Life at the end of the road

March 24, 2014

On the rocks :-)

Well, that’s my ‘months hard labour’ over with, apart from a few hours with my parents tomorrow doing the odd job, I’ll be back at sea on the Hallaig before the afternoon is out. To be quite honest I’m looking forward to the rest, the last few days has really taken it out of me and bits of are aching that i didn’t even know could ache.

It’s not quite 19:30 and the only reason that I’m blogging now and not soaking in Radox is that I can’t actually move anything other than my fingers without wincing. As soon as I digest dinner and loosen up a little once the Chardonnay starts to work I’ll be off for a dip.

Gosh, almost 21:00 now and I’m feeling almost human so I’ll try and recall what’s been happening, well it’s not rained for almost three days so that’s something. Sunday felt like spring proper with frogspawn, birdsong, me out of the house long before 7:00 and all the pigs waiting for me at the end of the road. Ellie and the two boys live under a rhododendron bush by the road sign so are often roused by my loading up the feed bucket on the croft. Rocky and Jamie Lea on the other hand live in an ark at the bottom of the hill so usually have breakfast delivered, not on Sunday though. Whatever had me up at ‘cock crow’ also infected the pigs and had them charging around the car park a good hour before their normal breakfast time.

Quad track rod ends (tie rod ends in the US)

A long overdue job that I tackled ‘early doors’ on Sunday was the track rod ends on my mates Yamaha 350 Bruin. The inner one had failed some months ago and this was me just getting around to fixing it properly for him after the temporary bodge I’d done last year.

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That picture was actually from when the other side failed in 2012 but you get the picture, the track rod ends point the wheels in the right direction and stop you getting ‘knock kneed’ Smile Anyway I ‘fixed’ it last year by squeezing it in a vice and like many ‘temporary repairs’ it became a little permanent. Sadly, I can’t even blame that on the shipping from America, as the parts arrived in around ten days and were still much cheaper than buying them in the UK by a long shot. Though bizarrely it wasn’t the track rod ends themselves that cost an arm and a leg in Britain it was delivery, yup, it’s cheaper to get them sent from North Carolina than Cumbria!!! Just imagine what they’re going to charge if Scotland gains independence Smile This Yamaha 350 Bruin is a seriously reliable and well worked machine but dealers are thin on the ground and this model with it’s automatic transmission seems poorly supported over here. Fortunately it’s very popular in the States where Americans seem to have a problem with gears and clutches Smile

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Changing them is pretty straightforward, one is a LH thread and one a RH thread, they won’t go on the wrong way, so all you have to do is measure the overall length so as not to have to set the tracking afterwards.


With the Yamaha sorted I then got on with giving Lachie’s telehandler a good greasing prior to breakfast and another marathon stone gathering session.



The gathering of suitable building sized stones for the gable continued until around 14:00 when my back started to complain.


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I then proceeded with the labourious task of drilling 28mm holes 400mm deep into the very hard rock that’s going to be the base for my Proven 11m mast.



Four holes was all I managed, but that took me until almost 18:00, by which time my hands were numb and I’d had enough. I only actually had for studs anyway so saw little point in doing the other four until I had the rest of the tensile rod.




Well, it was a bonny, cool and frosty morning, not that you’d guess from the photo from the bedroom window. However, puddles on the road were covered in ice this morning and the ground was ‘stiff’, not frozen solid but hard and decidedly firm underfoot Smile

After dropping off the boy for the school ferry I headed to our community shop with eggs, expecting to leave them on the doorstep and surprised to find it occupied.


Our shop has been in turmoil of late due to a major refurbishment and the workers had started early so I had the chance of a ‘wee peek’.



The post Office section was looking far brighter, roomier and better laid out that’s for sure.


Of course there’s still an awful lot of stuff to go back in the shop but all the extra insulation certainly made the place warmer than it’s ever been on such a fresh morning.

The community owned shop is looking for volunteers to help paint it if anyone can spare a few hours later this week or next week, just be careful with that lovely new floor Smile

Back home before 9:00am and the place really did have a different feel about it,

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the washing was on the line and the ‘wee dug’ out in the sun guarding it.

Molly looking far slimmer and acting a little more ‘chilled’ since we stopped feeding her that Baker’s muck with it’s 5% sugar and thirteen e numbers.

After breakfast it was up to the wind turbine base once more to start cleaning out the bore holes and injecting the Hilti HIT RE500 resin to secure the studs.


A good blast with compressed air from a diving cylinder followed by a suck out with a hoover then a final buffing up with a ramrod made from a length of M6 threaded rod and a 4” paint roller.

The last time I did this was in the summer and the resin went off far too quickly but the cool rocks of March meant a good two hours to play with.

That done it was back to moving rocks once more with the wife Smile


and of course, the ‘wee dug’.

Meanwhile on the Loch Seaforth

Just arrived this morning in my ‘in box’ and at Flensburg from Gdansk is the accommodation, superstructure and bridge module for the MV Loch Seaforth.


Thanks to John Alan Gillies once more for that one.



  1. Not read your blog for a few weeks so decided it was time to catch up, good to see you are still working as hard although not so pleased to hear that you appear to be overdoing it again. No point telling you to take it easy as we all know you are who you are. 😉
    We dug is looking a lot healthier these days and no doubt the lack of a food product that is made for profit rather than pet health is the main reason.
    Well done to the whole community on the Store, It is looking good and I just wish we where closer and more able to help with the painting.
    All the best

    Comment by Thomson Caravans — March 24, 2014 @ 11:02 pm

    • Good morning and welcome back Graham,

      soon be the ‘Thomson season’ hey 🙂 Gonna have to get away in ours this year, perhaps Lewis and Harris via Stornoway on the Seaforth 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 25, 2014 @ 6:37 am

      • Sounds good, we are off to Orkney in July for a family wedding, just got to find the ferry fee for us and the van. going to head up to the ferry across to St Margaret’s hope, Planning on a couple of stopovers on the way up and if the money lasts come back down via your neck of the woods and hopefully meet up for a wee while, but no promises as yet still all pretty much in the planning stage. keep safe, Graham

        Comment by Thomson Caravans — April 4, 2014 @ 10:43 pm

      • Hope you make it away for a good long trip in the Thomson Graham. The last time I went to Orkney was 1981 with a Land Rover and boat, it was over £200 then!!!

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — April 6, 2014 @ 7:33 pm

      • Not going to be cheap but thanks to the Thomson we can head all the way to the tip of the mainland and get the ferry across to St. Margarets Hope, cost £200 so inflation has frozen, although its nearer £600 from Aberdeen with the main ferry. Paid the camp site fees on the island and saving up for the ferry and camp site just outside the ferry .
        Fuel won’t be as bad as your landrover but will still hurt! Only time I have been on Orkney was in a plane, landing to pick up passengers on the way to Kirkwall in 1978! Will be good to see some of it this time from ground level.

        Comment by Thomson Caravans — April 13, 2014 @ 12:58 pm

  2. Morning, Paul

    Ah, that lovely new floor in the shop- though I see that the bench is resting on part of the old one. So glad the venerable shelves are still there.



    Comment by Sue — March 25, 2014 @ 10:23 am

  3. What height are you putting the two wires on raspberry frame? I might do this tomorrow, also in the interests of a quiet life!

    Comment by John — April 12, 2014 @ 10:41 pm

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