Life at the end of the road

March 6, 2022

Daylight both ways :-)

This is the day I’ve been looking forward to since last October, the day when I drive up and down ‘Calum’s road’ without my lights on when I’m working. Sure it is actually a Sunday so I set off two hours later and drive back home some two hours earlier but even so, it was a pure joy to awake just before dawn and watch the sun’s rays bathing the Old man of Storr.

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Then after my morning coffee going out to feed the pigs for the first time since Tuesday morning. I say feed the pigs but latterly it’s been more of a case of Bonzo and Molly trying to steal as much of the pigs food as they can before being shoved out of the way by a hungry pig.

Leaving the house early I ambled slowly down the road,


the two kayakers must have spent the night elsewhere, there being no sign of them or their tent.



A slow climb up the first large hill on my way south who’s Gaelic name I can’t say or pronounce but it translates as something about a pass, a house and the loch. The hill on the right being the hill of the hind.


Dun Caan and Cathedral rock or the White face as it’s known by the Kyle and Applecross fishermen.


My first trip in daylight this year Smile


The clan dredger Jann Denise scratching away off Oscaig around 8:30.

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Walking the wee dugs in the early morning sunshine behind the old Free Church Manse the only house for miles around with a tennis court Smile

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Probably the only wild pampas grass for miles around too Smile


By 9:00am I was at the office, which was almost level with the pier due to the high tide Surprised smile

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After a busy 1st sailing a huge breakfast and a quieter lunchtime crossing the bridge team practiced manoeuvring the ferry on one unit. That’ll be the Voith Schneider propellers of which there are two, one forward and one aft. Anyway after a few dockings we tied up for the afternoon and did the usual maintenance type stuff before taking the dugs out for another wander.

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Molly and I choosing to go up to the old battery


whilst Bonzo investigated a cast iron drain pipe behind the boathouse

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that was probably hiding a rabbit.


Ben Tianavaig with the Storr some 10 mile or so to the north.


A strange boat off Holoman island taken from a long way away on the way home.

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Calum’s road once more and it’s still light Surprised smile

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A stag I ‘spooked’ at Tarbert


Home at last hey Bonzo Smile

February 20, 2022

A thicker belt :-)

This may be a while in reaching the cloud or whatever the Internet thingy is called these days. My connection to the Internet via the Applenet network seems to have vanished around midday according to the last update to my weather station So I’m using my EE dongle which is perfectly adequate for browsing and even streaming video but the upload speed is absolutely pathetic especially with photo heavy blogs Sad smile Anyway it’s now 5:00AM on Sunday morn so I’ll have a go.


The morning was pretty still here and got off to a fine start as the first thing I did was go outside in my PJ’s to check the ‘state of play’ in my power station. My voltmeter in the house was showing a good 50V and that was with 3.2kW of load on the system from the immersion heater so my batteries must have been full.

IMG_1883 Which was still working then had showed me that the wind had gradually died away to nothing.

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Much to my surprise the Powerspout’s output had risen during the night and was almost double, having gone up from around 150W to almost 400W. Not only that but my small wind turbine inverter was still working and showing no sign of having of the Riso or Ileak faults having returned during the night. Indeed it was actually generating 301W in what little wind was turning it’s blades. The larger 6kW machine wasn’t even spinning around in the last faint puffs of storm Eunice that had caused so much havoc to the south. Feeling pretty chuffed at the state of affairs I returned indoors and started on my pot of fresh coffee.


Returning to bed being ‘not an option’ due to it now being occupied by two wee dugs Sad smile Instead I concentrated on my plans for the day which included replacing the alternator on the Land Rover and modifying its drive belt.

300TDi alternator on a 200TDi engine

Though my first job, upon sunrise would be be feeding the pigs and walking the dugs, assuming Molly would come out.

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Which of course she wouldn’t, preferring instead to wait in the Landy whilst Bonzo and I fed the pigs

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and then went walkabout.

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Heading towards Calum’s old house to check my turbine intake being a little puzzled at why the output had increased by 50% overnight. I cleared some dead grass and twigs from the forebay whilst being cautiously watched by a couple of hinds from the overgrown croft. Still no wiser as to why the turbine was performing so well we returned home for breakfast number one. After which I set about the ‘Old Girl’ and its alternator.


I had upgraded the standard 200TDi alternator some years ago by replacing the standard 65A unit with a 100A one from a Discovery 300TDi. Whilst this is a fairly common upgrade it does involve swapping the alternator pully from a 5pk serpentine to a 10mm V belt. As the serpentine belt is capable of transmitting more power than a V belt this has always meant that I’m constantly adjusting the belt and my engine bay is always covered in black dust from the belt. In an attempt to mitigate this I did replace the alternator pulley with a larger diameter one but it still wasn’t perfect, better but still needed regular adjustment. Anyway as the pulley I’d fitted was actually designed to take a 13mm belt rather than the standard 10mm Land Rover belt I thought I’d try fitting a wider belt. Of course the power steering pump pulley that drives the alternator would be for the smaller belt but I thought it was worth a try and whilst I was at it I could replace the alternator.

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As the new belt would sit higher in the pulley it would need to be slightly longer than the original 617mm so I purchased a 625 and 650mm long 13mm belt. As it turned out the 650mm was the better option. The 625 one did fit ( just ) but the 650mm one put the alternator adjusting bracket in a slightly better position Winking smile

Arwen, Barra and Corrie

Once it was all back together we all headed south to Inverarish to get a little shopping and collect some parcels from the ferry terminal.

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Taking the ‘low road’ via Oskaig to collect some eggs on the way as the Isle of Man registered clam dredger Jann Denise scraped away near Crocodile Rock. Obviously storm Eunice made the Irish Sea and Clyde Estuary too rough.


Whilst Raasay’s Mary M and all the Portree boats were out fishing the Speedwell had taken the decision to stay safely alongside Winking smile

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So after collecting my parcels from the ferry terminal I drove around the back of the Battery to take some pics of ‘storm damage’, not from Eunice but from Arwen, Barra and Corrie.


The remains of a block built shed flattened by Corrie.

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Boats and bits of boats transported over a fence by Barra.


A sub station roof removed some weeks ago by Arwen. The roof was blocking the track for weeks, dunno if it was moved by a good Samaritan or another storm. Either way SSE were informed in January about their substation being roofless and have probably been too busy to put the roof back on. Funny really cos there are signs all over it saying Danger of death, Beware high voltage, and Sub station watch. I guess they only apply to personal injury lawyers and not to the pishing rain Smile

It’s 7:25 now and I guess I’ll try and post this before I add any more pictures on account of my pathetic .65meg upload speed Sad smile

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