Life at the end of the road

October 22, 2020


Filed under: animals, daily doings, life off grid — Tags: , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:17 am

Golly gosh, I wasn’t expecting that, just back in after a wander outside to the ‘bunker’ for my camera. After wrapping up and donning suitable footwear I stepped outdoors in to the gloom and it was dry underfoot!!!! Well, that came as a bit of a surprise I can tell you as it’s been pretty boodly wet of late. Both my hydro turbines more than compensating for the lack of sunshine and wind. Not that there was any lack of wind yesterday, a steady north easterly having finally arrived after a day or so of threatening. Whilst it has been pretty windless for days, a steady swell has been building up out at sea, a sure sign of a cold northerly airstream heading this way.


This picture of a calm Loch Arnish, autumnal Aird Torran, heaving Grian a Sgeir and fuzzy Brothers point was taken three days ago and shows the swell building around the shallows of the ‘sunny skerry’ Grian a Sgeir, which on Monday was anything but. Building ever since the weekend it was pretty white and fluffy around any shoreline facing north by yesterday.

New Batteries

With the weather so miserable yesterday I donned my one piece ‘Andy Pandy’ waterproofs to start preparing myself for replacing my battery bank.


Topping up the 24 cells with deionized water before abandoning the task in favour of something less taxing. I’m really not looking forward to this job Sad smile Quite apart from the physical side of it (each bank weighs in at over a ton) there are a multitude of electrical connections to make and reconfigure. Not to mention the hazards associated with acid and short circuits. My mate will be arriving today and I thought he could help, not that I’ve actually told him yet Smile Anyway, leaving that and still ‘suited up’ I headed over to Torran to remove a faulty inverter.

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The Voltacon, Conversol 1500W inverter charger I’d fitted back in March was faulty and had been from the start. The normally reliable and excellent value for money inverter had never been able to recognize and thus accept the incoming AC from the generator. As the property is ‘off grid’ and would be fully occupied for the summer I’d spoken to the supplier and said that I’d not be returning it until the generator was needed to charge the batteries. As I had fitted some 2kW of solar panels to the property this was more than enough to see the house fully powered until at least the equinox.


Whilst the loch and it’s shoreline was pretty settled here at the north side, it was a different story at my end. Here is looking towards where I keep and launch my boat.

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And this will be an even ‘fluffier’ Grian a Sgeir and gloomier Brothers Point.

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Speaking of the ‘Sunny Skerry’ here is a sea eagle ‘eagle with the sunlit eye’ Iolaire sùil na grian’ soaring outside my back door yesterday much better pictures there Smile

Of course no day would be complete without a visit to ‘the lumb’, which I did and after a few more fruitless attempts told myself, ‘It’s time to call it a day’ Sad smile

Heading back home I settled myself in the nice warm ‘bunker’ and started to fit the ‘changeover’ switch to allow me to seamlessly change from one power source to another so as not to interrupt the electricity supply to the house. Sure it’s no ‘big deal’ being without power for an hour or two but the longest power cut I’ve had in thirty years is about 10 minutes and nowadays nothing works without electricity, not even the gas cooker Sad smile

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Fitting a ‘changeover’ switch between my SMA SI 6kW inverter and the Outback GVFX 3048 3kW system has been on my ‘to do’ list for years so working in the cosy ‘bunker’ seemed like a good option in the pishing rain Smile

June 16, 2013

A day early

Filed under: Croft house for sale, daily doings, harbour, life off grid — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:13 pm

I know that it’s not ‘Fathers day’ until tomorrow but my pop has dementia so a day here or there doesn’t make a great deal of difference so I figured we’d go and visit him today. Two reasons really, firstly we could spend longer with him and secondly the forecast was better for Sunday. Not only that but I can now look forward to my son spoiling me tomorrow, aye that’ll be right Smile  So, after a very early rise and an hour or two plonking away on here we headed for the ferry minus the ‘wee dug’. Not that the ‘wee dug’ wanted to stay at home but she’s a friggin nightmare in the car and we couldn’t be bothered with her incessant whining. For reasons unclear she’s fine with me in the Land Rover  Well the day turned out first class in the end with the predicted showers amounting to no more than a few dots on the windscreen, probably just enough to ruin a coat of paint Sad smile

So much for that then

It’ll be Fathers day now, yours truly ‘fell asleep at the wheel’ last night so to speak and turned in before managing to write any more rubbish. Anyway, back to my fathers day at the Kintail Lodge Hotel yesterday.



Well, it was obviously good enough for Brad Smile


and Lucy Smile Seriously though the food was fabulous with steak pie, haddock, scampi for the family and for me a fish pie for me. After that was all washed down and my parents delivered safely back home we headed for Sconser and the 16:15 ferry.


This wee fish farm craft called the Stolt Madadh was swinging at her mooring in Loch Sligachan and I’m a little puzzled as to the purpose of that huge stainless steel exhaust up forward ?


Sat ready and awaiting fitment to the pier were these fenders from China!!!! Me thinks that a more local solution would have been more appropriate, surely it can’t be that difficult to knock something up out of plant tyres, chain and RSJ’s nearer to home?? Makes more sense than the council recycling all the bean tins to China to come back here as the steel for the Forth Road bridge. The world has gone mad !!!!


Anyway, after the lunchtime feast a light snack of homemade bread with highly illegal homemade salami and a glass of wine from Italy seemed appropriate. In fact, it’s 21:30 now and I think I’ll just have another couple of slices of that fine mouldy offering that just six months ago was running about the hill here. The next six months being spent hanging in my mates shed Smile

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Feeling refreshed by the salami and red wine from Puglia I decided to go out for a wander with the boy. It was that time of Saturday night that’s infested with all that pish that makes my skin crawl, BGT, Strictly whatever or The Voice, Simon Cowell, Brucie and Tom, I can’t stand any of them, and fortunately neither can the Dude. He’d gone outside to get away from some moron on the box so I left the laptop behind, we grabbed a firearm each and went wandering the hill.

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Twenty four years I’ve lived here yet still I find things that I’ve never seen before, this being an old tiny enclosure, probably used to separate lambs in years gone by.


It’s well after 22:30 by this time and probably dark in London,


as my son said, that tree could be in Africa, why would anyone choose to live in London Smile



You certainly couldn’t do this at 8:00am in Piccadilly Smile for that was my first job today after a leisurely ‘lie in’ on Fathers day proper.

Fitting solar panel mounts

The second job was to fit the battens to the roof for the new solar panels,


this I did, after much measuring, re measuring and measuring again. I used 125mm decking screws through the wooden rails with a corrugated iron screw washer underneath. In all honesty the washer was probably a little OTT as the wood would have sealed nicely on the roof anyway, but I had them, so used them.


That was the first two up before breakfast


and that really is two eggs Smile


True grit

With the home grown sausages and eggs demolished we all set off for Grian a Sgeir (the sunny reef) west of Fladda. The hens were needing grit and this place has the finest on Raasay, well at high tide it does, there’s another spot near the harbour but that’s only accessible at low springs.



A fantastic little group of rocks, reefs and a tiny island it’s the home to geese, gulls, terns, oystercatchers, shags and seals.


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It was also where lambs would be put ashore to graze for the latter weeks prior to going away.



We however were there for the fine shell and coral sand that is an essential part of the hens diet.


There’s also some pretty amazing lichens, mosses and plants there




and someone, in days gone by has taken the time to pile up some stones Smile



We were probably only there for half an hour before carrying our bags and buckets to a suitable spot for loading onto the boat but it was long enough as there was much to do at home.


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So after taking our 150kg of ‘grit’ home and finishing my roof mounts I bashed on with preparing for work Sad smile Clearing all my tools away, getting another coat of paint on part of the roof, putting Lachie’s ladders back up to the new house site and packing my bag. I also took advantage of the ups and downs of the battery voltage to check the LED lights on my Morningstar controller.


Though, as my system is 48v the values are thus,

Red = 0 – 48v

Yellow and red = 48 – 50.6

Yellow = 50.6 – 52

Green and yellow = 52 – 52.6

Green = 52.6 to PWM, which I have set at 59.2v

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Pretty boring I know but as wifey went through here washing and drying cycles I kept an eye on the voltages and LED lights, sad I know but they functioned perfectly compared to the voltmeter readings, though the voltage never got up to ‘diversion mode’ at 59.2. That will have to wait until either a gale of wind or t he fitting of the solar panels.


Here’s another way of expressing the light values, as SOC or state of charge.

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