Life at the end of the road

January 22, 2022

Well worth it :-)

Filed under: daily doings, Discovery, food, hydro, life off grid — Tags: , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:28 pm

Certainly been a grey day here, not a bad day, just boodly damp and miserable minus the wind and rain. Certainly not a day for sight seeing but fine enough for working outdoors if your waterproofs were handy. I was up early enough to do a little blogging before feeding pigs, eating number one breakfast then walking Bonzo down the drive to catch my lift. My neighbour Gavin having offered me a ride to the south end to collect the Disco which had been sat at the ferry terminal since my son departed for Uni a couple of weeks ago. Don’t suppose it was doing any harm down there but when you own something as reliable as a Land Rover it’s always better to have another one nearby just in case Smile There’s a good chance at least one of them will let you down at the most inopportune moment Sad smile I speak from 40 plus years of ‘hands on’ experience Smile Whilst down there I called in at our local community shop for a few vegetables and took the ‘low road’ home via Oscaig, collecting a few duck and chook eggs along the way.


It was just as boodly dreich there and at Glam and Brochel,

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where I also called in to give the generator a whirl.


The batteries being pretty low, no doubt due to the abysmal amount of sunlight.

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So using the Victron GX panel I set the Stephill 6kW generator to run for 3 hours then shutdown. This being a far handier (and easier to use) method than on my own SMA system which only gives you the option to run for 1hour, manually or automatically. With the Victron system you can set the timer for whatever time you want Smile


That done, I rearranged ‘Calum’s’ wheelbarrows so they didn’t stick out into his road and went home for breakfast number two.


A strange number involving fried mackerel, potatoes and of course Oscaig eggsSmile

Almost pigging

Having successfully ‘pigged’ (cleaned out) one of my hydro turbines and learned a few lessons along the way. I set about preparing for the difficult one. The one I did on Friday being relatively easy to access with only 40M of head and a penstock around 250M long. My next task would be a whole different animal with 70M of head and 900m of penstock pipe Surprised smile So the first thing I did was spend the whole of what was left of the morning and a good chunk of the afternoon tidying my shed Smile Just like finding important things to distract me from my tax return I’d manged to come up with an excuse to delay launching my ‘pig’ Smile


I needed to access my couplings but could not reach them safely without moving a whole load of wood, metal and roofing sheets. This of course took me until 14:00 when I finally set off (on foot with Bonzo) to my turbine to sort out the pipework so I wouldn’t get power washed and hit by the foam bullet that would be my pig Smile

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Bonzo being much more enthusiastic about this than boating yesterday.

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After removing a section of pipe after a 2” gate valve and figuring a 3 and1/2” foam pig with 70M of head behind it would squeeze through no problem. I went upstream to the first (last) joint where the 90mm pipe connects to the 63mm pipe.


This joint is only a few meters away from the turbine and the internal diameter reduces from around 75mm of the 90mm(external) pipe to 54mm internal of the 63mm pipe. So I figured ‘worst case scenario’ if the pig gets stuck, I’ll get boodly wet when I break open this joint Smile

By the time I’d done all this and loaded the quad up with the 2” Honda water pump to prime the system, found enough petrol for quad and pump it was getting late.


15:40 in fact, so I decided to just try out the new tyres by taking the pump and tools up over the hill ready for tomorrow. After all that was why I’d bought the boodly things in the first place.

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Well I got there OK but it was never a problem getting there, it was getting back up that hill Surprised smile This usually meant going fast, sliding all over the place and depositing my tools in various bogs on the way. However the new tyres enabled me to leisurely potter up the hill without any drama or loosing anything along the way.

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Not even the scary downhill bit Smile Yup, it was definitely worth spending two days fitting those boodly tyres Smile

November 4, 2021

A leg up :-)

Filed under: animals, daily doings, Discovery, Land Rover — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:22 am

It’s only 7:30PM just washed up the dishes after a nice dinner involving a pork chop fried on a bed of almost caramelized onions which I finished off by tipping some white wine in the pan. Not cos I’m a particularly adventurous cook but quite simply cos I found a box of white wine in my utility room and as I don’t drink the stuff I figured I use it to lubricate my dinner with. My steamed asparagus, green beans, broccoli and ‘shrooms already had enough butter on them to raise my BP and the wee tatties from the community garden were quite dry and flowery so I figured that a nice juicy onion, wine, olive oil garlic and pork fat sauce would do the trick. Probably worse for my Blood Pressure than even more butter but I’d feel better by not using quite so much of the stuff Smile

Anyway it’s after 8:00PM now and I’m pure wrecked, having got up very early and worked very hard but I’ll tell you about in the morning. I’m off to join the dugs.


Bonzo and Molly having already gone to bed, Molly using the stool I placed there yesterday. That’s so she can get a ‘leg up’ rather than sit at the foot of the bed whining for me to lift her cos she’s so stiff and cranky these days. Bit like me really, at least I will be in the morning after barrowing 2 tons of stone chips and some rocks this afternoon

Thursday 6:00am

Yup, pretty stiff this morning but I did sleep like the proverbial log right through unit half an hour ago.


Orion gazing down on me from a much blacker sky this morning as Molly and I went out to fire up the generator. Not that it actually needed starting, it does that automatically if required but I just wanted to give it run for a couple of hours whilst I was in the house. I try and do this at least once a month just to make sure everything still works as the generator is rarely required. However with winter’s short days here it’s good to keep an eye on things. Who knows when we’ll get the next really cold spell with high pressure, no wind and frozen hydro Surprised smile Probably never with global warming but best be on  the safe side hey, even though I can’t actually remember the last time I actually had frost on the car windscreen at Arnish.

Anyway, back to yesterday’s ‘daily doings’ which started off with a trip to Portree, mainly for pig food but I thought I’d take the opportunity to call at Sconser quarry and get a couple of tons of 20mm stone chips whilst over on Skye.

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A good stiff northerly breeze seeing Speedwell on her mooring rather than alongside the Raasay pier which can get uncomfortable with a swell from the north.

Dropping off the trailer at the Sconser car park we headed for Portree stopping at the Varragill bridge to go for a wee walk in the woods.


Then after loading up with sow rolls at Harbro we ‘about turned’ for the quarry to get our stone chips

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That’ll be Matt the Quarry dog minus his hard hat and safety boots Smile Unfortunately we were just a little too slow to catch the 10:25 ferry

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which had just departed as we cleared the weigh bridge. Weighing in at over 5 tons we sat at Sconser for an hour to catch t he 11:25.


Back on Raasay three hours after leaving it we headed slowly north with our load.


So slowly in fact that I chose to leave the trailer at Brochel then unload the Land Rover and go back for it with the Disco. The more powerful TD5 engine with its Traction control and Hill descent control making the towing experience much pleasanter. The road to the north end of the island has had some major resurfacing work done recently and is much, much better than it was. Sadly they never got as far as Brochel and the last couple of miles of road consists of a long track of holes with odd bits of tarmac between Sad smile The Disco seems to cope much better over this ground with it’s softer suspension and Traction Control.


The Hill Decent Control being most reassuring on the steep gravely incline to Tarbert.

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Inspiring me with such confidence that I stopped and added some extra rocks on the way Smile

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Once up at Sonas the difficult task of trying to lay the weed suppressing membrane in a gale of wind began.

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Eventually with some rocks and a lull in the wind I got it down and started to quickly barrow some pats of gravel on top of it.

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Not quite getting finished before it got dark and both the animals and I got hungry Smile


Dunno where this sheep came from but that crow is watching her intently


or perhaps she’s watching the crow Smile

Anyway, that’s it, almost light now, time to feed the pigs and move some rocks.

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