Life at the end of the road

March 19, 2015

That’ll be the ‘rain on’ :-)

Well, it’s been a ‘helluva’ week and I’ve not really got a great deal to show for it. Having said that the weather has been pure amazing and in many ways it’s been like a holiday in paradise. The day after I received the ‘summer setting’ on my bonce the sun came out ‘big style’. Sure it had been lovely and dry for a few days but on the 17th I could actually feel it on my head Smile It also made me look far more respectable for my visit to the ‘polis’ (that’ll be Glesgiespeak) to give a statement about the demise of the chalet.

As well as the visit to the ‘boys in blue’ there was a lovely chicken curry to had at Relish after dropping off ten boxes of ‘Arnish Eggs’ that is.


Then it was the Highland Council offices Sad smile You really couldn’t make this next bit up. Now regular readers will be well aware of the tragic fire in my neighbours chalet on the 6th of March. Well the chalet actually belongs to me but my neighbours obviously pay the council tax, so being the ‘Good Samaritan’ I phoned them up on Monday to explain that the place had burned to the ground so my neighbours would no longer be liable to pay the tax or rent. Next thing I gets a letter from them for ME to apply for a reduction as it’s no longer occupied!!!

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Luckily I took a photograph with and explained that I’d not be paying any council tax on what was left!!!

With that and a few other things done I returned home and got caught in a traffic jam!!

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That would be the Highland Council inspecting the roads, hopefully they have some money left ‘in the budget’ Smile

Metering away

Back at ‘Sonas’ for 14:00 I found Donald and Lachie busy on the house, Donald inside and Lachie outside

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laying the foundations for the ‘boiler room’.

This is the wooden ‘lean too’ that will house the thermal store and double up as a drying/laundry room. Originally the Perge boiler was going in there too but we’re hoping we’ll have enough renewable energy to do without that.


Well, we’ve been a bit short the last few days according to the calculations but the 54kWh per day is an average and so far we’ve had 117kWh surplus and 114kWh deficit, so we’re 3kWh ahead overall. Bearing in mind that there’s another 2kW of solar PV to go on the ‘lean too’ roof and that ‘Hydro 2’ is a conservative estimate, then it’s looking good. We are well on target for a house that is totally powered and heated by renewable energy.

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The wind, hydro1 and solar are accurately monitored via AC meters but hydro 2, the ‘Stream Engine’ is more of a well educated guess as that feeds directly into the battery bank via a transformer. However I’ve been working on that by sourcing an Eltime DC kWh meter from Hugh at

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The meter is designed to be ‘DIN rail’ mounted in an enclosure but I improvised by slinging it under a shelf with and ammeter next to it. The turbine itself is still connected to the battery bank at ‘number 3’ so I’ve yet to move that and integrate it into my own system.

March can bring with it some exceptional ‘renewable weather’ being the month of the equinox winds can be phenomenal and as the days are still relatively cool solar panel temperatures are quite low. So, if the sun pokes it’s head out from behind a cloud in March during a gale, production can sore, perhaps only for minutes but the ‘edge of cloud’ effect can push PV panels above their ratings.

With this in mind I set about adding the fourth PWM controller that had been lying on a shed in the barn for weeks.

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First however I had to mount the dump loads to the roof of the ‘powerhouse’, well away from any combustibles using some SSE hydro electric pole stays and some ex Howard Doris cable trunking from the oil rig yard at Kishorn. The cable tray I’ve had for 30 years and the hydro pole stays for 10 Smile

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Lachie left me some mortar so I had a go at tidying up the block work on my feed store and realized that I shouldn’t take it up professionally. I also set a few more of those excellent mousetraps, and they’re the next best thing to a cat, taking my total of cleanly executed rodents up to seven. There were none today so I’m hoping that’s the last of them.

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With weather like this I just had tom go ‘tramping the hills’ as my father would say and here’s Loch Arnish with the two white dots of Torran and Torran Schoolhouse in the distance.

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And even further away the houses on the tidal island of Fladda.

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Whilst I’d been busy doing ‘technical stuff’, my neighbour Ewan from Torran had been doing a fantastic job of the drains and ditches on the track. A digger is great for the ‘donkey work’ but there’s nothing like a pick shovel and mattock for the finer points, and what a job he did.


The fourth controller is the bottom one and that gives me a total capacity of 10kW of DC dump loads. With a theoretical max power of 4.75kW solar, 3.2kW wind and 1.6kW hydro that means I’ve only .45kW in reserve or about 5% which isn’t really enough so I’ll probably fit another at some point. However the likelihood of that much wind, sun and rain all at once is extremely remote, even in March, still, there is always ‘Murphy’s law’ Smile

The distillery

The arrival today of some serious drilling equipment


on the back of a Paterson’s lorry


would seem to suggest that the Raasay ‘single malt’ is not a ‘million miles’ away. Scottish company  Highwater of Nairn turned up today with a ‘state of the art’ drilling rig to bore a well for the proposed ‘micro distillery’ at the old hotel .

Artist impressions of the new Raasay Distillery

That’ll be an ‘artists impression’ lifted from the P&J . However, this is going to be an amazing boost to the local economy that has shrunk since the demise of the fish farm and loss of several families.

Me, I was on the Hallaig for a few hours covering for my ‘back to back’ and a had a great chance to speak to one of the ‘drillers’ about all the hardware and was well impressed with it all Smile Highwater have done a few distillery water supplies and even bored a well for the new ‘T in the Park’ venue, that rig on the back of Paterson’s truck cost over £200k and is capable of drilling wells or GSHP holes down to 150m!!!



  1. Great energy harvest and infrastructure. Congratulations.

    Comment by Panomphaean — March 20, 2015 @ 12:15 am

  2. Who needs foreign parts when the island looks like this in the sun! Exciting developments about the planned brewery – I’m so glad that the old hotel will be put to good use.



    Comment by Sue — March 20, 2015 @ 8:54 am

    • Morning Sue, the best holidays are the ones at home for me, well apart from the odd festival 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 23, 2015 @ 6:22 am

  3. Long time since Borrodale House looked like that…maybe when it was the Post Office x

    Comment by SOTW — March 21, 2015 @ 10:14 am

    • Long time since Borrodale House looked like that…maybe when it was the Post Office x

      Well I never, Raasay must have broken some kind of record for the number of dwellings used as a Post Office!!
      The ‘Old Post Office’
      Borrodale House
      Inverarish Cotages
      Raasay Stores
      North Arnish
      1/2 South Arnish
      and I guess that’s not all of them!!

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 23, 2015 @ 6:19 am

  4. I’m the driller you spoke to on the ferry. Drilling at proposed distillery went very well. We found a large amount of water between 48 and 60m down. We have installed a temporary test pump which is pumping at 4500l/hr with little draw down in BH. The water has cleaned up nicely. Just thought I’d mention we have not drilled the T in the Park boreholes but are hoping to do so in the near future. We took a drive up past yours yesterday to have a look at the famous road, very pretty part of the island! I’m returning to the island next Saturday to collect pump and seal top of well. Perhaps I’ll run into you.

    Comment by Jeff — March 21, 2015 @ 5:50 pm

    • Morning Jeff and welcome,
      wish you’d have called on us up at the new house but I’ll catch up with you next Saturday when I’m working. Good news about the well and the distillery, any chance of three ‘T in the park’ tickets if you get the job 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 23, 2015 @ 6:15 am

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