Life at the end of the road

July 16, 2012

An unfortunate tumble :-(

Filed under: boats, daily doings, life off grid, listers, New hybrid ferry — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:26 pm

Apparently it was St Swithun’s day yesterday, so what ever weather you had you’re stuck with it for forty days.

St Swithun’s day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St Swithun’s day if thou be fair
For forty days ’twill rain nae mare

So we should be just fine up here because it was lovely apart from one wee shower early on. Though from what I hear the south of England has had 300% of it’s July rainfall and we’ve had only 10% so far. Still we’re only half way through the month and that could all change, in fact, if the forecasters are to be believed it will 😦 Though if it rained from now until September I’d still rate it as my best summer yet at Arnish, and there have been 23 of them 🙂


My favourite working day began at Arnish with a 4:30 start to finish off the blog I’d started the day before, then I went back to bed for an hour before feeding everyone on a fine sunny morn.

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Only problem being that I’d left the gate open last night at 22:00 and arisen later than usual, consequently all the pigs were in my workshop 🙂

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The sailings both to and from Sconser saw the sea boiling with dolphins and porpoises of all different types

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though they were either too close or too far away to actually get a decent picture.

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So, I gave up trying and concentrated on this old Swedish sailing boat instead.

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The Hoppet af Brantevik motored through the Raasay Narrows around 10:45 on her way  to Oban.

After we’d  done the first two runs, had our big breakfast, put out the engine room fire, dealt with the terrorist alert and run aground (drills of course) 🙂 I set about curing some oil leaks on the forward ramp hydraulics.

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A spanner specially purchased for the job being suitably modified first 🙂

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Once the offending O rings were changed, the couplings secured and the leaks checked

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all the joints were covered in ‘Densotape’ a horrible sticky fabric impregnated with a petroleum based compound, it may be yucky but it sure does protect things from the elements. Any joint, nut, bolt, or coupling covered in this stuff is easily undone years later even in the most aggressive of environments. Since being introduced to this stuff I’ve become a firm convert and it can be found all over my Land Rover, caravan, wind turbine and electrical work 🙂

A spot of cleaning the Land Rover, a wander up to Raasay House and then the last run to Sconser and back completed my favourite working day.

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This being a tiny lochan above Brochel with a Gaelic name that may or may not have something to do with beer 🙂 Arriving home with a spring in my step to do some pottering about outside on the croft before Sunday dinner.

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After dinner I went back out to alter the settings on my Trace SW4548e inverter/charger, I’ve only ever altered them a handful of times in six or seven years but the default settings are only really a rough guide. Sure it will function just fine on them but they need tweaking for each installation.

The reason they needed  altering now was the lightening strike last week, as powering the inverter down to re set it had lost the revised values. I’m sure newer ones have a ‘flash memory’ whatever that is but this baby needs re programming, not a hard job thanks to the excellent manual but fairly essential to get the best out of your system.

Things like the ‘crank time’ need reducing (because it’s a Lister and will start easily), the ‘load AC start’ needs increasing due to the AC dumps’ and the charging values altering slightly to get the best out of the 950ah 48v battery bank.

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And I have to say that I’m really pleased with my set up here in this little ‘power station’, the Lister SR2 making a perfect companion to the Proven wind turbine, Trace inverter and fork lift truck battery bank. This setup is more reliable than the national grid and uncannily similar to what will be driving our new ferry 🙂


OK, the ferry is a little larger, has three generators instead of one, prop motors as well as ‘hotel loads’ but the principle is the same 🙂

Feeling pretty pleased with myself I came in, had a bath and put on my PJ’s only to receive a phone call informing me of an emergency at around half a mile away down a rough track. A visitor had fallen, split open his head and needed recovering, so off I went on the quad to get him, then run him down to the clinic in wifey’s car.

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The nature of the head injury meant evacuating the poor chap to Skye

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which we did in the ferry, after which I returned his grateful wife to Torran on the quad. By the time I got home it was almost 1:00am, so now I’m off to bed 🙂 The brave chap having returned to Raasay at 13:00 today complete with 14 stitches to finish off his holiday 🙂



  1. Paul seeing those batteries with open caps no less, right below the inverter made me cringe. I have had to replace equipment that got corroded by battery fumes vented during charging. I hope this is only a temporary placement.

    Comment by Arild — July 16, 2012 @ 10:45 pm

    • Morning Arild, can’t say I was too happy with it myself but the tops were only open for filling, and I cover them afterwards with that thick plastic board in the picture so they vent out of the side away from the inverter. The shed is well ventilated and most gassing takes place during an EQ when the generator fan is running anyway. NOT perfect I know but good enough I think.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 17, 2012 @ 5:35 am

      • Guess its making the best of the situation. Is that going to be the permanent location or will things get moved to the new shed later on?

        Comment by Arild — July 17, 2012 @ 6:48 am

  2. Do you do a special ferry run for the evacuation?

    Comment by Marjorie Stintzi — July 17, 2012 @ 1:19 am

  3. wow Paul, so one of your emergency drills got done for real

    Comment by cazinatutu — July 17, 2012 @ 2:23 am

  4. Would it keep water out of the winch if you wrapped the whole thing in denso tape?

    Comment by drgeo — July 17, 2012 @ 4:07 am

  5. I just tried to get some Densotape in our local marine store here in Maine but they’d never heard of it. I wanted to use it on the old Rover I just picked up to fix up. They did have some of this new underseal called “Fluid Film” that all the LR anoraks are talking about on the web. I has lanolin in it — from sheep! I’m going to see if it will help our cars deal with the road salt.

    Comment by mick — July 17, 2012 @ 6:41 am

    • For years Denso tape has been considered “standard issue” for Sea Kayaking as it can also be used to temporarily plug holes in kayaks even when the boat is still on the water. It will never get awards for its looks, indeed.
      This tape is mentioned in numerous canoeing manuals, esp. in the UK.
      We had difficulty getting it too (it is often an “unknown” item) but I believe we finally got it at a Mallaig shop focussing on boating.
      So maybe you should try a shop dedicated to canoeing?

      Good luck,

      Comment by Leonard — July 17, 2012 @ 8:51 am

      • Last time I bought denso tape, it was from a plumbers merchants… it can be used to seal around steel pipework buried underground.
        I’d managed to swing a pickaxe through a drain pipe, making a neat little hole in the “dry” upper section… and at the time it would have been too inconvenient to replace the section of pipe so it got denso’d instead and stayed like that for 6 months.

        If you’re really struggling to get hold of it, it’s available from loads of places online.

        Hope this helps

        Comment by ecobodger — July 18, 2012 @ 3:36 am

      • Morning EB, not visited you for a while has the water level subsided yet 😦

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 20, 2012 @ 11:27 am

      • Yes… it’s drying out a bit at last. 🙂

        Just about to do an update…

        Comment by ecobodger — July 21, 2012 @ 6:34 pm

      • Morning EB, same insulation as us I see, wondered why our architect had specified that rather than Kingspan.

        Good luck, Paul

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 22, 2012 @ 7:04 am

      • Morning Leonard, I never realized it was so difficult to get, there’s always been some around our house as long as I can remember, though I never really used it much until I started fishing. There’s really nothing better for covering hydraulic pipe joints on a fishing boat 🙂 Since then I’ve found hundreds of uses for it from repairing roofs to jointing cables.

        Cheers, Paul

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 20, 2012 @ 11:23 am

  6. Hi Paul, Good to see things still going well with the new systems and the move on track. I’d say that piccy of the Swedish sailing boat was taken in Gothenburg/Goteborg harbour by the look of it. I’ve probably seen the thing there in the past, as we often took the ferry to Keil from there.

    Comment by Iain — July 17, 2012 @ 7:34 am

  7. It will be interesting to see how the new hybrid ferries cope with these emergency runs and if interrupted overnight charging causes any operational issues the next day.

    Comment by Nigel Macleod — July 17, 2012 @ 11:12 am

    • Hi Nigel,

      It will be interesting to see how the new hybrid ferries cope with these emergency runs and if interrupted overnight charging causes any operational issues the next day.

      The ‘on board’ generators are more than capable of dealing with the charging, how do you think the ferry will get to dry dock 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 17, 2012 @ 11:38 am

  8. Hi Paul, it was my dad you rescued on Sunday. Thanks so much, we were joking over diner about what the consequences of one of the kids injuring themselves in this remote location would be. Never did we expect the old yin to do a Cantona over the wall. With your expert assistance he is now enjoying the rest of the holiday. Cheers John

    Comment by John Macleod — July 18, 2012 @ 6:01 pm

    • It really was a pleasure to help John, even more so now I’m sat in front of the fire with a glass of Bells, not necessary but much appreciated 🙂 Really enjoyed speaking to your dad and learning of his dad being born at Arnish and Margret was great company on the way home too. The only thing you guys interrupted was the wee glass of wine that I was looking forward to after dinner but seeing Iain in safe hands and the huge dram you poured me on the safe delivery of Margret was compensation indeed 🙂

      Take care and enjoy the rest of the stay, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 18, 2012 @ 6:43 pm

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