Life at the end of the road

April 3, 2022

Back in time :-)

My last day on Mull was nice leisurely affair, like a holiday even Smile The Mule was finished and I was feeling pretty chuffed with myself and thought I’d visit a few of my old haunts from waaaay back in time. The era of Thatcher and the miners strike when I seriously considered moving to Mull to salvage coal Surprised smile Luckily I saw sense and took a job on Scalpay managing a scallop farm instead. The coal was still on board the SS Meldon


a 2514 ton collier on the bottom of Loch Buie that I just happen to own, or at least a third share in it Smile 

The Meldon struck a mine laid by U-78 in March of 1917 but her captain managed to get her into Loch Buie before she sank in around 10M of water. Where she lies to this day

her iron prop and rudder pintle being quite a sight to behold Smile 

As well as the Meldon the SS Maine, HMS Barcombe and several other wrecks lie in this area  all of which I visited many times in the past.

Chauffer driven

The first job however was to go and look at a digger in Salen with  my Mate, a baby brother to Calum the Kubota no less Smile I’m sure he’ll makes as much use of it around his campsite as I do of Calum around the croft. Probably he’ll ache a lot less too Smile


After which he drove us back to Tobermory via Loch na Keal  , Ulva ferry and Dervaig. A most enjoyable jaunt especially from the passenger seat Smile After lunch at my caravan I headed off in the Land Rover to Loch Buie on the south west of Mull.

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Once more passing through the village of Salen past three sad looking old fishing boats. When I was last here in 1985 there was only one, the ‘blue’ one nearest and it looked like it had been there years then Surprised smile It’s called the FV Glen Carradale but we always called it the Glen Scammeldale cos it had a Scammel truck tractor cab for a wheelhouse Smile


You had to see it and know its owner to appreciate the joke Smile

Then it was on to the head of Loch Buie where we parked up at the Old Lochbuie Post Office café which didn’t open until the 11th Sad smile I dunno if it was ever a Post Office as I remember it being further up the glen where the telephone box resides.


The new one is certainly a big improvement Smile


Parking up at the café we left the aching Molly in the Land Rover and took the track that follows the loch shore towards Carsaig, yet another beautiful old stone pier but Bonzo and I only went about a mile down to where we used to camp in years gone by.

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By the remnants of old farm machinery, fishing gear and the foundations of a shed to


a beach where we would launch the boat and camp whilst diving on the wrecks. Returning to the Land Rover after our trip down ‘memory lane’ to the monument just by the Old Post Office to ‘Loch Buie and his Highlanders’. Dunno what the inscription says you can’t read it now but 40 years ago you could.

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I remember this monument very well cos I hit it with an Alfa Romeo Sad smile Writing it off in the process but not before straightening the chassis with a tractor and strainer post, soldering the radiator over a camp fire, tying the bonnet and wing on with fencing wire and driving home 300 miles Surprised smile Those were the days Smile

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Can’t you read Bonzo, it says beware of adders Surprised smile One time I was up here we stayed in this farm at the head of the loch it was Easter 1984 and the gearbox layshaft bearings failed in my Series III LWB Safari Land Rover leaving me with only two gears, low and high 4th. Undaunted I got a Pal to bring me up a new layshaft and bearings and fitted them in the field at the side of the farm Surprised smile 

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This tree is in the cemetery at the head of Loch Spelve on the way to Lochbuie I dunno if it’s a ewe but if it is it must be ancient as it’s the largest one I’ve ever seen Surprised smile


Well that was a nice leisurely trip home via Lochaline and  the MV Catriona. Ferguson’s MV Harvest Anne and the MV Aqua Stadt heading down the Sound of Mull as we awaited Catriona.

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Once on the mainland it was off on the single track A884 towards the Corran ferry

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stopping at the head of Loch Sunart in the sunshine to walk the dugs.

Sopped briefly in Fort William for a Lidl shop before continuing the northward trek towards home.

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Stopping briefly at the side of Loch Garry to admire the view Sad smile


of some toe rags fly tipping Sad smile

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Home at last around 17:30 Smile

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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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