Life at the end of the road

April 4, 2022

The frog filter :-)

To be honest the thoroughly miserable day that was Monday the 4th of April was perfect for what I was doing today, well so long as you exclude walking Bonzo but he didn’t seem to mind  the rain. Which was the first thing I did after my third cup of coffee and updating the blog, after that it was into the shed to construct a filter for my Mate’s Harris turbine intake.

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The turbine which draws water from a loch down a 63mm MDPE penstock some 700m long with 90m head only uses a 4mm jet and very little water to produce enough power to run his house. However of late we’ve been experiencing a frog epidemic. Well three or four blockages in as many weeks and as we’ve only had three or four previous frog or newt blockages in 12 or so years I reckon a new filter was needed. The original one being made from a steel quarry screen for riddling fine stones cos it was all I had at the time. I had intended it to only be a temporary measure so it was about 10 years overdue changing anyway. Sadly the one I spent all morning making is in a similar vein as I couldn’t find any stainless steel so had to settle for some 1mm perforated galvanised steel with 2mm holes. However this time I WILL order some of the right stuff Smile The piece I found just needed trimming on one side to make it 500mm x 1000mm, my original plan being to wrap it around and weld it to some old brake discs that would ensure the filter didn’t move.

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However I quickly abandoned that idea when I felt the weight of it and realized I’d be carrying half a mile over a hill Sad smile Instead I used a brake disc as a template to cut two ends out of an old piece of ‘stock board’ a materiel made from recycled plastic that’s used in fish farming and agriculture. Its about 13mm thick very durable and easy to work with woodworking tools.


Once I’d had my lunch I donned my dry suit, loaded my filter and tools onto the back of the quad and headed to Torran.

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My first stop being the turbine itself which I intended to switch off, but alas it had claimed yet another frog since yesterday Sad smile I turned the valve off anyway and took the perilous path up to Pipers Rock.

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Well I never used to think it was such a big deal in the past but with age one gets more cautious Smile The normally spectacular views of Skye, Fladda, Loch Arnish and even Dun Caan and the Brochel lochs being lost in the murk. Even the houses and crofts of South Arnish being shrouded in gloom. Leaving the quad by the boundary fence I loaded my gear and set off eastwards along the fence toward Loch nan Dubhan. The weather may have been miserable for photography but in my diving suit at least I was dry and not sweating or overheating as normally would be the case.

I thought I had it tough

Not far to the east of the gate there lies and old sheep fank complete with a sheep dip dug into the ground and lined with stone Surprised smile 

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The dipping trough itself is just east of these two pens

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the sheep would be herded down between these two walls down a slope into the dip.


You can still see the stone retaining walls and base but the nearest water available to fill it would have to carried in buckets several hundred yards Surprised smile Thinking about that I grabbed my filter and walked off to the loch thinking how easy life is these days compared to back then.

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My task seemed a lot less onerous and pretty soon I was in Loch nan Dubhan fitting the new filter.

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The old one having rotted away completely Surprised smile

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Then it was back west to the quad past some remains of the old boundary wall that existed long before the fence I was following.

Once at the quad I set off gingerly down the hill and turned on the hydro turbine before heading home to feed the dugs whom I’d left behind for fear of loosing control on the track up to Pipers Rock Smile

Boodly frogs!

Filed under: daily doings, hydro, life off grid, weather — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:58 am

Reluctant, that’s how I feel this morning, it’s almost 7:00AM, still not fully light due to the thick cloud and I suspect it’s gonna start pishing down shortly Sad smile 


There’s no sign of Skye or the Storr the wind a stiff north westerly and the forecast is grim. Not a great day for what I’ve got planned, which involves going up a boodly great big hill to fit a strainer which I’ve yet to make. Though I suppose at least the cold wind from the north will stop me over heating in my dry suit cos I’ll be wearing that to save me going paddling in a loch full of leaches and frogs. Not that I’m bothered about the frogs but it’s themselves that have been causing a problem lately. Both mine and my neighbours hydro turbine having suffered from recent blockages caused by the unfortunate amphibians taking a one way trip down the penstock and getting jammed in a jet. For me this isn’t so much of an issue cos both my Powerspout hydro turbines use two jets and I have multiple energy sources. However my Pal’s Harris turbine operates at such a high head that it only needs one tiny jet to produce more than enough electricity to supply his needs. As a result of this once the single 4mm jet gets blocked it stops working.

When we installed it in 2008 we fitted a filter on the intake but that must be getting pretty much ‘past it’s sell by date’ by now cos in the last couple of months we’ve had three or four decapitated frogs turn up at the turbine Sad smile 

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As I found out yesterday when I went along with Bonzo to check on his salamis.


So my first task this morning will be to fashion a new filter and then go and fit it.

With the forecast being for thick cloud and rain for a couple of days yesterday I also decided to turn on one of my own hydro turbines. More to check its operation than any actual need of the electricity but I’ve only just recently fitted this one, a Powerspout to replace a Stream Engine hydro turbine and wanted to see how it performed at low flows on one jet.


When taking Bonzo out for his morning walk I checked the header tank and seeing the trickle of water going into the system ( I guessed about half a litre per second) I thought I’d have a wander down to the shore and turn on one nozzle. My idea being that eventually the rain that was forecast would arrive and gradually build up the output.

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After slowly turning on one jet and watching the Pelton runner build up speed Bonzo and I took advantage of the low tide to walk down the normally flooded secret gully to the waters edge.

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This really is a magical place that was once used for bringing fishing gear ashore and carrying it up to the hamlet of South Arnish.

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You can still see steel spikes wedged into the rock for tying boats and the remains of the path down from the crofts.

And that was it really, apart from washing the caravan and Land Rover I enjoyed my Sunday at home doing paperwork and almost starting my VAT return Smile

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