Life at the end of the road

January 25, 2022

A big bonus :-)

Not quite so grey today and pretty dry despite what the forecast was saying. Having said that I had my oilskins on for pretty much the whole day when not in the shed. Though if I’m honest that was more to do with needing pockets to put my tools, camera, glasses and torch in than any precipitation which never seemed far away.

Out of the house a little later than usual I was surprised to have to wake up the boys, normally they’re grunting at the gate as soon as they here my going to the shed to get their food. I guess they were so snuggled up in all that bedding Gavin next door had cut for them with his new scythe Smile


After feeding them and depositing Molly in the Land Rover, Bonzo and I headed down to the Secret Cove to measure up for the replacement turbine I’m fitting down in the shed.

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It’s a magical place down there with water cascading down the cliff from amidst the roots of ancient aspen trees clinging to thin thin soil above.


I wonder who will cling on the longest me or the trees Smile In three decades of living here I’ve never seen another soul down here but at one time it must have been well frequented. For just past the trees an old path leads all the way up from the shore to a stone shed on my old croft, the Arnish Net Shed. Once used for storing fishing gear for the boats of the township. I guess here was as safe place to pull up a boat at high water and it must have been a busy spot in days gone by.

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Another store for fishing gear perhaps? this one almost gets cut off at high tide, I’m still finding ruins after thirty years of living here which just goes to show how populated it once was at the North End.

Anyway, I’d come down here to measure up for the new Powerspout not get distracted like Bonzo Smile

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The Powerspout was going to be mounted where the Stream Engine hydro turbine had sat, which was on a Lego like base designed for making manholes in civil engineering projects. This I concreted into the base of the shed with an outlet at the bottom for the turbines tailrace. I just need to figure how to extend it higher whilst swivelling it through 90 degrees. After measuring things up I came away with a plan and we headed back to my workshop and started assembling the Powerspout and fabricating a manifold out of 50mm MDPE pipe. In retrospect I regret not buying the custom manifold supplied by Powerspout themselves

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As it cost me the best part of £100 for the bits of 50mm MDPE pipe fittings and the bore of the pipe is only 40mm. Powerspout recommend 50mm, which I don’t suppose is going to make a huge difference but I know form experience that the weight of a heavy manifold (like the one I’m making) requires external support or it will sag and misalign the jets.

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Especially when using pipe that has come off a roll for it tends to distort things as your trying to join Tees and right angles.

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I had to straighten my pipe by screwing it to the bench with 50mm exhaust clamps then blowing hot air on it. At least I hope it’s now straight, at this point I went in to finish of the curry.


Even better after two days with the oven chips coated in olive oil and chili flakes left over form basting my roast veg on Saturday Smile

Pipe, pipe and more pipe

Once in for lunch I paid a few bills and discovered that the oil tanker was coming over on Thursday so decided to leave my pipe unbending on the bench and take my trailer down to the ferry terminal. This would ‘kill two birds with one stone’ for I’d promised some short lengths of 90mm pipe to Donnie the fisherman in exchange for a single 40M long length he’d found at sea some time ago. This MDPE fish farm pipe not only makes great hydro turbine pipe but is fantastic for making polytunnels too Smile

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As can be seen from Willy Eyre’s masterpieces from 14 years ago Surprised smile

All I had to do was dig them out of the bracken and load in to the trailer.

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Where would we be without ratchet straps Smile

Manged to get them all the way to the south end without loosing any Surprised smile


The cyclist I passed at Screapadale  looked pretty amused but I dropped them all off at Donnie’s house and he even offered to tow my two 40M lengths north with the Mary M.

Woo Hoo, Bonzo will be pleased Smile

With the ten lengths in Donnie’s garden and my trailer left on the car park I went to get my 40M length and tow it round to the old pier with the other one.

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After the mission was accomplished I called round at the Raasay Store and was much impressed to find my printer cartridges waiting for me, I’d only ordered them yesterday, so now I’ve no excuse not to do my VAT return Sad smile 


Feeling pretty chuffed with the day’s results I headed slowly home

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passing six hinds on my way.

That was it, fed pigs, dugs and self, sitting down to some spuds, steamed veg and burrata I’d had given for Christmas.


May 16, 2008

Another football team!

Filed under: daily doings, polytunnel — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:46 pm

It’s been a a funny old day, after the usual early rise and hour or two plonking away on the laptop I went out early to feed the pigs. I was wanting to feed them early for the next few days as we’re putting 4 Tamworths away on Monday for slaughter and I want to get them used to an early breakfast. The routine for the last couple of trips to Dingwall has been to let them live in the trailer  for a few days then just shut them in at night and haul them off in the morning. However we’ve been using the trailer as a bedding store all year with the poor weather early on and they’ve been sleeping out on the hill the last few weeks anyway as the weather’s been so good. In fact a couple of times they’ve not even bothered to come home to be fed as the wee darlings have been off on some adventure. To make sure they turn up on Monday morning at 6:30 I’ve cut their rations down a smidge and I throw the first scoop in the trailer so they all charge in there first. My first few trips to ‘Munro’s’ of Dingwall were a bit of a strain emotionally but after Wednesdays ‘home kill’ and yesterdays butchery I can cope with anything! I moved Bramble out of her temporary accommodation in the porch of our barn at breakfast so I could finish her new luxury housing, though when I squeezed her teats and milk came forth I moved her right back and this was when I noticed the mountain of bedding that she’d obviously been dragging in there all night for a ‘nest’. Feeling that a birth was imminent I passed the information onto mrs C and took the Dude to school.

More peat cutting and polytunnel

With the Dude safely disposed of I called on Willy Eyre to dispose of a bucket load of pig bits for his dog and also to marvel at the polytunnel progress. It had stalled for a while whilst the construction of the ‘space age hen house’ took precedence but with the hen house completed the polytunnel was back on course.

The tunnel now has a sliding door at each and the action of which is as smooth as silk on it’s aluminium rail and plastic runners. It has a sink in the corner and some fine shelves ( just click to enlarge ) but I had to rush home and check on Bramble so did not have time to discuss the finer points of salvaged fish farm kit with him. Though I did come across ‘Korea’ aka John Macloed who was busy putting the finishing touches to Raasay’s only peat stack!

I could not but help passing a moment or two admiring this mans stamina and getting the ‘craic’. Once back home mrs C informed me that Bramble had had 10 healthy piglets with still no sign of afterbirth.

We spent a bit of time with her, went in for a cup of tea and came out to find yet another fine wee healthy piglet!

Transport of animals certificate of competency

As pig had given birth in the wrong place at the wrong time my plan for the day for a luxury upgrade to the farrowing quarters had gone out the window and I spent the rest of the day moving wood and making a waterproof enclosure for a battery charger (out of a fish box and children’s slide). That was of course until it was time to go for my exam that is. You now have to have a ‘certificate of competency’ to transport any animals in connection with an economic activity if the journey is over 65km. I wish they’d make their friggin’ mind up with this metric stuff when was the last time that you saw a road sign in km??? if all the road signs and roads are measured in old money then why is the certificate in new money??? and why do lorries travel 60mph and coaches at 70mph but both have tachographs that read in km ( did I just dream that or has the world gone mad?) Any way enough of the soap box, I have to have the bit of paper and my wallet is now another £65 lighter, the exams at 6:15 in Dornie so I’m stuck on the mainland for the night. Still it’s a bonny evening and I can we visit my parents ( I’ve got the Dude with me ) So I’m the last to sit the exam which was not too hard I get my pass and notice  ‘cattle and sheep’ not ‘pigs and sheep’ at the top of the page! . So the examiner now has to download another exam for me to sit this time for pigs and whilst I still pass it’s now 7:20 I’m very hungry, the Dude is very bored and I’ve got less marks. Still it really was a beautifull place to sit an exam!

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