Life at the end of the road

April 19, 2009

The ‘Bomb proof’ mooring

Filed under: boats, daily doings, hydro — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:15 pm

I can’t see me finishing this post tonight as I’m pure wrecked and it’s only 19:45 a mere 14 hours since I arose just 15 mins before sunrise. The sun sets in just less than an hour and as yet I’ve not seen a cloud, it was a late one last night with friends round for a barbecue and a couple of my boys pals staying over for the weekend. I got on with a little catching up on the blogg before going out to feed everyone, making as little noise as possible so as not to disturb the peace, though how anyone can stay in bed with sun blazing through the windows and two cockerels making enough noise to be heard at Torran is beyond me!

New jets for Harris

Regular followers will know of my tinkering with the ‘Harris hydro’ turbine and how I’ve increased it’s head from around 29 meters to over 83 meters! This has worked staggeringly well with just one or two minor hiccups, the increase in pressure from just under 3 bar to over 8 bar (around 120psi) has caused a few leeks that need sorting and the present nozzels are now far too large. Consequently it’s producing far too much power unless the valves are only partially opened which I suspect will introduce runner destroying cavitation. Having removed the unit and taken it to my workshop yesterday I set about trying to reduce one of the nozzles down from 6mm to around 3mm as this seemed like a good starting point.

Harris nozzles

Harris nozzles

I found a piece of thick walled stainless steel piping that just slid nicely into the nozzle and it had an olive on the end that just fitted nicely against the inside taper which would prevent the water pressure pushing it through.

Bonding the new insert

Bonding the new insert

I chopped the pipe just behind the olive, stuck it on an Allen key socket, coated it in J-B Weld a two part epoxy based filler and pushed it into the brass nozzle. Before the filler set I removed the Allen key socket and cleaned off the excess having successfully reduced the nozzle to 3mm and all before breakfast 🙂

First time this year

With the rest of the household finally risen and fed we all set off down to the shore loaded with petrol for the boat, chain for the lost mooring and diving gear to find and fit it. The day was perfect for it and even wifey was looking forward to the first trip out in a boat this year, me I was getting quite excited about donning my cardboard like dry suit for the first time in 16 months. If you had asked me I’d have told you Iwent diving last year but I’d written the date I last filled my diving cylinder on its shoulder in pencil and it said 10/07 😦 Long gone are the days when I put this suit on 3 times a day 6 days a week, now I’m lucky to get in the water once a year. It’s not that I don’t enjoy diving it’s just I can’t seem to find the time, which is a bit nuts when you consider there’s always a meal on my doorstep!

Grey before my time

Grey before my time

Dousing my suit with plenty of ‘Johnsons baby powder’ to aid entry and putting on the rest of my kit I set off in search of the lost mooring.

Just like riding a bike!

Just like riding a bike!

Taking a rope to tie on the ground chain and my trusty old clam bag just in case I came across dinner 🙂 I found it and 3 scallops quite easily before swimming back to launch the boat. The plan being to go and visit friends on Fladda an island off Raasay before returning at high water around 16:00 to retrieve the large mooring buoy and it’s chain that had come detached from the ground chain last year.

Another casualty

Another casualty

We arrived at my friends house to find another casualty of the winter storms, a stunted 50 year old spruce tree that had withstood 50 Fladda winters had finally succumbed to highland gale. We had refreshments, a tour of the garden, a look at some ruins.

The Storr from Fladda

The Storr from Fladda

And we took my boys pal to see his granny’s house that she’d left over 40 years ago

Number 5 Fladda

Number 5 Fladda

With the sea now covering the causeway that connects Fladda to Raasay for 3 hours either side of low water we wound our way down the steep path from the houses to the shore to continue our circumnavigation of  Raasay’s largest tidal neighbour.

Fladda causway

Fladda causway

After dragging the Pioner Maxi over the flooding stone path we went the long way around the north end of Fladda and back into Loch Arnish for me to finish the mooring and now I’m off to bed and I’ll finish this tomorrow 🙂

Taking things easy

Filed under: daily doings, hydro — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:27 am

Saturday 18th April

Yet another peach of a day here at the north end with the ground of the croft now so dry that the wellies have not been worn for around three days. Being a wellie free zone with two dozen pigs charging around the place is an event which is in itself bordering on a miracle at Arnish, which for a good part of the year can, at least around much of the croft resemble the Somme. None of that today though it was out with the good boots on today to feed my wee darlings then finish off my fence.

New fence 18/04/09

New fence 18/04/09

It does not need to be any higher as it’s just to stop them wandering into a ‘no mans land’  that is full of deep trenches, I mean drains 🙂

The total lack of mud also brought with it the joy of not having to change the pigs bedding quite so often, so whilst it had been on my ‘to do’ list for the day, after a quick tour of the arks I decided to give it a miss. Deciding instead to think about possibily getting things ready for a spot of boating tomorrow, which may sound a little long winded but it does  require moving a whole heap of chain and a large grey buoy and attaching it to a very large anchor on the sea bed which has yet to be found! My own ‘bomb proof’ mooring in Loch Arnish for the MV Conqueror had come adrift a couple of winters ago through neglect, well I can’t do everything and with not actually having a boat anymore it just was not a priority. Luckily the heavy chain and bouy had washed ashore near the Torran schoolhouse so I’d managed to pull it up above the high water mark and secure it to rock. My mate who’s ‘idiot proof’ Pioner Maxi I’d be using tomorrow has his own mooring but that too had vanished recently so I’d decided to repair my ‘serious’ mooring and re lay it tomorrow but first I had to find some heavy chain and shackles.

Checking the newts

With a good selection of shakles and a 10 meter length 0f 16mm long link chain lying out in the sun for inspection I headed down to the shore to make sure the stuff I’d dug out would mate up to the chain on the shore. There’s nothing worse than getting out to sea or even worse on the sea bed and finding that your chain is too big for your shackle or vice versa. Though as usual once down on the shore I kept getting distracted and lost in my thoughts.

'Port Arnish'

'Port Arnish'

Which whenever I’m down here turn to how people at the north end of Raasay must have struggled in days gone by when, long before ‘Calum’s road’ all their stores came in by sea and quite often here at this little jetty that relies on a combination of natural rock formation and skillful stone work to make a usable landing place.

12 years on

12 years on

It also amazes me that this ‘temporary’ structure that I built 12 or so years ago out of 12 telegraph poles and the old tin sheets off my house is still standing. I knocked it up in a day to cover the salvaged ‘Conqueror’ whilst I spent 2 years of my life rebuilding her. It was probably the most worthwhile days work that I’ve ever done as it enabled me to work in all weathers. It might not look like much now but with a few large tarpaulins around it, it really was weather proof.

Sea power

Sea power

Wandering along the rocky shore with my shackles I came accross this, which may not look very impressive but the rectangular area partly in shadow that has no lichen on it is where a rather large rock once resided that has been moved by the sea. The rock is just above the shadow of my head and must weigh around a ton!

Torran school

Torran school

Speaking of rock, this is where the masons of old clawed out the huge stones that went into the corner stones, lintels and walls of the Torran schoolhouse around 150 years ago.

left overs?

left overs?

I think this pile here are some of the undressed or rejected ones that never made it up to the building site

A long way to carry rock!

A long way to carry rock!

I’m sure the builders of old moved as much of the material as possible from behind the school as possible thus using gravity to assist them but the larger stones all came from here and it’s a long way up there to their final resting place.

Loch Arnish and the Storr

Loch Arnish and the Storr

and now it’s after 7:00am on Sunday, the sun is yet again blazing down, the cockral’s are making a racket and I’m sure the pigs will be waiting to be fed so I’m off 🙂 Briefly I went to check one of my water supplies at North Arnish, just to see how the newts were doing.

If it's clean enough for newts!

If it's clean enough for newts!

The newts were all fine as indeed was the water, there’s one curled up by the outlet 🙂 so I filled up my water bottle and headed home.

North Arnish post office!

North Arnish post office!

Spending the rest of the day tinkering with hydro turbines, eating dead animals cooked on a barbecue and drinking beer!

Harris 4 nozzle pelton turbine

Harris 4 nozzle pelton turbine

Navitron 200w single nozzle 'turgo' turbine

Navitron 200w single nozzle 'turgo' turbine

And now I really MUST go 🙂

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