Well, I made up for Wednesday on Thursday right enough so the gloom has lifted Yesterday wasn’t exactly the wall to wall sunshine as was forecast but it was pretty good, and after Wednesday it was positively summery.
The cider that ‘Green Van Man’ had donated to my ‘liver fund’ had me arising a little later than I would have liked but the ‘wee dug’ and I were still out of the house before 7:00 to do the feeding. Rather than taking the quad like I usually do we walked down the road to Rocky and Jamie Lea then cut up the wee burn towards the new house. This area was once well cultivated, the ark is actually on ground that still bears the heaps and furrows of long abandoned ‘lazy beds’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lazy_bed .
The two pigs were already out and came charging towards me from a patch of bracken near their insulated home. I dunno what it is about certain areas of bracken that attract them, but when they find the ‘right spot’ they’re like a pair of excavators. They’ve barely touched the stuff by their ark but just above that ‘passing place’ sign where the two of them are eating, is an area of hill that looks like it’s been shelled with artillery . Also, in the foreground is a spot that has received a good deal of attention yet just to the right it’s untouched.
Further evidence of previous agriculture can be found in the dry stone dykes that cut this little valley off from the rest of Arnish
and what could only have been a hen house at one time.
OK, it doesn’t look much like one now but at one time it would have been a neat circular affair with a turf roof.
The Raspberry frame.
The next task after our sojourn around Arnish and breakfast was not on my ‘to do list’ for the fortnight at all. However wifey had spent her Christmas gift vouchers two weeks ago at Skye Shrubs http://www.skyeshrubs.net/
and come away with some raspberries that needed planting. With a hundred and one things on ‘the list’ it hardly seemed like a priority to me but in the interests of a quiet life I got on with making a frame for them.
By my reckoning it was still far to wet and boggy for this kind of task but I made a start anyway,
carefully marking out the ground fro the eight square ‘deer posts’ that would constitute the uprights.
A step ladder would have been better for putting the 8’ posts into the ground but the garden was far too soft for that so I made do with a milk crate.
They could actually have been doing with a little more height for raspberries, around 7’ instead of the 5’ 6” that I did these at but the peaty ground is quite soft at the best of times. Consequently the posts were hammered in almost 3’.
A length of 90mm fish farm blower pipe on top would provide some rigidity and also enable a net to be put over them, but that’s as far as I got. It was my lunchtime now and time to drag my son out of bed for his breakfast and to give me a hand.
We had lots to do over a very large area, from Brochel to the top of Meall Dearag Arnish and you can only get so far on a quad.
Obviously I was struggling to keep the camera still in this blurry picture of the Tarbert sheep fank and Rainy’s wall taken from ‘the Hill of the Hind’. From here we descended on foot the steep slope to the shore and then back on the quads towards Torran and the ‘Pipers rock’ where we dismounted once more and walked eastwards along the fence to Loch nan Dubhan.
The loch was as high as I’ve ever seen it but we didn’t linger, a shower looked imminent and I wanted to get to the wireless broadband masts before it struck.
This little wireless network has been reliably providing us and parts of the Applecross peninsula with fast dependable broadband for over six months now and I wanted to make sure it was all OK.
This system installed by Simon Whitehead of Eigg and Ian Bolas of Rhum from http://www.hebnet.co.uk/index.html has revolutionized our internet
https://lifeattheendoftheroad.wordpress.com/2013/09/27/the-fastest-broadband-on-raasay/ and the sturdy mast has come through the winter virtually unscathed.
I did say ‘virtually’, but one loose clamp after the wildest winter for years aint bad, and during that time this mast has remained ‘powered up’ when the rest of the countryside was blacked out. We have NEVER been without the internet since the system was fitted apart from two nights, once when the UPS failed at the Aros after a power cut and once when my Linksys router had to be ‘rebooted’ through no fault of the ISP.
This wireless broadband is just streets ahead of my satellite based system which quite often failed in bad weather, suffered from pathetic data allowance, extortionate fees and slow speeds. Satellite broadband is really only for when there is NO OTHER option, compared to a good wireless network it’s pants.
We fastened the clamp up just before the shower arrived and managed to get soaked on the way home
Considering the wind and rain at the time I can’t believe that picture turned out so well, first time I’ve seen our slated roof and the hen shed from so far away
Of course by the time we got home the sun was out again, this lovely ruin is actually in the other picture but you’d be hard pressed to find it. When I moved here in 1989 it still had half of it’s turf roof on, Oh how I wish I’d have taken some pictures of it and it’s beautiful pegged timber supports. Apparently it was a barn and where seals were boiled up for their blubber or something equally smelly, or so I was told. Mind you the man who informed me of that also said that I must where a green jumper when fishing for lobster
Not quite so ‘peachy’ today, in fact it was pretty damp and whilst I’ve been outside for pretty much all of it I’ve not got a lot to show for my efforts. Four holes in rock and two in some angle iron is all I’ve achieved today. Right enough I did have a few snags along the way
like a broken drill bit, fortunately just as I’d finished the last of the 28mm holes for the 24mm high tensile steel bar. The extra ‘bridle’ that I made up from an old hydro pole ‘cross tree’ was drilled 30mm.
A 1mm thick cutting disc makes short work of cutting these pieces of heavy steel and generates few sparks and even less heat, sure they don’t last as long but the cut is far, far neater.
Complications and the lack of a decent hoover meant that despite drilling all the holes I couldn’t actually clean three of them properly. Each one is 400mm deep and the other three had stones in the bottom that I couldn’t budge with compressed air or the power washer. Well I probably could have done it with the air had I had more of it but I’ve not wired up my diving compressor up at the new house yet. So, rather than rush that job I just set the one stud in the Hilti HIT RE500 resin, learning a few tricks from the last four I did.
Wrapping the threads in tape save a lot of time cleaning the threads and helps pull the excess resin clear of the hole.
There was more, like a hen invasion in my workshop
and the first frond of bracken, but it’s almost 22:45 now and time for my bed.