Life at the end of the road

November 22, 2011

Well calibrated legs :-)

Filed under: daily doings, hydro — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:33 pm

Beaten by the light, but still well pleased just about sums it up for the two of us, pretty much how I felt last night really. Still yesterday’s hard labour of dragging armoured cable across the hill failed to keep me in bed this morning, and once more I was up at a time that many would consider the middle of the night. To be honest, when I arose just after 4:00am I’d no intension of staying up. But the clear sky, with it’s promise of good weather and myriad of stars had me wiping the sleep from my eyes and reaching for the camera.


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OK, I know it’s not great but you just had to be there, that’s out of the south west upstairs window with Orion on the bottom right obscured by a hill.

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That’s looking south east on a 10 second exposure

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and this one north west on a 25 second. I will leave it to Ed to enlighten us as to what the constellations are 🙂


Clear sky through 360 degrees in November and still no sign of frost at Arnish 🙂 In fact I’m still wearing just a Tee shirt under my overalls 🙂 Only a month to go until the shortest day, and this time last year we were under a foot of snow. Actually that’s not quite true, this time next week we were under a foot of snow, the snow will be waiting for me to disappear to dry dock in the Land Rover and leave wifey stranded at Arnish (again) 🙂

Twinny’s away 😦

The forecast was showing today as being the last good day, and had I been working alone I’d have been on the hill before full light. However the swineherd would be helping out today, and unlike the boys she does not share my enthusiasm for impossible tasks and hairy quad rides 🙂 She also wanted to take advantage of the wind, flowing burn and all the power it was producing to get some serious washing and drying done so it was almost 10:00am before we left the croft. First job was to finish dragging yesterday’s 400m length of cable into position and get her familiar with the technique of dragging a few bights at a time and laying it in such a way as to prevent kinks.

No matter how careful you are with this kind of length of cable you WILL get kinks pulling it off a drum. The wire armour is twisted so any pull on the cable tends to spin it around, the harder you pull, the more the twist. Rolling the drum is the only way to prevent this but that’s simply not an option over this terrain with such a large drum. So you can minimise the twist by pulling only short lengths at a time and coiling it in a ‘figure of eight’, however uneven ground and clumps of heather make this quite difficult as you are always pulling the next section from the bottom of the pile. However with patience, someone watching the coil and good hand signals it is doable.

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This is where we finally landed with the end of the first 400m run after doing a few minor detours to take the cable over soft ground where it could be buried (eventually 🙂 ) you can see it on yesterdays map.

Next it was hauling the second cable over to ‘Rainey’s wall’ at Tarbert to unroll the second drum and haul it ‘up the way. It may have only been 164m but it nearly killed us, for this section, or at least a good 50m of it is near vertical. Once the two ends met we sat down by the infamous wall for ‘a confab’. It was very steep ‘down the way’ to the Powerspout and the easiest option (my preferred) would have been to chop the cable and drag it off the reel for the remaining 200 or so meters as the cable had to go through the wall and under the road. Wifey however was having none of it, pull the whole lot off the drum says she then feed it through the wall and under the road. Of course she said that without fully understanding the implications of feeding 246m through the MDPE pipe I’d put through the wall and the ducting I’d laid through the culvert.

Luckily my mate Simon from turned up at this point to collect the Lister ST2 generator he’d bought off me.

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Twinny, the Lister has been with me longer than the wife and is far better at starting on a cold morning so it was like loosing a limb when he went south 🙂

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Well at least I can visit him on Raasay 🙂

Only 350m 🙂

The respite from dragging cable and cup of coffee was just what we needed for the last leg down to the turbine proved pretty straight forward.

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Well, apart from the burst pipe 😦

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Think I need steel reinforced hose for this bit 🙂

Light was fading fast so I never got it connected up, we just cut off the excess and called it a day. I dragged the spare cable up to the quad and much to my surprise there was around 50m. Initially I’d estimated the distance at 1Km using the map, and that’s what I based my first calculations on. Then I paced it out at 750m and added 50 on for good measure, obviously my legs have now been calibrated correctly 🙂



  1. Well done.With that terrain pacing is at best hit and miss.Bet you look like a candidate for Government grant aid,as in Monty Pythons funny walk sketch,on some of the slopes :-).You may even qualify for European aid under `Le march futile` rules,but be quick before the Euro goes pear shaped 🙂


    Comment by Andy — November 22, 2011 @ 10:01 pm

  2. “I will leave it to Ed to enlighten us as to what the constellations are ”


    Haven’t really looked at the first two yet but the last sky picture shows Leo in the bottom right. The two brightest “stars” in the picture, which are towards the lower right, are Regulus (on the right) – the brightest star in Leo and Mars (on Regulus’s left). Leo’s head is the curve of stars above Regulus and Mars and his rump is the triangle of stars to their left, looking slightly blueish in the picture.

    I think you might be off by one in which picture is which as Leo would have been in the south east at that time.

    Comment by Ed Davies — November 23, 2011 @ 1:42 pm

    • Hi Ed, spot on on all counts, I used this to check sent to me by good mate Willie Eyre, it shows exactly what you’re looking at at your precise location, had me enthralled for hours.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 28, 2011 @ 2:58 pm

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