Life at the end of the road

December 31, 2010

The last of 2010

Filed under: boats, daily doings, weather — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:30 pm

Well that’s it, my 21st New Year at the ‘end of the road’ is about to happen. Not being a native Scot and being middle aged and teetotal from 18 to 36 I never really saw the point until relatively late in life. Most of my Hogmanay’s being spent babysitting for people that did see the attraction, leaving me and my then partner to suffer all the cr4p that could be had on 3 or 4 TV channels with only a cup of coffee to bring in the New Year 😦

I’m not complaining because abstinence and ‘common sense’ saw me pay off my first mortgage at the age of 30. However I’ve now grown up, don’t have to work tomorrow and am going to get trashed 🙂 The options are somewhat limited as there are only three dwellings at the north end of Raasay occupied tonight but I’m not going to let that stop me 🙂

I suppose it’s traditional for most media like the TV, radio and newspapers to reflect over the years news but since I rarely watch, listen or read you’ll have to make do with some pictures from December 31st last year.


A Raasay house that was still being cleared after the fire of 18/1/2009 and now twelve months on has stalled due to the collapse of ROK 😦


A harbour that was barely discernable and is now a fine place to berth and a welcoming place for visitors 🙂

Anyway, as with last year I had to work this Hogmanay so I’m pretty whacked, especially after my days labours, don’t laugh, seriously I’ve been busy. Just like last year the good ship Loch Striven came back from dock in a bit of a state. Now don’t get me wrong both and the relief crews did a fine job of repairing and returning her, but just like my 24 year old Land Rover I like to keep my 24 year old boat pristine 🙂 And whilst the ‘topsides’ were ‘minted’ the engine room was a bit of a riot. Pretty good considering the major surgery she’d gone through but a mess nonetheless.

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This is the engine room looking aft, as you can see everything is in its place with the nice new 4.4 TGM Perkins generator purring away but it does look a tad grubby. The forward view was pretty much the same but I’ve spent the last three days sorting it out.

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And I have to say that I’m pretty ‘chuffed’ with my efforts 🙂

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It still needs the pipe work painting and is only about one quarter of the actual engine room but you’ve got to admit it looks pretty good 🙂

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And you’d hardly believe that Ewan Ferguson’s team had cut a hole in the deck to remove the old Lister HRW 6s and replace them with the 4 cylinder Perkins units.

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I’m a huge fan of Lister’s but the HRW series was not one of their better efforts, it remains to be seen if the smaller more powerful Perkins units perform better but for now at least they seem the ‘dogs danglies’.

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So now at 22:30 I’m just going to leave you with today’s weather and go and surprise my neighbours with some coal and oysters 🙂

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December 29, 2010

Desperate for a salad :-(

Filed under: animals, boats, daily doings, weather — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:37 pm

Now let me first apologise for not replying to the multitude of kind words and comments left on my third anniversary, they’re all much appreciated, especially the ones from faithful followers recently emerging from the woodwork 🙂 I will reply, but not just yet cos I’m whacked, the recent festivities and long awaited thaw having taken its toll on my ageing body.

I wasn’t going to even post tonight but the recent surge in activity, due to me being shortlisted along with twelve other ‘proper’ blogs has given a tiny bit of energy to scribble a few lines before bed.

The visitors have all left, the turkey is finished and despite struggling to fasten up my trousers this morning I made it into work. Actually I made it into work yesterday to let my ‘back to back’ away and say hello to the good ship Loch Striven, which had at last returned from the Clyde.

Having to cut my day short to join the ship had seen me just pottering about the croft in the morning, clearing up and doing some work on my old hydro turbine. Since the commissioning of the ‘Stream Engine’ my 200w Navitron has been made redundant. It’s a fine unit, if not a little rough round the edges and I decided to give it the once over with a view to using it on a future project.

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When I bought this Chinese unit a few years ago I stripped it down as far as the guarantee would allow to make it more suited to a harsh west coast environment. I pulled the controller  apart and made good some of the atrocious soldering and replaced all the cr4ppy Chinese bolts and screws with quality stainless items. I did try to remove the ‘turgo runner’ to clean it up balance it, paint it and rebuild it with ‘Coppaslip’ on the shaft. At the time this proved impossible without damaging it and thus voiding the warranty so I left it.

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A few hours work with a drill and tap had it extricated to reveal the ‘dump load’ below it, that’s it around the shaft. Any surplus power generated by the turbine is diverted into that resistive load and cooled by the incoming water.

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It’s quite crude and already the insulation had started to break down but functioned well for the two years that it was running and at the price (a tenth) of the Stream Engine it was good value for money.

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Compared to the beautiful cast bronze runners on the Harris turbine and Stream Engine this bit of mild steel held together by bird 5h1t is a bit of a joke but as I said it was cheap and did the job. With a proper runner, some decent SKF bearings and a lick of paint I’m sure there’s much more mileage in it yet 🙂

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All too soon however it was time to head south past Dun Caan and on to work,

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which at 14:20 was just being detached from Scotland 🙂

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The MV Loch Linnhe may be faster and quieter but it was good to be back on the run with our own ferry 🙂

A ceremonial dinner of turkey pie to say farewell to Christmas kept me up late last night so there was no posting and this morning I was up at 5:30 wrestling with my trousers. So after yet another fine meal involving a dead animal I’m going to bed 🙂 The venison spaghetti Bolognese was delicious and unavoidable due to the time that the mince had been out of the freezer but I’d have much preferred a good healthy salad 🙂

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So I’ll just leave you with the lovely mild weather


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and a picture of the ‘wee dug’

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who took ‘time out’ today for a trip to Torran on the quad, though this is her looking somewhat guilty when she returned to feed her three day old pups 🙂

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