Life at the end of the road

October 25, 2014

Campbeltown tonight

Well, it’s been a while that’s for sure and much has ‘gone down’ this last six or so weeks. Truth is there’s just been far too much going on and I’ve been working 15 hour days whilst on holiday. Now I’m back at work for a rest, who knows I may even start regular posting again, though don’t hold your breath. Life is sweeping the Camilli’s along at the moment and we’re trying to get to grips with the hard work and trauma of moving house. Almost thirty years of carp, or treasure, depending on your perspective, needs moved, burned, buried, packed, stored, sold or given away.

The new ‘power station’

An ‘Indian summer’ and a months holiday has helped get some of it done but we’ve still barely scratched the surface. The first major task, which took me almost a whole week was securing a new ‘off grid’ power supply for the new house. Hugh Piggott of Scoraig Wind Electric supplied most of the kit which arrived a couple of weeks before my holiday so my son and I got on with installing it.


The 2.5kW of REC solar panels from Wind and Sun were mounted just below the 10 x 220w Yingli’s we fitted earlier. This would give the hen shed roof 4.7kW of solar panels, ten of them ‘AC coupled’ through a 2.5kW ‘Sunny Boy’ inverter and ten of them wired directly to the 48v battery bank or ‘DC coupled’. The ‘AC coupled’ ones all wired in one series ‘string’ so their combined DC voltage would be fed into the inverter at around 300v. The other ten wired as five series pairs of around 60v and connected straight to the battery bank.

AC or DC

Much has been written, argued and discussed about the advantage of each method and both have their supporters who devoutly swear that ‘their’ method is the best. The truth is that each has advantages and disadvantages so often a combination of both methods is best. If you are using the power as you harvest it then AC is best, if you’re storing it then DC is the winner, as I plan to use most of my power as I produce it then store it as hot water I’ve chosen a mixture.



I guess that’s just about a full year since I started building the ‘solar powered hen house’ Smile How time flies, one thing for sure, the weather has been far, far kinder this autumn, it’s been the best September/October I can ever remember.

The ‘Sunny Island’

No, I’m not talking about Grian a Sgier or even Raasay but my new ‘off grid’ inverter from SMA,


that would be converting the 48vdc of my batteries into 230vac for the new barn and house. The SI6.0H inverter


is a serious piece of kit and far more complex than my trusty old Trace SW4548e that powers ‘number 3’. To be honest I prefer the Trace’s simplicity, idiot proof menu and built in generator starting relays. However nobody imports the American inverters these days and the SMA kit works better with its own grid tied inverters if you are ‘AC coupling’ at all. The SMA kit can be configured to ‘throttle back’ the PV output thus negating the need for dump loads but we’ll not go into that just now Smile Before I bore you all to death with two weeks worth of installing and wiring this lot I’ll move on.

  It was a nice idea

Of course it’s all over now, but for a ‘wee while’ it looked like we might even have been a different country since I last posted. Seems like a lifetime ago but it was not that long since the entire country was caught up in ‘referendum fever’.

002 010 009

Goat island, my lunches and even driveway were all on the receiving end of ‘the message’ and I have to admit to putting a tick in that box myself Smile For long enough I was all in favour of the ‘status quo’, better the devil you know and all that but I was so appalled at all the carp that the ‘no campaign’ came out with and their contempt for the Scottish people as whole that I changed my mind. Sure we were going to get shafted, sure it was going to cost more money but ‘what the feck’ we’d have got rid of Trident and still used the pound Smile And it was great to be a part of it all, even now I kind of get emotional thinking about it, I’m not really into politics but it was amazing to see the whole country so engaged and have an opinion, whatever it was. When the ‘yes’ campaign got ahead a point or two in the polls it was a pure joy to watch the Tories running around like headless chickens. The ‘cavalry’ flew up to Scotland in a blind panic and I really felt sorry for Alistair Darling on TV having to defend the policies he arbores. I guess we are ‘better together’ but it was great thinking we might not have been Smile  


After my son’s ‘air experience’ flight with Mike Westman during the summer holidays.

Mike and Dad

No, that will be Mike and not the Dude Smile Anyway, he enjoyed it so much that I bought my darling wife a gift voucher for a trip in Mike’s Ikarus C42







South Arnish


New house





The Cullins, what can I say, only £90 and guess what I want for my birthday Smile


The highlight of Raasay’s yearly calendar, the ‘School Coffee Day’ raised a staggering amount of money thanks to the hard work of pupils, staff, parent council and of course the local business’s that gave so generously.

Photograph lifted from the ‘Broadford Beano’ another west coast institution

The annual Raasay Primary School coffee day has raised an amazing £3,321.70 for school funds.

Pupils and staff extended a big ‘thank you’ to everyone who helped make the recent coffee day a success, with the total amount raised a new record.

Thanks also go to the parent council for organising and running their usual cafe with tasty lunches and snacks; all the businesses, near and far, who donated prizes; friends and family who helped to organise, man the stalls and tidy up afterwards; all those involved in the school’s social enterprise project; and, in particular, thanks for the generosity and support from the local businesses and community groups in sponsoring the venture.

Wilma Duncan, head teacher at Raasay Primary School, said: “The staff and pupils all put in a great effort, and the response and generosity of the Rassay community has been overwhelming. The final fundraising total was terrific, and reflects once again the support the island has for its school.”

Now that is over £3K from a school with 11pupils on an island of less the 200 people!!! And whilst this is a record, in the 25 years I’ve lived here it’s never been less than £1k. Most comprehensives with rolls in the hundreds would struggle to make that amount of money. The Raasay primary school is indeed a unique institution Smile

Road works

Any normal person who had a months holiday at this time of year would be thinking of Malta, Grand Canarias or Greece, not me, no I chose to spend a week on road repairs.


Yup, with a couple of diggers courtesy of ‘Hugh Mackay Plant’ and Lachie Gillies and a 3 ton dumper from DDK design we set about some serious repairs to the Torran path.


After which the Dude and I set about work up at the new house and hen shed.



He spent a full three days working the 2.5ton Takeuchi and made a fantastic job on the road up to the house.


I was ‘well impressed’ with his patience and the quality of his work, mind you, I was paying him £80 a day Smile

Heading for dock

All too soon the holiday was over and I was straight back into the thick of it with MV Loch Bhrusda relieving and Hallaig off to dry dock in Troon.

 photo 1

I joined the ship on Wednesday morning and with a ‘weather window’ on Thursday we headed south for Craignure on Mull.


Not the nicest of days but after the Skye bridge and with the tide with us we made 15knots through the Kylerhea narrows!!

photo 2

Our first stop being Fishnish on Mull for ‘berthing trials’ on the slip there, closely followed by a visit to Lochaline on the mainland.


We’ll be relieving the MV Loch Fyne here in February whilst she goes to dry dock so best to make sure we fit first Smile

After a night in Craignure we headed south past the ‘Slate Isles’ of Easdale, Luing, Lunga, Belnahua then by the ‘Grey dogs’ and Corryverckan


photo 4

On the way we met MV Loch Linnhe and the veteran MV Hebridean isles before ‘hammering’ around the Mull of Kintyre.

photo 5

Finally tying up in Campbeltown around 17:30


Sure there was much, much more than that but it’s now almost 22:20 and I’m ready for bed.



  1. Good to see you back, ignore the asshole comments. Looked out for you at Sconser the other week.

    Comment by Stuart — October 25, 2014 @ 9:32 pm

  2. No idea how great it was to find a post from Life at the End of the Road tonight!!

    Comment by may cruickshank — October 25, 2014 @ 9:38 pm

  3. Nice to have you back on line.

    Comment by Steve — October 25, 2014 @ 9:41 pm

  4. I had my money on you being back in time to “discuss” the ‘changing of the clocks’. Aye, moving house is a ‘bit of a b……’ I still can’t find things after two years. Atb in the new hoose. A.

    Comment by Arthur Findlay — October 25, 2014 @ 10:01 pm

  5. Welcome back, from a selfish point of view its been too long.

    Comment by Mikewr — October 25, 2014 @ 10:42 pm

  6. 🙂 Glad to have you back 🙂

    Comment by jay and sharon — October 25, 2014 @ 10:58 pm

  7. great to hear from you Paul

    Comment by cazinatutu — October 25, 2014 @ 11:11 pm

  8. Wow, Paul, we were getting really panicked that you’d gone to the moon!! PLEASE keep blogging.
    And another WOW about the fantastic amount raised by Raasay school; terrific. Cheers, Mike and Sarah.

    Comment by Mike and Sarah Bassett — October 26, 2014 @ 6:18 am

  9. Hi Paul, Phew thought we had lost you for a while. Was beginning to get withdrawal symptoms there. Seriously, I echo all the other ‘welcome back’ messages and a big ‘well done’ to the Dude for his great efforts. Robert Findlay.

    Comment by Robert Findlay — October 26, 2014 @ 7:35 am

    • Aye Robert, ‘well done to the Dude’ indeed, I’m really proud of my son’s efforts, even if he has ‘cleaned me out’ 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 26, 2014 @ 9:08 pm

  10. Wow! What a lot of progress. I can see why you’ve been kind of busy, but great to see you back. Keep pushing for independence, We’ll get there eventually.Jim.

    Comment by englishjim — October 26, 2014 @ 9:06 am

  11. Paul glad to see you back, thought you had given up! Well done Raasay school.

    Comment by eileen1929 — October 26, 2014 @ 9:11 am

  12. Great to catch up, Paul. Thought of you when I picked up a three cylinder, 18kW Lister-Petter yesterday, sold off dirt cheap because it quit running for an off-grid hunting/vacation lodge. Lost compression in two pots. I think it’s just a couple of stuck or burned valves. Heavy bugger. Had to use my auto lift as a crane to get it off the trailer.

    Comment by mick — October 26, 2014 @ 10:21 am

    • Aye Mick, it’ll be nothing more than a couple of valves stuck.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 26, 2014 @ 11:48 am

      • For sure that’s what it was. Valves were coked up. Previous owners failed to keep up with the 1,000 hour decoke schedule, then wondered why it quit. Should I feel guilty profiting from the mechanical ignorance of others?

        Comment by mick — October 27, 2014 @ 9:36 am

  13. Great to see you back blogging

    Comment by Nigel Macleod — October 26, 2014 @ 10:44 am

  14. Welcome back, not that you had gone anywhere, the sale of the house and impending move it’s no suprise you retracted to the inner bowels of he Croft getting it ship shape.

    I look forward to you next installment……….

    Comment by Alistair — October 26, 2014 @ 11:21 am

  15. welcome back Mr C…..

    Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — October 26, 2014 @ 12:07 pm

  16. happy to think you were very busy and not ill. what a ton of work you got done!!! how are the chickens, the pigs, and most of all, our canine rockstar?

    Comment by jeannettesmyth — October 26, 2014 @ 2:38 pm

    • Chickens chirpy and Molly missing me, at least I like to think she is 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 26, 2014 @ 4:46 pm

  17. Science tells us that “moving” is among life’s Top 5 Traumas, along with death, divorce, um maybe taxes and another thing I forget. If I had known you were paying £80 per day to play with a digger I would have been there in a heartbeat! Today’s notice from Eilean Donan says the castle is closed for “inclement weather” so you might wish to check on the folks in Dornee to see if they have collected all the pine martins safely inside. I am now the proud owner of a YES shirt and hope one day it will be worthless because everyone will own at least two. From the shores of Campbell, TX to the belfries of Campletown… a salute to Arnish!

    Comment by drgeo — October 26, 2014 @ 2:53 pm

    • “Campbeltown” darn fat fingers…

      Comment by drgeo — October 26, 2014 @ 2:56 pm

      • Great to hear you are doing well.
        Best wishes from Us in Devon

        Comment by chrisbbbbb — October 26, 2014 @ 8:19 pm

      • Hi Chris’s, glad all is well ‘down sowf’

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 26, 2014 @ 9:06 pm

  18. Good that things have been getting sorted Paul, was missing the weekly updates from your neck o the woods! Started back at work in lerwick harbour Friday night an been braw busy up till tonight – had gusts up to 70kts early this morning – Tenerife never looked so good!

    Comment by George — October 26, 2014 @ 8:39 pm

    • Hi George, I guess I’ll get back ‘into the swing’ once things settle down but I have to admit to really enjoying my ‘time off’, it’s a couple of extra hours onto my day and I’ve even started watching TV and speaking to the wife.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 26, 2014 @ 9:05 pm

  19. Glad to see you blogging again. Stunning views, as ever

    Comment by veloce77 — October 27, 2014 @ 12:05 am

  20. Absence certainly makes the heart grow fonder Paul, that’s clear to see from all these comments of how much we’ve all missed you 🙂

    Comment by Tigger — October 27, 2014 @ 10:15 am

    • Well that’s nice to know Tigger and you will have my full, undivided attention for a whole week at least.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 28, 2014 @ 7:02 am

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