Life at the end of the road

March 23, 2022

Tirfin’ in the sunset :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, life off grid, wind turbine — Tags: , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:57 am

Another pure peach of a day yesterday, it’s 6:00AM now on Wednesday and the day looks a bit like I feel, kinda grey and unsure of itself Sad smile Had a bit of s skin full last night but the forecast for the day is for it to brighten up and I’m hoping to do the same. For today is the annual ‘pig fest’ where the wee grunters go into the freezer Sad smile 

Well that’s me been on ‘holiday’ a whole week now and at at last I feel like the list is getting shorter. Tuesday morning being taken up by taking my friends car to Skyfit for the MOT re test, which it passed after having much welding a spring and ball joint. Both of which are in no small way due to the state of the Raasay roads. Broken springs being a particular favourite for MOT failures these days apparently. Anyway arriving home around 13:00 I turned my attention back to the Proven 6kW wind turbine that was lying across my drive way. I needed to get that raised as a matter of urgency as he first batch of my friends would be arriving later for today’s ‘pig fest’. The huge turbine was blocking access to my shed and needed to be raised before the rain arrived on Thursday,


not that there was much of it but I wanted to get all my tools and the 50M of Tirfor wire oiled and indoors before it got wet.


First though I had to remove the covers to grease the bearings and access the yaw rollers and inspect the brushes. A task that was much more difficult and time consuming than I expected. This was mainly due to my decision to not lower the turbine fully and work from a pallet on the top of my dumper. A decision that I now regret, for whilst it undoubtedly saved me lowering the turbine with the Tirfor under its greatest strain as the load increases as the mast angle decreases. It did make working on the turbine much harder.

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Whilst the brushes and yaw rollers were all in excellent condition, the stainless steel brake cable was almost parted and this caused me much grief trying to replace it as I did not have any wire or clamps of the right size.


However after much searching I managed to turn up some yacht rigging and splice it onto the end of the original wire using copper pipe and electrical crimping tools.

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The yaw rollers were just fine so I left them and kept my fingers crossed Smile spending the next hour or two refitting the covers to the turbine and cursing myself for not having lowered it to the ground Sad smile

By the time I finally got it back together it was exactly 17:00 and I started the long and arduous task of winching the 15M mast up. As I mentioned earlier this is much harder at the beginning when the turbine is lower down so I started off doing 16 strokes and having a rest, gradually working my way up to 25, 30  then finally 60.

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It was boodly hard work and kept me going until after the sun went down.

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However by 19:00, two hours later I had it bolted down and called it a day.

The first arrivals

Luckily my friends had not arrived yet so I took the Mule along to the Schoolhouse, opened it up, switched the lights on and turned the heating on, arriving back at the Arnish car park just after they’d arrived at 19:30. Getting invited for dinner, how could I refuse Smile, hence the sore head and now I really must go out and give the pigs their ‘last supper’ Sad smile

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I’ll just leave you with a bunch of oystercatchers at the old pier yesterday and the SD Warden that was out on the range yesterday. Their must be something afoot as the day before a submarine was surfaced all day, today SD Moorfowl, SD Kyle of Lochalsh, SD Warden and SD Raasay are all heading for east of Raasay. A four engine plane was also in the air above Raasay yesterday for much of the afternoon.

March 21, 2022

The Proven TM15

That’s it, I’ve had enough, it’s 18:00 and I’m gonna call it a day. Yesterday’s horse lasagne is in the oven and my veg is in the steamer. The plan to have my 6kW wind turbine up and running is now on the ‘back burner’ on simmer Smile Tomorrow I’ll be off to Broadford for a retest, the forecast is for ‘more of the same’ and my wind turbine can wait until I return.


Too much power Surprised smile

Well I did think about blogging yesterday but truth is I was pure wrecked after what was without a doubt the best and warmest day of the year. A fitting start to spring 2022 and one that I made full use of. The morning pre muesli ramble with the dogs taking me around the eastern side of our little valley in search of frog spawn Smile


Finding some that had already dried out in the spring sunshine as soon as I stepped out of the croft just by the gate Sad smile Daft frog it’s not even in a puddle, still it’s the first I’ve seen this year and being so dry I took a short cut through Calum’s croft.

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My neighbours cockerel providing a welcome soundtrack to the fine day. Being a ‘morning person’ I’m quite partial to their early morning reveille Smile


John and Murdo, my two ‘hoodie’s’ missed breakfast yesterday but I saw them on my walk back sunbathing in the heather Smile

With all the sunshine and the previous day’s wind I found myself with an abundance of power. This is normally diverted into heating my 1500lt thermal store but with the heat from the sun as well as all the electricity generated the whole store was sitting at 80 degrees Surprised smile That’s OK because the immersion heaters have thermostats  that turn them off and the excess goes into my many air resistor heat dumps but even my shed was getting too hot yesterday.


So after washing all my overalls, turning the heater on in my caravan and having several showers I decided to turn my solar panels off.

Proven, Kingspan, SD Wind, 6kW turbine service

After breakfast I turned my attention to preparing my 6kW Proven/Kingspan wind turbine for lowering and servicing. This monster of a turbine I won in a silent auction at Raasay Primary School some years ago. Installed in October 2009 it had been shutdown as a result of shedding a spring after only a few weeks use.

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This turned out to be due to faulty installation by the contractor.

To cut a long story short it sat in the school playground for years as the worlds most expensive flagpole and eventually it got put up for auction at one of the school open days and I won it. Well really, who else would be daft enough to buy a 15m steel tower and used inverter? The turbine having been removed some time earlier for examination by the installer had since been scrapped Sad smile Anyway, eventually I got it dismantled and Hookie loaded it on his truck and took it up to Arnish where it sat on the car park for another year or two before I got around to digging the hole, fitting the foundation and pouring 15 cube of 35 Newton concrete.

I managed to acquire another turbine head for it that was damaged, got that overhauled by Proven and miraculously found a set of the latest carbon fibre blades on Gumtree for £400! Surprised smile So I got a £60,000 turbine for around £10,000 including the £6000 overhaul, concrete base and all electrics. Like any wind turbine it needs regular servicing and lowering at least once a year, something I’ve just never got around to Sad smile Mainly on account of it being such a monster of a thing to lower and me having such a bad memory, I really didn’t realize it had been up 5 years without any attention whatsoever Surprised smile. Having shed a spring in the last storm I thought it was about time I serviced it so I’ve bought a new spring set and yaw rollers from SD Wind and set about doing it.

The Proven TM15 mast

The mast is pretty heavy and with a 600kg turbine on top it requires some serious lifting gear to raise or lower it. I managed to install it with the help of the hydraulics on my trailer, the bucket on my digger and a TU32 Tirfor winch and single wire. Proven say you should use a double wire and pulley but as I only had 30m of wire and no pulley that wasn’t possible and as the TU32 is rated at 3200kg I figured it would do (just). Well with a bit of help from the trailer and digger hydraulics it did but only just and it was really scary. Not wishing a repeat performance and being 5 years older (and hopefully wiser) I opted to buy a longer wire and pulley to do as it says in the manual.

So that’s what I was doing yesterday, starting with taking down the fence and clearing all the stuff away from it so I could assemble the gin pole.

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Then it was lifting the pulley and wire rope out of the trailer with the digger.

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The hardest part was assembling the gin pole which is made up of two steel tubes for the base and a long steel bar that makes the triangle.


It was really difficult getting that steel bar into position on your own Smile

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Eventually though I did and once the gin pole was set up ready for lowering I ‘repaired’ the fence with a spare large pallet to keep the deer out and retired for my Sunday treat.

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A Lidl ‘Chef Select’ horse lasagne Smile and whilst I’m sure no horses were harmed in the creation of this dish it has become a firm favourite with me over the years. I don’t do ready meals as a rule but I started buying these on the way back up the road from Glasgow years ago. I just used to bung one in the oven whilst unloading the car, feeding dugs, loading washing machine putting stuff away and it would just be ready when I’d finished. At the time they were less than £2.00 and I said to my wife “it must be horse, there’s no way they can make it with beef for £2.00” Smile This was long before the 2013 horse meat scandal but it is really good and certainly costs more than £2.00 now Smile


The second day of spring had me back on the turbine, firstly undoing the M30 base nuts with a 46mm socket and long bar.

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Then setting up the TU32 Tirfor and threading the 50M of Maxiflex 16.3mm wire through it, though I’m sure 30M would have been enough.

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The book recommends two anchor points and I’m sure this would be far better but the book also says to use a huge concrete anchor that’s been pre cast when you pour the base. As there simply isn’t enough soil here to dig the founds for a base I drilled and fitted a M30 pin into the bed rock as an anchor point but the bed rock isn’t the right shape for another Sad smile So one anchor has to suffice.

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Once the wire rope is fitted through the pulley and the tension just taken up the the final nuts can be removed and the turbine jacked up with a bottle jack as the Tirfor is gradually released. Once it starts to tip you just keep working the Tirfor, it’s very heavy and hard Sad smile

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After a break for lunch

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and finding some more frogspawn in a far more sensible place.

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I made a platform so I could work from the dumper without lowering the turbine any further and got to work changing the springs.


That was it really I had planned to do it all today but to be quite honest I’m pure feckered after all the Turfing. So I just put some props under my turbine and called it a day Winking smile

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