Rain roof…thanks to Frank!

So, there I was sitting watching a film in the van parked at Broadford on the Isle of Skye, with a storm raging around me. I believe it was Storm Frank. Whatever it’s name it was a violent one. The van was rocking like mad and the last straw was when one of those huge recycling drums was blown over and tumbled about 50 yards to rest very close to the van. I decided it was time to move and try to find a more sheltered place to park.

I set off to a lay-by that was just on the edge of town, because I knew it was surrounded by trees which would baffle the wind a little. There’s always a danger being near trees in storms as branches break off and even trees fall down. But I was convinced if I didn’t move the van was going to be blown over.

So I parked at the lay-by and the wind was directly behind me then so that helps to steady the van and I settled down to sleep. 

Then…from the dark of the night…it came…lol

The cracked glazing unit
The cracked glazing unit

I heard it coming, you can hear really big gusts from some distance away and I knew it was going to be bad. Then it hit and I heard a shriek, then a clattering breaking sound, then a tearing sound, then a very heavy thud, and then I felt rain on my head…

The wind had come from behind and forced itself under the glazing of the sunroof where it rests on the roof. It lifted it with such force that it ripped the gas struts from their mounting, then as the glazing bent back with the power of the wind it tore the three metal and plastic hinges from the base unit on the roof, and blew the glazing unit away. That’s a scary arsed storm. So I’m out of bed with the dog going ballistic, staring up through a 1 metre by 3/4 metre hole in the roof, with 90 mph winds driving the rain inside. Nice one. 

I actually stood and just looked at it for a second or two, thinking what the hell could I do now. 

So I grabbed the table which is a typical motorhome one with 2 folding legs. I quickly polished the top with pledge then manoeuvred it through the gap in the roof, letting the legs hang down. I got some webbing and made 2 straps which held the legs tight up against the ceiling, which stopped the table from blowing outside. OK, so at least no more rain was coming in. I knew the garage was shut as it was christmas so I headed back there to shelter under the huge canopy. 
Once there I got up to have a look and everything was as I expected. The sunroof was destroyed with no sign of the glazing panel and the lower frame was snapped and torn at the hinges. 

The broken hinges
The broken hinges

So, out came the rubble bags. They are like bin bags but very strong and designed to hold broken bricks and concrete. I taped 2 of them together using a very strong duct tape so they were the size of the frame, then used that tape to stick the bags over the gaping hole. Even though the roof was still slightly damp the tape held the bags there for 2 days. Never underestimate high quality rubble bags and duct tape 🙂

There wasn’t a drop of water came in over the next 2 days although I did fear it might happen at any time. 

On the second day I finally found the glazing panel about 100 yards away from where I’d been parked, resting in a bush! The wind had carried it so far I was shocked. Although it was cracked and broken where the hinges and gas struts were, the main part of the panel was intact so I kept it and waited til Jewsons opened on the Tuesday and bought a multi-tool and some tubes of strong adhesive sealant. 

Turns out the multi-tool was a hell of a buy and I’ve used it for all sorts since. But at the time all I did was carve the rough bits from the frame and the edges from the glazing panel so I could stick it into place permanently on the frame. It won’t open of course but at least it would be water tight. A good job well done, now I just have to save about £500 for a new one lol

Bloody Frank, he can piss right off!

The Skye’s the limit

My fourth night on Skye and already I feel rested and peaceful. The nights are dark and silent, although night before last I watched the edge of the Geminid’s shower through the sunroof. That was pretty amazing. It’s raining again this morning but as I’m working til 4pm I don’t really mind.
I’m busy testing the second battery too: it looks like they’re both shot.  🙁

Damned leak

The rain has been almost non stop here for nearly 2 weeks now. And I went into the wardrobe for something and there it was, a leak. Really bad too. So bad that my brand new, never used Canon printer was actually so full of water that I had to put it in the sink to drain out before throwing it away.

Spare towels, shirts, coats everything had to be taken out and I found a laundrette to wash them all toute suite. Of course the wardrobe itself was soaked. After an inspection it was clear what had happened. When I was sheltering from the 113 mph winds on Skye I parked in the lee of a tall wall beside some pine trees. I was barely bothered by the wind but I recall a scraping sound as a branch tickled the roof. I think one of them must have hit the gas flue and made it loose and so there was  basically a large hole in the roof for 3 days in pouring rain.
Still, at least I know what it was and it was fixed easily, simply tighten the locknut up and make sure the rubber seal was making a seal on the roof.

That part of the roof has leaked on and off for years now ever since Isatlan messed up when fitting that accursed satellite dish. The last time it was fixed was back in 2012 when I was last in Scotland and I wondered if that was the last I’d know of it lol

Cue that dehumidifier…sometimes things just happen for a reason eh?

Weather or not

The weather is still awful and the power is still out on the whole of Skye and an awful lot of the mainland too.  There’s absolutely no value sitting there as I’m wasting time doing bugger all, so off I popped to Inverness for a variety of things I need anyway.

On the way the weather turned even worse and I saw some skid marks in the snow exactly like I’d done some years ago: they skidded slowly to the wrong side of the road, then as the driver (obviously a lorry) corrected it skidded the other way. I was just thinking that he must have been shitting himself as I was when that happened but he managed to get himself straight I noticed a few hundred yards or so later.
Then I turned a corner and there he was, double log trailer, lying on its side in the ditch. Oops!

It took a while to stop but I reversed back and he was sitting by the cab so I got out and asked if he was alright. He said yes and he seemed it but said it would be about an hour before any recovery would come. I told him to come inside and get a cuppa but he refused and said he was fine, which was ridiculous as it was freezing, snowing and blowing a houly and he’d just totalled his hytt and trailer. I said come on, people act funny sometimes when they’ve had a shock, just sit with me and have a coffee for 10 minutes.
He said in broad Scottish accent “Och I act funny all the fucking time so you’d ne’er know if I was in shock laddie!”

I decided he was right so I left him to it and went on my merry way.

Later at Inverness I popped into Aldi and guess what they had? That’s right…a small, 12 volt dehumidifier! What’s the chances hhahaa

Sadly I went to Halfords though and they had none of the bike covers I’ve had off them for the last 7 years.

Lights out on Skye

The promised weather has arrived on the Isle of Skye. The rain wasn’t really bad, but the wind is pretty wild, and the lightning was amazing. However one of the lightning shows was actually a sub station going out or something cos all I can see where I am has no lights.

I’ve parked behind the Co-op shop to try and avoid direct blasts, but even so the van was rocking so much that the monitor fell over and broke the foot off the keyboard. It’s quite unnerving as even though I’m sure the van won’t blow over it’s tilting to silly angles.

Photo of outside with no lights on
Photo of outside with no lights on

Anyway I opened the window to take a picture to show you how dark it is…


*Edit:*  I heard a noise outside and saw one of those tall steel posts beside the garage fallen down. As I looked a huge recycling bin came blowing past me spewing books all over the place! The other end of the car park to where I was was in a right state when I had a look, recycling bins blown around and smashed open. Stuff was blowing still and I got hit on the shin by a ladies purse! I ran to catch it but it was empty lol

So, I’ve moved off up the road beside the Youth Hostel as it’s screened by trees and at the moment it doesn’t even feel windy.

Weather map
Weather map

My friend sent me a screenshot from a weather site, the red blob appears to be over the Hebrides where I am….Force 12!

Skye is awesome

After Christmas I decided to just keep on going. So I travelled over to Falkirk to see the Kelpies

Falkirk Kelpies
The Falkirk Kelpies

which you can see here. They’re the most amazing thing, costing £7 million to build and standing 60 metres tall. I got there late as they’re not at the Falkirk wheel as I thought but the Helix park a couple of miles away. I’d just shut the door of the van after taking photos when the lights went out so nicely timed.


Glen Coe
Glen Coe

I then went over to Rannoch moor as it’s one of my fave places and is on the way to Skye anyway. I was lucky enough to catch a deep hoarfrost, but no snow. This is as you leave Rannoch Moor and head down into Glencoe village. I came back the next day and stayed 2 days waiting for snow, but all I got was rain 🙁


Loch Garry
Loch Garry

Never mind I carried on stopping the night here and there, this shot was taken at Loch Garry. I tried to capture the moon lighting the Loch but it was bitterly cold and blowing a gale so I didn’t do very well. I’ve decided I need a new tripod but as it’s going to be over £300 I may have to wait a few paydays lol…or sell a kidney!


Castle Moil
Castle Moil

The weather was appalling and I stayed up a night to get some first light photos at Kyleakin. This is a shot of Castle Moil which some of you may remember I’ve been to before. I used the Hitech 10 stop filter on this, a slight colour cast but nothing too bad, however once I’d fixed the cast I decided to make it a little bluer as it looked nice.

My hands were so numb here that it was actually a struggle to put the gear away and I somehow managed to lose my cable release tut.

Never mind worse things have happened to people and tomorrow I’m off to Malasaig.

The Isle of Skye is indeed quite awesome and no-one should miss out on a visit here.