Life at the end of the road

March 1, 2009

Rainbows and birds nests

Filed under: daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:38 pm

Did not sleep very well last night worrying about catching piglets, I don’t know why because it’s a pretty straight forward affair centered around feeding time and one thing about pigs, they do like their grub. The advantage of which is, it’s pretty easy to do anything with or to a hungry pig. Of the 7 spotties left from Jamie Lee’s litter of 13, 3 boars were going away today to Kevin and Christine Delaney of Garybuie guest house near Uig on Skye http://www.skyetime.org.uk/ . The remaining 7 consisted of 2 gilts and 5 boars so yesterday the swineherd separated the 3 largest boars out of the group, though the smallest of the 5 somehow ended up with them but as he was easy enough to distinguish from the others we didn’t worry about it. As it turned out this was even less of a problem than anticipated because when I got up this morning the wee chap had some how got himself trapped in the garden and was charging up and down the fence trying to get back with the other 3.

3 piglets, 3 hurdles, 2 ratchet straps and 1 gate!

3 piglets, 3 hurdles, 2 ratchet straps and 1 gate!

Whilst the wee chap was out of the way and with the wee grubbers distracted by breakfast I knocked up a pen with three hurdles against a gate securely lashed with a couple of ratchet straps and they didn’t even notice. Well not until they’d finished eating at least! Once they’d had a drink, done a pooh and settled down I put them into their transport box and we lifted them into the Land Rover ready for the trip to Skye. All went well and once at Sconser the crate was lifted into the back of Kevin and Christine’s car for the last part of their journey to Glenhinnisdal and ‘Skyetime’

920 change hands!

With the first run of the day out of the way and the Loch Striven firmly tied to Raasay pier I set about changing the hydraulic oil in the system that operates the ferry’s ramps, windlasses and capstans.

Loch Striven hydraulic power pack

Loch Striven hydraulic power pack

The tank holds around 500lts of oil which is pumped around the system by one of two large pumps driven by electric motors, that’s the aft one in the foreground and the forward one is just visible at the back of the tank. Each pump and motor are independant for safety being run on a week on week off basis ( just like me 🙂 ) Once I’d set up the small electric waste oil  pump it was just a matter of pumping the old oil into the vessels sludge tank.

.2 lts per revolution!

.2 lts per revolution!

Though filling it with the new oil was a little harder 😦 and took almost 1000 turns for each barrel! Actually it’s not that hard, the day was warm and the oil thin so I did one barrel then had a spot of lunch before doing the second barrel in little spurts of 100 revs at a time.

Time for a wander

Having spent most of the day so far seeing little other than the sky I went ashore to stretch my legs, at least when the ferry’s moving between Skye and Raasay the ramp stays down at each end and you can see some land. Here alongside the pier all I could see was the white steel walls of the boat and the heavens above so I wandered around the old iron ore mine just in front of the pier, the pier which was in fact built 100 years ago for that very mine and which is now like most of the mine workings falling down.

Kiln bases

Kiln bases

These are the bases of the 5 kilns, though only the first 2 where ever used, the last 3 ended up in Cleveland and were still in use up until the 1960s the fascinating story of the mine, which was for most of it’s working life manned (against the Hague convention ) by German prisoners of war is told in Laurence and Pamela Drapers excellent book ‘The Raasay iron mine, where enemies became friends’. http://www.raasay.com/ironmine.html.

Ben Tianavaig through the window

Ben Tianavaig through the window

After wandering around the kilns I went into the old machine shop and found a few pleasant surprises

nest in a cistern

nest in a cistern

nest on a bench

nest on a bench

Whilst man may have given up on the mine the birds had not!

A golden opportunity

Pot of gold

Pot of gold

Whilst it had on the whole been a bonny day a heavy shower was heading my way leaving a rainbow over Donald M Macleod’s house and engineering business http://www.skyepropertycentre.co.uk/property.php?id=18 which at offers over 270K could be a little gold mine for someone 🙂

rainsplodge!

rainsplodge!

And speaking of rainbows, I just managed to catch this one heading for the new harbour works before we disappeared around the spit at loch Sligachan. And now I’m off to bed!

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