Life at the end of the road

November 12, 2014

The five year ‘droit’

Filed under: daily doings — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:16 pm

Rain on the windows, well that’s a rarity for sure, not that we have any shortage of precipitation here, far from it. It’s just that ‘number 3’ is so sheltered and the walls so thick that the windows seldom get wet. If you can see or hear rain on the kitchen or living room windows then you know it truly is pishing down from somewhere between north and east.

Not that it’s been a bad day, far from it and I managed to spend most of it outside and achieved much.



The first task of the day after feeding the hens was to go and dump Bumblefoot’s eggs in the sea, mainly because I couldn’t think what else to do with them. That would be her clear of the antibiotics now and we at least could start eating them. I was going to give them to the crows whilst I awaited in the wings with a shotgun but figured they were probably too smart for that and I’d better things to do. I suppose the sensible thing would have been to put them on yesterday’s bonfire but I forgot. Still I don’t suppose it matters if the odd crab has an egg or two ‘unfit for human consumption’ Smile Though Molly was most distressed as I flung them into the sea at Port Arnish and did everything bar jump in after them.

An hour or so over at the ‘Old Schoolhouse’ followed checking the batteries replacing a blown fuse and generally making sure everything was working . It will more than likely be our new home for a while, as in just over two weeks ‘number 3’ will have new owners and we’ll all have hangovers from the party Smile Gosh, it’s going to be strange after 25 years under this roof. Still, it will be in good hands I’m sure and I’m looking forward to spending some more time around the kitchen table with the new custodians of ‘number 3’. I’ve spent the best and happiest days of my life within these thick stone walls and I’ve shared it with people the world over both physically and virtually. Yup, it’s been a blast, from Leadville in Colorado to Ljubljana in Slovenia I’ve forged some great friendships here. Not to mention acquiring a wife and son along the way.

Still lots of ‘shrooms

I had seen a few washed out chanterelles the other day when I went down to the hydro turbine in the woods but I was very surprised to still be finding fresh puff balls.


This one was just outside the Schoolhouse


and there were several fly agarics along the path too.


Like the rest of the week there have been dolphins or porpoises in the loch


unlike the rest of the week I managed to photograph one. OK, I know it’s carp but it was a long way away.

Another Powerspout

Coming in for a ‘second breakfast’ of fried eggs (what else) I checked my emails and found one from Bill in Wales who was also a Powerspout hydro turbine owner and operator. Bill has decided to share some of his experiences with the excellent New Zealand built turbine by doing a blog .

The set up

I do like his neat and professional installation



puts mine to shame. Still, a quick read of his blog over my fried egg inspired me to go and give mine a run. The Powerspout has been turned off since before Easter, mainly because we don’t actually need it just now because of all our solar. Still, it’s good to have it as a backup and a good run and grease wouldn’t do it any harm.


A few more loads of rock for the hen house road followed and I fully intended doing more but got distracted by Dick and Tracy the two pigs. They were looking a little glum on the croft so I took them out for a walk, leading them as far north as possible before sneaking off. This I did in the hope that they’d not make a ‘B line’ for the hen shed but reports later on from ‘sister in law’ said they’d found their way up there eventually Sad smile

The rain wasn’t far away after that so I abandoned the rock moving and turned my attention once more to carp moving.


I am definitely making progress Smile


I’ve not seen that wall in years Smile

And I thought the Crofting Commission were slow

Upon turning in for the night I checked my emails to find one titled Droit No: 430/09 !!! what on earth is that methinks and almost deleted it. Curiosity however got the better of me and I opened it, not having a clue what a droit   was. Turns out it relates to another clear out I was having five years ago, this time from my garden.

Can’t remember exactly how but around five years ago I rekindled my  interest in Loch Ewe, a former convoy marshalling area in WWII. I had spent time in diving there in the early seventies, mainly around the Cove Point gun batteries on on the wreck of the American ‘liberty ship’ the William H Welch.

I think perhaps the boys were doing WWII at primary school so I took the Dude and Lightning up there for the day to see the many concrete structures that remained.

Below are a couple of souvenirs I lifted in 1976 from the 6” MkVII breach loading guns that once saw action on the flagship at Jutland.

These guns were actually the secondary armament from HMS Iron Duke


and were removed for coastal defence purposes at the beginning of the second world war. Some of them being mounted at the entrance to Scapa Flow and at least two finding their way to

The extensive remains of a Second World War emergency coast battery, built in 1941. Surviving structural elements include two gun houses in each of which a 6" Mark 7 (naval) gun would have been mounted, two searchlight emplacements, a battery observation post, engine houses or generating rooms, magazines and two emplacements for (possibly 20mm Oerlikon) anti-aircraft guns.
From January to September 1942 the site was manned by 308 Independent Coast Battery (Royal Artillery) and from September 1942 until April 1944 by 154 Independent Battery, after which date it was placed on a care and maintenance basis. There is no record of the battery ever firing in anger.
Information from Historic Scotland, June 1992.
This coast battery is situated at Rubha nan Sasan, at the end of a track from Cove. The battery observation post, two gun-emplacements, two searchlight emplacements, engine rooms, magazine are all extant. In an area some 100m to the SW are many hut bases which formed the accommodation camp for those serving at the battery. The battery was armed with 2 x 6-inch MkVII guns on Naval mountings from HMS Iron Duke which were installed in July 1941. The battery was placed on care and maintainance in April 1945.
It has been suggested that the gun barrels from the mountings were rolled into the sea, but there is no evidence for them now.

Well, there is in my garden and five years ago I tried to rectify this by donating them to the local museum ‘tried’ being the operative word.

Feeling somewhat guilty, OK I know it’s a little late, I phoned up the museum last week to see if they wanted them as I could drop them off on the way past. After all these bits of brass had fired several rounds at the battle of Jutland when they were firmly bolted to the then flagship of Admiral sir John Jellicoe. I spoke to the curator and was told in no uncertain terms that they could not accept donations without filling in reams of paperwork which would take weeks! I could barely contain myself, the world has gone mad! “what’s all that about”, asks I in disbelief “Oh it’s in case somebody tries to claim title to them” more likely in case some plonker drops it on his foot and tries to sue the museum thinks I. For heavens sake it’s a lump of brass not an ‘old master’, needless to say this 100 year old bit of history that was present at the largest engagement ever of capital ships in World War I and sat watching over thousands of sailors as they passed in and out of Loch Ewe in World War II is still in my garden collecting dust, well dead leaves actually!


So I contacted the ‘Receiver of Wreck’ in September 2009 to make sure nobody had ‘title’ then I could give them to the museum, and five years later they replied!! The wheels of bureaucracy turn very slowly indeed Smile Anyway the news is good, HMG no longer require 6” naval gun spares in this time of defence cuts so the museum can have them 102 years after the keel of HMS Iron Duke was laid. Though, in the unlikely event that you are interested it actually takes far longer to make one gun barrel than an entire battleship.  



  1. Fascinating!

    Comment by ROBERT FINDLAY — November 13, 2014 @ 8:37 am

  2. I feel your pain at clearing your workshop. I recently completed the move of my business out of a 3500 ft shed into one nearly half its size. I had about 10 yrs worth of carp to get rid of some of it still in boxes from the last time I moved, and yes I have put some boxes from this move into storage to deal with later. Hope the move goes well.

    Comment by Alistair — November 13, 2014 @ 8:38 am

  3. That’s a great story – glad the bits of history will have a home in the museum.

    Comment by Sue — November 13, 2014 @ 9:04 am

    • I’ve a lot more here they could have too, 1969 Ford Cortina oil filter for one 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 14, 2014 @ 12:57 pm

  4. Was going to take a look at the gun emplacement back in July. . But the promise of a warm welcome and sharing a nice bottle of “black stump”

    Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — November 13, 2014 @ 1:57 pm

    • Just have to come back again then Steve 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 14, 2014 @ 12:56 pm

  5. With yourself ..stopped me from venturing down Loch Ewe

    Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — November 13, 2014 @ 1:58 pm

  6. Dunno how it works over there, but here donations of historical bits to museums typically come with tax deductions. Now that you own a mansion perhaps deductions will come in handy. Is each chicken also considered a dependent?

    Comment by drgeo111 — November 13, 2014 @ 6:43 pm

    • A half built mansion DrG 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 14, 2014 @ 12:55 pm

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