Life at the end of the road

February 18, 2017

Curing nicely :-)

Gosh, almost two weeks since I’ve been on here and what a spell of fantastic weather we’ve had. Of course it all went severely ‘pear shaped’ after Valentines day but prior to that it was pure awesome. I had three consecutive days of 10kWh solar generation and 60kWh for the full week. OK, probably not ‘interstellar’ for a 4.75kW array in Aberdeenshire or Sussex but probably my best ever.

Sure the only ‘fly in the ointment’ being that I’m actually at work so have missed out on some serious work at home, but ‘hey ho’ it’s been a pleasure on the Hallaig too. Sadly the many visitors that turned up for ‘half term’ missed out on the best of it but most people on the ferry seem to be smiling these days Smile

February the 6th was the last ‘working day’ of the ‘fortnight off’ and it got off to a fine start with a little snow on the Storr. Unusually for a busy day I took the ‘wee dug’ for a walk, our Molly is unusual in the dog world in that she has to be dragged out for a walk. Indeed she’s started limping to try and con us into thinking she’s got a sore leg. I’m no doubt it was sore to start with but now, when she thinks no one is there she walks on all four legs!!!

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So, after carrying her over the gravel outside the house I put her down on the road and off we went.

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All three of us, for no sooner had we closed the gate than we were joined by the girls Smile

Mitsubishi MM30SR problems

I still had a couple of hours to spare as Ross from Eyre Plant had phoned from Sconser to say he couldn’t get on the ferry!!! Not often the Hallaig is full these days but there were a couple of trucks before him and the usual Monday morning workers.

My good mate Lachie had dropped off his 3 ton Mitsubishi digger for me to have a look at, and me, confident with my success at fixing mine had said I’d have a go at it. Trouble is, it’s a ‘grey import’ from Japan and there is very little concrete information on it, in English at least. He bought the machine locally very cheaply but it had a fault, “machine randomly stops digging but is OK after a restart”. At least that’s what it used to do, now all it will do is track and lift the blade.

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As the working functions are manual and the none working ones are electronic I figured it would be something to do with the interlock that prevents these from operating unless you are sat in the machine. Mine had a very similar problem connected with the wiring to the ‘unloading valve’. This is a solenoid operated valve that bypasses all the functions that were not working unless you are sat in the cab.

Tracing electrical faults without a wiring diagram and hydraulic ones without a circuit diagram isn’t easy and a quick search on the Internet told me that I’d not be getting them any time soon http://www.heavyequipmentforums.com/threads/mitsubishi-mm30sr.7464/#post-225364 Sad smile That post describes the fault to tee and was not very encouraging. Methinks the previous owner of this particular Mitsubishi must have read it too Smile

No matter, armed with my previous experience I felt confident

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despite everything being written in Japanese Smile

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Indeed, after stripping out the machines floor I found the ‘unloading valve’ solenoid, removed the connecting plug that was full of water and thought ‘yippee’. I then bypassed the wiring by connecting straight to the battery but that didn’t do anything either so I tried operating the solenoid manually, again without success Sad smile  Unfortunately, just as I was ‘getting into it’ I got distracted Smile

The BIG pour

OK, it wasn’t that big in the end but  Ross from Eyre Plant arrived at ‘the end of the road’ with what must be the heaviest load yet to make it north.

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His rather large and ‘top heavy’ Scania turned up at just after 11:00 having dropped off half his load at the distillery. Plan was to make two trips if necessary and if any was left it would go towards the 60 cubic meter pour for the warehouse down there.

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Me, I’d been busy the day before cramming some extra mesh and 20mm rebar into the ‘ole having mixed 9 cubic meters myself with the wee mixer.

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Also chopped up some hose and plastic ducting to cover the M30 studding so as to keep the threads clean.

Ross expertly reversed the huge ‘eight wheeler’ Scania up the drive and got ready with his remote control to pour the 35 Newton mix into the ‘ole.

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Once he started there wasn’t much time for pictures as I was busy with the ‘poker’

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A petrol driven vibrating stick something like a heavy strimmer that Ross had brought with him. I’d borrowed it from a mate and just wished I’d borrowed it a week earlier. When pouring concrete it’s essential to get the air out of it so it flows everywhere, especially in something like this where the scope for air pockets is huge.

When I was mixing with the electric mixer I’d used a garden hoe and it was boodly hard work, this tool made it a much easier affair. Working it frantically around the bar and steel plates you could see the concrete visibly shrink as it disappeared into unseen air pockets. I was most impressed and put one on my ‘wish list’ Smile

 

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Not much later the full load of 6.1 cubic meters was in the ‘ole. My son and I had come up the calculation of 6.4 and 6.5 and I reckon 6.3 would have been perfect. As it was the load was about 12mm short of the top of the shuttering at one end so certainly not worth a return trip, so Ross cleaned down his truck and headed off. All in all the job had taken me a week to mix and pour 9 cube and him less than an hour to pour 6, by midday he was gone.

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I have to say, I felt very pleased with myself Smile The day had been perfect for it, dry, mild and with a fresh breeze but by late afternoon it was pure pishing down. Far too wet and windy for tinkering outside on the Mitsi so I turned my attention towards the ‘Old Girl’.

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Or, to be more precise, a new drivers door for her from Darren at Jedi 4×4 https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=jedi%204×4 . Even though I fitted brand new genuine Land Rover doors 15 years ago and fully injected them with underseal they are all now rotten. The problem being that it took Land Rover over 50 years to realize mixing aluminium and steel s not a very good idea due to the electrolytic action between the two different metals. Newer models are now all steel and galvanized so should fare better.

Back to work

The crappy weather surrendered to the Scandinavian high and left us with a refreshing spell of easterly winds and brilliant sunshine.

 

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We also had some splendid moonlit mornings and evenings.

moonlit storr

That’ll be taken from the bedroom window one early morn as the moon slips behind the Storr on Skye.

Sadly that came to an end and today, Saturday, you can tell how bad the weather is cos the clam dredgers have appeared Sad smile

 

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Two of them ‘scratching’ away in the narrows.

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We also had a welcome visit from the MV Loch Bhursda who was calling in for a break on her passage from Berneray to Mallaig. The Bhrusda had been relieving the MV Loch Portain on the Sound of Harris route whilst the Portain was in for her annual refit at Garvel Clyde.

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After our lunch and her rest, we carried on with the days schedule and she headed for Mallaig.

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We could still hear her almost an hour later Smile OK, not quite but her big V8’s burn more fuel in a day than we do in a week and exhausts are noisier than most low flying jets!!!

A classic Bultaco Pursang

As you often do whilst ‘surfing the net’, I came across an unexpected surprise the other day.

Pursang 2

 

I saw this Bultaco ‘scrambler’ on Facecloth on an acquaintances page. It is a 1969 Bultaco and I owned it for several years, or to be more precise I looked after it. It belonged to my best mates brother when he was a lad down in Lancashire, he was only a boy at the time and used to race it in what was then called the ‘schoolboy scrambles’ . Methinks you had to be under 16 at the time and I guess he’s not much younger than me so probably around 1973 or 4 when he had it, so it wasn’t very old then. Roll on ten years or so and it’s gathering dust in my mates garage http://www.bmsaccrington.com/  and I’m on holiday from my then job managing a scallop farm on Scalpay.

I visits my mates garage as usual to see what I can scrounge and came away with a lathe and this. Not even sure if his brother even knew at the time Smile He says to me, “if it’s any use take it but I may want it back”, so I did and for several years I tried to tame this race tuned beast. The thing went like a rocket and I was really scared of it, you had to slip the clutch like feck to get going, as it had no power whatsoever below 3000RPM. Beyond that it generally lifted the front wheel and you were off, usually by pointing it in the general direction you wanted to go and hoping for the best. Despite all this on good days I’d travel the four mile forestry track to work on Scalpay with it whenever I could. Though I had it for the best part of a year before discovering it had five gears. The tiny front brake did little to encourage confidence so I rode it as slowly as I could, which to the untrained eye or ear must have seemed like a maniac. This machine just did not do slow Smile

A few years later I moved to Raasay taking ‘the beast’ with me but using it less frequently on account of the poorer tracks here. Around six or seven years later my mate phones me up asking if I’ve still got it, bear in mind it’s now been in my possession for some ten years or so. Sure says I, he then informs me that some chap has been looking for it for four years, as it was the first motorbike he ever owned and he got it when it was almost new.

To cut a long story short this chap (pictured below) loaded a lovely Montessa trials bike into the back of his HiLux and drove all the way from Lancashire to Raasay to swap it for the Bultaco. I was ‘over the moon’ cos the Montessa was designed to go very slowly over obstacles rather than quickly around them. Russell was dead chuffed cos he’d finally got his old bike back and twenty years later it’s fully restored to its former glory. Not bad for a 48 year old two stroke hey Winking smile

 

Pursang 1 Bultaco

Nice one Russ, I just cannae believe it was only a 125cc!!!!!!

Good and hard

So that’s it really, tis Saturday evening aboard the good ship Hallaig and we’re just awaiting the late sailing. Tomorrow I’ll get a good look in daylight at my turbine base which is no longer an ‘ole but 30 tons or more of steel and concrete that has been curing nicely for almost two weeks. This time next week it’ll be good and hard and with a bit of luck I’ll have got the mast in position.

February 4, 2017

A lean mix :-)

Filed under: daily doings, Land Rover, pigs, wind turbine — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:06 pm

Saturday night here at ‘the end of the road’ and I’m feeling suitably contented after a productive day, a fish pie and the promise of a glass or two of red later. It won’t be my first this week but it will only be my second. The week has been a rather busy one and there’s been little point in having a glass or two. Firstly I’d have fallen asleep after a mouthful and secondly we’ve had no wine in the house Smile 

The ‘ole

As you’ve probably guessed most of my week, indeed my fortnight off has been spent filling in the ‘ole with concrete. This will be the base for my new wind turbine which I planned would be 7 or 8 cubic meters and ended up nearly double that. Anyway my days since last posting have been an endless cycle of getting up early and getting ready for mixing which usually commenced around 8:00am. The trailer with its 2 tons of ready mixed aggregate being parked conveniently close to the mixer the night before.

I’ve mixed 4 trailer loads plus 3 tons I already had with just over a ton of cement so I guess that’s about a 10:1 mix. A bit lean for anything structural but there will be just as much of a 35 Newton mix going over the top of it.  I’m sure it’ll be just fine with 25 or 30 tons of concrete  in total, plus around a ton of steel directly bolted to Scotland.

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By far the hardest part of the job has been getting it to flow into all the ‘nooks and crannies’ and getting the air out of it. I really should have bought a vibrating poker for this rather than just borrowing one for the big pour on Monday. I’ve seen them on eBay for £50 and it would have been money well spent I guess. I severely doubt that this will be my last big concrete project.

The actual mixing has been pretty easy really with the trailer being the same height as the mixer there’s been little in the way of bending involved.

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This is as far as I got on Thursday night, I mixed one more load on Friday and took a final trip to Sconser quarry for doing one last mix.

Ozzy and Django

All this reversing with over three tons on the back of the ‘Old Girl’ convinced me that it was about time I replaced the gearbox on her. My Landy is of 1986 vintage and fitted with the rather lame LT77 5 speed gearbox, more suited to a high power saloon car than an abused diesel truck. The LT77 has many faults, sloppy gear change, premature main shaft wear and most annoyingly, jumping out of reverse gear. The latter being caused by the teeth on the lay shaft, reverse gear and idler wearing out. When I bought her in 2001 she had the same fault and I fitted a recon box then. Well sixteen years of hard graft later it needs another.

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I found this ex military reconditioned one on eBlag from a chap called Darren who runs Jedi 4×4 in Waterfoot, near where I used to live. It came in the strongest case I’ve ever seen and was bolted to a steel frame that was bolted via rubber mounts to the wooden crate!!! I guess it must have been designed for dropping by parachute or something cos the package came in at 130kg of which less than half is the gearbox!! It was dated 2010 right enough but it’s the latest LT77 suffix, G which has bigger bearings and wider teeth on the reverse gears. I also got a drivers door off him and have to say that Darren had packed that almost as well as the army had their gearbox https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=jedi%204×4 .

It’s actually been jumping out of reverse for over a year so it’s a job that is long overdue and when I finally do get around to doing it I may well fit a Discovery transfer box. The Disco LT230 transfer box has a higher high ratio than the Defender, probably not much use to me really with those huge 33×12.50×15 tyres I use but I just happen to have one. The box I have came from the vehicle I got the engine from.

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Having driven said Disco to Arnish I know the box is good and quiet, unlike mine which has a rusty set of gears in it Smile

Anyways, enough of this Landy ‘anorak’ stuff, back to today and ‘two little piggy’s’ from Auchtertyre.

 

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My son and I caught the 8:55 ferry and went to collect a couple of fine Large Black/Saddleback cross boars. We could have taken gilts but went for a couple of boars instead, for some reason most folk want gilts! This is usually people that are under the misapprehension that boars are aggressive and can suffer from something called ‘boar taint’   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boar_taint . Supposedly if you don’t castrate boars or keep them for longer than 22 weeks the meat becomes tainted by their hormones. Well, that may well be true of commercial breeds kept indoors but we’ve never experienced it in all the years we’ve kept pigs. In our experience the opposite is true, boars are less trouble and put on weight quicker, as for keeping them longer than six months, well we ate one that was five years old and he was delicious Smile

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Django and Ozzy were as ‘good as gold’ and soon settled into their new home for the next day or two.

 

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The weather was so boodly awful today that we put them in the hen house. We’ll keep them in there for a day or so before letting them out into the wind turbine field. Once the other two are away at the end of the month we’ll  let them out on the hill.

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