Life at the end of the road

January 31, 2020

Unintended consequences :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, hydro, life off grid — Tags: , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:41 am

January by with already, or at least it will be by the end of the day, already the days are stretching, Raasay House will be open in a couple of weeks and the Easter Bunny has arrived early. Not the chocolate ones, they probably arrived shortly after  Christmas along with the Cadbury crème eggs. Nope, I’m talking about the real ones that have been absent from the North End and my dinner plate for years.

When I first arrived here, thirty years ago in May, Raasay was ‘awash’ with bunnies, I kept a rifle in the car (as did the postman) and rabbit was a regular addition to the weekly menu. Sure they came and went in cycles along with the  ‘maxy’ or myxomatosis a virulent disease introduced in the 50’s. The population would peak, the virus would get a hold within a year or two and dazed, disoriented, blind rabbits that would shortly die became commonplace. A ‘maxy’ infected rabbit is not a pleasant sight but inevitably the population would recover within a couple of years and rabbit pasta would be back on the menu.

I remember at least three outbreaks but that wasn’t what exterminated them I’m sure, no, I think that accolade goes to the explosion of mink and sea eagles, themselves, like the virus, both introduced by man. Me, I can live with the magnificent birds but then I don’t have and am not a fan of sheep. Unfortunately, in the absence of fish the   Iolaire sùil na grèine, the ‘eagle with the sunlit eye’ will and does take lambs Sad smile


And don’t for a minute think I took that picture Smile

They also seem to have driven out the resident and native golden eagle which is slightly smaller. I guess this is just one of the ‘unintended consequences’ of their reintroduction from Scandinavia in the seventies. Hailed as a great success at the time, they are now becoming a bit of a problem Sad smile As for the mink, well, not only have they decimated ground nesting birds, rabbits hens and ducks, they contribute ‘not a jot’ to the local economy. At least the white tailed sea eagle brings ‘twitchers’ and ‘puts bums’ on the local tourist boat seats Smile

Anyway, despite the ‘bird’ and the mink, the rabbit is back, perhaps ‘not in force’ but at least in ever growing numbers. I’m seeing more and more, even around Sonas and I’ve never seen one up here even when they were plentiful. Hopefully, rabbit will be back on the menu soon Smile

The Steam Engine

Well, yesterday ‘was a pure s**t of a day’, ferry disrupted rain torrential and dark until almost 9:00am, at least that’s what it felt like. Luckily I’ve a very nice shed and that’s where I spent most of the day, pottering about with my wee hydro turbine before it fined up in the late afternoon.

Actually, all I did was connect new conduit and wiring to the turbine, I spent most of the day looking for a ‘three pole rotary isolator’

SCL 20A 3 POLE IP65 ENCLOSED ROTARY ISOLATOR which I could have sworn I had. Unfortunately much of my day seems to be spent suffering such delusions and looking for things that I have just put down Smile Anyway, I gave up, ordered two online and figured I’d just have to manage without for now.

P1040486 P1040487 P1040488

So I loaded everything I thought I needed into the Honda and headed off into the woods, ‘turning off’ the water supply on the way.

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It’s a bit of a trek down there and at this time of year extremely muddy, not the best place to carry tools and a heavy turbine.

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It is however a beautiful and sheltered spot ideal for adventurous ‘wild swimming’ at high tide the sea comes up and sometimes over the shiny rock in the foreground.


The ‘shed’ I built ten or twelve years ago when I fitted the Stream Engine, prior to that I had a 200W Navitron Chinese turbine there.

020909 004

Mounted on an old galvanised bucket in the long grass and then covered up with an old polyform buoy it served me well for a couple of years. Proving that a turbine was viable until I replaced it with the current one mounted on a concrete base and covered with that ‘shed’ Carrying buckets of mixed concrete down there to cast the base was no easy task, don’t think I could do it now Smile

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I replaced the split PVC hose with an armoured rubber one but only had enough for the one (large jet),


not having an isolator I temporarily connected it with ‘chocolate blocks’ and tested it on the small jet.


A couple of amps at 60V giving me 120W at the battery bank. Not wanting to risk leaving the PVC hose connected I then turned on the large jet.


This gave me a respectable 13A, around 780W, which was better than before I’m sure. Normally it’s around 800W with both jets switched on but having a ‘pin hole’ in the PVC pipe on the small jet, I just left it on the one. That will give me a good extra 18.7kWh per day, time to switch the dehumidifier on in the caravan methinks Smile

Well, that’s just about it really, I collected my Wife’s Subaru from the village to look at the power steering, did a little shopping for the builders at Brochel, made a Lancashire hot pot for dinner and went to bed with a good book.

Sad, I know but HMS Warspite saw more action than any other ship of the Royal Navy, coming to an inglorious end in Mounts Bay Cornwall, I dived on her remains in the early nineties. Truth be know it’s herself and the Royal Navy’s move from coal to oil at the turn of the last century that’s responsible for much of the current chaos in the middle east Sad smile Another case of ‘unintended consequences’ I fear Smile


  1. Mmm, Rabbit pasta, sounds delicious. Good to see the stream engine working again, we’ll all be watching for the next blog where the new three phase isolators arrive in the post and then the next day you find the one you thought you’d got already 🙂

    Comment by 63ian — January 31, 2020 @ 8:10 am

    • Aye Ian,
      story of my life that, I have at least two of everything, the one I just bought and the one I find immediately after buying it 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 31, 2020 @ 9:02 am

  2. Bunny with mustard and cream sauce for me. Have not seen one for ages and chicken is a poor substitute .

    Comment by todthedog — January 31, 2020 @ 12:19 pm

    • I like the sound of that Tod, I really must cook more using mustard.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 31, 2020 @ 6:37 pm

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