Life at the end of the road

February 5, 2020

Back at the coalface :-)

4:00am now and I’d much rather I was tucked up in bed than plonking away on here but it’s better than ‘working out’ Smile That’s what the rest of the ‘team’ will be doing shortly Smile I kid you not 50% of Hallaig’s crew will be charging around the car deck with dumbbells and skipping ropes shortly, or at least by the time I’ve finished typing this. The last thing that I heard as I departed ship last night was “see you down here at 6:00am”!!!!! Aye right Smile Methinks Sandy and Finlay been watching too much of ‘SAS who cares who wins’   Smile Such is the ‘joy of youth’, me, I’ve got a good excuse for being up at ‘stupid o clock’, I can’t sleep! or at least I can’t stay in bed.

Not that I had that problem last night, my fist day back on shift ended with me curled up in bed whilst most people were watching the early evening soaps. It had been a busier day than usual. Sure, the first day back is always a mad rush trying to get all the stuff done that I’ve had a fortnight to finish but not actually done so yet.


The trailer project being the first one, but that was after my neighbour banged on the door before daylight asking if I could look at their wind turbine. The already busy schedule just got a whole lot busier!

Proven wind turbine springs

After Monday night’s storm the neighbour had awoken to a ‘clicking’ from the wind turbine that had been working overtime through the night. I call it a Proven WT2500 cos that’s what it was called when I installed it 14 years ago. Since then the company has passed through several hands and names whilst still retaining the core workforce. SD Wind Energy being the latest incarnation , before that it was Kingspan Environmental. The names may have changed but the turbines, at least the smaller ones have changed little. They are still the rugged well built piece of kit they were twenty years ago and their service and parts supply has improved no end since the Proven days.

Lowering the neighbour’s turbine had most certainly not been on the ‘to do list’ but it was Tuesday and had we not done it, it would have been a fortnight at least before it even got looked at. So, with it still being dark and breezy I got on with the trailer project until daylight and the wind abated. Unusually the forecast was right, by 9:00am the remnants of the previous day’s gale had passed us by and I ‘tracked’ Calum the Kubota round to ‘Number 3’ my ‘happy wee home’ of 25 years.

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It was a lot easier than when I took the turbine there in 2005 Smile

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My good friend Willie Eyre ‘back in the day’ God rest his soul Smile it’s hard to think of Willie without smiling.

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Just as promised the wind ‘fell away’ to nothing revealing the broken spring and reluctantly I loaded up the Mule. I say reluctantly cos it’s not mine and the last thing I did on Monday was wash and clean it Smile

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It’s a lovely spot up there overlooking the sea and ruins of the houses in the right hand photo that was taken circa 1885.

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My ‘apprentice’ soon had it lowered and I just happened to have a spare set of springs in my shed, by 11:00am the turbine was back up and I had time to tidy up before heading for the 12:15 ferry. The ‘to do’ list unfinished Sad smile

I had planned to do some more work on one of the Brochel generators, I say one cos I’ve four to choose from and there’s generally only one working Smile

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Still, at least the SDMO 6kW was working when I left it on Monday Smile


Wee dug and I even found time for a walk on the beach by the castle that was once ‘seat’ of the Raasay Macleods.

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That’ll be the house not the castle Smile

Sunshine on Sconser

So, I got myself to Portree and filled up with essential breakfast kit. The two ‘young fellas’ will be needing a good breakfast after their 6:00am workout Smile

The avocado, egg, and chorizo on toast should do the trick after they’ve done that lot hey.

After trawling around the Co-op I arrived back on Hallaig at 15:00 in time to let my ‘back to back’ away for a well earned rest. The first thing I noticed was SUNSHINE!!!

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Sconser doesn’t ‘do’ sunshine in the winter, spring must be here Smile OK, it wasn’t actually on the village yet but it was bathing Hallaig at the pier so it cannot be far away.

January 7, 2020

The ‘New Year Storm’ :-)

Filed under: Avon Searider, daily doings, food, Trucks and plant, weather — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 11:20 pm

Well, it’s not often you’ll find Molly and I indoors during daylight hours at this time of year. The days may be getting longer but it’s still dark for two thirds of each one and even when wild like today, I still have a shed full of projects Smile 

We’re just back in after a spell of power washing and being power washed ourselves by the south westerly gale, that’s threatening to become a westerly storm. Something that we always expected here on Raasay around the 7th to 14th of January but which hasn’t hit for half a dozen years at least. All the memorable ones I’ve endured have been in that one week window. The ones that damaged MV Raasay and MV Loch Striven to name but two. The tragedy on a Western Isles causeway being another where a family were swept into the sea on such a day.


My son left for Heriot Watt yesterday and that was a bit of an epic, the 7:55 ferry we’d been aiming for not actually departing until 12:15. Leaving Wife, Ross and I playing cards in the village until our departure at midday Smile You can imagine how that went down hey, our ‘shopping time’ in Inverness gradually being eroded away to nothing. We literally had to drive straight to Inverness train station and back with barely time to fill up with fuel and grab a few essentials from Broadford Co op.

It never changes 

I could go into a long rant about the Co op, and had I stayed inside, on here when I started writing I would have. However, once World At One had finished on R4 and I discovered that the ‘clown in the White House’ had not yet started another war I went back outdoors. It’s 19:36 now and I’ve a nice warm glow inside me from the chicken curry ‘n’ chips I’ve just demolished for dinner and I’ve lost the enthusiasm for it. Bizarrely, I actually like the Co op, it was founded on noble principles, there used to be one on many of the mill town street corners where I hail from, they are pretty ethical in their behaviour not American owned and have a good ‘Fair Trade’ policy. That aside, on Skye at least, they are useless and always have been. Thirty five years I have been using the local ones and thirty five years I’ve been astounded at their incompetence.

Right from moving to the area in 1985 it’s always promised to get better but never has. They moved from the inadequate premises in Broadford to Sutherlands Garage some years ago and managed to turn a good petrol station into a disaster area with toilets that NEVER worked. On the rare occasions they did they were disgusting. The supermarket itself was OK, when the tills were actually manned and food was on the shelves. Portree wasn’t much better with the move to larger premises some years ago only bringing about marginal improvements but at least the toilets worked even if they are always smelly Smile

Major works and improvements to the petrol station 12 months ago improved matters in that department and this summer it has actually been possible to buy petrol at peak times without queuing onto the main road. In fact, until yesterday they had started to go up in my esteem, that was until I called in on the way back from Inverness having not emptied my bladder since the 12:15 ferry. The boodly toilets were out of order!!!! and I have to confess at ‘blowing my top’ at the poor chap that told me Sad smile I’ll not tell you what I did immediately after but I was greatly relieved Smile

Of course the shelves were empty inside, what greens and veg there was had only 1 day left on the ‘sell by’ but worst of all there was no one at the tills and they’ve installed those boodly self checkouts which I refuse to use. I do not work for the Co op and fail to see why I should help boost their profits at the expense of  much needed jobs in a locality that needs everyone it can get. Anyway, a cashier eventually turned up and my blood pressure returned to normal Smile For all my despairing I have to say that the staff there are brilliant, be it Portree, Broadford or Kyle, I can only assume that the management never visit the customer toilets and they do their own shopping online Smile

So, that’s what I did on Monday, today it was the aforementioned power washing of the plant, most of which had worked hard this last fortnight.

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Ross having done some sterling work around the back of the big green shed putting some drains in.

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Throughout last night and today they were doing a great job of taking all the rain away.


My weather station died some months ago so I can’t actually tell you what speed the wind was or how much rain fell, suffice to say that it was so bad that Molly wouldn’t come out of the house.

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I wasn’t that keen myself truth be known and I had to ease myself outside gently by doing some work in the ‘Bunker’ which is the ‘lean too’ on the back of the house. I guess you could call it the ‘plant room’ for that’s where much of the heating and electronics reside. I was mortified the other day to find some chewed insulation Sad smile the last thing I need in there is mice that’s for sure. The wee beggars could make an awful mess of me wiring and cause no end of grief, reluctantly I set some traps but what I really need is a cat Smile


Hauled myself one of the salamis out of there whilst I was at it, been curing for a month now and I’ve not tried em yet, well it was just delicious Smile

I guess that apart from managing to avoid doing my tax an VAT returns yet again I didn’t really achieve that much today but I did enjoy not doing them and I could think of much worse things to do or not do as the case may be. At least I had power today, some 66kWh generated by wind and hydro. Down in Inverarish a third of the village was out with no prospect of repair until Wednesday. That’s another things this period in January was renowned for, power cuts. Not for me right enough, I’ve not had one (for more than a few minutes) in 30 years Smile I do love being self sufficient in energy supply.

On Saturday I put the Searider to bed as there would be no chance of using it again this side of my ‘on shift’.

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At some point I also cleaned and admired the two IBC’s given to me  by an admirer, tis a sad reflection on my life that they are ‘up there’ with my books and camouflage jacket as ‘best Christmas presents’ of 2019 Smile Cheers Charlie.

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Even ‘wee dug’ was impressed Smile

SAS ‘Who Dares Wins’

Apparently it was on Sunday and much of it was filmed here Me, I couldn’t care less ‘who cares who wins’ Smile I never heard of Ann Middleton Smile twas my son who pointed out he was a guy called Ant, as we walked past a bookshop in Edinburgh and he saw one of his books Smile

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