Life at the end of the road

August 20, 2011

Fair worn out :-)

Filed under: animals, boats, daily doings, hydro, pigs, shed/house — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 11:17 pm

Nine forty PM and already it’s dark, I’m not long in and the second can of beer is on standby in the fridge. I’m usually a glass of wine man but toady’s hard labour need the thirst quenching properties of a long cold drink and the large glass of vin rouge I normally take would have had me fast asleep by now. It has been a very long day indeed 🙂

I never even made it as far as ‘windows live writer’ last night for I was in my bed just after 21:00 pure shattered after a day on the ferry. Not that life on the ferry is particularly hard but the day before had been spent working on my hydro turbine pipe and I’d been charging up and down hills all afternoon, dragging pipes and generally doing things much faster than a 55 year old should 🙂

Even though I wasn’t actually needed on the good ship Loch Striven until 7:55 to relieve my ‘back to back for the day I was still up before 5:30 to go and check on Bracken. Most of our sows can be left just to ‘get on with it’ and quite often they do just that. Our most elegant pig however never seems to have an easy farrowing, is quite often sick and gets really worn out and run down by the whole affair. With no sign of piglets and the Tamworth sleeping quietly I turned my attention to other things before dragging the Dude out of bed at 6:45. Dragging being the operative word for it took a full fifteen minutes to arouse him 😦 Only ten minutes before the allotted departure time but we managed to get him looking respectable enough and I fed him on the ferry 🙂


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The day at work was busy enough but gradually freshened after lunch into a pretty miserable affair, the like of which we’ve not seen for a while.

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Still, it did provide a lively sea for the Stanley Watson Barker to plough through on her way south

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through the Raasay Narrows.

Seven little piggy’s

First thing I did on arriving home was check Bracken who was obviously not long from farrowing, however the darling swineherd dealt with that and let me go to bed. Whilst I was pushing out ‘zeds’ Bracken pushed out seven little piglets between 21:30 and 23:00 that I saw at 5:30 this morning 🙂

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They were all doing fine, as was mum, who I gave a good feed, before heading off to work to do the first run.

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It was only the one trip, just to let my ‘back to back’ join the boat at Sconser and by 10:00am I was back home and getting ready for more work on the hydro turbine.

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After doing a bit of prize ‘bodgery’ with an aluminium 77mm pipe in place of an MDPE 75mm one, making up a waterproof cover for a pressure gauge from a water bottle we loaded up the quads.

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Quadzilla, Crapzilla 😦

Actually we loaded up the quads after ‘Lightning MacLennan’ and the Dude had towed my mates Quadzilla back from Torran. At just two tears old this piece of cr4p that he bought brand new has died yet again. When he said that it was just crunching when going into gear I suspected that the tickover was just a little high. However the accompanying noise seemed a little more ‘terminal’ and a quick look revealed this,

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a lump of metal poking through the clutch housing 😦 Now this machine was bought new and has been nursed, the first clutch failed spectacularly at just 240 miles and thirteen months then there was the ignition switch the battery, fuel pump diaphragm and of course the rear wheel that nearly fell off . Today this recycled bean tin from the soon to be worlds largest economy melted another clutch only 400 miles after the last one.

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That’s melted aluminium on the clutch housing and the bit on the right is supposed to be silver not blue 😦

Now I can’t say that my mate is totally blameless for letting it get so bad but it’s only done 400 miles for heavens sake and its less than three years old. This machine has done no hard work and only covered 660 miles. The Honda on the left is ten years old and has been thoroughly abused and the green Yamaha seven years old, about to have its third set of tires and the speedo stopped working years ago at 3000+ miles. None of these Japanese quads have had a clutch and they regularly tow loads of half a ton of heating oil.

Back to the hydro

Anyway after teaching my three helpers some new swear words we headed off the mile or so to the very long pipe that will eventually feed my new hydro turbine, well it will if I can get the siphon going 🙂

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The laws of physics say that you can’t siphon over 9m so I thought I’d better check it with my mates GPS, 86m at the highest point and 81m at the loch so that looked promising, though how accurate that is I don’t know. I know I should have checked all this before I started laying 800m of pipe  but I’m more of a ‘suck it and see’ type 🙂 Anyway buoyed up by the fact that I would not be trying to defy the laws of gravity and atmospheric pressure we went to join the remaining lengths of pipe. The most difficult and inaccessible ones near Tarbert where my penstock does a very steep 40m drop through dense undergrowth.

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After the two couplings in the midge infested undergrowth it was a relief to get down to sea level and the terminal valve and gauge that would allow me to do accurate measurements for ordering my turbine from Hugh at .

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We did do much more but it will have to wait as it’s after midnight and way past my bedtime 🙂


7:30AM now on a damp Sunday morning, two hours later than my usual wake up time and I real should be going out to check Bracken. However the two cans of lager turned into three and I now have a sore head, no one deserves a sore head after just 1320 cc of ‘Probably the worst lager in the world’ 🙂 Not being able to function without at least two strong cups of fresh coffee inside me I thought I’d try and finish off on here.

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One of the things about giving your camera to someone is you often find random pictures afterwards 🙂 Well here’s the small bay at Tarbert just below Rainey’s wall, just look at those beautiful rocks 🙂

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This is looking north west towards Aird Torran, taken from the level ground where the turbine will be.

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This is yet more canoeists, sorry kayakers 🙂 being rescued from the foot of Rainey’s wall. This is a favourite spot for sensible kayakers to bail out and walk the ten miles or so to catch the ferry and retrieve their vehicles from Sconser. Though why they always seem to prefer lugging their kayaks up this steep slope when a few hundred yards to the north at Camas a Bhu’t there’s a slipway is beyond me 🙂

By late afternoon we were ready to start pumping the water up hill via the ancient  2” Honda water pump that I bought second hand some 25 years ago.

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We attempted this via a cunning arrangement of valves Teed into the penstock but the little pump was cutting out under load 😦


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So after leaving it running for an hour at just above tickover and with water just at the top of the rise but refusing to go over it we packed up and went home.

And now I really must go and check Bracken 🙂



  1. Hi, I have dropped in unexpectedly. i ws looking for boats and got pigs as well. We3 are getting pigs next year as soon as Our cow starts milking.. Wow,, there is a lot going on here, I may have to drag in my father to decipher some of this.. love the boat shots! Ni night1 c

    Comment by ceciliag — August 21, 2011 @ 1:19 am

  2. Hi Paul, was wondering how you was going to fill the pipe to get the syphon, still wondering can’t make head nor tail of your pictures. I suppose all will be clear when you post a few more pictures. I checked out the Power spout several months back, was very impressed with the off shelf parts and the innovative design and the fact that you can change the voltage by reconnecting the wiring in the motor .

    Deep Regards


    Comment by Yorkshire Miner — August 21, 2011 @ 12:28 pm

    • Morning Dave,

      it’s a simple arrangement of valves that Tee’s a 2″ water pump into the line, once the pipe is filled and the siphon running the pump is isolated and then removed. As for the other stuff, here is not the place to discuss it 🙂

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 22, 2011 @ 10:36 am

  3. your world is so full of things well taken care of, it’s heartening. i can’t believe the newborn piglets are up and about with their ears blown back, good work, mrs. lateotr. and as always, it’s good to see the white pudding hard at work. (is she the one you lent your camera to?)

    Comment by jeannette — August 21, 2011 @ 8:37 pm

    • Morning Jeannette,

      Molly is rapidly turning into her sleek former self after much exercise and little food 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 22, 2011 @ 5:45 am

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