Life at the end of the road

January 30, 2011

I wish I could tell you more :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, Land Rover — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:18 pm

The problem is that I’ve left my power supply for the laptop on the ferry and I’m already down to 28% power on my battery 😦 Anyway, I’ll try and get as much done as possible and upload it before the battery dies, so here goes.  Well obviously it’s Sunday because yesterday was Saturday, which regular readers will know is a nice late start for me. This late start means a chance to have a good look at the pigs whilst I feed them in daylight and it also gives me chance to go and check on the hydro turbine inlet.

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All was fine in both departments, Thelma and Louise were growing nicely for customers on Raasay and Skye. The fine hydro screen on top of the header tank (made from a quarry riddle) required a wee scrape to remove the dead leaves but the coarse filter (made from a freezer basket) where the burn passes through a beautiful dry stone wall was fine. The rain through the night had pushed the output up to a very respectable 500w, the wind was freshening and I set off for work in a good mood 🙂

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Actually, I’m always in a good mood on Sunday, it’s a short day and the ‘working weeks’ back is broken, only two sailings and a chance to catch up with the maintenance and drills.

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After a little painting around the funnel casing, some work on the liferafts,and  the customary ‘weekly scrub’ I left the rest of the crew to it and went below to replace the guards on the main engines. There had been a few minor oil leaks, which could only be detected and repaired with the guards removed, so after checking they were refitted.

That took me nicely up to lunchtime or ‘Landy time’ as it’s known on Sunday, and today’s task, apart from the fortnightly wash was an oil change and speedometer replacement. All of which are relatively straight forward, or at least they should be 😦

More ‘Britpart Shitpart’

Now I’ve lost count of the number of oil changes that I’ve done on the ‘Old girl’ but I’ve had her for over 100,000 miles, changed the oil every 3000 so it must be at least 30 🙂 There’s not much that can go wrong with an oil change really, unless your a clown. Me, I do have my ‘clown’ moments but doing oil changes is second nature, I’ve been doing them for forty years and the last time that I stripped a sump plug was on a 1964 Mk 1 Cortina 😦 So when I removed the sump plug on the Land Rover to drain the oil and the head came off the plug I knew it was not my fault. It may not have been my fault but it was quite serious, for now I had to decide weather to leave it dripping but full of oil or have a go at removing the broken bit that was residing in the sump. Fearing that that remaining bit would find its own way out of the sump somewhere near Glame and 5 miles from anywhere in a blizzard I opted to have ago at removing it.

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Here you can see the offending plug, you can also see the miniscule amount of steel left around the threads after it was machined out to take a magnet. What you cannot see is the label on the packet that this plug came in, a label that said ‘BRITPART’

Admittedly I purchased this magnetic plug some years ago from a guy off eBay, and it’s probably been in and out 10 or 20 times but there’s no getting away from the fact that that hole is machined too deep.

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With the rest of the plug and its magnet still in the sump I got a punch and knocked the magnet into the sump. This let the oil out and left me with an 8mm hole.

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Once the oil was drained out of the sump I inserted an allen key into the hole and managed to unscrew the remaining threaded portion of the plug. The magnet was still in the sump but being a magnet would hopefully stay put 🙂

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Of course being a Land Rover it’s some bizarre thread around 11mm but I managed to get the old plug in with lots of PTFE tape and it will do for now.

Once that was done I turned my attention to the speedometer with 200k on it, I had phoned up MacRae and Dick in Inverness for a genuine one and been told £331 + VAT 😦 Now I might be fond of the ‘Old Girl’ but I’m not that obsessed 🙂 so instead I’d chosen the ‘blue box’ Britpart option.

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£230 pounds cheaper and it looks quite good, I should have know better, it reads between 5 and 10MPH fast, wobbles like a jelly, and whilst the face is poorly illuminated, its plastic casing bleeds light onto the warning panel and under the dashboard :-( 

Anyway that’s it, my battery is about to die 😦


  1. Please excuse my ignorance – is “Britpart” made in China ?

    Comment by sotw — January 31, 2011 @ 8:48 am

  2. Congratulations on winning the best blog competition. Reading your blog and seeing the superb photographs brighten my day and make me forget that I’m stuck in a rat raced,potholed,speed cushioned(an inappropriate name if there ever was one)unwanted EU nanny state that even tells me what to put in my rubbish bin or three, and that our countries protection against hostile elements is nullified despite the massive bloodbaths of wars to protect our land.
    I’m sick of being told I must eat 5 portions of fruit and veg a day, that the bread i buy must be eaten by a certain date, and that a tins of Tuna and Bully Beef have such a long ‘use by’date on them I wonder what else is in the tin!
    And what did happen to the Baked Beans stockpiled (by your neighbours in Stornoway) against a Nuclear Attack? AAAHHHHHH…

    Comment by sotw — January 31, 2011 @ 9:17 am

  3. Hi Paul.Congratulations on the award,well deserved.Drop your sump asap.Being a blue box part it could have unheard of magnetic properties or none at all,it may have already found its way into the back of your new speedo.All the best.


    Comment by Andy — January 31, 2011 @ 10:16 am

  4. Hi Paul, sincere congratulations on Blog of the Year Award, richly deserved. Just hope you can go on blogging to the great delight of all your followers. Regards to all the family, animals and the good folk of Raasay.

    Comment by Robert Findlay — January 31, 2011 @ 12:47 pm

  5. Only just spotted it. Many congratulations on Blogger of the Year.

    Well deserved if I may say so.

    Comment by Rienza — January 31, 2011 @ 1:41 pm

  6. That’s brilliant well done Paul

    Comment by chrisb — January 31, 2011 @ 5:08 pm

  7. Well done and well-deserved, Paul. A great blog.



    Comment by Frank McVey — January 31, 2011 @ 5:48 pm

  8. Hearty congrats, Paul. Richly deserved recognition mate. A cracking blog that lifts me beyond the daily grind in my suburban 9 to 5. Long may it continue.

    Comment by Lloyd — January 31, 2011 @ 7:10 pm

  9. Congratulations on a well deserved award. Now when people comment “say, have you read that great blog from that guy on an island off of Scotland?”, I can proudly say “I’ve been reading it for years!”. Keep up the good work.

    Comment by Morgan Will — February 1, 2011 @ 12:02 am

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