Life at the end of the road

October 12, 2013

The ‘final cut’ of 2013 :-)

It’s been another pure stonker of a day here on Raasay and it looks ‘set fair’ for long enough, at least until I’m back at work that is Smile Despite the fantastic weather I wasn’t actually up particularly early, unusual for me but my whole routine has gone ‘t1t5 up’ this last year and it’s going to take a while to get back into the swing of things. It’s not just the croft, new house and marriage that’s suffered this last year, I’ve had little enthusiasm for the blog most nights. Still that’s all behind me now and I’m looking forward to getting really ‘stuck in’ to the various projects for the new house, Harry’s new shed being about all I’ve had time for of late.

When I finally did manage to tear myself away from the new wireless broadband network this morning it was to go and feed the pigs.


001 002

Unfortunately my camera couldn’t capture the moment with just one picture Smile



The departure of most of the tourists has enabled me to put the five ‘wee boys’ on the hill, they’ve had access to it all summer but actually seem to prefer being on the croft near ourselves. That’s all ‘fine and dandy’ but we’re wanting to give the place a rest prior to Ellie and Jamie Lee farrowing in December. So yesterday I led them out to the ark near the old fish farm slipway and locked them out. They’re a cracking litter, the best we’ve ever fattened I’d say and I’ll be sad to see them go Sad smile Every litter is different, some are jumpy, some are cheeky, some are timid and some are crabbit but this evenly sized bunch of rascals are friendly, calm, and being boys, smelly Smile They’re also around the 50kg mark already with another five or six weeks to go so they’ll make an awful lot of sausages!!!

Once they were fed and I’d devoured some of Lidl’s bacon and an Arnish egg I went to work in Harry’s shed, I’d got the batteries in position yesterday and sat them on some 50mm thick rubber that I’d found whilst diving.


I dread to think how much this 3m long section of Trelleborg rubber fendering cost but I found it whilst clam diving some twenty years ago and always knew it would come in handy one day. Today I wanted to carpet the shed in some old conveyor belting given to me some years ago by my good mate the ‘Quarryman’, it would save the floor and help prevent unplanned electrocution Smile



Old conveyor belting is like scaffolding, fish boxes, pallets and rope, it has a million and one uses and can often be had for next to nothing or picked up on the shore.



As well as ‘carpeting’ the shed I fitted a shelf for the battery charger that would keep the 450ah 24v battery bank charged up whilst Harry was running.



It’s not a permanent solution, I’m thinking of one of these on the roof 

235W Framed Kinve PV Panel

At only £144 including VAT for a 235w panel they’re a bargain, I should know, I’ve got 4 on the roof of  Smile

Balancing wind turbine blades

That done, and with Harry given a half hour jog I returned home for a strupach, the definition of which is sadly lacking on Google but it’s Gaelic for a ‘fly cup of tea’ or break from work. Finding all the milk in the house gone I elected for strong black coffee then turned my attention towards the 200w Yangzhou Shenzhou piece of carp wind generator that I’d bought recently in a sale. This cheap Chinese effort is poorly made with ‘Mickey Mouse’ bearings, bird 5h1t welding and atrocious machining but having said that the PMG alternator looks quite robust and it was cheap. With this in mind I’ve been trying to make a good machine out of it by fitting proper bearings  and a few other mods, today’s being balancing the blades.



First thing I did was to mount the turbine on Simon’s ‘Loggit’ a tool that I cannot praise highly enough.


Not only does this hold logs whilst you saw them it can also be used as an outboard motor stand

310312 015 and  great mount for balancing wind turbine blades Smile

With the turbine mounted on Simon’s stand with a ‘G clamp’ I checked that the blades were evenly spaced.



They weren’t quite but loosening the mounting bolts and some judicious tugging and re measuring sorted that out and got them all set at 840cm. With the blades evenly spaced I checked their length



and was pleased to find that they were all equal.

That done it was just a case of ensuring that all the blades were the same weight, a labourious process of constantly spinning them by hand and taking note of how they stopped.


Blade number 3 seemed to be heavier as it was always stopping in the 6 O clock position but after much adding of washers on blades 1 and 2 I think I’ve got it sorted.

This took me nicely up to a lunch of noodles and baked beans, I say lunch but it was actually breakfast for my son who I’d just managed to drag out of bed Smile   With the Dude finally up and fed we went over to at Torran, he to cut the grass and me to check the batteries. That done I went along to the old ‘mission house’ just along the track,



the bit on the left with two chimneys  being where the minister stayed. The bit on the right with no heating being the part where faith would keep you warm Smile


The ‘churchy’ bit has some interesting graffiti in its windows, though not as poignant as that in Croick church where the etchings of the ‘cleared’ abound Sad smile

1845   1869


After doing all my technical stuff I left the boy strimming and headed home for the ‘final cut’


the last time this year that I’ll be cutting the lawn Smile

023 024 025

Well, you know what they say ‘red sky at night, shepherds delight’ Smile



Strangely enough the Hallaig seems to be parked in front of the esplanade at Oban and not alongside the usual berths near the CalMac office?

Postscript Sunday 9:00am

destination Raasay

‘Destination Raasay’ ETA 18:00 Smile Smile  ShipAIS – Latest AIS for HALLAIG



  1. Ahh blade balancing. … something that kingspan forgot to do on my new KW3. ..along with.. install the correct PCB…

    Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — October 12, 2013 @ 10:23 pm

  2. Hallaig is off the esplanade and on the move again – this time listing her destination as RAASAY – won’t be long now !

    Comment by Sue Mason — October 13, 2013 @ 8:12 am

  3. Unplanned electrocution? Is there room in your life for planned electrocution? Glad to see you’re getting back to what passes for normal.

    Comment by Anne Macdonald — October 13, 2013 @ 10:59 am

    • Good morning Anne Unplanned electrocution? Is there room in your life for planned electrocution? I’ve thought about it once or twice this last twelve months 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 14, 2013 @ 6:49 am

  4. The Hallaig has just gone under the bridge Paul, she looks great, very quiet but the skipper did like his electronic fog horn 🙂

    Blog’s as good as ever mate, keep it up!


    Comment by Rich — October 13, 2013 @ 3:50 pm

    • Morning Rich, glad you’re still ‘keeping up’ did you take any pictures??

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 14, 2013 @ 6:45 am

      • Yes mate still here, I’ve put one up on ships ais, I was in the middle of cleaning the wood burner when she went by, had to make a mad dash to try and catch her so not the best of pictures :-(.

        Comment by Rich — October 14, 2013 @ 1:33 pm

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