Life at the end of the road

February 3, 2011

A right good blast :-)

Filed under: daily doings, hydro, Land Rover, weather, wind turbine — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:38 pm

Today has been the first day that it’s actually felt like a proper west coast winter, contrary to popular belief it’s not that cold here, seldom snows and rarely does the car need de icing. OK, I know we’ve been cut off twice and frozen for days but that’s exceptional, or at least it was until the weather went barmy. No the normal west coast offering is windy, wet, mild, dark and very dark.  January seems to last forever and seldom passes without cancelled ferry sailings, toppled trees broken car windows at Sconser.

The first and usually worst month of the year went by with nothing more than a couple of missed sailings three weeks ago and it’s been left to February to do deal the first proper gale of the winter. It was well forecast right enough and we’ve all been waiting for it since the back end of last month so there should be no excuse for wheelie bins strewn across the road. To be honest I’ve been looking forward to it in a way as I love being inside and listening to the sound of a storm outside, or at least I do now I don’t have a boat in the water 🙂 And as I write this it’s just touched 62mph for long enough for my weather station log to read ‘Storm force 10’

From Wiki

Storm force 10
Whole gale
wind speed, 89–102 km/h
wave height, 9–12.5 m
Very high waves with overhanging crests. Large patches of foam from wave crests give the sea a white appearance. Considerable tumbling of waves with heavy impact. Large amounts of airborne spray reduce visibility.
Trees are broken off or uprooted, saplings bent and deformed. Poorly attached asphalt shingles and shingles in poor condition peel off roofs.

File:Beaufort scale 10.jpg

55–63 mph

48–55 kn
29–41 ft

24.5–28.4 m/s

weather 030211

graph 020211

The day however did not start off like this, the day started with the surprise of a fresh dusting, and it was just the faintest of coverings of snow. Indeed there was the thinnest of coatings of ice upon the pig troughs and puddles which I had to break to draw water for Jamie Lea.

Pigs fed, I once more offered to do the school run, if there was a ‘dusting’ at Arnish there could be proper snow and ice on the high moor at Glam.



As it turned out the road was fine and we’d a pleasant run down, disturbing a rather scrawny looking stag at Tarbet and stopping for a while to watch some clam divers off Oscaig. The Ullapool registered Atlania was just off Sgier Chnapach (and that’s not how you spell it 🙂 ) and it took me back almost ten years to my many dives in the area, one of which ended up by me being airlifted by the same rescue helicopter from Stornoway that the Whitehall numpties want to sell off.

The Dude was soon at school, the dog at Jessie’s and me on top of a skip 🙂

 030211 004

There was another huge piece of larch washed up on the shore and it seemed like a good way to get it on the roof along with another old and battered sign from the ferry queue 🙂

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After a wee strupach with Jessie Molly and I set off home taking the high road to look at the new turning place that Hugh MacKay is building for the Forestry Commision. I can’t find a definition on Google for strupach but it’s a Highland ‘tea and biscuits’ or snack, It’s also the name of a band and an excellent show on Cuillin FM by Andy Mitchell 🙂

 030211 007

Only continuing for a further half mile or so before stopping to chase a rabbit and admire the view over Oscaig to Ben Tianavaig . The rabbit was safe from the dog full of milk and the Atlantia had moved on towards Camus Tianavaig .

Once home, and after a second breakfast of home made bacon, sausages and an ‘Isle of Raasay stores’ egg (our hens aren’t laying) I set off out to unload the Land Rover, clean out Jamie Lea then ride over to Torran to make sure all was lashed down their. Whilst over there I ventured down to the shore to check the boats and have a look at my hydro turbine which was producing an unheard of 960w.

030211 008

So far it had been dry, fresh and pretty pleasant, though I knew it would not last, sure enough after lunch it rapidly went downhill.  The dry fresh south westerly became wet windy southerly and I spent a good part of the afternoon checking battery banks and doing inside work.



South wind is the worst direction for my little ‘Rutland FM910 furlmatic’ wind turbine and this video, which I took after checking the 12v battery bank illustrates why. With steady wind of 40mph from the south the turbine is all over the place, this despite it being on a mast some 14m tall. The southern aspect from here is shielded by a hill and low lying birch, even though the turbine is well above the trees it suffers from the turbulence they induce, reducing output and putting inordinate strain on the yaw bearings. Having said that there are not many options for improving it, being 12v, moving it further up the hill would require much heavier cable to counteract the volt drop so the only way is up, as in higher, and it’s already pretty high 😦 To be honest I only keep this going for old time sake as it’s been made completely superfluous since I bought the Proven almost six years ago. Still, for fifteen years it kept the lights burning and the Tilley lamps redundant so I’m kind of attached to it 🙂


The Proven however, which is properly sited with an open aspect all around the top of the hill on which it resides shows no such problems.


If you look carefully on the Proven video you can see ‘water going uphill’ above Torran, over a mile away. I know the videos are cr4p but it was blowing a gale and absolutely pishing with rain 😦

030211 023

030211 026  030211 030  030211 031


It was around now, 16:00 that wifey set off to pick up the boy from school, on her return she informed me that it was a complete ‘white out’ with the rain and the only reason she didn’t turn the car around was because she couldn’t. The postie on the other hand did give up, and who could blame her, she got as far as Glam and gave up due to the rain !!!!!

030211 015

What can I say 🙂

Who says ‘lightning never strikes twice’

The crappy weather had seen me ‘popping into the house’ more than usual for the odd cuppa, and it was whilst inside on one of my forays for warmth and shelter that I discovered this


on the website    

The first French trawler ‘Jack Abry’ which had been towed into Stornoway  by the newly instated ETV ‘Anglian Prince’ on the 14/2/2001 (almost nine years exactly) after striking a rock off North Uist 🙂 you’ve got to laugh really



  1. If the weather really is so mild up there Paul, how come my hens are laying when yours are not? 🙂

    Seriously though, heard on Radio 2 that Calmac were cancelling ferries today.

    Comment by lloyd — February 3, 2011 @ 10:57 pm

    • The hens are even laying at the south end of Raasay Lloyd 🙂 I think it’s just ours 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 3, 2011 @ 11:08 pm

  2. hey Paul!
    Love the gale pictures… kinda glad I’m not getting this in Sweden!!
    Hope the island survives okay 🙂

    Fiona G

    Comment by ramblingsofshrek — February 4, 2011 @ 5:47 pm

  3. Hi Paul,

    seeing this videos with that strong gales, I wonder if it’s such a good idea to do the crossing from Applecross to Raasay with the kayaks … (as planned for may) . keep blogging 🙂

    Comment by Anja — February 4, 2011 @ 11:08 pm

    • Hopefully it will be better in May Anja 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 4, 2011 @ 11:42 pm

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