Life at the end of the road

May 30, 2010

Apparently it’s quite rare

Filed under: daily doings, hydro, stonework — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:18 pm

A good day at last 🙂 not that I utilised all of it, for a visit from our neighbour and a bottle of rum last night meant that I had a lie in. Well it was Sunday and 8:30 is hardly late, still as soon as I was up I wasted no time in getting on with the days chores, assisted by my boys pals who were staying with us overnight.

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The first job after feeding everyone was to finish the filter for my mates Harris turbine that powers the ‘Old Schoolhouse’ at Torran http://www.uniquescotland.com/raasayschool/index.html. The last one that I’d made out of an old bird feeder and a plastic water tank was letting the odd frog into the system with terminal consequences for both the frog and electricity supply 😦 Anyway, this old 3mm hardened steel quarry screen should fare much better.

The metal construction was quite heavy so whilst waiting for another quad to arrive I turned my attention back to the ‘Old girl’ who was spending her 24th birthday in bits awaiting new springs and shockers for the MOT. My Land Rover would have passed the MOT without changing the springs and two of the shockers but I’m a bit of a girl when it comes to my Land Rover 🙂 ( sorry ladies, no fence )

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And if you are ever unfortunate enough to own a Land Rover and even more unfortunate to have to change the springs here is a really good tip. Before you fit them compress the shockers and wire them up in that position with some steel wire ( the stuff of armoured cable is ideal ). This makes fitting the springs and turrets much easier and you can tighten up the base plate and spring retainer bolts without the shocker in the way, once all that’s done just cut the wire and remove it.

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The shocker should then just spring into its mount and another tip is to only tighten up the top one loosely, then when the bottom one is in position, take the nut off the top and fit it to the bottom. this will allow you to spin the shocker around by hand whilst holding the nut with a spanner. Access to the top nut is far easier than access to the bottom so do that one first.

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The ‘oil beetle’

Next it was up to the high black loch above Torran to fit the modified water filter,

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a tricky journey that consists of a mile or so on the quad then a half mile hike across the heather.

It was whilst stopping briefly to take a picture of these two ‘experts’ that we saw this,

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a blue black beetle about 30mm long. Normally I would not give it a second glance but as we have a ‘beetle expert’ staying with us at the moment I took a picture. Apparently it’s an oil beetle and is quite rare http://www.buglife.org.uk/getinvolved/surveys/Oil+beetle+survey and my mate the beetle man has only ever seen one other on Raasay. It does have an interesting lifecycle involving a bee  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meloe and also secretes an irritant oil, hence the name.

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Good job I never got it on my hands, or elsewhere 🙂

Once parked up below the ‘pipers rock’ we trekked over the heather to the loch and once there I stripped off to change the filter.

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It was bloody cold!!!!!

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and I got no help from the rest of the team 😦

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well apart from Molly that is 🙂

Once the initial shock had worn off it was not too bad and having brought spare clothes and a towel I felt quite refreshed afterwards. The job went well and once completed we all headed back for lunch.

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Enjoying fine views of ‘Brothers point’ on the way back,

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and stopping in this old sheiling to admire the stonework,

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it may look pretty rough but I assure you that it requires great skill to rest rocks that large on top of each other for centuries 🙂

May 29, 2010

No news

Filed under: boats, daily doings, hydro — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 11:41 pm

Actually there is quite allot of Raasay news but I’ve been in no position to inform you of it 😦 First off, tonight was the official opening celidh of the Raasay village hall with some specially commissioned music and secondly a whole heap of BMW GS motorcycles arrived for the delayed start of the ‘Calum’s road ride’ but I’ve been elsewhere and missed both 😦

I’m not sure why the first event took place so long after the actual opening of the hall but the second, which should have taken place in January was severely hampered by several feet of snow. Despite the blizzard conditions of early January six or seven of the intrepid bikers did head off to Gambia on their charity ride. A most informative record of which can be found here http://sidhorman.blogspot.com/ , one of the bikers Richard http://www.motobimble.co.uk/ only got as far as Spain due to a broken leg but the rest of the guys made it all the way, raising over £30k for the http://www.gambiahorseanddonkey.org.uk/ who were supporting the building of the new ‘Calum’s road’ in Africa. A project inspired by Roger Hutchinson’s excellent book http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1841586773/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=103612307&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=1841584479&pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_r=04FPSG5SXSRKV01WNVE1 of that epic tale. And if you want a trip down the said road you can do it in the comfort of your home to the tune of Doctor Who in  my old Land Rover here 🙂

 

OK, I know it’s a little crackly but I’m a motorman and not a cameraman 🙂

Anyway the reason I’m not able to keep you up to speed on current events is due to an appointment at the hairdressers (not for me I hasten to add 🙂 )

A hairdressers appointment that required an early start as it was in Kyle at 9:00am, not a problem for me but as our alarm clock was lying in the fridge (in the form of our cockerel) wife and child required some arousing 🙂

 

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We did make the 7:55 ferry with no drama and once in Kyle, Molly and I left the rest of the family to it and went to check out the harbour where the Skretting ship Vermland was undergoing minor paintwork.

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Also in Kyle, lying at the old ferry slip loading up with fresh seawater was a Spanish lorry, the sight of which took me back 12 years or so to my velvet crab fishing days. These lorries travel up from Spain every week to load up with live velvet crab

https://i1.wp.com/www.iona-bed-breakfast-mull.com/fishing/fishing-velvet-crab-bound-f.jpg

for the connoisseurs of fine food in Spain. Caught in creels using fresh bait in shallow water throughout the week they are stored in ‘keeps’ until ‘mad Monday’ when they are lifted off the seabed, sorted into 9kg boxes of small, medium and large before making the 1500 mile journey south to market. A job that used to fill me with dread every week, not because of the difficulty of the task in hand but because of the six mile journey across the sea  to Skye. Basically if you did not get them away on Monday they’d die on you and I’ve lost count of the sleepless nights that I’ve had watching weather forecasts and listening to the shipping forecast 🙂

After thanking my lucky stars for being a ferryman and not a fisherman anymore we headed for a pleasant afternoon at my parents before returning to Raasay on the 15:00 ferry.

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Once home I started making up a filter for my mates hydro turbine out of the metal screens that I’d acquired the other day.

And now after several glasses of rum and a few hours ear bending I’m off to bed 🙂

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