Life at the end of the road

December 13, 2011

Back ‘on route’ :-)

Filed under: daily doings, hydro, pigs, weather — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:29 pm

I have to confess as to being a little sceptical about all these ‘amber alerts’ and severe weather warnings that were issued last night. All was peachy with us, the anemometer behind the house seldom topped gale force and the average was only 14.4mph for the 24 hour period.


A good nights sleep saw me right through until after 6:30 when I started preparing for the long drive south to Bute.



Again, little wind through the night, and all the webcams on Traffic Scotland > Live-Eye-Views showing clear roads at daybreak. So, as soon as my bag was packed and the car loaded I let wifey feed the pigs and went back to bed 🙂

Now it’s unlike any male not to mention when they have a cold, and I’m no exception, only of course we call it the flu and constantly moan about ‘almost dying’. Well, I’ve had it for a couple of days now and am trying to beat it psychologically by ignoring it 🙂 It’s either working or I’ve not got a bad one, however I felt a couple of hours back in the sack might help me stay awake on the journey south. I’d normally do it with a case of Pepsi but I figured that the twenty cans I drunk on the way north last week may have had something to do with the fact that I didn’t sleep for a week 🙂 Well that, the ‘Java Lava’ coffee and Tramadol painkillers that I was taking for my back, a quick Google indicated that they too are laced with caffeine 😦

Anyway, the wife hid the painkillers some days ago, I’ve restricted myself to one pot of Java Lava in the morning and the Pepsi can stay in the fridge until Christmas for diluting rum 🙂 The net result of which is I’m sleeping much better, probably ‘too better’ in fact, so good in fact that I didn’t wake up until 10:30, a little late for catching the 10:55 ferry.

Still that wouldn’t be a problem, I was taking wifey’s car, the roads where fine (or so I thought) and the last ferry to Bute from Colintrive was not until 19:55 or there abouts. Even I could drive 200 miles in seven hours. What I hadn’t noticed in the ‘land of nod’ was the deterioration in the weather.

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So when I arrived at our new ferry terminal I was not surprised to see the MV Loch Linnhe firmly anchored to the pier with four ropes and not lying at the slip with ramp gaping 😦 Luckily (or so I thought) she prepared to sail a few minutes late as the weather eased.

No sooner was I on board when work phoned to inform me I was ‘staying put’, the motorman heading north to cover for me was struck at Invergarry in snow and would be doing my stint in the dock. I suppose it made more sense really, so I reversed off the ferry and headed home slowly.

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The poorly maintained roads being awash and burns that were normally trickles being raging torrents. The council must have been over recently and patched some of the holes but they missed this beauty that nearly took the arse out of wifey’s Almera 😦

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Well that doesn’t look too bad, does it??

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Perhaps this DeWalt size nine rigger boot puts it in perspective 🙂

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This ‘car trap’ being just a few yards before the castle at Brochel, the old seat of the Macleod’s of Raasay.


One thing about all this water, you can certainly see where the drains are needed, so once home and changed the ‘wee dug’ and I went out to face the weather. Taking the quad and trailer to Tarbert to load up with stone to do some roadwork of our own.

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Molly was not impressed but she’d far rather be out on the quad than in the house, either that or she’s an exceptionally dim ‘wee dug’.

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After depositing our load with the pigs we ditched the trailer and headed over to Torran with a spade. The purpose of the journey being to check the houses there for storm damage and to clear a few drains.

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It’s really not ‘rocket science’ whether an old path or modern highway you need to get the friggin water off it and five minutes with a spade can save thousands of pounds a year down the line.

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When I moved here in 1989 the council maintained this path, not very well but at least they made the effort, and why not there are four tax payers served by it. Now they can’t even maintain the road properly, and I know there’s ‘no money in the pot’ but how much money do you need to buy a spade 🙂


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All was fine at the Torran houses so I went to check on the ‘Stream Engine’ that has been churning out almost 20Kwh per day for the last week and more 🙂

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Hardly surprising when you see the amount of water about 🙂


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I could certainly squeeze more power out of this well made Canadian turbine by connecting another nozzle and valve to the penstock but it hardly seems worth the effort. We have for the last two weeks had so much surplus power that we’re struggling to use it and my current charge controller is working pretty much at max during a gale when the turbine is working hard.

There is only so much washing, drying, baking and hoovering you can do 🙂



So that’s it, no Victoria Hotel for me tonight, nope just a nice pasta made with chorizo, a hot bath, a cup of cocoa and bed. It won’t be a hearty ‘full Scottish’ tomorrow and a ten minute drive down Rothesay’s sea front to but a pot of ‘Java Lava’ and a forty minute bounce down ‘Calum’s road’ 🙂 Still, at least there’ll be no traffic 🙂

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