Life at the end of the road

March 7, 2014

The ‘escape artist’ :-)

Filed under: daily doings, life off grid, pigs, The daily pothole, Trucks and plant, wind turbine — Tags: — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:39 pm

Wednesday morning arrived at my parents house with the patter of tiny feet on their conservatory roof, in other words it was pishing down, just for a change Sad smile I really am severely fed up with this weather, sure the house is roasting and the generator hasn’t run since September due to the abundance of wind and water but I’m sick of it now.

After a walk with my dad and the dogs I headed for home, the weather was carp for outside work but I hoped to make a start on indoor jobs at least.


It may have been torrential rain but that didn’t stop our diligent council sending over a 7m long pickup with a few shovel full loads of tarmac in to repair some potholes. You could not make this incompetence up, that truck will have at a ton in the back at the most and will cost well over £100 on the ferry as it’s a commercial. For a few extra quid they could send over 15 tons in a lorry, now my maths isn’t great but that truck comes over once a fortnight to fill in around six potholes. So that’s two tons every month, for less money than that they could send over 15 tons or more once a month, I despair.

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Coincidently the BBC were also over filming the disgraceful state of the ‘bomb craters’, they are now way past being called mere potholes.


Well, Wednesday was pretty much a ‘write off’  by the time I’d got home,


but it did provide us with the first sign of spring, the hawthorn was out Smile

No sooner had I got home than wifey decided to leave me Sad smile actually it was long planned that she’d be heading sowf on Thursday but that didn’t stop me taking it badly.  So, after checking over the old Nissan for her I hitched a lift to the ferry terminal to pick up Lachie’s telehandler to unload the turbine. Sure I could have done it without but I’m 57 now and my back is wrecked.



The Proven/Kingspan 2.5/3.2kw head weighs in at 190kg and believe me it’s far easier to unload with a forklift than drag across a veg patch Smile

Had the ground not been totally waterlogged I could have got everything much better positioned but settled for putting the turbine in the barn


and getting the mast sections up near their resting place.


That lower mast section really needs to be the other way round, the base will be in the lower left hand corner of the picture, but just check out the tyre tracks. The last thing I wanted to do was ‘bog’ Lachie’s telehandler and in a few weeks I’ll be able to get the Land Rover up there and winch it into position.


006 007

With the head nice and dry and the mast sections more or less on site I concentrated on getting the base into position.

This turbine mast will be anchored firmly to Scotland like my last one, a thin screed of concrete and then bolted firmly to the Lewisian Gneiss.



After much scratching around I found the perfect spot that would allow the minimum of concrete yet still allow me to feed a duct for a cable into the base.


That was about as far as I got on the wind turbine front, I still had to deal with pigs, hens, eggs and of course feed myself. Having no wine to distract me that proved quite simple and I even managed a little blog Smile Friday dawned far brighter and clearer than I’d expected, and whilst the showers were indeed viscous on the back of a 70mph wind it was a pretty good day.



You could see them coming thus avoid them, and they didn’t last very long, so I spent much of the day up at the new house preparing the turbine site.

Mounting a wind turbine on solid rock

Of course ‘in the real world’ it’s far easier to dig a hole and order some ‘readymix’ but that’s a trifle expensive on Raasay, extortionate at Arnish and you couldn’t get a lorry to the site anyway. Not only that but the soil isn’t very deep and the rock is very stable, this I know for a fact because my mate Hooky despairs every time he puts his rock breaker on in this part of the island. Indeed he’d already ‘pecked’ at this particular rock and given up,

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The spot I’d found was perfect, a nice hollow that would need only a little concrete to fill in bellow the base.


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A wee bit of chiselling with my breaker to make a path for the conduit and then a test bore with a 32mm drill proved it to be suitable. The next stage was to get the power washer rigged up so as to give the rock a good clean so the concrete would key to it.



That proved a more ‘long winded’ affair than taking the mast up there as it was a long way from the water supply.


However, it was well worth the effort and did a far better job than a brush and shovel.



One little piggy ??

Sadly I had to leave it there as I’d pigs to deliver and a boy to collect from the ferry. Coaxing the two spotties into the trailer was easy enough, and once they were in there I let them settle whilst i had some tea and a bite to eat. Come 15:00 I set off slowly south with the two spotty gilts bound for Oskaig, it was just as I rounded the Rubh Crion around half a mile from home that I glanced in the mirror and saw a pig wandering amiably down the road towards home! Talk about ‘double take’, I blinked and looked again, sure enough a spotty gilt was just rounding the corner out of sight. stopping the Land Rover I climbed out and went to check on the trailer, half expecting the door to be open. Nope, there in the back was the other one, all alone and well shut in.


The missing pig must have climbed out of the narrow gap above the door!! Ah well, a quick call to the customer on the lines of, ‘your pigs gone AWOL, will Monday be OK’ followed, then I just let the other one loose on the highway. Sure you couldn’t do that in Accrington Smile However, she’d just head down the road after the other one for sure, then join up with the rest of the herd on the hill, so no harm done.

After dropping off eggs at the shop, collecting a bottle of wine (hic) then the Dude from the ferry, we headed home. Sure enough, as soon as we got around the Rubh Crion the two pigs were grubbing away at some bracken roots near the rest of the herd. Much to my surprise though, as soon as I lowered the ramp of the trailer they went back in!!!



Even more to my surprise though, when I got back home there was a pig missing!!! That’s the rascal in front, she obviously prefers walking Smile


  1. What size anchor bolts are you fixing the mast to your special rock with. .. they must be some beasties. ..

    Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — March 7, 2014 @ 10:09 pm

    • Morning Steve,

      not anchor bolts but threaded bar and resin fixings. The bar is M24, a mixture of stainless steel at 400 and high tensile at 800 because that’s what I have. The resin will probably be Hilti HIT-RE 500 resin but I’ll seek clarification on that. The holes will be 32mm which should give enough clearance to drive the studs in once the stuff is injected in. When I installed my first Proven I used 20mm bar and 22mm holes and it was too small, I had the devils own job getting the studs in.

      How’s yours doing anyway?

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 8, 2014 @ 7:16 am

      • A lot better since the replaced the head unit. . We’ve seen 35amp charge rate on a good day. .

        Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — March 8, 2014 @ 8:00 am

      • Replaced the head unit!!!! what was wrong with it?

        Cheers, Paul

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 8, 2014 @ 9:19 am

      • It wasn’t producing any power power. 10amps on a really windy day. .. poor show

        Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — March 8, 2014 @ 9:24 am

  2. Looking forward to watching the 2nd turbine going up & being commissioned, just to see how ‘easy’ it is to have a wind turbine for off grid energy.
    I remember you saying in another blog about your pressure washer and the requirement of a good one, would you mind refreshing my memory as I seem unable to locate it.

    Thank you


    Comment by Arthur T Bomber Harris — March 8, 2014 @ 7:10 am

    • Morning Michael,
      would you mind refreshing my memory as 🙂
      Me, refresh your memory, I can’t even remember what I had for breakfast 🙂

      That will be similar to mine, though mine has the smaller 5.5hp engine. I think I bought it as the smaller model then after 15 years of hard labour changed the pump for the larger one as spares were unobtainable for mine. Whatever you get make sure it has a Honda engine and Interpump pump unless you go electric. Interpump are first class and spares readily available and cheap from Bruce at

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 8, 2014 @ 7:32 am

      • Paul,

        Thank you for that, I vaguely remembered you mentioned about the litres per minute and how sellers make the machine look more attractive by using the litres per hour figure. I have had a look at Bruce’s site, then wondered what bypass valves were all about.
        Would a ‘Return to tank external bypass valve’ be more sensible than an ‘internal one’ where the water re-circulates around the pump?
        Having seen Honda quads put up with use/abuse & your exploits with the Quadzilla I would definitely go down the Honda route.
        Spring can only be just round the corner, it appears to have arrived here in the south, lets hope the Sabbath gives you a ray or two of sunshine.

        Comment by Arthur T Bomber Harris — March 9, 2014 @ 7:45 am

      • Would a ‘Return to tank external bypass valve’ be more sensible than an ‘internal one’ where the water re-circulates around the pump?

        I’ve never seen one that returns to tank Michael, try phoning Bruce.

        Cheers, Paul

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 9, 2014 @ 8:09 am

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