Life at the end of the road

September 26, 2013

Roaring stags :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, life off grid, shed/house — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:28 am

Thirteen minutes past eight and it’s pitch black outside at the tail end of a beautiful day at home. We’re not long through the door after finally getting the 1080m long armoured cable to the top of Meall Dearg Arnish jointed.

Well that never happened did it!! it’s now five thirty AM on Thursday, I fell asleep last night, or at least was so tired that I couldn’t keep my eyes open and had to retire.

Anyway I’d just left you after a busy, bonny autumn day, having just closed the front door on the first roaring stag of the year, three or four days later than last years. I only know that because exactly one year ago today was my first day at South Tyneside nautical college and I heard the first stag bellow the day I left home. Not actually at home but on the banks of Loch Cluanie as I inspected the remains of the old A87 . Golly gosh, is it only a whole year since I was ‘in the village’, feels like a lifetime ago now since I was motorman on the MV Loch Striven, where did it go??

So, before I get stuck into today I figured I’d better get something down on here as I’ve a feeling that Thursday 26th of September is going to be ‘epic’, for today is ‘broadband day’. Or at least the day that a whole squad of muscle and experts head over from Applecross, Portree and even Eigg to get phase two of the Applecross Broadband project up and running.

The forecast is good, the cable laid, the ‘backhaul’ at the Aros sorted and a phone line installed, by the weekend we should have the fastest broadband on Raasay Smile 

I left the good ship MV Finlaggan in Kennacraig at midday on Tuesday after a busy week aboard her assisting the engineering crew with many of the varied an interesting jobs that keep her running smoothly.



Seawater filters cleaned, turbochargers inspected, pipes repaired, fridges defrosted, pumps checked being just a few on the weeks list.


An all too brief a stop at my parents on the way home as I wanted to make Arnish that day, only a week ago the Five Sisters had been verdant, now, like much of the scenery it had a distinct autumnal hue.



It was good to get back to Raasay but by the time I arrived home the sun had gone down and I was in bed shortly afterwards.


My first glass of wine in over a week, the long drive north and the comfort of my own bed had me getting up later than usual at around 8:00am but I wasted no time on getting ‘stuck in’ once out of my pit.




The wee dog and I had a solar inverter to fit in Harry’s new shed, this SMA SB3800 PV ‘grid tie inverter’ I just bought from Navitron has to be the bargain of the century, they’re normally over a thousand pounds plus VAT and this one was £510 including VAT and delivery!!!!! Combine this with their other megadeal the 235w Kinve solar panels at £120 and you’ve a quality solar electricity plant for buttons.

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The SB3800 weighs in at 38kg and the larger one that will be going next to it for my Wind turbine over 60kg so I thought that a 19mm piece of plywood over the 13mm OSB might be a wise move.


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That done I walked back home for some lunch, my spell in Harry’s shed had insulated me from the outside world far a little while and the beauty of the morning had escaped me.



That will be the  ‘Pipers Rock’, the buttress behind the rowan tree


and that’s where I’ll be heading later today, the top of Meall Dearg Arnish, ‘the red hill of Arnish’.


The contrast between our wooded little valley at South Arnish and the solid rock to the north couldn’t be more stark.

The lunch of homemade celery soup was followed by a drive to Brochel along ‘Calum’s road’ and then a walk to the two lochs.


Loch Arnish being full of  porpoises or dolphins, and unusually a trawler, Raasay’s own in fact, LK 315, Lustre.


I know, I know, we should have walked the whole way, I wanted to but wifey insisted that we take the hen!!!


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This one of her 46 is having a particularly difficult moult and is being kept separate from the others in the coal shed so the ‘hen lady’ said we should take her out ‘cheer her up’.


Dunno if the hen appreciated the view over Loch an Uachdair to the Storr but it certainly made me feel good Smile



This will be Loch Beag, Loch Arnish and the three houses are on the tidal island of Fladda.

Wind power for the water works

After that, and discovering that the last 80m of armoured cable had arrived for the broadband project we headed south to collect it, complete with hen!!


Approaching the water treatment plant we were just too late to see the second of the three Evance R9000 5kw wind turbines going up.


I really do like these elegant looking machines and would love to see one spinning at the back of the new house. However they’re a little out of my price range at the moment, I’m guessing around £30k to see one installed at Arnish Sad smile I could probably install 20kw of PV for that much, wouldn’t be half as much fun right enough Smile



The turbines are being installed by West Coast Energee of South Uist who have put literally dozens of these fine UK built turbines up on the outer isles.



I took the opportunity to have a word with the installer, who was kind enough to show me around and I was most impressed by the quality of the installation. The fireproof fibre board behind the inverters being a nice touch, I’ve never seen that before and wish I’d done it on mine. Interesting also to see that one of the turbines uses two 3800 inverters rather than one 6000, not sure what the advantage of that is, other than they’re much lighter to lift Smile


After collecting our cable a 47kg gas cylinder and taking the hen to see Jessie we headed back home, grabbed a quick dinner and set off up to North Arnish to lay and joint the cable before dark.




Just before dark in fact, and when I stepped in through the front door afterwards I heard my first stag of the year. There was more, much more but it’s almost 7:30 now and I’ve much to do.

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