Life at the end of the road

February 24, 2013

Just like a holiday :-)

Filed under: animals, daily doings, life off grid, shed/house, stonework, The daily pothole — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:24 pm

It’s eight PM already, I’ve been ‘throttled’ by Q-Sat once more, so my internet is like cold treacle Sad smile To be fair though a lovely lady called Pauline phoned me on Friday and offered me a better deal for £10 less with an upgrade from 8Gb to 15Gb, though of course she couldn’t do anything about this


until Monday Sad smile Sad smile So with a satellite link like ‘greased lightning’ I might even be able to Skype the wife from the Finlaggan Smile Not tomorrow right enough, for I think we lie at Lochmaddy on Monday and the internet there is only marginally better than the that I have at the moment.

February it may well be, but it felt like May today,



right from the moment that I opened the front door at 8:00am to see the first rays of sunshine bathing the bleached gneiss of North Arnish.

No day this for loitering in the house, or even eating breakfast, nope, Molly and I took off after feeding the pigs and trekked over the Sithean Mor to Tarbert, to recover one of the quads.




Off we went, past our new house and upwards along the old pathway to the ‘peats’ and shortcut to Tarbert.



The old path winds its way around the edge of a steep drop at one point,


hard to see on the photograph but the path has been skilfully built up here to prevent travellers slipping over the edge.

Arriving back home around an hour later I grabbed a bowl of muesli in an attempt to reduce my waistline and then got on with some painting and jobs in the garden until the Dude arose. One of the tasks was moving the bird table from the ‘raised bed’ (digger track) and back in front of the kitchen window. I had moved it last year so that the hens would ‘weed and manure’ it,


now I wanted to return it to its rightful place. However it needed a little stonework doing first so I headed back to Tarbert and Rainey’s wall to lift some stones.




This stretch of ‘Calum’s road’ is actually not too bad compared to the rest of Raasay’s highways but it will still give you a nasty bump here and there.




As soon as the Dude was up I dragged him over to Screapadale to help me load up some lovely beach pebbles for below the bird table, having been stuck here last year I refrained from driving on the beach Smile



This will be Applecross over on the other side of the Sound of Raasay.


Once off the smooth ‘off road’ section of our three mile journey we joined the rough ‘on road’ section between Screapadale and Brochel.


018  019

It comes to something when the forestry tracks are in better fettle than the roads Sad smile 

After emptying the trailer around the newly positioned bird table, doing a little more painting, fixing the garden gate, putting up some more netting and having a late lunch I hijacked the Dude once more.

Great ‘off grid’ batteries

It was 16:00, and only a few weeks ago it would be getting dark, but today with the sun blazing it felt like early afternoon so we went over to Torran to give my mates solar/hydro system the once over. Last year I replaced his five year old fork lift cells with these Rolls batteries and I’ve been well impressed by their performance. I’m a great fan of fork lift truck cells but have always felt that they are just too tall and don’t equalize well, these shorter batteries

Rolls Battery 4000 Series 6v 530ah(c100)/340ah(c10)

seem to produce higher SG’s than my own cells ever did.


It’s hard to see from the picture but that hydrometer is ‘off the scale’, around 1.30 on all cells, more than his previous bank (and mine) have ever seen.

I’ve lived ‘off grid’ since 1985 and it took me around twenty years to suss out that there is far more to this battery lark than meets the eye, the more I read the less I realized that I knew. Batteries are a ‘dark art’ if you want some for an ‘off grid’ set up then forget car, truck, boat, tractor, leisure or gel, you need good old ‘deep cycle’ FLA (flooded lead acid) that is unless you can get LiFePo4 or NiCad’s cheap Smile



A ‘wee top up’ with deionized water was all that was needed so we fired up the ‘back up’ Lister ST2 and headed off up the hill so to speak.



My mate gets his water from way up past the ‘Pipers rock’ from a loch called Loch nan Dubhan, which I think is the ‘Black loch’ and aptly named it is indeed.


As soon as we ‘crested’ the hill five stags that were grazing just on the other side of the fence tore off towards Kyle Rona,


such was their speed that we failed to notice two more on our side of the fence just yards away Smile Still, we weren’t seeking deer, we were hoping for a bunny or two so followed the fence along to the lochan.



All was in order there so we climbed further on up to the sinister ‘Loch Airigh na h-Aon Oidhce’, The loch of the ‘one night shieling’.



Which at almost 18:00 in the setting sun looked anything but spooky, it looked serene and beautiful, missing only the red throated diver that will be here in a month or two’s time.



At 17:40 on the dot someone turned off the ‘red light’, all went grey and within ten minutes the sun had set.



I says to the boy, “what a day”, “just like being on holiday” he replies Smile



  1. Question, have you ever used water from a dehumidifier…

    Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — February 24, 2013 @ 10:40 pm

    • Do NOT use water from the dehum or fridge Steve, it will be contaminated with aluminium or copper.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 24, 2013 @ 10:51 pm

      • better tell my neighbour, he’s under the impression after reading blurb on the tinternet that it’s ok..

        Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — February 25, 2013 @ 8:20 pm

  2. Hi Paul

    Not sure if you would be interested but I ‘stumbled’ upon an interesting discussion on a stalking forum about the fishing and shooting rights fiasco.

    All the best

    Comment by Derek — February 24, 2013 @ 11:01 pm

  3. What a lovely day to spend with a boy and a dog. And it doesn’t hurt to also get the bonus of twice the QSat usage for less money! Goodness! You are getting a new house, a new ship, and with enough blue paint some new roads– how could it get any better? You are twice blessed.

    Comment by drgeo — February 24, 2013 @ 11:45 pm

  4. Just like being on holiday indeed, you can take the man from the mountain but you can’t take the mountain from the man. Longest dry spell here for a year, with the first gorse fire today.

    Comment by mi — February 25, 2013 @ 8:46 pm

  5. Lovely to see the photo of Applecross … we stayed there around 20 years ago which was the first I knew of a small island called Rassay … I can look at my watercolours of the sound between them and feel like I am right back there looking across to ‘your’ beach.

    Comment by nonehpets — February 25, 2013 @ 9:35 pm

  6. so beautiful, thank you for the intro to applecross, which is wonderful internet surfing and the oldest (?) settlement in scotland????

    Comment by jeannettesmyth — March 1, 2013 @ 7:05 am

  7. Hi Paul
    I am a frequent visitor to your blog. Thanks for posting your daily ramblings. It may seem mundane at times for you, but facinating and useful for us. OK, here’s my question:

    This hydrometer of yours (or your mates) looks useful ( Seems that the top of the tube can’t stick to the sides of the glass like my regular hydrometer. Probably easier to get readings. What brand is it?

    Comment by SP — April 14, 2013 @ 1:40 am

    • Morning SP and welcome,

      the hydrometer is a Durite one and cost about £40 but I see they’re almost £50 now. It is good, allowing a nice large volume to be withdrawn and having a temperature compensation chart built in, but it’s not £50 good unless you’re a bit obsessive about batteries like me 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — April 14, 2013 @ 7:51 am

      • Thanks for that Paul. I hope the link helps others with a similar question. It’s priced pretty high though.

        Over the last 4 months since I installed my solar, I’ve been using one of the “straight” glass models, like this one:

        Although I rinse after each reading I still get ‘sticky’ readings requiring frequent hydrometer ‘tapping’ and redraws until I think I have gotten it right.

        6 pounds vs 47…hmm…will this hydro be relatively frustration free?

        Comment by SP — April 26, 2013 @ 2:50 am

      • Morning SP, that hydrometer that you have is as good as any, we use them on the ferry. I believe you can get electronic ones now, though I don’t know how good they are.

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — April 26, 2013 @ 6:29 am

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