Life at the end of the road

May 30, 2012

Not a single bite :-)

Filed under: daily doings, Land Rover — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:01 pm

Tuesday already, one week of the ‘jollies’ away and I’m as high as a kite 🙂 The usual mad rush before a return to work being absent has left me in a particularly good mood, especially as the forecast is for more of the same 🙂

And that’s as far as I got last night before falling asleep on the keyboard, OK not actually asleep but ordered to my bed by wifey.

It had not been a particularly long or arduous day but I’d stayed up late on Monday night and only ended up with five hours sleep before getting up. Not through choice I might add but through the two ‘wee darlings’ that we have staying with us at the moment bouncing off the walls at just after 6:00am 😦

Anyway, darling wife would have to deal with our charges today for I was off to the mainland to visit my parents, cut some grass and go for a march with my dad 🙂 Although it wasn’t the blazing sunshine of late it was still warm and dry but I didn’t even make it as far as Dornie before having to stop for a ‘wee sleep’ 🙂

 

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After forty minutes or so we set off (‘we’ being Molly and I) taking the old road over ‘Carr Brae’ for a change. This steep pass between Dornie and Inverinate was once the main road and a challenge for many an old bus or truck I’m sure.

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Only adding a few minutes onto anyone’s journey it’s well worth the slight detour to check out the spectacular views up Loch Alsh and Loch Duich.

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Midge hell

Eventually I did arrive at my parents, and after another wee rest did a few jobs about the place before going for a walk with my 83 year old father. I say walk but it’s more of a march for he’s as ‘fit as a butchers dog’ and I struggle to keep up with him.

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Out on our hike we came across this holy and hawthorn tree that had been gripped in an embrace for decades with no detriment to either 🙂

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Walking through the forest above Ratagan we took a short cut through the ‘Fireater’s’ riding stables above Loch Duich.

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An ex fisherman, Dave now runs a successful riding school, pony trekking and carriage hire business  http://www.highlandcarriage.co.uk/ from near his home in this spectacular bit of Scotland.

 

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Not far from the stables the rustic smell of horse was replaced by an assault of vanilla from these tremendous gorse and broom bushes a little further down the lane.

After our little perambulation through the woods I set about repairing my mums washing line under the trees.

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A task that would have been impossible were it not for the Smidge http://2010.midgeforecast.co.uk/index.php/shop 

Whilst the ‘wee devils’ were annoying and getting stuck up my nostrils as clouds of them hovered around me, I suffered not one single bite. My mum and dad had both been driven inside by the blighters but I was just fine :-) 

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The stuck Land Rover will have to wait until tomorrow cos it’s 23:00 and I need my bed 🙂

May 29, 2012

Site temporarily unavailable :-(

Filed under: Croft house for sale, daily doings, wind turbine — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 12:10 am

Sorry peeps, it’s 23:20 and I’ve only just managed to get my blogging software up and running again after reinstalling it 😦 ‘Window’s live writer’ went pear shaped on me last night halfway through a post and it’s taken me almost two hours to sort it. OK, perhaps not all the two hours was spent in fixing my editor, quite a bit of it was spent working out projected monthly power outputs for different wind turbines at the new house site.

Based on accurate data collected from my hydro turbine over two years and projected data from http://sunbird.jrc.it/pvgis/apps/pvest.php for an 1850w solar array we have a shortfall for heating in Jan, Feb, March, April, Nov and Dec. This we’d planned to overcome with a Perge biomass boilers biomass boiler from Alastair at http://www.highland-ecoheat.co.uk/. However as the energy shortfall is in the windiest months I’ve been playing about with wind turbines, real and imaginary 🙂

I’d always planned to put a turbine up at the new house anyway but was thinking along the lines of a 1Kw  http://www.futurenergy.co.uk/index.html whilst I got on with building one of Hugh Piggott’s ‘homebrew turbines’ in my shed http://scoraigwind.com/. Knowing how long it takes me to do anything I thought the Futurenergy would keep me ticking over for a while 🙂 However I’ve just rekindled an old love affair with my Proven (now http://www.kingspanwind.com/ ) after taking it down for a service yesterday.

Servicing a Proven wind turbine

It was whilst showing another potential neighbour around the croft and we walked up to the turbine that the stroke of genius hit me. I’ve always serviced the thing before the winter gales, mainly on account of installing it in September and just continuing the ‘annual theme’. Of course by then the ground is usually wet and the Land Rover generally gets bogged down.

Well on Friday when I wandered up there on foot in my sandals I realized that I’d been doing it wrong for years. Better to take it down when it’s not actually producing much power anyway then if it needs parts it’s not such an issue leaving it down as its not missing much so to speak. Not only that it would be good to be able to say to the next ‘viewer’ that “it’s just been serviced” 🙂

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It would also, perhaps, wear out the two wee boys that are staying with us just now 🙂

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After setting up the winch, gin pole and anchor point the Dude showed the boys how to remove the cover to access the brake and I ‘broke’ the M20 bolts so the wee people could undo them.

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With ever such a little bit of slack in the winch wire the turbine is then ‘tipped over centre’ by hand until strain is taken on the ‘Tirfor’ winch.

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I never lower it right the way down, preferring to rest it a good few feet off the ground with the mast at shoulder height and access the higher bits from the quad. It may seem bonkers but, A the blades don’t touch the ground and B it relieves the greatest strain on the winch, strops and anchor point and mine’s an old tree 😦

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Wouldn’t you just love to live here 🙂

The boys may have been a great help at the ‘exciting’ lowering but I could see that the tinkering with springs would be boring for them and distracting for me so we went off to Torran to cut the grass.

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Rather hastily as it happened without chance to chat with some visitors 🙂

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After dinner I pottered up there on my own and removed the three spring sets of triple springs that are a major part of the turbines furling system.

The rather rickety ‘jury rigged’ outer ones are some I knocked up ‘temporarily’ a couple of years ago when the originals cracked. You could have phoned up any other company and got them posted out that same day after paying by card. Not with Proven you couldn’t, you had to go through their resellers who never stocked any parts and rarely took plastic. Lets hope the new owners are better, having said that it’s been up for seven years now and I’ve not spent a penny on it 🙂

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With the springs off and the blades hanging limp I took them down to my workshop to overhaul them.

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It is good practice to change the four ‘yaw rollers’ and their washers every year but mine weren’t that old so I just measured them. They are supposed to be 28mm but mine were 27mm, not ideal but good enough for another few months whilst I get some made, begged or borrowed 🙂

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After checking all the bolts on the blades and roots I gave the hub a good chipping, wire brushing and coat of ‘Hammerite’

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That was about it for yesterday and I set about the springs this morning

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on what was a very different day indeed. The blue sky’s of late replaced by a cold mist and breeze of north wind that had jumpers and overalls back on for the first time in a week. As is quite usual though, the south end of Raasay was in sunshine and by 10:00am so were we 🙂

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The bolts, nylon inserts, washers and my home made brackets were all ‘shot’ but fortunately I had spares. The inserts are just 12mm airline hose with 10mm ID available from any motor factor. The washers can be had from RS

I had bought some new nylon pipe on eBay so I could replace these bushes. the washers come from RS http://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/products/0280543/ product code 280-543

From Hugh’s much better description of servicing the larger 6Kw model

http://scoraigwind.co.uk/2012/03/servicing-the-6kw-proven-on-scoraig/

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All rebuilt with new bolts, washers and nylocs from http://angliastainless-stanton.co.uk/

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Everything was refitted, the bearings greased, the slip rings checked and the covers replaced before raising it back up to great the welcoming breeze 🙂

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And after dinner I went up to our new barn and started on the back wall of the new generator shed.

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Spending just as much time removing the old nails as actually cutting and assembling it.

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One piece alone had more than 50 nails in it!!! but by 21:00 I’d had enough and called it a day 🙂

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