Life at the end of the road

March 18, 2011

It must have been a fluke :-)

Filed under: daily doings, hydro, stonework, weather — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:34 pm

Probably going to be pretty short effort tonight I’m afraid, early start tomorrow and a 110 mile drive to Fort William and the ‘Renewable energy and heat fair’   There’s a hydro workshop on the main stage at 10:30 and I’d like to get there in time for that, plus there’s quite a few people doing UFH, solar hot water and solar PV, all things that will be going into the new house.

The day started as usual with a round of pig feeding only this day I had a rifle as well as a feed bucket, rather a large rifle in fact 🙂 The crows have been getting bolder of late and have sussed out the accurate range of my .22 Anschutz. I have shot a couple over the last month but they’ve now taken to waiting in the trees on the croft opposite until I’m out of sight. I do have a niggling respect for crows, they’re incredibly intelligent, can spot the difference between a walking stick and a rifle and have a variety of warning calls depending on the nature of the threat. I had to laugh when I heard  some wild life program on the radio saying that crows had just discovered how to break open mussel shells by dropping them from a great height. I felt like phoning them up and telling them that they’ve been doing it for years 🙂

As usual, as soon as I stepped out of the front door they gave a warning caw and flew off just out of range of the ‘Anny’, any seasoned observer of the ‘hoodie’ would have said that it was a deeper more raucous sound because I had a rifle slung over my shoulder. My hearing is so bad that it just sounded like a crow to me 🙂

After feeding everyone I spotted one high in a tree on the croft opposite, lulling the hoodie into a false sense of security by walking a further 25 yards away from where he was before resting my .243 Alex Martin hunting rifle on a wall I took aim. The .243 is a bit of a cannon compared to the .22 and the bullet could well travel a couple of miles so a ‘back stop’ is essential and was provided by the cliffs above Torran a mile away.


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Despite him being just a speck in my telescopic sight he dropped like a stone when I squeezed the trigger, I don’t know who was more surprised, me or the crow 🙂

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He was a good 150 meters away in one of these trees, I was most impressed with myself 🙂

Don’t shed any tears for the hoodie, the vet was over on Raasay a couple of weeks ago stitching up a poor ewe, she’d fallen over on her side and the crows had pecked through her skin and into her belly before she could get up 😦 That one survived thanks to Rhona Campbell the vet but I’ve seen plenty with their eyes plucked out that had to be finished off with a gun.

The bonny morning quickly turned to cr4p after that, with a band of torrential rain racing in from the west, the forecast had said it was on for the day so I turned my attention to the house.

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Specifically to the site of a minor fire above the kitchen stove some months ago 😦 That copper rail is where we often hang the washing above the oil stove, on this occasion someone who shall remain nameless did it whilst the gas cooker was lit and a bit of clothing caught fire. Fortunately no serious harm was done and an invaluable lesson was learned 🙂

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Even before I’d finished the first coat of paint the sun came out and I was off outside like a shot, I cannot bear to be indoors in good weather 🙂

The ‘wee dug’ and I went over to my mates at Torran to do the fortnightly battery, water and turbine check.

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I had taken some pruning shears to cut a few brambles on the way up to his water tank on the Kyle Rona path but got carried away. The track was far more over grown than I’d realized so I spent a good half hour cutting back birch, hazel and willow that had encroached on the once clear path.

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This once well trodden and maintained path to Fladda, Umachan and Kyle Rona is rapidly degrading,

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but there’s certainly nothing wrong with this amazing stone bridge over the burn by the mission and schoolhouse 🙂

The rest of the day was spent in the trenches then clearing out the cr4p from the mornings downpour from the hydro turbine. It will probably be an ongoing thing until I finally get the drain cleared.

The screen and top filter had been stopping most of the debris disturbed by my drain clearing but I split the smallest penstock lower down just to ensure it was clear.

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Last year when I fitted the Stream Engine and my new ‘multi penstock’ system I’d discovered this 😦


The smallest (50mm) pipe was silting up after two years use,

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so I gave it a good rodding out with a 32mm pipe but all was well 🙂

Anyway, that’s about it, almost 21:30 and time for my bed, so I’ll just leave you with the weather.

weather 180311


graph 180311



  1. Hi Paul

    Is there anyone whose job it is to clear paths like the one to Kyle Rona (apart from you – and it’s not exactly your job)? The first part from the climb up from Fladda towards the Umachan fork isn’t too bad but from there it was difficult to follow when I last tried it about 8 years ago. The upper path above the schoolhouse wasn’t too bad either and it looks good where Molly is standing, but that’s before the bracken and ferns grow in the summer months.

    Enjoy the Fort William fair!



    Comment by Sue — March 19, 2011 @ 9:11 am

    • Sue, way back in the not so distant past the ghillies and crofters were paid an allowance for maintaining hill paths, these days it very much a do it yourself thing.

      Comment by Phil Cook — March 22, 2011 @ 2:13 pm

    • Morning Sue,

      when I first moved here the council did actually maintain the path to Fladda, not very often but at least they made an effort. Latterly Innes of the Peat Bog Faeries has been doing repair work on both the Kyle Rona path and Inver but I’m not sure who pays him. Definitely May or June is the time to walk them 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 23, 2011 @ 5:48 am

  2. Nice shot Paul. There are a few hoodies of a different kind that could do with shooting down here.

    Sue, I walked that path a few months back and found it fine. Maybe it was because it was winter.

    Comment by simon — March 19, 2011 @ 10:55 am

    • Thanks, Simon – i’ll be walking it in June!

      Comment by Sue — March 20, 2011 @ 9:06 am

  3. Hope your Ft.William visit was worthwhile. Wondering about Tuesday evening etc. I think the weather is to be better, also the light will be there…? Cheers.

    Comment by sotw — March 19, 2011 @ 9:50 pm

  4. Hope this link works Paul. Mrs P might like it.

    Comment by Rienza — March 20, 2011 @ 10:01 pm

    • Morning Rienza,

      poxy broadband connection won’t open the link 😦

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 23, 2011 @ 5:49 am

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