Golly gosh, it has been a while hasn’t it, 27th July when I last scribbled and already we’re almost halfway through August, where has it all gone? Well under the ‘Old Girl’ for the best part of a week for sure, and prior to that a week on the good ship Hallaig as usual.
Methinks, judging by the ring of water lilies and views of Fladda and Eilean Tighe that I must have taken on my way home, that the weather was ‘just peachy’. Sadly that didn’t last and August turned into the usual ‘gambling’ month that it is. That’ll be taking bets on whether to put on the sun screen or midge repellent, or ‘toss up’ between the shorts and wellingtons. It has in short, been on the whole pretty miserable for half the time, OK for a quarter, much darker at night and spectacular for about ten minutes. Seriously I question the sanity of anyone holidaying on the west coast in August whilst there’s June and May to be had.
The roads are full of European campervans the size of a football pitch that drive everywhere at 30mph. Worse than those are the tourists from the areas that Napoleon conquered who drive on the wrong side of the road. They hire a car in Scotland then keep forgetting we drive on the correct side, at least with the campervans you can see by the number plate that they’re likely to do something unexpected. There has been pure carnage on the roads this last few weeks with two dead and seven injured in four incidents in four days. I’ve only been off the island twice in three weeks and both times I’ve met a car at the Varragill bridge ignoring the priority to north bound traffic at the bottleneck.
It’s well signposted and has large dotted lines on the road for where to stop but these Dudes just kept coming Luckily on both occasions I’d an inkling of what was going to happen and was travelling at a safe speed or there would have been another statistic or two for the ‘West Highland Free Press’.
Raasay stores officially open
Harking back a few weeks to the summer we had the official opening of our refurbished community store, and what a topper of a day it was. I wasn’t there right enough, being as I was working and all that but we had the Portree junior pipe band over and there was a huge turnout on what was probably the hottest day of the year.
Here’s just a couple of pictures from our newsletter and a report by Lloyd Gudgeon our community development officer.
A huge ‘thank you’ to all who turned out to celebrate the
opening of our community shop on Friday 18thJuly. The
event kicked off with a charity walk in aid of the Prince’s
Countryside Fund – we had 70 entrants who braved the
walk on one of the hottest days of the year! Well done to
all walkers and those who donated to raise a total of
£216.20 for the Prince’s Countryside Fund. This is a way of giving back to our
supporters as the PCF very generously donated to the purchasing of the Community
Shop. A further £209.52 was raised for CORRA through the bottle stall and teas and
coffees. All the other stall holders were raising money for a charity of their own
choice and all reported excellent takings.
We are delighted to report that the community shop is continuing with very good
trading figures and David reports that Friday 18th
was our best ever day, leading to a
record breaking week for shop sales! This was helped by the launch of the Raasay
Local Carriage Stamp, with over 75 sets of the First Day Cover sold on the day. They
were designed by Gwen Sinclair and are a great way to commemorate the community
takeover of the shop; a number of sets are still available from the shop. The stamps
can also be purchased individually to decorate your cards or postcards. If you wish to
buy by mail order please contact David on firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you to all who helped to make the day a success including the wonderful Isle of
Skye Pipe Band, Doctor Crichton, stall holders, volunteers, shop staff and Calmac for
providing free transport for the pipe band. Finally – thank you to all our customers and
shareholders who are all continuing to make the shop a success.
CORRA (Community of Raasay Retail Association)
Our community owned store has made a huge difference to the island and whilst some things are a little more expensive, there are bargains and offers to be had. Best of all though, you don’t have to leave Raasay now for most things, you don’t waste time away and you don’t end up buying loads of carp you don’t need
Then there’s always the drink
To be put on the mailing list for the newsletter or for more info on buying shares contact Lloyd on email@example.com
Then there’s the wildlife
My irregular posts of late have meant that I’ve a good selection of wildlife photographs to share, courtesy of my correspondent from the south end of Raasay, George Rankine.
A cracking shot of an arctic tern http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arctic_tern sometimes called a sea swallow these elegant summer visitors can travel 40,000 miles in a year and have a fierce temper. I remember years ago when I was working as a diver at a fish farm, there was a pair nesting in a rolled up salmon net on a pontoon at Kenmore in Torridon. This picture above takes me right back to the screaming wee things warning us to keep clear. Fair play to the owners of the fish farm though for leaving the net well alone until the pair had left.
Some real beauties above of a minke whale off Holoman, a seal with a fish and one of those boring eagles again Seriously though, we really do see an awful lot of them, I get more excited over a bullfinch!! Just click on them to enlarge
This one brought a smile to my face, though the reason for its arrival was not a happy affair. The MV Lord of the Glens http://lordoftheglens.co.uk/ called into Raasay as a result of one of those fatal car crashes. She was visiting Kyle and had ‘bussed’ a group of German passengers up to Portree for the day. The tragic crash at Druim na Cloiche meant they could not get back to Kyle, so some canny person arranged for the bus to take them to Sconser where the Hallaig would deposit them on Raasay. The Lord of the Glens could then collect them from our new pier.
The visitors seemed to enjoy the detour and the master of the ‘LOTG’ must have had a sense of humour, for when they arrived he had Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyrie playing loudly from the ships PA
Apparently the holiday makers really liked ‘being rescued’ to Wagner
The 200TDi conversion
If I’ve not mentioned it yet, I’m off work now with the old sciatica, probably brought about by a weeks toil in the pishing rain underneath the ‘Old Girl’. I know, I know, I’ve a dry, light, clean shed that measures 40’ x 20’ so what on earth am I doing outside, well three reasons, firstly it’s the summer so I foolishly expected at least a few good days and it’s actually pleasanter working outside. Secondly, you need an awful lot of room to get both a telehandler and 110 land rover end to end.
Thirdly, I didn’t want to dirty my new shed
The conversion from 19J ‘turbo diesel’ to Discovery 200TDi has been covered to death on the internet so I’ll not bore you with the details. It’s pretty straightforward and the only major expense is having to buy a custom built exhaust down pipe which can be had from Andy http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/defender-90-110-exhaust-conversion-for-discovery-200tdi/221518895152?_trksid=p2047675.c100011.m1850&_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIC.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D23984%26meid%3D78ddb291913b4155a9963c9e253a22bb%26pid%3D100011%26prg%3D9421%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D10%26sd%3D321465771525
This well fabricated downpipe allows the Discovery engine to marry perfectly with the old TD exhaust pipe, you just need to cut a section off the old pipe to allow the new one to slot over (or is it inside). Anyway, it fits a treat, all you have to do is move the clutch hydraulic pipe a few inches to the left of the vehicle.
You could easily do the conversion in just a couple of days but ‘yours truly’ messes about a lot and the ‘Old Girl’ has a gazillion and one extras not fitted to your standard Landy. I had to deal with loads of extra insulation, air horns, HID headlamp drivers, winch controls, ARB diff lock compressor and of course the exhaust gas temperature thermocouple.
This is M8 x 1.0, a fine metric thread and I drilled and tapped the exhaust manifold where the EGR would go.
I also took the opportunity to prepare and paint all the chassis and stuff when the TD came out.
All this whilst dodging showers and the dreaded midge. It actually all went pretty smoothly with my son helping on the telehandler and some of the underneath work. One unexpected snag was two studs that needed to be removed from the TDi flywheel housing. they would not line up with any holes in the bell housing and I don’t remember reading about them in any of the research I did. Right enough, most people actually fit the TD flywheel cover, I didn’t as there is no facility to time the fuel pump on the TD cover.
The TDi housing is tapped to accept that spring loaded plunger which is essential to find TDC, having said that mine was actually timed perfectly when I checked it so perhaps it’s not that crucial.
Another unforeseen hiccup was the threads on the oil cooler fittings on the new radiator. Whilst the original Disco one wasn’t actually leaking, most of the fins were damaged and it was 18 years old so I purchased a new ‘Britpart shitpart’ one from Paddocks, where I get most of my gear http://www.paddockspares.com/ . Some of their gear is rubbish but they stock good stuff too and the service is great. This radiator however came with M20 x1.5 threads and not the normal 1/2” BSP, luckily I found an excellent supplier in Glasgow http://www.duncanrogers.com/ who posted out 2 x 1/2”BSP x 20mm M/F adaptors for less than £20 and they were here the day after.
The intercooler and radiator pipe work I made myself out of stainless pipe of 41mm and 52mm, though in retrospect 38mm would have been better for the radiator. I joined these together with various silicon hoses from these people http://www.autosiliconehoses.com/ Auto Silicon Hoses. However, whilst their products are excellent the service is carp, I’ve still not received all my hoses three weeks after ordering them, have phoned several times, emailed and opened a case via eBay with them.
The hardest part of the whole job was finding somewhere to fit the air filter but I came up with a novel solution that I’ll share with you when I take a picture. Anyway, it’s been finished for well over a week and whilst it goes great and has loads of ooommphh I’ve hardly had chance to drive it on account of my back
A brief respite from the Land Rover, on what was probably the best day of the ‘fortnight off’ popped up unexpectedly whilst wifey was reading the good old ‘Broadford Beano’ http://www.whfp.com/ . Since the welcome demise of the ‘one eyed monster’ weeks and weeks ago the Camilli household has been reaping unexpected rewards. First off the wife and I are actually speaking to each other and not just shouting from different rooms over the noise of Emmerdale. Of course the downside for you is I’ve not been posting so much but ‘hey ho’. Another plus has been the avid reading by the post lady of even the ‘small print’ in the local comic, which a couple of weeks ago printed an article about Mike Westman, his interesting life, family, passion for flying and new microlight training venture.
Mike has recently qualified as an instructor and started teaching people how to fly in his new Ikarus C42
Whoops, wrong picture
and has started a school http://www.skyemicrolighttraining.co.uk/about.html
Darling wife is telling me all this whilst I’m glued to the computer and I catch tales of the ‘Red Baron’, Marlene Dietrich, escaping from Nazi Germany and then right at the end, an offer to pupils of Portree and Plockton high for free ‘taster’ lessons. Now, I’m listening intently but have no time to tear myself away from the Land Rover website to check out Mike’s, consequently I’m thinking
and not a proper little plane.
Right up until meeting a cheerful and enthusiastic Mike at Broadford airstrip and I see his beautiful little two-seater aircraft gleaming white on the warm black tarmac.
Me is far more excited than the ‘Cool Dude’
and am constantly bombarding Mike with questions about maintenance, endurance, fuel consumption and cost.
All of which he answers, and much to my surprise, it’s not half as expensive as you’d think, with Mikes plane costing less than some second hand cars and only burning around 10lts of regular petrol an hour.
Anyway, after a thorough briefing and a ten minute warm up, ‘off they went’ and it wasn’t just a quick fly around Broadford bay, they were gone a full forty minutes with my son at times ‘taking the helm’ so to speak.
I dunno who was more excited when he came back
me or him,
well, I can tell you what I want for my birthday, one of Mikes ‘air experience’ flights over Arnish. I mean, what a way to see Skye and Raasay for only £90!!!!!
They need some pigs
By the time I was halfway through week two the back was really playing up, I’d worked myself up to six Tramadol a day then just couldn’t sleep. So, totally out of character I took the wife to the ‘Portree Agricultural show’, or should I say, she drove me there and I hobbled around looking at the stalls, display and stock.
Just like the Dude’s flying day, it was sandwiched between to wet days and stayed warm and dry, though the ground was too wet to sit on I managed to find the odd perch here and there
There was definitely a shortage of pigs, I think Rocky and the five piglets would have enjoyed all the attention. Right enough I guess the council wouldn’t appreciate them digging up the playing fields though.
Sure there was more, much more but it’s after midnight now and whilst I’m still ‘high as a kite’ after Catriona Purll’s massage, I need my bed. I know from experience of Catriona’s hands that I’ll feel like I’ve been hit by a truck tomorrow before I start to feel better http://www.skyetherapists.com/