Life at the end of the road

July 15, 2008


Filed under: daily doings, hydro — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:20 pm

The fact that it was pouring with rain all night helped psyche me up for doing the dreaded VAT return. In truth it’s not actually that difficult but I hate doing paper work of any kind especially on a good day. It was actually a nice enough morning when I finally got up to face it though all the pig troughs were full of water from the heavy showers during the night. Still I’d made my mind up to do it and that’s what I did and after a couple of hours I’d got it cracked and was as usual wondering why I make such a big deal out of it.

More hydro pipe

The recent fit of enthusiasm for my various hydro projects had spurred me into going over to Skye to collect the rest of my 63mm MDPE water pipe as I was planning extending the penstock ( the feed pipe ) on my mates ‘Harris turbine’ set up.

This raging torrent has all but disappeared and whilst the turbine only requires a fraction of this flow to produce electricity it has been pretty much dried up since just after easter. The plan now being to take water from an alternative source 600m away !!!!! and the 200 or so m that I’ve got left will make a big dent in the 600m of extra pipe required. So with this in mind I managed to drag a very reluctant Willy Eyre with me to Strollamus on Skye to retrieve or at least coil up what was left of the 470 or so meters of pipe that I’d been given. I say reluctant because Willy who is a far saner person than I believes in letting nature do as much of the work as possible. That is to say that it is FAR easier to coil on a hot day than a cold one and today could not be considered hot even by eskimo standards. When I pointed out to my mate that I was back at work tomorrow and would just go on my own and struggle anyway he agreed to come ( that’s mates for you ) . So off we went on the 13:45 ferry and actually got on quite well, dragging the final length off the hill which was 140 Italian meters or 130 Scottish meters long I’m not sure which equates to real meters but we did get 50 or so coiled up before the heavens opened.

What did they do to Sutherlands garage

Thinking it was just a shower we stopped play and went into Broadford for shopping. Now call me nuts but I actually like the Co op, they stock more ‘fair trade’ stuff and are probably the least bad of all the supermarket chains. They have however managed to turn what had become one of Skye’s institutions ‘Sutherlands garage’ from a profitable 24 hour filling station where you could get some great local crafts, snacks, gifts, cards, a few bits of hardware, CD’s ( and I’m not talking £2.99 cheese ) just about any magazine ( including the ones for Land Rover anoraks ) and motoring accessories into a grotty little kiosk that sells fags and sweets! Of course now their store is even larger so they can now stock more of the cr4p that every other supermarket sells but now when I forget someones birthday or want something a wee bit special and not a box of friggin’ ‘Black magic’ I’m well and truly stuffed! So after spending an hour trying to find everything on my shopping list in the now bigger Co op and smaller garage we went back to the pipe. Unfortunately it was still lashing with rain or at least threatening to so we trussed up the coil we’d got.

I drove off the road so we could at least stand a chance of lifting the coil on the roof.

With the pipe securely lashed to the roof I engaged my ARB locking rear diff and slowly drove out without even a wheel spin, I was most impressed! we headed home on the 5:30 ferry and I started clearing all my stuff away in preparation for my week on the Loch Striven.

Times must be hard for ‘the hydro’

Whilst it’s been ‘Scottish and southern energy’ for years we all still refer to our utility company as ‘the hydro’ and whilst I’ve been ‘off grid’ since 1985 I do have tremendous respect for these boys that turn to in all weathers to keep the power on amidst some of the worst conditions in Europe. Their dedication to duty reached new dizzy heights today when I saw two of their pick up trucks with 3 tents pitched beside them in a lay by. I was so shocked that i didnae take a photo.

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