Life at the end of the road

February 6, 2010

It all went bottoms up :-(

Filed under: boats, daily doings, stonework — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:00 pm

Today was a pure peach of a day and I’d set it aside for a trip to the mainland to visit my parents, I like to get over there at least once on my week off, if only to see what I can lift 🙂 Only kidding 🙂 Anyway as I was heading over anyway I’d offered to do a little delivery work on the side, it was a case of synchronicity at work. A mate of mine near Dornie wanted a boar, a mate of mine on Raasay had a boar and I was driving past his door on Saturday so me being the ‘pig expert’ offered to take ‘Curly’ through FOC. I dunno if his name is Curly but it suited him as he’s one of the offspring from our own boar Ginger and Ginger has the most peculiar ‘uncurly’ tail that I’ve ever seen on a pig! Not only did this particular Tamworth boar have a good tight knot in his tail he also had the finest curly coat I’ve seen on a pig.

The early night yesterday didn’t have me up any earlier than usual  and I was a little late feeding due to trying to scribble a few words on here. I’ve just not had the inspiration or inclination of late, probably something to do with chakra, karma, lay lines or the planets 🙂 as I can’t seem to find any reason for my lack of enthusiasm in general. Anyway, enthusiasm or not the herd had to be fed, and as usual I was cheered up by the ‘wee spotties’ clambering on top of each other trying to get in the trough and Rocky squeezing through the gate to get at his own special dish.

The day getting brighter also helped lift my mood as did some of our own sausages and a few slices of vegetarian black pudding from Simon. Personally this whole ‘meatalike’  stuff for vegetarians baffles me, Quorn and Linda McCartney sausages have always been a bit of a mystery to me. Surely if you have a problem with eating animals then you don’t want to be eating something that tastes like a burnt dead one, or am I missing something. Anyway JS Irelands ‘V pud’ is actually very nice, not unlike the real thing and seems to be made from real ingredients mainly from the UK.

Fortified with my ‘fry up’ the boy and I headed south for Curly who lives at the ‘other end of the road’, about as far from me as is possible without getting wet 🙂 Now I’ve met Curly before and he’s a fine gentle chap so when his owner offered to put him in the trailer the night before I declined. After all, I’ve put plenty of pigs in trailers and there would be three of us and even though we’d  we’d lost one to a sore back I was confident that two of us would manage.

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Driving past the bullet riddled passing place sign at Brochel just as the sun was rising over the Applecross peninsula and no it was not me who shot the sign 🙂

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The Storr was looking majestic yesterday, today it was looking, well what bits you could see were looking ethereal (is that really a word?)

The two of us  arrived at Curly’s field, let down the ramp on the trailer, covered it with straw, let him out through the gate and threw some rolls in the trailer.

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Curly was not too impressed with the ramp, he’d put his front feet on it and lean inside but go no further.

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Letting one side of the trailer down to make it lighter inside did the trick and once he was in I lifted up the ramp, only Curly leapt out through the side 😦 Which was quite an achievement for the size of him.

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So after he’d had a good wander along the shore at Eyre I put him back in his field and headed for the ferry, it would have been pointless trying again, pigs are not daft!

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Once at Sconser we came across a ‘shrink wrapped’ VW which obviously indicated someone had had a good time 🙂

Fair exchange

Also at Sconser I removed some of the pork in the freezer that I’d put aside for Eddie at who had helped me out last year when my Proven 2.5Kw wind turbine broke a spring. I’ve known Eddie ever since I moved to Scotland in 1985 and he can turn his hand to anything, not only has he made a steel fishing boat, an aluminium catamaran and RIB but he’s just converted his garage into a stunning two person cottage for letting Bruaich Mhor may only be small but with underfloor heating, all the mod cons and spectacular views it’s an ideal base for exploring Skye for two.

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After dropping off the pork at Eddie’s and and having a good moan about bureaucracy I continued on to my parents passing this wild goat and her wee kid on the way.

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We also drove passed this house site which is the scene of some of the nicest stone work I’ve seen, there may not have been a great deal of progress over the last few years compared to a kit house but that house in the background is going to be spectacular 🙂

After a lovely meal of home made chicken and ham pie ( Raasay ingredients 🙂 ) a couple of hours with my parents and loading up the Land Rover with a couple of windows and a header tank for the new hydro turbine we headed back.

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Stopping at Kyle we saw the Briggs marine ‘Cameron’ messing about with buoys Not a pretty vessel by any stretch of the imagination it looked like she was changing the yellow buoys that mark the navy range east of Raasay.

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A little further on, just before the Skye bridge in fact I spotted the Johan. The Johan was built in 1949 at J N Millars of St Monans in Fife for I think the Macrae family in Lochcarron as a ‘ring netter’ for herring and for many years was crewed by men from Fladda and the north end of Raasay. After being decommissioned, moving to the south coast of England and spending many years as a house boat she finally returned to Kyle last year.


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Then it was back to Raasay and a spectacular sunset down at the new harbour works

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That’s it really so I’ll just leave you with the weather and go to bed 🙂

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The ‘Stream Engine’ cometh

Filed under: daily doings, hydro — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:33 am

Just could not get it together to post yesterday as the day was a bit of a rush and by the time I’d packed my last sausage it was time for bed 🙂 The sausage in question being one of 260, at least that’s what it said on the invoice but it felt like double that 😦

The day started, as most ‘rest week’ days do with feeding everyone, after which I took my boy to school before catching the 9:55 ferry. Three little pigs were due to be delivered to the ferry terminal at Sconser, the same three little ‘spotties’ that I took to our local abattoir a week last Monday. They came back in seven boxes and not the six that I was expecting, usually one butchered pig comes back rolled, boned and bagged in two heavy cardboard boxes bound up with strapping tape. Today however there was an extra one and that one said ‘sausages’, I’d asked them to turn the belly pork into sausages as I’d sampled some that Munro’s had done for ‘Crofter Jonny’ at What I was expecting was the sausages from each pig to be in its relevant box, what I got was


a huge box that needed splitting up and bagging 😦

Still it was well worth the effort and only added £6 for labour and a few quid for casings and spices onto the bill, half an hour to make 260 links it said on the invoice! Wish I could turn them out so quickly 🙂

Anyway by the time I’d distributed what had been ordered and frozen what was ours I was in little mood for plonking away on here and went to my bed early.


Actually it’s Saturday now for I did start writing this last night but fell asleep at the wheel so to speak 🙂 It had been a long and strenuous day so I picked my head up off the keyboard and went to bed at 20:30 🙂

The new hydro turbine had arrived from Canada, actually my ‘Stream Engine’ had arrived from Hugh at over a week ago but I’d been too busy to unpack it properly and get a good look at it.

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Like my current Navitron 200w turbine it is a ‘Turgo runner’ turbine,

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unlike the XJ14-0.2CT4-Z from China though it has a beautifully cast bronze runner and not one made from old spoons and welded together 🙂

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It also has 4 nozzles with an assortment of different sized jets that can be chosen to suit different flows whereas the Navitron turbine just comes with one very crude steel jet of 19mm bore and you have to alter it yourself. However the wee Chinese number ‘does exactly what it says on the tin’ and is a tenth of the price of the Stream engine, having said that the Canadian effort is capable of producing 5 times the power and comes with it’s own 230v AC to 48v DC transformer for battery charging.

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Spurred on by the arrival of my new turbine I got on with some work on the ‘pennstock’ pipes that would supply it but not before a marathon session of cutting rushes with the brush cutter for bedding for the pigs and then cleaning them out. The recent dry weather and the disappearance of the snow meant that the rushes would be dry enough to use as bedding instead of straw from the barn. Not that the straw is particularly expensive, it’s just such a hassle to get it here and cutting the rushes helps keep them under control. Pigs are fantastic at clearing ground of bracken and weeds but the seem to just root around the clumps of rushes rather than lifting them.

After a few hours of that I went to clean out the header tank that feeds my current turbine (that’s an old pic)

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diverting the flow into it with another pipe, draining it then giving the washing machine drum inside it ( filter) a good scrubbing with a wire brush.

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Once that was done I set about connecting up the 90mm sections of my largest pennstock

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using the only two proper fittings that I had 😦

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as usual I had help 🙂

The two proper fittings joined the 15 or so home made ones that I’d done a few weeks ago and gave me a good 90m length of the 270m I required which was all connected.

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I then plugged the end with an old tumbler ( I know the picture is rubbish but I only have a quarter of a screen on my camera 😦 ) and left it filling to test the joints.

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Unfortunately by the time it had filled it was dark and I could not see properly but it did look like all the joints were good apart from a slight weep from the bottom one (which would be under the greatest pressure)

Anyway I’m sorry it’s a bit light on content but I have to dash so I’ll just leave you with yesterdays weather 🙂

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and today’s

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