Life at the end of the road

November 8, 2020

Taking Calum for a walk :-)

Filed under: animals, daily doings, food, Trucks and plant — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:30 am

Not much in the way of stars this morning, black, mild and dry outside, no sign of yesterday’s spectacular star studded sky and numerous constellations many of which are only visible during the winter. Not that I know many of them but Orion and Pleiades are at least two that you only see at this time of year and both were showing off the previous evening. It was a ‘pure peach’ of a day on Saturday but before I realised just how lovely it was gonna be I spent some time on the Land Rover ‘spaghetti’.

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My goal being to get the instrument cluster and various warning lights working but as is often the case, something that seems relatively straight forward on the surface turned into an epic. Sure the gauges and their backlighting was straight forward enough but trying to get the ‘low fuel warning light’ to work sent my brain into a spin. Sure, it’s really easy, there are three wires on the sender unit in the tank, one goes to the warning light, one to the fuel gauge and one to earth. That’s what it shows in all three wiring diagrams that cover the three different looms in my Landy, so a simple task of utilising one of the 20 wires I’ve run through the chassis that is not already spoken for and then connecting it to the white and slate coloured wire that goes to the warning light. Not a chance, after much trawling of the Internet after giving up on all the wiring diagrams in the Haynes manual I discover these threads, ,

and this little PCB taped into the instrument cluster loom. This appears in no wiring diagrams or parts books and was buried in the wiring loom I had bought off eBay to replace the one lost by Tayside Land Rover. Whereas early Defenders use a simple three wire system later ones have three wires on the sender unit but the white and slate one that goes to the low fuel light does not actually go there!!! no, in fact it does not go anywhere!!! it just ends inside the loom around the bulkhead. The ‘low fuel warning light’ being controlled by this little secret module that turns on the light when the fuel gauge (green and black) wire reaches a certain resistance value that corresponds to a few litres of fuel in the tank. Sure, it’s a good idea, just wish they didn’t keep it secret Smile Luckily, it was a pure peach of a day so I gave up on the fuel light for a while and took Molly and Calum the Kubota over to Torran after giving him a good greasing, filling with fuel and loading his spare buckets into a trailer.

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I had some drains to clear and some exploration to do to find the course of a water pipe and had had enough of being stuck inside a shed on such a fine day.

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Surprisingly enough the pigs didn’t follow and after twenty minute of bouncing down the track at less than walking pace Molly abandoned me too.

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It is much further than the sign suggests Smile Only ten minutes walk right enough but a good half hour in the digger.

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Keenly watched by a golden eagle Molly and I walked back to get the buckets before I spent the afternoon fruitlessly trying to get my fuel light working. It being far too nice to go inside and consult the Internet. Something I should have done much earlier in the day, it would have saved me hours that I could have spent in the sunshine Smile

Anyway, it’s well after 8:00 now, the pigs have been fed and let out, Molly and I have done our exercises


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the ‘first breakfast’ is almost eaten and the second pot of coffee made. Time to go and attack my fuel light once more before I return inside to have ‘second breakfast’ and put my leg of lamb in the oven. No marinade today, methinks I’ll just rub some olive oil, garlic and rosemary over it then cook it ‘low and slow’. Thought it was beef when I dug it out the freezer and I’ve no mint sauce Sad smile

October 17, 2020

Torch time again :-)

Filed under: animals, boats, daily doings, Land Rover, life off grid, Trucks and plant — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:56 am

Yet another fine day on Raasay behind me and another one ahead if the forecast is to be believed. Ever since returning from my two week spell in dry dock, the only time time in twenty years that I’ve done a full docking from delivery to ‘sea trials’. Usually my ‘back to back’ and I do a ‘hand over’ in dock, with one of us taking Hallaig south and the other finishing off and doing trials. For whatever reason the annual ship service and MOT seems to be creeping towards later part of the summer every year. No bad thing in my opinion, barring of course Raasay being stuck without her at busier times of the year. The better weather and longer days experienced before the clock changing nonsense generally making the rounding of Ardnamurchan and the Mull of Kintyre a less stressful experience. Then of course it’s often better weather for actually painting the ship in October than December, which is when we used to into dock.

Not even rustling

A whole fortnight away from home being the only real ‘fly in the ointment’ Sad smile Golly gosh, my wee dug was glad to see me Smile but what a difference two weeks makes to the season. Leaving on the last day in September and returning half way through October, the first thing that became obvious was the creeping darkness eating into the day. It’s now that time of year when carrying a torch has become essential for anything out doors after the earlier and earlier sunsets. Disappearing leaves, roaring stags and golden aspen being some of the more cheerful reminders that winter is only just around the corner.

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The Tarbert and Torran aspen already ‘standing out from the crowd’ of birch and hazel with their autumnal hues. The weather being so good and windless of late that they were not even ‘rustling’, they make a distinctive rattling in light winds, their Gaelic name translating as the ‘rustling tree’ critheann.

Indeed the weather has been so good I was tempted into launching the Searider to go diving, an idea I gave up when I discovered my drysuit  seals were once more perished Sad smile Me having only replaced them during the summer!!!! Methinks the Chinese are not very good at making latex seals Sad smile I swear I never used to replace seals so often thirty years ago. My son’s suit has neoprene seals and they have never been replaced since he started diving. The latex seals may be more comfortable and seal better but I’m so pi55ed off at having to replace them that I sent my suit back to Northern Diver for conversion to neoprene type seals.

A whole month

I was actually well into my shift at dock before I realised that I’d be finishing it just as my winter holiday started, a perfect chance to make real progress on the ‘Old Girl’ Smile

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New fuel tank, air vents, and lots of tinkering around the front door sills and seat belts being some of the ‘little jobs’ that I turned into an epic.

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Not satisfied with ‘Britpart shitpart’s’ Chinese paint I elected to give my fuel tank and guard several coats of black and spent an inordinate amount of time doing the same to my front seat belt mounts. How sad am I Smile

Just too heavy

Also on the holiday ‘to do’ list is a new 1000Ah battery bank for the house from Paul Byrne at PB Battery Solutions . Some of my Rolls cells were getting tired after only six years of use and I’d decided to move back to ‘traction cells’ having thought I’d get at least ten years out of the Roll’s ones. Having spoken to a few Rolls owners since fitting them and fitted some to another property I now realize that this is about as long as you can expect from this type of Rolls battery. Sure the ‘Series 5000’ are much better but they came in at over £6K the forklift truck bank I’d ordered from PB was half that delivered.

I had them delivered to Skye Express in Portree figuring that they could forklift my ‘forklifts’ onto my trailer for me and I could lift em off with Calum. So that was my first reluctant task of Thursday. I say reluctant cos I was loath to ‘leave the croft’ on such a fine day for ‘doing things’, still it was a pleasant enough day in town and the drive was lovely.

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A Brochel sunrise, a gloomy Type 23 frigate on the East Side and a serious crane at the ferry terminal. Not sure what the crane was for

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cos there was already one at the new EE mast. Though I did hear that the bin lorry went into a ditch on Wednesday.


Not sure what the Zodiac abandoned in the heather at Tarbert was for either but I figured it was ‘SAS related’ Smile

I collected my batteries, pig feed and managed to return on a packed 10:25 sailing from Sconser on the relief vessel Loch Tarbert. The batteries and trailer following me home nicely Smile

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Sure enough, whilst I dragged my batteries home the SAS recruits were carrying their boat up the hill at Tarbert no doubt encouraged by shouty beardy types Smile Perhaps they were trying to imitate Vikings

Nevertheless, despite these fortifications, Viking raiders still held the upper hand. Sea power was so important that these lands were ceded to whomever could control them. In 1098, Magnus Barelegs, the King of Norway, was granted control by King Malcolm III, King of the Scots, of all the lands which he could sail around. So he claimed all of the Islands and he also claimed Kintyre… by having his ship, with himself at the helm, pulled across the narrow neck of land that is all that joins Kintyre to the mainland at Tarbert (Tarbert actually means "boat pull"). Smile

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Home at last but at 1200kg they were just too heavy so I parked the trailer outside then generator shed until I feel stronger Smile


Well, it was ‘more of the same really, shouty beardies in Land Rovers, this time at the road end and the cliffs above. I’ve never seen so many vehicles there but they were at least well parked and not clogging up the passing places Smile



HMS Kent in front of the aptly named Sand on the Applecross Peninsula and Serco’s SD Northern River

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A noisy ‘Royal’ (12 pointed) outside the back of the house yesterday morning and now I’d better go look for my pigs. It’s almost 8:00am and nearly fully light, the wee darlings never came home last night Sad smile The ‘dirty stop outs’ Smile

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