Life at the end of the road

April 13, 2011

Leaks, squirts, blockages and bursts :-(

Filed under: animals, boats, daily doings, hydro — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:45 pm

Way too tired for posting last night after a day that just seemed to speed by like more and more do when you pass fifty 🙂 It got off to a pleasant enough start, at least I think it did, another problem with passing the half century is the memory 😦 Anyway I arrived at work to see an old friend tied up alongside the outside face of our new pier, Lyrawa Bay.

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Though when I knew her she looked more like this one, Nitorx,


with superstructure offset to the starboard side and a small wheelhouse amidships.

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You’d hardly believe they were both sister ships of 1970s vintage from the same Norwegian yard. It says something for their construction when they’re both still working hard over thirty years on. Lyrawa Bay for, hope their boats are better than their website 🙂 Only joking, it’s not finished yet 🙂 She’s just finished a spell of servicing Maersk container ships laid up in the Clyde and Loch Striven.


And you’ll find a detailed account here and a full size image on Gerrad’s excellent blog.

The last time I saw her was in the James Watt dock Greenock last June when I believe her skipper was a certain tug boat skipper who’d assisted in the construction of our new pier whilst serving on the tug Hermes. I did wonder if he’d just come up to admire it 🙂

The rest of the day at work was yet another ‘four seasons’ in one, with blazing sunshine that had me finishing painting the funnel and hail showers that made the masking tape impossible to remove :-(  Still, I finished at 15:30, towed my 800lts of ‘gas oil D’ home and got it pumped into my tanks before the next fierce shower. I also spotted another bench at Clachan,

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though I’m not sure if it was there yesterday and I didn’t notice it or weather it appeared on Tuesday.


Having a house full of children on holiday with us for the week had me up early and out before the usual morning chaos so I could go and fix my quad in peace 🙂

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The rear left hand wheel bearing had failed on my Honda TRX 350 quad last ‘week off’ so I had to get it sorted so the rest of my team could help with the days tasks. It’s a simple enough job to do once you get the wheel off and axle tube (four nuts on each and a big one on the shaft). I’d done all that last week so it was just a matter of driving home the bearing and seal, bolting on the tube, then slipping the new hub on the shaft. A little grease on the splines to prevent wear and a little ‘Loctite’ on the inside of the bearing to stop it turning.

The house was still silent so I went to check out my ‘Stream Engine’ hydro turbine. Whilst cleaning out the header tank last week I’d noticed that the first (smallest) penstock was blocked. Having so much water flowing down the other two had not affected the output but that would change when it eventually stops raining 🙂

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A big advantage of the ‘Stream engine’ over the ‘Harris turbine’ is the ease with which you can do this, four 7/16ths nuts has the nozzle holder out in a jiffy whereas you have to lift the Harris off its base.

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Well that was well and truly blocked with gunge hey.

With that sorted and ‘second breakfast’ eaten I gathered my team and we set off for Loch Beag over a mile away.

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I’ve had a pipe in here now for exactly a month now drawing 3lts/sec and the level is holding steady, it did drop a few inches in the first fortnight but the recent rain has topped it up. It’s early days yet but this could go a long way towards powering the new house 🙂

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As an experiment we dammed up a small outlet where it drains into the slightly lower and much larger Loch an Uachdair via a bog at the western end.

The next job was a trip up to North Arnish to check my neighbous water supply which had failed, all was well in the well so to speak so we followed the pipe down to her house.

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Another blockage 😦 this time in the stop tap, but still no water, so a trek back up the hill inspecting the pipe more closely this time and looking for joints. Not an easy task through the undergrowth with years of heather covering it.

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Eventually however we found the culprit, a burst joint, no doubt caused by the sudden blockage. Of course being old ‘imperial’ black pipe I’d no fittings but will have and they’re only a ‘click’ away 🙂

As if that wasn’t enough on the burst pipe front,

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I had two more to deal with, one pig related,

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and one frost damaged.

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OK, I know it’s a bit rough but my fittings had run out 🙂

After all that I needed to unwind, so after feeding everyone and having dinner I went for a wander with my shotgun as I wanted to chop off a length of that imperial pipe to measure it.

The only thing I shot at was a puddle but I saw two bonny stags, twelve hinds and found another antler.

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  1. Good day Paul. Yes indeed i was on the Lyrawabay for a visit to Raasay.I had intended to have a chat however we over slept!!!! had an appointment with Fuel man at Portree. We are harvesting fish at lochtorridon. should be finished sun 17th then its back to the clyde..On another note AMC went bust again, With the owners of Lyrawabay Buying the Hermes!! So I sailed her from Troon to Clydebank where we collected an old ferry for Ardmalish and my Isle of Bute. Regards to all.

    Comment by kevan mcneil — April 14, 2011 @ 5:56 am

    • Hi Kevan,

      pity I missed you, would have liked a tour of the vastly modified Lyrawa Bay 🙂 Good to see the Hermes is still in use, she’s a fine looking old tug. Atlas Marine should have been called Phoenix Marine cos they certainly keep rising from the ashes 🙂 Send my regards to all at Armaliesh if you’re ever down there again.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — April 14, 2011 @ 8:07 pm

  2. Hi Paul

    Talking about ‘old friends’ tying up at the new pier, I hear through the grapevine that the Waverley will be making an overnight visit with you soon.

    Comment by Derek — April 14, 2011 @ 3:15 pm

    • Hi Derek,

      I’m glad you spotted it because according to their website map Scotland finishes at Armadale 😦 Even if you click on Armadale it makes no mention of the excursions from Raasay, Kyle, Broadford or Gairloch 😦 I thought when I booked it two weeks ago they would have updated the site by now but it appears not. OK, if you study the left hand side bar as it scrolls up and are quick enough to spot it, but how many people have missed it ?????

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — April 14, 2011 @ 8:01 pm

      • Sorry Paul, I must have missed your blog when you spoke about the Waverley visit. I’ve only been on it once a good number of years ago but the sight of the massive steam engine has never left me. Truly amazing. You will be like a kid in a toy shop 😉

        Comment by Derek — April 14, 2011 @ 9:36 pm

      • Morning Derek,

        I’m really looking forward to it, I’ve never been on her but I have been under her whilst I was clam diving, she passed quite close to me in the Scalpay Narrows one day. Well it was a few hundred yards but what a shock I got when I surfaced, normally you hear internal combustion and screw powered craft coming from over a mile a away, the Waverley is almost silent underwater by comparison.

        Cheers, Paul

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — April 15, 2011 @ 6:12 am

  3. The old Waverley – incredible to think she’s still plying her wares. Remember her well from my childhood days on Clydeside. She was a bit of alocal, legendary landmark really, even back then – about 50 years ago – one of those special ‘things’, you probably never forget! Never forget all that busy splashing and the noise…..well! Wonder how she’s doing now. Look forward to your report, Paul, in due course.

    Comment by Iain — April 14, 2011 @ 8:35 pm

    • Morning , can’t wait 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — April 15, 2011 @ 6:14 am

  4. Nice to see the Lyrawa Bay harvesting again, brings back very happy memories! Thanks for the call the other day.

    Comment by The Purser — April 15, 2011 @ 9:19 pm

    • Hi Purser, I saw the boat, heard the generator and thought of you 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — April 17, 2011 @ 6:34 pm

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