Life at the end of the road

November 9, 2017

Well over a ton :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, life off grid, Trucks and plant, weather, wind turbine — Tags: , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:03 pm

Twelve hours on and what a productive day it’s been, though as usual I never got everything done that I wanted. Still, I’m well pleased with the results, first of which was good progress in the hen field.


Still pretty mushy at the moment but it’ll firm up a treat once it drains. I could have bashed on with this all day but the constant 3 ton dumper loads were making a bit of a mess on the hill behind the house, which in turn clogged up the tyres and deposited clods of mud an me lovely grey drive. Not only that but spreading the stuff was clogging up Calum’s tracks, which again was gonna make a hoor of a mess when I tracked back the way in front of the house. With all this in mind I decided to put this job on hold until a dry or frosty spell.

I then spent the next hour power washing Calum,

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as this stuff is like grinding paste with rocks mixed in and does the undercarriage no favours at all.

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It was no pleasurable experience cleaning the machine with a good gale and nasty showers so around 11:00am I went in for a warm up, a couple of fried eggs and several cups of tea. Almost an hour later I found the courage to poke my nose outside once more and headed for Tarbert in the digger with Molly. It takes a good half hour or so to track round there and walk back so we kinda ‘leapfrog’ with the dumper, you know, track for half a mile, stop, walk back, collect dumper, drive past digger etc. You get the drift hey,

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stopping once or twice on the way to clear a few culverts and remove this bucket from a drain near the old fish farm slip. This old bucket from a 13ton machine has been sat here for almost 20 years and I’ve had one or two ‘schemes’ for it over the years that have never got off the ground.

First idea was to take it home for a garden ornament, then I was going to bury it as a ground anchor for my wind turbine and now I plan to add it to the mooring we found last week. There is already a large anchor to the seaward side but I plan to extend the ground chain and put this on the shore side. The digger lifts it quite easily so I guess I’ll just pick it up and track it down to the shore at low tide, then I can float it out once the tide rises.


Methinks that’s the Ronja Commander off Manish Point, she was there for quite a while in the afternoon as I drove back and forth with dumper loads of rock until around 15:30. I stopped work on the machines then hoping to get one riser on the mooring but as usual it took longer than planned and I wasn’t up for diving in the dark.


I was also unsure which size shackle I would need so put two on loosely, along with a few cable ties to prevent the pins coming out. When doing this kind of work I always put the ties in ‘backwards’ at first. That’s to say I thread the ratchet through the wrong way so you can then remove it on site and then turn it the right way and tighten it. This saves you fumbling about with gloves on underwater looking for the ties in your bag or pocket. The ties are already in the right place, handy if you are using two sizes and you’ve no danger of loosing them. On smaller shackles I use stainless or Monel metal wire, not copper, which tends to act like an anode and corrode the pins. Though having just read that article on Wikipedia, methinks I’ll stick to stainless from now on.

Having been driven in through lack of light I had a go at repairing the exhaust on my Mate’s Yamaha.

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Not the prettiest but with the aid of some 28mm copper pipe, a jubilee clamp, some aluminium tape and sealer it was ‘job done’ Smile

A great day for energy

It’s not often we break the 100kWh per day barrier with our renewable energy production, but today we did big style. The metered supplies from the 3.2kW Proven, hydro turbines and solar panels totting up a very respectable 101kWh.


This figure does not include the 3kWh produced by the solar hot water or any of the energy produced by the 6kW wind turbine, which is, as yet unmetered. I guess that seeing how the 3.2 produced 60kWh today then the 6kW should have easily doubled the days production.


October 29, 2017

High as a kite :-)

Filed under: boats, How I, weather, wind turbine — Tags: , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:35 am

Well six AM again only the clock says 5:00, so that’s my body clock confused now until around Christmas. I really do hate this messing around with clocks but it’s looking like a great day ahead as promised by XCWeather – Forecast for IV40 8PF so we might just get out in the Searider at last.


Pretty much calm right now with just light northerlies forecast and no rain, woohoo Smile

On her way

Perfect weather for Hallaig to go round the Mull too,

Image may contain: ocean, sky, outdoor and water

not like yesterday when Ali posted this picture on Facecloth north of Arran.

Hallaig in the Toon

She’ll be in ‘The Toon’ (the blue dot) right now preparing to sail and my guess is that Peter Mackinnon has already got the smell of bacon wafting out the galley. In fact knowing my ‘back to back’ he’s probably got a chicken in the oven too for lunch Smile

This leads me to think that Hallaig will be back in service on Tuesday ready for crew change on Wednesday.

Deer fencing (again)

It was another cracking day ashore yesterday, pretty fresh but dry.

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First job being to finish off and compact the ‘sub base’ for my concreting, a task made sooo much easier with Calum the Kubota. My only physical input being to place by hand a few rocks in the corners where the bucket was too big to get in. These rocks I got from over the deer fence and even that task was made simple with the digger, no need to barrow them round by hand, just swung the bucket over the fence and filled it. That’s just over a year now that I’ve had him and it’s no coincidence that my back is much, much better and my Tramadol consumption negligible.

It was quite a busy day yesterday here at the ‘North End’ and with being ‘storm bound’ with the 5.4m Searider

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with all mod cons and safety equipment, I was surprised to see a group of kayakers appear at the old fish farm slip.

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I dunno where they came from but they must have been very hardy or is it foolhardy Smile cos it’s been pretty fresh all week!!


The rest of the afternoon was spent bashing on with ‘deer proofing’ and creosoting, downwind Smile which effectively meant I could only do the outside of the fence and then only until around 17:00 when the rain started to accompany the wind.

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which had steadily increased all day.

Consequently the 1500lt thermal store was at a uniform 80 degrees, the immersion thermostats had opened and the air dumps had taken over.

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Well, at least two of them had, there was still another 5kW in reserve.

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There are four banks of these resistors totalling 10.8kW controlled by 4 Tri Star PWM controllers in ‘diversion mode’.

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Initially they are used to ‘drive’ two sets of SSR’s to heat the thermal store via 2 x 3kW AC immersions but once the store is up to temp the DC air heaters take over. It’s a circuit designed by Hugh Piggott Hugh calls it a ‘Tri Star Follower’ and it works really well.

Dry suit repairs

I took advantage of the rain by moving into the shed to fit new wrist and a neck seal to the wife’s dry suit. I say the wife’s but in reality it’s one given me by Northern Diver almost 20 years ago as part of a promotion. Tis a long story but I got two suits off them when I appeared on some program called ‘Savage Seas’ when I was clam diving for a living. So, despite the suit never actually having been used the seals are rotten. Anyway darling wife tried it on the other day and it fits so new seals and Bostik 2402 was ordered and it arrived yesterday.

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Step 1 is to cut off the old seals then find something to shove down the sleeve that’s a good fit. I used a couple of lengths of 90mm MDPE pipe cos it’s what I had but I think a Coke bottle is about the right size too. A wine bottle is too small but if you drink half of it it puts a whole new perspective on the job, specially if you have not had a glass for two weeks Smile I don’t make a habit of this, I just came across this half bottle that was destined to ‘go off’ so ‘rescued it’ Smile The pipe/bottle needs to stick out around 25mm then tape the sleeve of the suit to hold it firm.

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Then try the seal for size and tape that onto the pipe, then fold it back to the tape, rough with sandpaper, apply the glue, wait until tacky (10 mins) and firmly roll out all the air.

The neck seal is a little trickier due to the shape but a salad bowl, football or in my case a Polyform buoy did the trick.

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So, that’s about it really, with the combination of red wine and fumes from the glue I was as ‘high as a kite’ so went in the house to talk rubbish to the wife Smile

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