pole’ was set up, this is to give a better angle to the winch wire.


Now I was not impressed with this set up as i prefer the gin to be attached to the mast so it all moves as one. When I do my turbine the ‘gin’ is fixed solid perpendicular to the mast and my winch wire runs over the top of it to a point about 3/4 way up the mast. To be honest I think you could manage without the gin for lowering if it was just for servicing as you don’t have to lower all the way to the ground. You can just lower it down so far, prop it then if necessary stand on a pallet or 2. However this one was coming all the way down so with the landrover in position we went for it.



It did however come down a little faster than expected, fortunately the only damage was to the anemometer mounting just by Johns left leg.

The big blue snake

Having got that done in the morning I headed over to Skye for the afternoon. Before christmas I’d been given ‘perhaps 200m of blue 98mm water pipe’ well at least that’s what the nice lady from ‘Scottish water’ said. Only snag was it was up a very big boggy hill away from the road and I had to remove it quickly as the local crofter whose land it was on was sick of looking at it. Fortunately I spoke to him and he said the new year would be OK and it was nearer 300m. As this seemed the perfect pipe for a mini hydro scheme I thought it was about time I went over and worked out a way of getting it home. I managed to get the landrover quite close to it but could not see the end anywhere, so I started to pace it out 470 meters! luckily it was 63mm and not 98mm so i managed to winch it onto the track then tow it with the landrover.


That’s it disappearing in the distance well over a1/4 of a mile long and it’s still not off the hill. (to be continued next week I’m off work)

With the pipe on hold for a week I went to Portree for pig food and then headed for home as it’s back to the ‘Loch Striven’ tomorrow.

January 28, 2008

On this day 15 years ago

Filed under: Uncategorized — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:08 pm

Fish farming and NIMBYism

I’ve just been looking at my diary from 15 years ago and the first thing that struck me is I used to do allot more in a day then. Jan the 28th was a tuesday and amongst other things I was doing work on the fish farm in ‘loch Arnish’ now when I got wind of the application for this ‘monstrosity’ I was livid as it was going to ruin my fishing grounds, pollute the area, be a hazard to navigation etc, etc, in fact I managed to find just about every excuse that any white settler who already had an income and didn’t give a toss about anyone else could do. However the fish farm went ahead provided a much needed boost to the local economy for around 10 years. It’s gone now and whilst the view is undoutably better the shore tidier and the value of my property greater I miss it and not just for the work I did there. Even though I moved here to get away from it all it was good to see activity in the loch and people earning a living and I’m sure that Calum Macleod who spent years building a road to Arnish would have approved. Fragile rural communities need jobs not a view, the land and the sea needs more (sensible sustainable) use and less love. Instead of fish farm you could read wind turbine, hydro scheme or forrestry all these things that were going to kill off the tourists, well I’ve lived in Scotland 22 years and there’s allot more tourists than ever there was.

Anyway what I was actually doing that sunny tuesday with light and variable wind was replacing the front of a lovely shed on the shore. It’s a beautiful dry stone shed with a thick corrugated iron roof , not the usual thin stuff but the stuff that would stop a bullet. It’s stone on 3 sides but the side facing the sea is wood and 15 years ago i replaced it with wood I’d found on the shore (a shed side from another salmon farm) and draught proofed it with salmon feed bags! This fine shed must have seen some activity over the years as when the north end of Raasay was populated everything came in by sea here and I suppose it could tell a tale or two. In the evening I did some woodwork upstairs round the landing, I’d just salvaged a load of old thick pine cladding and was removing all the old nails, planing it sanding it and re using it. Dunno what time I finished but I couldn’t do it nowadays.

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