Life at the end of the road

September 2, 2020

An abortive fishing trip :-)

Filed under: daily doings, How I, life off grid, listers — Tags: , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:46 pm

So much for staying in bed and taking it easy, 8:00am and already I’ve pulled a tourist out of a boodly ditch. Still, I did manage to do it without bending down or straining in anyway, though I was greatly pi553d off. Having got the ‘knock on the door’ at 21:00 last night when I was in bed engrossed in the sinking of U-550 off the east coast of America. Then followed a poor night’s sleep worrying about said tourist but it all worked out just fine in the end. COVID making this exceptionally late in the year for notching up the first ‘halfwit in a ditch’ of the year. Actually, now I come to think of it, it’s not the first, that prize goes to a painter and decorator in a Peugeot van but I don’t hold him in the ‘halfwit’ category, at least not in his driving Smile

There then followed a period of just pottering about and seeing how my replacement batteries were doing. My Mate having kindly done the lifting for me yesterday whilst I supervised.

P1170700 P1170701 P1170704

Once he’d dropped the 3 x 53kg 6V batteries into place I carefully reconnected them. It’s not a ‘two minute job’ by any means, the entire house and system needs shutdown, all the sensors and cables for the charge controllers and DC cabling for hydro and solar inputs. Once that was all back in place I set the four controllers to ‘Equalize’ which basically overcharges the batteries to ‘balance them’. You can see ‘controller 1 at 60.3V


and the replacement now at a respectable 7.1V. By the time I got too them this morning they were back down to a little less than the other 13 batteries but I guess that’s to be expected. I’m sure it’ll take a few days to properly equalize and I can tell from my meter in the kitchen that the whole bank is now much healthier than it was.

BIG DC isolators

Yesterday whilst awaiting the arrival of my ‘muscle’ sorry Mate I made up some 400A DC switches to isolate my battery banks. These are something that pure expense has stopped me from fitting to any battery bank I’ve ever installed, relying instead on a simple large fuse with knurled nuts. Reliable DC Isolators of this kinda size are rare as rocking horse pooh and about as expensive as gold! Sure you can get so called ‘marine’ ones for less than £15 but in my experience these things are seldom up to the continuous high currents found in ‘off grid systems. Anyway the hybrid ferries use gigantic motorised ones rated at 400A and these need replacing just about on an annual basis because the motorised gearbox fails.

P1170624 P1170625

ABB will not supply the parts needed to repair them so we change them out at around £900 each when they break (there are four!!!!). Me, I keep the old ones, pull them apart, bin the motor and gearbox, remove one of the three poles, fit a handle and use them as fantastic isolators for the largest of battery banks Smile Two of the broken three pole switches making three excellent neat DC ones with lovely big tinned copper contacts Smile

P1170686 P1170705P1170687

After all, if they can safely disconnect this bank, they can do mine at home hey Smile


As well as pottering about in the shed I also did some fruitless mushroom hunting, the planned risotto getting demoted to a chicken curry, you gotta have shrooms in a risotto hey Smile Still ‘wee dug’ and I did have a lovely stroll through the Arnish birch wood soaking up the summer smells and finding long forgotten ruins.

P1170662 P1170688

It’s a truly magical place down there and one of the best and most private of place for wild swimming,

P1170690 P1170691

which I really must get back into once this rib repairs Smile

Back to today

My ‘muscle’ turned up again this morning and we both took the Mule over to Brochel, ostensibly to do some fishing down a chimney (all will become clear in a later episode Smile ) but it was too windy so we went for a stroll to the Brochel Loch instead, after first leaving our ladder and fishing rod by the house Smile

P1170711 P1170710 P1170708

Abandoning the Mule at the start of ‘Calum’s Road’ we strolled west towards  the waterside. The heady scent of heather and bog myrtle infusing ‘heavens breath’  . Yup, despite the near gale force southerly wind the autumnal scent of heather and crushed myrtle was unmistakable on the nose Smile


There was more, I started cleaning out the inside of the ‘Old Girl’ as a precursor to doing some wiring to make an attempt at starting the 200TDI. I also set about slightly repositioning a fuel filter on my Lister HR2 generator and replacing a crushed diesel pipe.

March 2, 2019

Spring hey :-)

Can’t say as it feels much like spring today right enough but yesterday, the first day of it, was a cracker despite the forecast. XC said it was gonna be OK in the morning but gradually deteriorating in the afternoon with rain arriving and staying by 20:00. As it turned out, it was a great day and the rain arrived at 19:50 Smile Not only was it a good day but it was manic even by the yardstick of when I was in my thirties and not sixties. By my standards of the last ten years it was probably record breaking Smile 


First off I managed to finish the gable end of ‘Callum’s shed’ and get the flashing on the roof. Then I wasted the best part of half an hour trying to get the Subaru onto the vehicle lift. I was pretty sure it wouldn’t cos me workshop was full of quads, a lighting tower and of course the Range Rover. However, having purchased a 2T single post vehicle lift last year for the sole purpose of stopping me crawling under jacked up cars I was gonna have a darn good try.


I even went as far as jacking up the Subaru to try and move it onto the lift before giving up. I could have done it right enough by moving the lift sideways with tyre levers or something but ‘time was marching on’, it was 10:00am and I had to be down at the ferry terminal for around 11:00. Common sense got the better of me and I did what I should have done in the first place and just jacked her up at the front and placed axle stands under her. All I wanted to do was look at the CV joint and possibly order one up before the weekend.

DSCN2365 DSCN2366 DSCN2367

The CV joint boot had come off so I planned to clean it up, repack the joint with graphite grease and replace it with a new clip. However, as I rotated the wheel on ‘full lock’ so as to clean the joint I saw the ball cage was broken Sad smile Ah well ‘that’ll be that then’ and straight on the phone to buy another. Just as well really cos I had to get me finger out, gather me diving gear and go ‘see a man about a dog’ Smile


OK, go and look for some lost moorings and check one for a Mate. Not that I’d been asked to do either of these tasks, just that I offered the next time I was in the area looking for dinner Smile Said lost mooring were close by where the MV Speedwell’s mooring was so we tied up to that and I went ‘a hunting’


and landed right on top of a good sized scallop. It’s not until I see this picture that I realize how hard they are to spot to the ‘untrained eye’. It’s no wonder that when I do dive with other people that don’t fish scallops for a living, they swim over loads and miss them.

DSCN2370 DSCN2371 DSCN2372

Whilst I was using the mooring as a reference spot I did the decent thing and checked it, all the anchors were ‘dug in’ and shackles well wired so Speedwell would be quite safe.

DSCN2373 DSCN2374

After a short swim I found the two missing risers, both of which had come undone at the surface, with one of them still having the pin in it!


Then it was back to the surface a full 4m above me to collect two marker buoys to attach to the riser chains, that could be done by my companion in the RIB at his leisure on the surface. Me, I had a shed and car to fix Smile

 DSCN2377 DSCN2378

The MV Loch Bhrusda arrived on Thursday afternoon and had picked up the service from Hallaig on Friday morning. Hallaig having departed for Lochaline at first light or there about.

DSCN2379 DSCN2380

Speedwell finally fishing and loaded with crab gear.

Feeling pretty chuffed with the morning’s effort I headed home for a rather unusual lunch. ‘The’ scallop fried with bacon, harissa and kidney beans, awesome, I kid you not Smile


Not ‘in the plan’ Smile

After lunch it was back to the shed and the guttering,


using my diving reel as a marker for the gutter brackets which need mounted with a slight fall in them so the water does not collect. Once I’d got the line really taught between two screws, (one at each end) I put in screws at each spot I’d be fitting a bracket.

Just as I was getting nicely ‘stuck in’ to this job my neighbour turned up with a wind turbine problem Sad smile Their Proven 2.5kW turbine had broken a spring!!! She was just after advice how to brake it but I reckoned we needed to sort it ASAP. The weather was going to break that night and the dry spell would come to a spectacular end. Better to get it lowered and fixed right away and back up in the air working during the gales rather than lying on the ground and using the Lister generator.

Proven/Kingspan spring repair


I installed this WT2500 Proven in 2005 so it’s done 14 years service with just routine maintenance and a few springs, luckily I have plenty of spares Smile After taking the Tirfor and tools up there on the quad

DSCN2384 DSCN2387

we set up the ‘gin pole’ and lowered to a working height using an oil drum and wooden block as a support.

DSCN2385 DSCN2386

I then replaced the broken spring with one from my ‘stock’ using an old bolt to slide through the many bushes and washers as I drew the retaining bolt out. This greatly speeds up the task and ensures you do not loose anything. To be honest I should have removed all three spring sets, inspected all the bushes and washers and replaced as required but it was early evening and the weather was set to get wet and windy. I figured the sane thing to do was to get it back together and back up ASAP.

Sure enough, by 18:30 she was back up and generating, I called it a day, had a good hot shower and ‘binge watched’ three hours of Shetland . I love the islands having spent time diving there in the eighties and wifey went to the same school as Douglas Henshall Smile Not that those are particularly good reasons to watch anything but I enjoy it anyway Smile


I gotta say I was severely surprised when I let the dugs out this morning and it was dry outside!!! sure it was windy but at least I could get on with the guttering on ‘Callum’s shed’, which is exactly what I did.

DSCN2389 DSCN2390

I got all my ‘stand offs’ on, nicely lined up and screwed in just before the rain started, getting only slightly wet as I fitted the drain pipe. And that was despite a visit by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, whom I invited in for tea on the condition they didn’t try and convert me Smile Seriously, Arnish would not be the same without the occasional Watchtower through the letterbox Smile I don’t have much time for the Abrahamic religions who basically all think that their way of worshipping the same God is the right one and to Hell with everyone else. However I do admire these folk, who ‘come rain or shine’ visit this bastion of Presbyterianism with a smile on their face and not the slightest hint of ‘fire and brimstone’ knowing full well they’ll have little or no sympathy Smile As my own ‘Prophet’ of choice, Khalil Gibran said “Faith is an oasis in the heart which will never be reached by the caravan of thinking” Smile


Before long it was pure pishing down with a howling gale as accompaniment, perfect weather for testing out the shed and I was well impressed. The gaps in the boards break up the wind but allow it to pass through keeping the shed well aired but not too draughty even in the gale. It is perfectly dry apart from the floor but even that could be sorted if I wanted as the slab is on a slope. So, if I did something at the eastern end like a gutter at the base of the boards or a ridge in the floor to shed the water to the edge, then I could keep the floor dry. To be  honest though I don’t see this as a problem, it’s prime function is to keep the Searider in and hang diving gear and washing to dry. Such was the rain that the frogspawn I’d spotted yesterday,


had been washed 25m from behind the barn to under the large wind turbine.

Even in the ‘teeth of a gale’ with all the rain it was still possible to get the neighbours tank half in and crawl underneath to work on the transmission brake and anti-roll bar.

 DSCN2393 DSCN2398

Older Posts »

Create a free website or blog at