Life at the end of the road

July 15, 2011

Bogged :-(

Filed under: daily doings, food, for sale, hydro, Land Rover, shed/house — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:20 pm

Our little spell of summer looks like it’s coming to and end if the weather forecasters are to be believed, me I’m not convinced. It wasn’t supposed to be that great yesterday but turned out lovely and today was supposed to see a band of rain and cloud arriving on the back of some southwest wind but that never arrived either. OK, we had a few spots of rain around 18:00 but nothing to put on a jacket for.

Thursday was kind of a rest day after the pipe epic on Wednesday and most of was spent pleasantly at my parents on the shores of Loch Duich.

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As usual, in an exchange for a little wood cutting we were spoilt rotten with a fine home made pizza for lunch 🙂 Not really, mum would have made me a pizza anyway even if I’d have fell asleep in the chair, which incidentally I did, but after the lunch and wood cutting 🙂

I always leave my parents with some kind of ‘red cross parcel’ for the wayward son, be it home made pesto, a bottle of wine or some of my dads tools. Yesterday however I left with their car 🙂 The wee Daihatsu of wifey’s is just too small for the amount of people and luggage that we seem to be ferrying up and down ‘Calum’s road’ these days. We were just thinking of getting shut of it and buying something larger when my parents bought something a little smaller than their Nissan Almera and offered it to us 🙂

I’ll miss the wee ‘pocket rocket’ it was a delight to drive down ‘Calum’s road’ being narrow enough to miss many of the potholes and the four wheel drive certainly helped in the winter. It did however have the most ridiculously small fuel tank and the spares cost an arm and a leg. Not a problem on the mainland where petrol stations abound, but on Raasay it was a 40 mile round trip and a journey on the ferry just to put the £30 worth of fuel in it that filled it up 😦

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£800 for anyone daft enough to buy it 🙂 only 85K, though most of them were on single track 🙂 taxed till November, tested till January, all good tyres and only done 1000m since last service. Fantastic car for tall people with narrow drive ways but if you want to put anything in the boot forget it 🙂

Wifey and the dude left in the new Almera trying desperately to get to grips with the heater, sorry climate control, I mean what was wrong with a big knob or sliding lever with blue at one end and red at the other 🙂 I followed on later in my steed of ten years and caught the 16:15 ferry.


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Taking the ‘high road’ to see what was left of the forest and watch the huge John Deere forwarder at work.

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I also got a good view of the Home loch,

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which should now be a little less midgy 🙂

At times I question my sanity 🙂

Having been in my bed early last night without the mental strain of bashing away on here, I arose full of enthusiasm and ready to drag my boy out on pipe laying mission. The 90mm feed blower pipe that we’d got ashore on Wednesday needing dragging a mile overland to get in position for the new hydro turbine.

Now when I first started considering my new hydro scheme in Loch Beag I reckoned on 500m of pipe for the penstock and 1500m of cable. The 500m route being the sanest and shortest route over the inhospitable terrain to get me 75 to 80m of head.

When my mate put me onto this feed blower pipe he said he’d measured it as being in 70 or 80m lengths, so what I towed up to Arnish on Wednesday was more than enough. However when the boy and I started towing it overland to the site I discovered that my mate obviously has much longer legs than me, for the first two pipes that I measured were well over 90m 🙂

At first I started using the Land Rover for the tow, figuring the quad would not have the power or traction for the steep uphill sections before the heather.

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Big mistake, pretty soon the ‘Old Girl’ was up to her axles 😦

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Fortunately I do have a BIG winch on the front with 30m of wire on the drum, unfortunately it was 37m to the nearest rock I could get a strop around 🙂 No sweat, home was less than a mile away and we did have a quad to nip back for more strops.

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The ‘Warn XP9500’ electric winch with 4.5 tons of pulling power has more than enough grunt to pull 2.5 tons of Land Rover out of a peat bog so I didn’t get in and put her in gear, I just let the winch do the work. It was only one isolated soft spot, and had I not had 90m of pipe astern I’d have probably got through it, but lesson learnt and the ‘Old Girl’ once extricated was retired for the day 🙂

The next pipe, which we tackled easily with the Honda ‘Fourtrax’ 350 was also 90m and this got me thinking!!!! Perhaps I could take a longer route with the ‘free’ pipe thus making a shorter route for the expensive electrical cable.


Map picture

My initial plan and calculations, aided by this very useful tool from PowerSpout had been to use the natural ‘lie of the land’ from Loch Beag and head north to that ‘pushpin’ on the left. The discovery of extra pipe had made me think about going north west to the centre marker along the 80m contour.

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The frictional losses in the 78mm internal diameter MDPE pipe are minimal for 3lts/sec (my absolute max flow) over an extra couple of hundred meters and it would save me 500m of very expensive cable 🙂

So with 180m of pipe laid the, boy and I walked what we thought was a good route,

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It was bloody treacherous and took us on a mile long scramble through heather, birch and bog down to Tarbert then back to the quad. The only consolation being this antler I found on the way 🙂

Crab and watercress plus crab and chilli sauce

Thinking that I’d better stick to ‘plan A’ we went home for lunch,

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this turned out to be a nice crab number that wifey had picked up off the TV the other day. The one on the left being the white meat, mixed with watercress, chives, lemon juice, mayonnaise and seasoned with a little salt and pepper. The one on the right being just the dark meat, mayo and chilli sauce, both served on toast, and both delicious 🙂

Over lunch I studied the much larger scale OS map and thought we’d try another route.

Grian a Sgeir

It had the same spectacular views over to Lewis but was accessible (with caution) by quad 🙂

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I must be barmy 🙂

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I did manage to get 340m laid, but that was the easy bit.

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I have to come down just to the right of that cliff and through those trees 😦



  1. Hi Paul, Hopefully summer will stay a while yet. Looks like a formidable task ahead with yon piping, enough to make a MacCrimmon lament, I’m sure!

    Comment by Iain — July 16, 2011 @ 6:35 am

    • Morning Iain,
      a formidable task indeed, the hard part is going to be the last bit down that cliff and through the wood, well that and laying the cable, building a shed, joining the pipe, removing all the low spots and getting water through it 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 17, 2011 @ 6:03 am

  2. A tough job ahead but just think of the feelgood factor when wifey appears out of the trees with the final run of pipe along with all that saving on cable and a potential bad back 🙂


    Comment by Andy — July 16, 2011 @ 9:30 am

    • The bad back is here Andy, woke up this morning as stiff as a board 😦

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 17, 2011 @ 6:04 am

  3. if you have a spade with you when you get stuck with nothing to winch from bury the spare wheel at an angle towards the old girl and winch out from there, its hard work but ok if your miles from nowhere, you look like your having fun with the pipes 🙂 good luck

    Comment by jimmy mcmillan — July 16, 2011 @ 12:48 pm

    • Morning Jimmy and family,

      does that really work ??? I had considered it had we not had that convenient rock, saw it once on some Austrailian film about a woman and a Japanese business man stuck in the outback, it was a very good film but I can’t remember the name.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 17, 2011 @ 6:07 am

    • aye it works but it can be hard work plus you need the right angle so the winch pulls it downwards instead of oot the way at a great rate of knots 🙂

      Comment by jimmy mcmillan — July 17, 2011 @ 4:27 pm

      • Hi Jimmy, I’d visions of a peat covered wheel heading towards the ‘Old Girl’ and landing on the bonnet 😦 Still if I ever need to do it you’ll be the first to know 🙂

        Cheers, Paul

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 17, 2011 @ 9:24 pm

  4. How is the almera over soft ground…………
    Better get the winter tyres ready for her.
    When do you plan to break ground for the new house?

    Comment by William Mc Mahon — July 16, 2011 @ 5:08 pm

    • Not as good as the Land Rover William 🙂 Need to get the barn up before the house but hopefully that’s not far away.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 17, 2011 @ 6:09 am

  5. Hi paul, Wow thats one epic job youve taken on ! If i was thinking of doin something like that in my workplace, i would use so much paper to fillout so many risk assessment details that id probably deplete the amazon rain forest LOL .Re the Old Girl not being able to cope, maybe an ex army 4 tonner bedford or that Landy based Bowler Wildcat would do the job ! Your parents place looks fantastic, what a view to wake up to!

    Comment by Gordon Smith — July 16, 2011 @ 9:09 pm

    • If I’d been doing that at work Gordon I could have used the paperwork as matting over the bog and I wouldn’t have got stuck 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 17, 2011 @ 6:11 am

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