Life at the end of the road

July 24, 2011

A record, even for me :-)

Filed under: daily doings, hydro — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:02 am

Six thirty now and that’s me been in my bed for thirteen hours!!!!! No kidding I went for a wee lie down yesterday at 17:30 after a pretty awesome barbecue and that was me. Well apart from wifey waking me at seven thirty to go and feed the pigs and then giving me a lecture on how I’d be up all night. To be honest I thought she was right and fully intended staying up, however once in the house about half an hour later, I couldn’t keep me eyes open so went to bed again. Even then I thought I’d be up around two AM, but that suited me fine as the house would be quite, our house is far from quiet just now 🙂 Not a hope, I was pushing zeds out until 6:15!!! I think I’ve got ‘sleeping sickness’ 🙂

The day, (Saturday) was far windier and cooler than UKWind and everyone else for that matter was suggesting, not that I’m complaining, it kept the batteries topped up and the midge away. Once the wind sets to the north here it can stay there for weeks, not a great direction for fishing and it can wreck inadvertently place lobster pots but it’s generally dry, steady and produces much power 🙂

I can’t remember what time I was up but I was out early searching my shed for pipe fittings to connect my hydro turbine penstock. I knew that I’d at least a couple left over from my last job but was amazed to find five. One good thing about having a memory like a hen is that life is full of surprises 🙂

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Every one of them was different and at least one of them had been used but they’d save me at least £75 on buying poorer quality fittings from . I say ‘poorer’ but there is absolutely nothing wrong with them it’s just that most of these were salvaged from Utility company contracts and they have much higher specifications.

After feeding everyone and trying to wean myself back on to muesli and banana in preparation for work next week I set off with fittings and tools for Loch Beag. That was after I’d spent half an hour with copper grease and WD40 ensuring all the threads on the fittings were free, and a further fifteen minutes separating two young boys who were arguing over who would come with me 🙂 The ‘Dude’, my other driver, is away with ‘Lightning MacLennan’ just now, so it was just one ‘helper’ at a time today.

The argument was settled by me promising to return for helper number two half way through the job and around 9:30 we set off south.

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As the bin lorry headed north 🙂 I know it’s only a yellow truck and you see hundreds of them, but when you consider the battle that Calum had with the council that led him to build this road it’s quite a sight 🙂

To be honest it rarely travels north as I usually take the bins south on my way to to work but this is the ‘silly season’ where people leave stuff out for the ‘bin bag fairy’ and I’m on holiday 🙂 The ‘bin bag fairy’ being this creature that tourists alone seem to believe in, she comes along in the night to the remotest of places to remove the cr4p they leave behind. That is of course if the pigs, crows and seagulls have not discovered it first and spread the contents all over the car park 😦

Anyway, off we went on the trusty Honda 350 Fourtrax to start coupling the pipe,

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amidst the bog myrtle and heather. I used this coupling first as I was not totally happy that it would sustain the higher pressure further down as it was quite short and at the upper end of its tolerance. However once hardened up it was quite obvious that it was going nowhere and I wished I’d saved it for further down the line.

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The next coupling I used was one of the plastic ones that is just basically a bigger version of your standard blue ‘polypipe’ water fitting, though being unable to get grips on it I’ve made up a wrench. It’s very similar to an oil filter remover and is made from a length of aluminium channel and some bicycle chain. These fittings are far more difficult to fit than the metal ones as they requires the fitting to be forced onto the end of the pipe. The first part is easy enough as you just hammer it onto the pipe, it’s pushing the next length of pipe into the fitting that’s hard.

Two things that make this easier, though by no means simple are, firstly trim a chamfer on with a knife,

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lubricate it with a little soap, or spit if you’ve forgotten the soap 🙂


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Also mark the end of the pipe with a saw or knife cut so that you know when it’s fully home.

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This was relatively easy to do as there was not much of a slope on the ground and both lengths of pipe could be pulled manually. The trick being to overlap the ends of the pipe, walk away with them until they touch, them with someone or something parked on the pipe to stop it sliding in the heather force them together. It worked a treat on this joint, but number three was a bit of a challenge.

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No amount of manual pulling was going to drag 200m through the heather, or 50m up the way,


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how did we ever manage without ‘ratchet straps’ 🙂


After lunch I took the children out fishing in the shelter of Ard Torran and we caught five lithe, four of which went for bait and one that went on the barbecue, and apart from splitting some logs, that was about it 🙂



  1. your lucky up there with the bin bag fairy because the one doon here is a big bu@@ar it uses a tipper truck and seems busy all night with beds, fridges, tyres, plaster board and all manner of things, this place is like a council tip compared to raasay 😦

    Comment by jimmy mcmillan — July 25, 2011 @ 10:13 am

    • Morning Jimmy and all, dunno about that, our croft looks a bit like a council tip with all the ‘left overs’ that I salvaged from the harbour and various other jobs 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 26, 2011 @ 6:12 am

      • Left overs that no doubt will come in handy someday, its like my shed i find stuff in there, i dont know what it is, what its off but someday it might come in handy 🙂

        Comment by jimmy mcmillan — July 26, 2011 @ 4:39 pm

      • Morning Jimmy,

        I really must get rid of some of my cr4p, trouble is, as soon as I throw something away I find a use for it 😦

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 27, 2011 @ 4:58 am

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