Life at the end of the road

July 13, 2011

The five hour tow :-(

Filed under: boats, daily doings, hydro, shed/house — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:09 pm

A very productive day indeed just about sums up today’s effort and to say that I’m pleased with what’s been achieved would be a bit of an understatement. Not only that but it must have been the hottest and best day of the summer so far. I say must have been for I spent the vast majority of it sea so was spared the heat but when I was on land it was roasting 🙂

The task for the day was to go and pick up some feed blower pipe from a local fish farm for use on the planned hydro turbine that will eventually supply our new house. I probably already have enough but it’s all in six or seven meter lengths which would require joining, and as I need 500m that’s an awful lot of joints. In the past I’ve made joints myself but it requires 90mm internal diameter pipe, of which I’ve little left and is very labour intensive, OK for 20 joints but not for around 80. My other option would be to buy compression joints at around £15 each


fusion joints


at around £12 each and borrow a machine to fit them, or I could hire an MDPE pipe welder for around £300 per week which I seriously considered. However I’d lose two days going to Inverness and back to collect it. So when my good mate from Manitoba managed to source some 800m of 78mm internal diameter pipe a mere 15 miles away by sea I jumped at the chance. He only required 200m and needed 26m of 150mm pipe that I had so a deal was struck, I’d supply the boat and fuel and we’d drop his pipe off at Oskaig on the way back.

Today’s forecast was perfect for it, so after making our arrangements yesterday I set off from Arnish at 7:00 after feeding the pigs.

 130711 001

At 7:15 I pointed the bow of the little Pioner west and headed for Manish,

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said goodbye to Torran

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and thirty minutes later passed Holoman island and arrived at Manitoba.

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The old ‘almshouse’ at Oskaig is about halfway but acquiring two strapping lads and Beau the collie slowed the wee boat down considerably and it took well over an hour to reach our destination up Loch Ainort.

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Still, with weather like this it was no great hardship 🙂

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Eventually we arrived at our jumble of pipes on the floating jetty there and set about sorting out which end of the 70 to 90m long pipes to pull first.

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We cut little ‘V’s in the ends with a saw and pulled them off one at a time joining the next one one before it went off the walkway. Even by splitting our load in two it still meant there was 500m trailing behind the wee boat 🙂 The job went smoother than we could dared have hoped for, and by 10:55 we were chuntering down Loch Ainort at around 3Knts 😦


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Still, I can think of worse things to do on a Wednesday and two and a half hours later I dropped my two mates off with two lengths of pipe in Holoman bay and continued north on my own.



Just check out the length of that pipe, it’s almost off the picture 🙂

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The slow journey hugging the shore to escape the worst of the south going flood tide gave me ample opportunity to see the many caves and arches that grace this bit of coastline north of Inver.

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You can always count on sheep to graze in daft places 🙂

sheep on ledge

With 200m less pipe and three less bodies I must have made almost half a knot on my top speed so arrived at Camasnagaul in Loch Arnish around 16:15.

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I’d phoned my two mates up as I’d cleared Manish point and they soon joined me by road to assist in getting the pipes ashore.

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Which, much to our surprise turned out to be the hardest part of the day,

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the ropes kept snapping, the cleggs (horse fly) kept biting and the evening sun was roasting.

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A far cry from what ‘normal’ people do in their spare time but after a couple of hours we had the pipe ashore the Pioner on its mooring and were in our kitchen enjoying cold meats, salad and boiled potatoes 🙂

With the 600 or so meters of 90mm pipe at the north end of Raasay it was time to prepare the two 13m lengths of 150mm for its trip south by road.

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I did come up with a novel solution but it did involve removing the front and rear screens from my neighbours Metro 🙂 Good job there are no Police on Raasay 🙂



  1. One of your better escapades that I have read about here 🙂 Gave me a laugh. No police – no ‘elf & safety. No worry about another boat cutting through your 500m stern trailers? and as for “the best use of a metro” – you win hands down 😉

    Comment by Timbo614 — July 13, 2011 @ 11:15 pm

    • Morning Timbo,

      glad you liked yesterdays epic 🙂 dunno about no worries over the 500m tow, I phoned up the ferry to tell them to steer clear, I had phone contacts for the local boats but I was a wee bit worried about yachts. As it turned out we only saw two the whole day and they were miles away. In retrospect a handheld VHF would have been handy, as would tying an orange buoy on the end but it was a bit of a last minute decision to do it 🙂

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 14, 2011 @ 5:30 am

  2. Glad you’re getting some nice weather, it looks lovely up there! Quite a challenge to get the pipe, but that’s the price you have to pay for living in such a remote place! I’m off to Canada today for 6 weeks and am going to miss my daily fix of Raasay – hope I’ll be able to pop in now and again when I can get to a computer. Hope the summer continues well for you, and hope the YH is busy!


    Comment by francesp — July 14, 2011 @ 7:28 am

    • Hi Frances,
      enjoy Canada, the weather looks like it’s going to go pear shaped here so you’re probably in the best place 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 14, 2011 @ 9:34 pm

  3. Hi Paul.Stunning pics.Is that what the Navy would call a towed array(of pipe).Good to see the Metro being fitted with a twin big bore exhaust pipe,that should get your journey time down from home to the ferry, though it will get a tad warm in the drivers seat 🙂

    Comment by Andy — July 14, 2011 @ 8:39 am

    • Hi Andy,
      ‘big bore’ indeed 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 14, 2011 @ 9:35 pm

  4. What a cracking story Paul, you really are a nutter sometimes! I am on my way up to Skye this evening, shame the weather isnt going to hold for the weekend 😦 I have an appointment with Sgurr Nan Gillean on Friday, might see you around.

    Comment by Simon — July 14, 2011 @ 9:16 am

    • I’ll keep an eye out for the wee Micra Simon 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 14, 2011 @ 9:36 pm

  5. Hi Paul, cracking tale. I’d always wondered what Metros were made for….

    Comment by Iain — July 14, 2011 @ 3:00 pm

    • Best place for a Metro is the big car park in the sky Iain 🙂 along with all the Morris Marinas and Austin Allegros. It’s no wonder the UK car industry went t**s up 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 14, 2011 @ 9:39 pm

  6. Think I saw u passing Paul. I was sitting on the western
    cliff at Inver! The rest of the family were down on the beach. Hot! Hot! Hot!

    Comment by David Peakman — July 14, 2011 @ 4:17 pm

    • Aye David, that was me, saw you soaking up the sun on the rocks and the family splashing in the sea 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 14, 2011 @ 9:40 pm

  7. I’m a landlubber midlander, engineer and lover of wildlife and countryside and it’s the first time I’ve commented but have been popping in for a good few months. This is a beautiful, uplifting site and hope you can sustain it. Your enthusiasm is infectious and I just wanted to say thank you.

    Comment by Derek — July 14, 2011 @ 6:46 pm

    • Welcome aboard Derek, glad you’re enjoying my ramblings 🙂

      Thanks, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 14, 2011 @ 9:42 pm

    • >> This is a beautiful, uplifting site and hope you can sustain it. Your enthusiasm is infectious and I just wanted to say thank you.

      Seconded. Although I am only a “software engineer” not deemed a proper one! I like the technical details of the renewable energy projects – More please, I need to learn more 🙂

      Comment by Timbo614 — July 14, 2011 @ 9:43 pm

      • You’re too Kind Timbo, wish I knew more about software 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 15, 2011 @ 6:24 am

  8. What a Tube…! Did your pigs get their sunfactor applied? Glad you got a good spell for your holidays. Hope to see you all soon, and its Camus a Bhu’alt – nothing to do with coal.. xxx

    Comment by sotw — July 14, 2011 @ 10:34 pm

    • Many thanks for that She, but what does it mean 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 15, 2011 @ 6:23 am

  9. I stumbled across these….

    …and immediately thought of you. Okay, I know you’re more diesels and renewables but wood is renewable. Although you’d probably have to do a lot of planting to keep one of these beasties going!

    My personal favourite is towards the end, the Greenwood &Bailey turbine-driven gen-set. Simply because I like turbines and it looks ready to go. 😀

    Comment by Stonehead — July 15, 2011 @ 6:05 pm

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