Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Welcome to our new blog!

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Welcome to our new blog!

Photo 01 - Mike returns a cracker!

Welcome to our new look blog where we will continue to post all that occurs within our sphere of operation in the Cappercleuch and wider areas. The header photo was taken by club treasurer John Wright a few years ago and is a chilly look across the loch towards Rodono House. For a trial period we are restricting comments the idea being that the blog will not tie me down as much as before as it can be very time consuming and in the case of some anonymous commenters writing in with their nonsense extremely trying! For those with an irrepressible urge to air their views you can e mail me and I will do my best to reply to your mails. You will also have noticed many of the archives are missing, these will all be added back in the course of time, adding them one at a time is most time consuming and laborious work! We hope you like the new look blog and hopefully stay with us on our journey as we make the social history of the club.

Annual wild Trout competition.

Just a reminder that our wild Trout competition takes place next Sunday the 28th on St Mary’s loch. Entrants should meet at the Glen Cafe at 09.30hrs where a bacon/sausage roll and coffee will get the day off to a great start. We are making powered boats available for any anglers wishing to fish the far bank, please let us know at the cafe gathering if you would like to avail yourself of this service. There is still time to enter so if you think you can get the better of our Trout come along and see if you can, it’s a great day out to boot! And don't forget the first prize is an autumn days Salmon fishing on Tweed. The second prize is a selection of loch Trout flys and the third prize is a bottle of your favourite spirits from the Tibbie Shiels Inn where our weigh in will take place.

A couple of our members pitted their skills against the wily inhabitants of the loch and came up trumps! Firstly Mike Wood braving high water fishing a garden fly managed to catch and release a splendid specimen of around a pound and a half which as you can see from photo 01 is in rude health and according to Mike fought like drug crazed Sea Trout. Club secretary Alasdair White ventured out on Sunday a day when torrential rain fell bringing the loch o the Lowes water level close to the railings which according to loch Keeper Dave was a rise of around a metre! Determined to have a go Alasdair persevered with the fly and was duly rewarded with a nice 10.5inch Brownie which again put up a splendid fight! Just goes to show that poor conditions should not dissuade you from having a bash!

Photo 02 - Stevie tackles the Mariner.

Some things are just not to be!

The plan was to have a look at our old Mariner engine which although running fine engine wise had no drive to the propeller then spend the afternoon stalking the wily population of tRout resident in our loch. The day didn’t start well as we soon discovered we had no water supply to the boathouse and we needed water as Les was continuing the pointing of the boathouse steps.

I knew even before I climbed the hill what the problem was likely to be! I suspected a large build up of silt in the two tanks on the hill and clambering up the steep slope I was met by water gushing down the hillside coming for the location of our tanks. Yes it was as I thought at least six inches of silt and debris in the tanks, a bit of a bore but easily rectified. Some shovelling after temporarily diverting the flow of water away from our tanks soon that the offending material removed. After refilling the system there was gushing from the taps water with a dark brown colouration which after a few minutes reverted to crystal clear water, job done!

Les was busy with pointing and marking out the position of hefty posts which will carry the safety rail on our boathouse steps. Some purchases this week will give us the materials required to carry out this work next week.

Stevie meantime was busy dismantling the bottom end of the engine having established that the fault was not at the upper gear shift mechanism. Pulling the cover off and shearing a bolt head in the process instead of being greeted by gushing oil we were covered in Iron Oxide powder yes rust! It quickly became apparent that for some time this mechanism had been running with no oil! After we each took a part and subjected it to some hammer work interspersed with much drenching in WD40 all the parts were eventually freed off and spinning merrily! The bolt with the sheared head locked in due to electrolytic welding (corrosion) between steel and alloy that will be familiar to all owners of Japanese motorcycles was freed with the aid of the smart mechanics tool the ever useful Mole grip!

We surmised the problem was with the lower gear shifting mechanism and duly adjusted this and after cleaning the chamber out refilled it with gear oil and all appeared to be well. The plan was for Stevie and I to motor across the loch and see if we could tempt a Trout with our flies! Whilst the engine had run successfully earlier in the day we could not get the damned thing to start! A series of quick investigations revealed the spark plug was shorting out, sparking from low down the internal insulator, so it was blowlamp and wire brush time! The plug cleaned she fired up no problem with a pleasing blue spark and we set off, well for around fifty yards at which point the boat slowed and the engine revs hit the roof the very symptom that heralded the demise of the engine over a year ago! Wearily I rowed the beast back to the boat house; once again we had no drive!

Time was getting on but we again proceeded to strip down and noted once again the lower linkage had slipped from the position in which it had been set. We again readjusted the mechanism and checked the linkage as before and all seemed well, and so it was off to the boat to try again! She started well and with a reassuring clunk was pushed into gear and she inched forward increasing the speed there was the ominous slowing of the boat coupled with a screaming engine as the revs hit maximum. And so it was that again I wearily rowed the accursed beast back to the boat house!

By this time fishing was off the menu and the rods were tackled down and packed away as a precursor to yet another strip down! This time everything came apart easily as you would expect given the thrashing she had been subjected to earlier! Close examination with the aid of a high powered LED lamp showed Stevie the primary problem we had not detected on earlier strip down. The spur gear at the bottom of the drive shaft had been stripped causing intermittent connection with the lower gear! Have a look at photo 03 and note the milling of the teeth that took place rendering the gear useless and sending shards of metal all over the shop! The likely cause of the initial seizure was debris due to lack of oil seizing the dog clutch mechanism and the engine at full power stripping the gear wheel!

Photo 03 - The severely "milled" gear wheel!
Well at least we now know what is required to fix what is basically a useful engine, so scouring of the marine spares suppliers for the required part is top of the agenda for this week! We are once again indebted to Stevie and Les for their unending hard work for the club, members like this are a real asset to us! Our much anticipated fishing session just never materialised, some things are just not to be!

Loch keeper’s news.

Speaking with Dave yesterday it became clear to us that whilst we had known of losses sustained by farmers and shepherds in the area we had not fully grasped the scale of the problem! Losses of up to fifty sheep (ewes) with probably two lambs in situ became victim to the desperate weather we have had to endure. Such losses have serious consequences for the owners and it is a great shame that some sort of compensation could not be made available for those affected. The shocking waste of £10,000,000 on Thatcher’s funeral could have been used for practical measures as mentioned above! By the way Dave the club members thank you for your hard work with the path to the boats, the muck and puddles have gone making for much easier walking. Thank you! Yet another who follows the tradition of past loch keepers just making things better!

It was good to see Dave’s parents Kath & Ian on the Border news respectively calling for a change in signage which did not state that facilities at the loch were open and citing previous warnings that the Selkirk to Moffat road would collapse near the Grey Mare’s Tail. Yes local knowledge is always best; men in grey suits and pc screens are not always the answer!

Photo 04 - Mike looking to the Megget.
The wider world in my view!

The electric cigarette!

You will probably have heard of them as they gradually build up a presence within the smoking community. What is undoubtedly a huge step forward in harm reduction when compared to conventional cigarettes is now undergoing microscopic dissection by governments pressed on by the tobacco industry who potentially see catastrophic losses in their vast profits! Governments of course also have a vested interest due to the huge amount of revenue generated by those who use tobacco products!

Looking at the facts of the situation it is clear that there can be no doubt that the electric cigarettes offer huge health benefits to smokers converting to them. Tobacco burned and inhaled from a cigarette is estimated to contain more than four thousand chemicals including many known carcinogens. Electric cigarettes can contain as little as three comprising of vegetable glycerine, food flavouring and nicotine and for some users the flavouring is dispensed with leaving only nicotine which in itself is a fairly innocuous compound found in tomatoes and glycerine which is used in nebulised respiratory products delivered by nebulisers. The mechanism of operation of the electric cigarette is basically the liquid is vapourised over a heated coil and then sucked through an atomiser giving the impression of real smoke but in fact is purely vapour!

Photo 05 - Two types of electric cigarette.
One by one pressure groups such as Cancer UK are coming out with statements that support the view of the much lessened risks associated with the usage of these electric nicotine delivery devices. Granted there is little research carried out retrospectively on these products due to the short time they have been on the market but that which has been carried out is fully supportive of the use of these products. It has turned out that much is being done to discredit the health benefits derived from use of these products much of it sponsored by tobacco producers!

Yes the tobacco industries who plough on relentlessly in third world countries promoting their disease giving wares failing to highlight the health risks associated with their usage! Bereft of moral and social conscience they lure into addiction and huge health problems millions of unsuspecting people in the relentless pursuit of profit! Capitalism gone wrong on a massive scale where well being is seen as secondary to the pursuit of profit! Similarly governments losing huge amounts of revenue are looking at ways of taxing the new electric products to stave the shortfall! And as if that were not enough the pharmaceutical giants who market nicotine patches and inhalers are also muscling in also because of decreased revenue!

The electric cigarette will face a rough ride as the groups with vested interests place one obstacle after another in their path! On a personal level, having been an inveterate smoker for over 40 years and having tried all methods of cessation failed to kick the habit! Club treasurer John Wright introduced me to electric cigarettes around ten months ago and since that momentous day a cigarette has not touched my lips, nor have I had even the slightest desire to revert back to tobacco smoking. John also has not smoked for nigh on a year and he also has not succumbed to the lure of the weed. Two hardened smokers now free of the weed and yet the electric cigarette has been banned in some countries for fear it may normalise smoking! There needs to be some serious knocking of heads together as a risk analysis free of vested interest is carried out. In the case of John and me the facts speak for themselves!

Thatcher’s funeral!

As I have stated above this was a huge waste of taxpayer’s money and a tragic twisting of historical fact! This woman was responsible only for the introduction of outright greed into our society; a society she maintained did not exist! It was disappointing not to hear the words of the Wesleyites who preach love thy neighbour and other such proper virtues as Thatcher as one of their kind derided all that they believe in!

Yes on that day I initiated a media free day refusing to take part in the contrived media circus promoted by Lord Snooty and his ilk! It was only on the next day that I selectively tuned in to hear of the many communities destroyed by this woman and for the first time in this circus felt compassion for those trampled underfoot seeing their jobs and future destroyed. Yes this woman left a mark on this country but it is one I will happily forget!

Note –Next week’s post will probably not appear until Monday evening due to our competition being held on Sunday.

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