Life at the end of the road

January 11, 2017

One hundred plus!!!

Filed under: daily doings, weather — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:28 pm

Well, it’s been a pretty breezy day today, that’s for sure, the first ‘full’ day at work turned out to be a short one as we ‘pulled the plug’ at 17:00 on account of the wind. To be honest I was surprised we ran so long, pretty much every other Cal Mac ferry had tied up long before we did. It was even worse up at our end of the island with a gust of 100MPH during the night and one of 108MPH at some point in the day.


It’s been a pretty steady 50MPH all day here at Sonas but it was much more squally at Sconser where we seldom had a straight forward approach to the slipway today. The west north west wind arriving in great big chunks every time the ferry turned into Loch Sligachan. So much so that most times the skipper had to hold off in the loch until they’d passed safely by, trouble is you just can’t see them coming in the dark, hence the early finish.

Still, this is a great direction of wind for the Proven/Kingspan KW3 which just soaks it all up and turns it into valuable electricity for our house.


The steady 50MPH wind with its gusts to 100 plus had taken our energy production to a record breaking 101kWh in a 23 hour period. It’ll be more than that now but there’s no way I’m going outside now to check it Smile Our previous best being 90kWh in August, on what must have been on an unusually windy and sunny day. Those are annual production figures above, 11658kWh for the year, which at the average UK unit cost of 15.4p per kWh is £1795.33 Smile Of course I don’t actually pay or get paid anything for it and if I did have to buy the stuff then I’d certainly not use that much. However it’s a hobby and passion as well as keeping us in better than grid quality and reliable power. Just wait until this time next year when I have some figures for the 6kW Proven/Kingspan that’ll be going in the ‘ole.

What am I going to do with it all

The thing is, this new turbine is presenting me with a bit of a dilemma, what to do with the power? I know from a friend who has the same turbine that it is, as you would expect, going to produce around double the energy. So, on a day like today I’m gonna have approaching 200kWh of energy to use which is around five times what we need to run the house. However, on a day like the 7th it’s only going to push my wind energy production from 1kWh to 3kWh Sad smile Sure my battery bank can take care of the shortfall for a couple of days but you get my drift, to increase my ‘energy independence’ over the year by a few days means there are going to be many, many more when I’ve excess. Now this is a great position to be in but I do have to ensure that I have ample means of either using it or dumping it and at the moment that is very much ‘work in progress’. Hot tub, EV or hybrid car, air conditioning are all schemes I’ve considered so, just ‘watch this space’ Smile

The turbine base

Well, that’s the ‘ole pretty much ready for the concrete, sadly it didn’t happen this shift and I was hoping to accurately measure the volume but that never came to pass. Figuring my best chance of actually getting an exact volume on an irregular ‘ole filled with steel would be to fill it with water to the brim them pump it out at a known speed in litres/min. To that end I made up a 90mm to 32mm adapter and stuck it in the burn behind the house. I installed a small dam here years ago with a 90mm pipe through it to measure the water flow to asses its viability for a small hydro turbine. Just another one of my retirement plans like the Range Rover and taking it easy Smile

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That seemed to go quite well so we turned our attention to laying a duct for the cable.

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Luckily the cable was already laid for most of the way as it was the 6mm square supply to the caravan which I’d fortuitously left in place.

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Sadly, apart from finishing the shuttering and putting a small drain through it, this is a far as we got.

Gone to a good home

The sad demise of my trusty Honda TRX 350 kinda left a lump in my throat the whole family owed that Honda a huge debt of gratitude. My son had grown up driving it, it had been part of all my crazy renewable energy projects and had carried us home drunk from Torran after many a boozy sesh. Consequently I was loathe to send it to the knackers yard or leave it rotting in a corner of the croft. However during my search for a replacement I came across a wanted add on Gumtree.


Dead or alive
Something needing money spent on
Winter project
Ideally honda big red or foreman
Kawasaki 4×4 klf
Mail me with any pictures an info
Cash waiting

Well, I emailed Neil and said “have I got a winter project for you” Smile I also sent him a link to the blog post and said “the only good thing on it is the rear tyres”. To my amazement this did not put Neil off and he made me on offer, which I turned down cos it was too much Smile Not only that I said I’d deliver to Kintail as my mum’s not far from there and it would give my son and I a good excuse to visit, not that a devoted son should need one Smile

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True to form the indestructible Honda fired up first time and I just reversed it straight into his van, he was mightily impressed with both the quad and the ‘wee dug’ who leapt aboard  as soon as the starter was pressed. Neil handed me a wad of cash and a fine single malt, I then gave him forty quid back. Sure I could have got much more money for it but it owes me sweet FA, I’ve had seven or so years hard labour out of it and was given the thing in the first place.

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The bottle I’ve passed onto Bill and the cash, well, I’ll find a good home for that, ‘what comes around goes around’ as they say Smile

Once we’d left a very happy Neil we went onto spend a good few hours at me Mammy’s doing we jobs.


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The ‘Five sisters of Kintail’

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and the fishing boat Te Bheag in Loch Duich.

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Sunset, Glamaig and the Sound of Raasay on the way home.

Of course, as we had an empty trailer I filled it with old sheets of corrugated iron from the old roof on me Mums house.

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The mushroom farm

Truth be know, it was the ‘mushroom farm’ that prevented me finishing the turbine base. This corrugated iron sheeting was a bit of a bonus and one of my things on the ‘to do’ list was just about to get ticked off.

When I built the ‘solar powered hen shed’ a few years ago I made a serious error, I painted the OSB with gloss paint to protect it from the weather. Now this was fine for a couple of years but gradually the water, driven by the gale force winds has found its way through the paint.

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The resulting dampness on the inside has turned the OSB into a fabulous mushroom farm. The plan being to clad the outside with the old corrugated sheets from my mum’s house.

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They kinda look a bit tatty and rusty but the rust is usually only on the last 6” or so and can be easily cut off.


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Trust me, when it’s finished and painted it’ll look lovely.


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I did actually get the whole side done before Monday was out but it was pitch black by the time I’d finished.

DIY gritting

So that was it for the ‘rest period’, I finished work in 2016 and started back on a fine Tuesday evening. The forecast was carp for today with snow predicted so I set off early and did some DIY gritting on the way to work and the way back.

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The council had at least left some decent salt piles at the side of the road after my son’s wee incident last year .

However, I need not have bothered, for just two hours ago I saw the gritter’s flashing yellow beacons at the end of the road Smile 


Of course this inevitably means that it will not now snow or freeze!!!



  1. Have you decided on a new quad yet Paul?

    Comment by v8mbo — January 11, 2017 @ 11:06 pm

  2. Excellent as ever. Where do you get the energy Paul!

    Comment by Panomphaean — January 12, 2017 @ 7:30 am

  3. PS re excess. I like the hybrid vehicle idea but I would think a hot tub or anything that can easily use large amounts of power as and when you want has to be more manageable. Swimming pool 😏

    Comment by Panomphaean — January 12, 2017 @ 7:34 am

  4. Great to see realistic and honest buying/selling being done, and of course the traditional bottle thrown in to sweeten the deal.

    Comment by Tigger — January 12, 2017 @ 8:20 am

  5. HI Paul,
    Nice touch with the deal you did on the old quad bike, going to a better home.
    I like the idea about a hybrid for your excess power. 🙂

    Comment by mikewr — January 12, 2017 @ 10:11 am

  6. As a check on your excellent volume deducer device,calculate the volume of at least four separate lifts of the hole and total up.Average four lots of width,length and depth at each lift.
    Just be aware,if not already, of the potential for uplift forces from the wet concrete on the flat surfaces of the plates and RSJs.A loaded digger bucket carefully held/placed on the steelwork once it is “just” supported by wet concrete can,from experience,help if any issues occur.Hopefully the fixtures into bedrock will control most of this but some of the outlying steel may need help.
    Happy new year.

    Comment by Andy — January 12, 2017 @ 10:55 am

    • Many, many thanks for that advice Andy, I will heed it for sure. I’ll keep a spirit level on the plate as the concrete is poured too.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 12, 2017 @ 11:34 am

  7. Another really enjoyable post – Thanks Paul

    Comment by David & Margaret — January 12, 2017 @ 7:17 pm

  8. Paul,

    I think that you should get a second set of tyres for the quad when you buy your new one.
    Slicks are probably not the best bet for such a usually damp area of the UK, especially when you spend so much of the time off road.
    If you were a cat I think you would be getting thin on the ground with your lives.

    Happy New Year, good to catch up. Take it easy. 😀

    Michael (ATBH)

    Comment by Arthur T Bomber Harris — January 14, 2017 @ 7:13 pm

  9. Hi Paul,

    Thanks for your fascinating blog, as always.
    I was interested in your new weather station that appears to be a Watson W8681? I am thinking of replacing my old iRox weather station that is not at all satisfactory and have noticed several units that appear to be the same or similar to the Watson at prices ranging from £219.99 (Maplin Professional and the £229 Aercos (Amazon), or the Watson at £386.47 (Amazon).

    My final option under consideration is the £139 Weather Sleuth (Amazon) although this one dispenses with the display panel.

    I would be very interested to hear any comments or advice you can offer.

    Best regards
    Jim Simes

    Comment by jeddy — January 24, 2017 @ 7:12 pm

    • Hi Jim,

      it’s a Watson W8681 right enough and was £199.95 off eBlag. A few things that I don’t like about it though. 1 – you can’t easily use Cumulus software or download onto your laptop. 2 – There is no wind graph on the remote display. 3 – it is no use without the Internet. Apart from that I really like it.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 24, 2017 @ 8:01 pm

      • Very many thanks Paul.
        More food for thought.

        Comment by jeddy — January 24, 2017 @ 8:42 pm

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