Life at the end of the road

July 6, 2018

On the move :-)

Apologies in advance for any errors in grammar or  spelling cos I’m ‘on the move’ being chauffeured to ‘snecky (Inverness) for an eye appointment. So between the bumps in the road an me cloudy left eye this may go a little pear shaped.

I did set myself the goal of actually posting something yesterday but the day ended up being much longer than expected and it was a case of in, shower, bed Smile 

The plan for the day was to service my old wind turbine next door for the neighbours in me old house. It’s been on the ‘to do’ list since May but I just keep getting distracted, nothing fresh there then. The Proven/Kingspan and now SD Energy   turbine has been working away for some 13 years now with little more than routine maintenance. Sure it’s broken a few springs and worn out a couple of sets of yaw rollers but I’ve always managed to scrounge, repair or botch it without actually spending a great deal of money on it.

From a recent email :- SD Green Energy of Tokyo, Japan are pleased to announce the acquisition of the wind turbine product range from Kingspan. SD Green Energy have established a new division called SD Wind Energy Ltd and will expand its team immediately with the addition of the staff and manufacturing capabilities of the site in Stewarton, Scotland.  This will also be supported by an existing international sales team based in Asia.


With all this dry weather I’d have been stupid to put it off any longer for the access to it is now good and hard. Normally it’s bit boggy which means I have to use the quad and a dubious anchor point for lowering it. When conditions are ideal like this then I can use the Land Rover and winch or Calum the digger. As the ‘Old Girl’ is still away having a new galvanized chassis, bulkhead and B posts it was down to Calum the Kubota.

Servicing a Proven wind turbine

First task was to fuel up, grease up, load up then track up to the site.

 DSCN0168 DSCN0169 DSCN0170

After carefully positioning the digger in line with the axis of the turbine I fitted the ‘gin pole’ to the mast in preparation for lowering.

DSCN0172 DSCN0173

The Tirfor winch was then attached to the digger and the wire slack just taken up prior to removing the base bolts, one of which had snapped!!! That must have been a helluva wind to snap an M20 high tensile bolt!

DSCN0174 DSCN0175

Once the base bolts are removed on a 2.5/3.2kW Proven on 6m mast it’s possible to just tip it a few degrees manually before lowering with the Tirfor. On larger versions you need to jack them up a few inches with a hydraulic jack first. Normally you would do this with the brake on but replacing the brake rope was one of the jobs that needed doing. This was in part one of the reasons for it taking me so long to getting around to doing the job, it needed a very calm day.

 DSCN0176 DSCN0177

The mast is lowered onto a rest, an oil drum in this case but care is needed to ensure it doesn’t slide on the tapered mast. I usually put a tyre or some soft wood between them and just keep the winch wire fairly tight. A proper steel trestle like I use for my own would be far safer but it’s not very portable Sad smile


The ‘wee dug’ supervised as I removed the springs Smile


It’s the furling springs and their mounting hardware that generally require the most attention on these normally very durable turbines. Over the years these have undergone many modifications and improvements. Initially only two springs were fitted, then three, then the mounting yolks were changed from pressed steel tp cast steel and the mounting bolts upgraded from M8 to M10.

DSCN0186 DSCN0187 DSCN0188

Whilst very simple in principle there are actually a lot of components so it’s important to take note of where they go. This is a version with the pressed steel yolks and at this age I’d be tempted just to upgrade to a complete new spring set with the later yolks and bigger bolts. However, for now I just overhauled it as I had a few spare yolks.

DSCN0193 DSCN0194 DSCN0190

Check for wear in the bolts, washers and bushes, new nylon washers can be got from RS online or eBay from memory the washers are 1” x 1/2” x 1/82 or 25mm x 13mm x 3mm but do check, I’m driving past Cluanie Dam now with no Internet Sad smile  More info here The bolts are M10 x 110 and the bushes are made from 12mm air line with a 1mm wall thickness which can be had off eBay or any commercial vehicle factors (it’s the same as lorry air brake pipe and you just cut it with a Stanley knife.

DSCN0195 DSCN0196

It was a great opportunity to try out the impact wrench that the new smiley postie delivered.


That ‘little job’ took me all afternoon, more because I kept getting distracted than anything else, and with wifey working a late shift at the Raasay Distillery I was glad of my son making dinner.

DSCN0197 P1130896

Welsh Rarebit pork chop I was most impressed Smile Even had a fine view out of the window as the cruise ship MV Prinsendam glided by

After dinner I went round to the turbine and did an hours work replacing the springs, greasing the bearings and inspecting the slip rings.

DSCN0198 DSCN0201 DSCN0202

Needing some 7.5mm x 370mm tie wraps and some silicone sealer I left the turbine head itself and went to remove the broken bolt from the base.


The M20 x 60 bolt came out quite easily really, just drilled a 4mm hole through it and used an ‘Eaziout’.

These hardened steel bits are excellent at removing broken studs, they are kinda like a left hand threaded tapered tap. You drill a hole in the middle of the broken stud/bolt then insert the tool screwing it anticlockwise, as the tool bites it extracts the broken stud. However much care is needed when using them cos if they break they’re virtually impossible to drill out Sad smile A couple of things to watch, do not use one that is too big or it will expand the stud making it more difficult to remove. Do not use one too small or you may break it and these are no use for removing bolts that have snapped due to being seized insitu. Chances are if the stud was so tight that it sheared the head off a bolt, then it WILL break your Eaziout.

130 years ago

Came across this on Facecloth yesterday.


It’s a picture taken up at Arnish in 1885 by an unknown photographer so well out of copyright but copies can be had from Raasay Heritage trust .

DSCN0165 DSCN0166 DSCN0167

So, here it is today, can’t get the exact spot due to the trees,


Looking at the same spot from up on the hill.


January 14, 2015

Very wintery

Filed under: daily doings, shed/house — Tags: — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 2:09 pm

Way too long a day for posting last night so I’ll make an effort during my lunch break here on the good ship Hallaig. A pot of soup bubbling away on the stove and me sitting down in the quiet warmth and luxury of the mess room. Tuesday was an early start at ‘past the end of the road’ and for the first time since arriving at Torran Schoolhouse I couldn’t here wind, rain or both on the bedroom window. You’re talking of needing a good hour to get to the ferry from Torran really, sure you could probably do it in half that but you never know what’s in store.

130115 002

Snow for instance, if it’s lying at sea level in Loch Arnish you can bet it’s a foot deep at Glam! Then there are the fallen trees, cows on the road and punctures, all of which have happened more than once on the journey from north to south.

Monday it was the snow that impeded progress and even the Land Rover slid into the verge of the unploughed or gritted road to Arnish. We did make it to the ferry on time though and my son ended his two day unscheduled leave from school and headed for his physics prelim.


130115 005

Me, I set off for the mainland and my parents house  where I was surprised to see a blaze of gorse at Dornie, sure you get a few out at this time of year. Indeed for much of the winter they are a most welcome splash of colour on the sombre hill, but this was a true riot of yellow. OK, I know it looks a bit drab but it was a pretty carpy day with frequent showers of the ‘white stuff’.

130115 008

I arrived just in time to meet my father and one of the excellent carers that looks after him for the day at Dornie. I dunno what it’s like in the toon but the Alzheimer’s and Dementia sufferers in Skye and Lochalsh get well looked after. I know my dear mum would really struggle without them.

 130115 009

Definitely the right vehicle for the job, wifey phoned me to tell me Phoebe had slid into the verge at the same place as the ‘Old Girl’. However she’d failed to make it up the hill at Brochel so wifey turned her around and headed back home, even then she had to leave her at Tarbert and walk over a mile to Torran. Me I phoned up the Highland Council and complained nicely, It’s quite simple really, if the road is not gritted and ploughed we can’t get to work. If I don’t get to work the ferry doesn’t run and today Raasay has no mail because my wife could not get to work!

 130115 010 130115 012

Anyway, after chopping a few logs, taking the dog for a walk and changing the water filter  headed back to Sconser for the 15:00 sailing to Raasay and two weeks work.

Once the ferry was tied up for the night I headed home down a freshly ploughed and gritted road and was pleased to find Phoebe parked in her usual spot ‘at the end of the road’. The lights were also still blazing and the new house when I went up to collect the quad.

130115 013

Despite being well after 20:00, Lachie and Donald were still hard at it putting up the framing for the interior partitioning.

130115 014  130115 016 130115 017

130115 015130115 018

After that I turned my attention to the power supply for ‘number 3’ and was pleased to see that the Proven 2.5kW wind turbine was belting out its full rated output and more.

130115 020

I saw it pass 50 amps several times whilst I was in the shed checking on the batteries and inverter. This must be due to the new springs I fitted after the last storm a month ago exactly. I guess at nine years old they were getting a little weak and I’d never noticed the performance gradually decrease, I’ve never seen it over 40 amps for quite a while.

By the time I finally reached The Old Schoolhouse it was heading for 21:00 and I was knackered. Still after a good sleep I arose the wrong side of 6:00am and headed for work, finding the snow plough heading for Arnish as I went south.


140115 001

The day was not always like this!! Smile

Older Posts »

Create a free website or blog at