Life at the end of the road

February 12, 2015

Disco’s away :-)

Filed under: daily doings, Land Rover, Range Rover, shed/house, Trucks and plant — Tags: , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:52 pm

Wednesday 11th February


Well, I did actually start this yesterday evening, lost enthusiasm, binned it and went to bed early. It had been an exciting day, starting with the arrival of ‘Billy Fixaleak’ from Kenny Montgomery plumbing of Dunvegan. Though before Billy and his crew arrived I started to make some room on the ‘car park’ by moving the Range Rover.


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Apart from requiring a boost from my charger the 30 year old V8 flashed up and ran as ‘sweet as a nut’, I really can’t wait to get stuck into this project but it’s well ‘down the list’ at the moment.

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The three plumbers wasted no time in ‘getting stuck in’

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and by mid afternoon some 800m of piping had been laid in the 12 ‘zones’.


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By around 14:30 the job was done and the system pressure tested to 4bar, where it still remains 24 hours later Smile

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Me, I made myself useful by going to collect Hooky’s 3ton Hitachi from another building project on the island.


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A regular traditional croft house complete with corrugated roof from the rear,

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but look what’s lurking around the front Smile

After towing the machine north and taking it off the trailer I made the reluctant decision to remove the Disco from the croft. I knew I’d live to regret sending it to ‘the great garage in the sky’ but it had to go, firstly it was cluttering up the croft and secondly it was almost time for laying the floor in the house and I needed the glass out of it. We’re having a polished concrete floor and some toughened glass chips would complement the Skye marble and Sconser stone nicely.

As I had Lachie’s telehandler and trailer on site, and as ‘a man with a truck’ had agreed to take it to Inverness for me if I could get it to Skye, it seemed like ‘synchronicity’ so I wasted no time.

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It really is much easier with the ‘right tool for the job’, though it does help if you have a friendly neighbour to steer whilst you push with a forklift.

A day of quarries

After lashing the Discovery on to Lachie’s trailer he kindly towed it to the ferry terminal for me because that’s where the ‘Old Girl’ was. That left me to admire Billy and his ‘boys’ work and do a little tinkering with my ‘dump loads’. I may have got off to a poor start ‘windwise’ with the new turbine but the last three days have certainly made up for it, with 10kWh generated daily. Not a huge amount but then it’s only been blowing force 2 or 3 with maybe gusts of 4 or 5. Whatever, it’s given me chance to check how my dump loads are working, seek advice from Hugh at and reconfigure them slightly.

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The first thing I did was remove 1 each of the 1500w resistors off the three controllers, thus making them 1500w each. This worked well enough with each of them coming on in sequence as the voltage rose. The first one reaching 400 degrees before it did, I dunno if that’s excessive but Hugh recommended setting them all to the same threshold of 61v and letting them share the power equally. I’m also going to order some 1kW resistors so that each controller is handling 2.5kW.

However, all that had to wait today, as I was up well before 6:00am to get organised for taking the Disco over and collecting two tons of 6mm marble chips.


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My first ‘port of call’ was Drumuie quarry on Skye where the Discovery would be cannibalized prior to going to the scrappies. I had brought strops and shackles to push or pull it off the trailer,

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but Ali had a better idea Smile

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An hour later and I’d all of the glass out of it bar the laminated screen which wouldn’t have looked very nice in the kitchen floor anyway. I even managed a couple of Fiat windows too, and with a heavy heart I left the old Disco to her fate and proceeded to the vets.

Poor Molly has been ‘running on three cylinders’ the last couple of days, unable to put any weight on her ‘rear nearside’ paw. Fortunately we have a wonderful vet called Rhona Campbell  who said she’d look at her right away.


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The ‘wee dug’ usually starts trembling as soon as we turn into Lisigary place, let alone go through the surgery door so I tricked her by leaving the Land Rover parked near Jansvans and sneaking around the back. It worked a treat and Molly was through the door before she realized where she was. However once inside she turned into a shivering wreck and climbed onto the window ledge, refusing to come down looking extremely unhappy.

It was nothing serious, a touch of dermatitis so a spot of rest and some antibiotics were prescribed and I left with a bag of treats and a much happier ‘wee dug’. 

A few bags of hen feed and some shopping in Portree, then it was off to Torrin some 25 miles away to collect marble chips.

Torrin marble,  from

Skye Marble has been extracted from Strath Suardal for centuries. Martin Martin recorded quarries on the south side of the valley in 1703.[7] Torrin has a quarry at each end of the village to extract magnesium-rich marble and limestone to produce lime. Marble from Torrin was used in Armadale Castle and Iona Abbey.[8] The first and smaller quarry opened in 1951 at Cnoc Slapin on the shore of Loch Slapin. The extracted rock was used primarily in the production of agricultural lime. Now abandoned, the area was partially landscaped at the end of 2001, reducing its visual impact.[4]

Glasgow paint manufacturer, William Thomson Forsyth, started the main quarry at the Broadford end of Torrin in 1960. He leased the land, producing around 3,500 tons of product per year by 1965. Today the quarry is owned by Leiths Group and employs 12 people. Marble is mined and crushed on site, producing agricultural lime, pebbledash for housing, ready-mix concrete products and some decorative marble.[4]

The earlier Ben Suardal quarry on the Broadford road closed in 1914.[4]

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I’ve been driving by here for more than thirty years but hadn’t a clue there was ‘a big hole’ here, just check out the size of that yellow machine to the left of that vertical seam.

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With two 1 ton bags of 6mm chips nicely loaded over the axle I set off home

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where we unloaded ready for tomorrow’s ‘big mix’.

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Then I set about cleaning the floor of wood shavings and the like ready for laying the concrete.



  1. The new house looks to be coming along quite nicely Paul. I do hope to make it back to Raasay in the next couple of years and will bring a bottle of something special with the hope of getting to see what I anticipate to be a beautiful floor. Cheers! Morgan

    Comment by Morgan — February 13, 2015 @ 3:31 am

  2. House coming along beautifully Paul, looking forward to seeing the finished floor.

    Comment by Andrew — February 13, 2015 @ 8:18 am

  3. Whereabouts is the other ‘building project’ that you mention. I can’t tell from the photo but wonder if it’s just beyond Holoman along the track off the main road.

    Your floor heating should be something special, as should the covering – good luck with the concreting.



    Comment by Sue — February 13, 2015 @ 1:52 pm

  4. Hi Paul.
    Not commented in a while but I have to say I’m amazed how quickly the plumbers layed that pipe network, but I’m sure they had a deadline with a ferry to catch 😀

    Comment by Derek — February 14, 2015 @ 9:05 am

  5. Underfloor heating, we had that mate and it went wrong. Nothing cold be done they said now we are oil throughout, good luck

    Comment by Stan — February 14, 2015 @ 9:53 am

    • Hi Stan,

      Underfloor heating, we had that mate and it went wrong.
      That would most likely be electric, not a good idea to bury electrical elements in a floor, one blown element and you’re stuffed. I did seriously consider it as it would have worked well with my ‘off grid’ system. Indeed I’ve a mate who has done the very thing. Wet UFH is much more expensive but far more reliable and can readily be converted to oil, gas or biomass.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 15, 2015 @ 10:35 am

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