Life at the end of the road

January 31, 2017

The ‘Des res’ for wiglets :-)

This ‘ole for the new wind turbine is really getting me perplexed, methinks I need to reduce its size to around 8 cubic meters so as I can get the batching truck safely up to the ‘end of the road’. Sorry, I’ll rephrase that, I need to make the ‘ole smaller so someone else can safely bring their truck up the road. We’ve had a fair old selection of trucks up here and even two articulated lorries but Eyre Plant’s Scania ‘batcher’ will have the heaviest load per axle I’m sure.

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And that’s not including the snow plough, Calor gas tanker, cattle float and septic tanker Smile  Just wish I could convince Certas Energy to deliver oil here Smile I bet Calum would be dead chuffed at the amount of tonnage that’s been up his road.

A new home for the girls

Anyways, having got the old oil tank into a suitable position in amongst the trees we set about reassembling it, beefing it up and making a new roof.

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It’s a cracking spot up there sheltered by the trees on three sides, facing the sun but with a small bank in front to give the door some degree of protection. Basically it’s an old 1200lt oil tank split down the middle and widened by 24”. It’s plenty big enough for a couple of full grown sows and we even had Bramble farrow in there once. Mind you, that wasn’t intentional and I wouldn’t recommend it.

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However it’ll be perfect for these two darlings, who, true to form came to check it out. Pigs are really intelligent and curious creatures and if you’re working in the same place long enough they’ll always come and check out what your doing. Probably looking for food or a wee belly scratch if the truth be known, well there was none of the former but they both got a good scratch and the keeled over like they do Smile 

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Rainbow and Proven wind turbine on 11m mast


More mixing

That was the weekend out of the way so on Monday morning I headed off early to the Sconser quarry for more 20mm concrete mix.

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A Macleod’s lovely old Daf was on the weighbridge and LAS Plant of Inverness were delivering a cheery picker to the distillery.

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It was a perfect day and I managed to get the 9:25 back to Raasay

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and was mixing by 10:25. I just can’t believe how easy it is doing this. I have mixed tons and tons of concrete over the years and have always been pure wrecked afterwards. Normally you are lifting from a pile of sand, aggregate  and cement. Having the aggregate pre mixed at waist height with the mixer at the same level turns backbreaking work into gentle exercise.  Even after taking a lunch break I’d mixed over tons in less than two hours without breaking a sweat.

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The hardest job being moving my mates pallet around the edge of the ‘ole Smile

That done it was time to put Robin to work again,

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but not before I’d fitted a tool box to the front rack. This ten year old rack doesn’t look like it’s ever carried anything! I kid you not, there’s not a mark on the paint work, consequently I wrapped pipe insulation around it before fastening it on with ‘tie wraps’. I cannot believe I just did that Sad smile

Then, with my nice shiny tool box full of wire cutters, crow bar, hammer and cordless drill we went to collect a hen house from next door.

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Hens like to ‘snuggle up’ for warmth and our current hen house is rather large for the five hens in it so we decided to retrieve one of the old ones. These houses have been designed and built by ‘Donald the Hen’ of Struan on Skye and are perfect for around a dozen hens. We’ll be getting eight more off him shortly so this will be nice and cosy for them. It will also keep them separate from the current ones for a while to prevent bullying.

Back to the quarry

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This time it was Fraser’s Eyre Plant Scania on the weigh bridge.


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Another couple of tons goes into the trailer and home for 17:15 Smile

That was it really, well apart from this

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the stills uncovered Smile


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This is all I’ve seen of them lately, so was good to see them ‘in the flesh’ so to speak.

August 31, 2016

Preparing for the porkers :-)

Filed under: daily doings, stonework — Tags: , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:54 pm

Well, it’s been more like April than August the last few days with even the midge conspicuous by it’s absence, a good hash of south wind keeping those wee monsters at bay.  Having said that it’s been warm, sunny in between the showers and all in all a cracking end to the summer, at least that’s how it felt here. I guess if I’d been caught out in some of the heavier ones I would feel quite so chipper Smile

You get a good enough warning here at Sonas if you’re about to get ‘dumped on’ with the wind in this quarter. The Storr disappears about ten minutes before the carp arrives here, sometimes it never reaches North Raasay but the clue is when you look over towards Portree. Darkness in that direction means only five minutes to get under cover.

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So, yesterday, when the weather was good, I was wandering the hills with ‘wee dug’ as part of my new chilled regime, and when it was pish I was servicing the Yamaha.

Yamaha YFM 350 service

My mates trusty 350 Yamaha had stopped charging the battery and most of the ignition controlled circuits only worked when the engine was running. This suggested a simple fuse or broken wire and true to form it meant removing all the cowlings to find the problem.

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It turned out to be a broken earth wire under the fuel tank on the left hand side but I didn’t find that until I’d removed and refitted every connection on the quad and replaced a couple of bulbs.

With the quad in this state of undress it seemed logical to give it a good service whilst I was at it. This machine is truly incredible, in 12 years it has shifted literally tons and tons of materiel both for me and and my mate. This it has done in all weathers without ever complaining and rarely has it missed a beat. Sure it’s had a couple of batteries, several sets of tyres, disc pads and one or two spark plugs. The track rod ends have failed a couple of times and the steering column bushes wear out very quickly but I don’t recall it ever failing to start.

So, I gave everything a good greasing, removed the rear brake cable to the handle bars to free that off and changed the engine oil. I removed the worn out top steering column bushes and trimmed them down on my belt sander.

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This is hardly an ‘approved repair’ but it does take  the play out for a while and beats the carp out of spending over £25 on two new bits of plastic.

More road works

The last day of August wasn’t very inspiring to begin with so I spent a few hours avoiding doing my VAT return before going over to Tarbert on the rejuvenated Yamaha.


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Having just ordered 4 weaners for collection in September it was time to get their home ready. The old sheep fank at Tarbert being a perfect place to start them off. We used this last year, firstly by fitting a gate then locking them in for a few weeks. There’s plenty of room, shelter, a burn through the middle and a shed to store feed. Once they’ve gotten used to it as home we opened the gate and let them out to ‘free range’. This seemed to work well and discourages them from hanging around the house about half a mile away.

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The stone work here is in many different styles indicating years of use by varied folk of different skill, all of them far better than I. After a couple of hours I had the drains cleared, the bracken cut and fresh bedding in the converted oil tank that will be the piggies home.

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The pathway down to the fank was none existent but last year my son and I cut one into the hill. It worked so well that this year I took the bold step of starting widening it to fit a quad.


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This will hopefully make carrying feed down there much easier as I’m not getting any younger Smile


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I was at this for most of the afternoon, stopping only to speak to some of the many walkers, cyclists and drivers busy travelling along ‘Calum’s Road’. Needless to say I am now pretty ‘tired and shagged out after a long squawk’.

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