Petestack Blog

26 February 2022

Kayak store drainage

Filed under: Paddling — admin @ 8:31 pm

So I talked in my last blog about standing water and drainage in our neighbourhood. Basically, we live on a hill, the ground sometimes gets wetter than it can cope with short-term and we all (through inevitability rather than intent) dump water on our downhill neighbours. Agreeing where and how to pass this water on is about all we can reasonably do about it…

If you’ve seen that blog, you’ll have seen photos involving mud, and here are two more from Tuesday afternoon showing the creation of an embryonic soakaway that quickly got dubbed the ‘hippo pit’:

Now obviously this pit wasn’t finished there when excavating it half-full of muddy water is a bit like shovelling mushroom soup, but it disappeared completely from sight for a while as that whole area flooded in Wednesday morning’s heavy rain! Sorry I’ve no photos of that (or the hippos!), but I do have two showing where a fair bit of the problem’s coming from:

But it’s clearest in my video shot at the same time:

We’ll come back to the solution shortly, but first here are a couple of shots from yesterday morning of the transition/ramp I cut down to the store on Thursday showing drier ground and how quickly things can change:

So I both needed to drain my own ground and wanted to divert my neighbours’ drain to come out below the far end of my kayak store, we discussed and agreed to a shared drain using some suitable pipe they had, and I dug the top end yesterday:

I deepened my original trench to keep everything moving downhill from where the drain comes through the fence:

Here I’m checking I’ve got a draining gradient the whole way before putting down fabric and pipe:

When I tried to drag the pipe behind me on my own, it wanted to kink and fold where it had been coiled, so I phoned Alan for help!

While my original (pre-pipe) plan for my drain was just a soakaway at the hippo pit, the remaining pipe will now get used to extend it down-slope:

And the last thing I did yesterday was dump my remaining round gravel in the trench to keep my new chippings for the top:

Today I put down most of the ton of chippings Twig and I collected from Banavie on Wednesday, but I’ve kept some back to spread round the posts when their bases are finished. And that’s pretty well as far as I can go till Tuesday’s delivery although I might get the mud off the shed walls!

These two posts are finished but I’m waiting on concrete to top up the others:

And here they are with chippings spread:

I should have just about enough chippings to finish the store area but will need more sometime for the extended drain:

And that’s it for now. The next instalment should be about framing the store and possibly even getting started on roofing and cladding, so we’ll see how that goes…

21 February 2022

More kayak store

Filed under: Paddling — admin @ 6:32 pm

(See my previous blog for a quick rundown of the concept and image from my SketchUp model.)

While I was already planning to get building the store in preparation for a probable sea kayak purchase and had taken delivery of the first batch of materials (posts, gravel and concrete), the project gained added impetus from actually buying said boat (about which more another time) on Thursday. So I got to work pronto in some varied February weather, but let’s start with said materials arriving last Monday. And here we have an impressive truck with rear-wheel steering, a crane and a guy who can handle it all in tight spaces. He was even expecting Fly to be there because his boss (who turns out to be a former pupil of mine) told him there’d probably be a boat in the garden!

And my 14″ no-puncture wheels for the trolley came the same day:

I made a 1200mm square on Friday morning to help with laying out and setting my posts. It’s currently accurate to within about a millimetre, although of course not guaranteed to stay that way! And then I got digging for the rest of Friday and Saturday, with Saturday in particular being an unexpected gift of a day weather-wise just when I needed it.

Not such a good job on the first two holes, which ended up a tad wider than I meant as bits kept falling off the sides in the wettest ground, but I did better with most of the others although one got quite messy from a fight to excavate a piece of slab and pile of rubble occupying pretty well the exact space required by the post. That said, they were all hard work, requiring many passes with a bar to break the stony ground and keeping the spoons more for removing the spoil than doing much real digging.

While I had Alan available to help on Sunday, I nearly called off for the forecast, but was happy to go ahead after a wee look out and pleased to get five of the seven posts in after using all the concrete to fill them to an acceptable depth (for now). So big thanks to him for the extra pair of hands (and brain!), although I later realised we’d made one silly mistake (my fault), which was not levelling the line before measuring for the post spacing. But I went back out and checked and it’s going to make bugger all difference (whew)! I’d also gone knee-deep in one of my own holes earlier when I stepped in (on?) one I couldn’t see because it was full of muddy water; the standing water you see at the front of the store area comes and goes when the bank above gets saturated by rain, but should hopefully mostly go once I get round to dealing with it. To which I might add that it’s typical of this garden and neighbourhood in general when wet and disturbed. I’ve now cut temporary drainage channels to help that corner a bit, and know from experience that I can sort it all out for use. Most of it’s soaking through from my neighbours uphill (aka gravity), but I’ll get to it!

Since there were also deer tracks through my work area yesterday morning, I blocked off both ends with barrows to discourage them from taking that route before leaving it for the night!

This morning I went to Fort William to get more concrete and price the next batch of materials before getting back to the last two posts on my own. And these weren’t too tricky even solo because I’d worked out how to utilise what we’d already done last night, although I still had to be careful to keep enough height on the last one, which both requires close to the full length of the post and swallowed up an extravagant amount of concrete in the hole that had grown as I’d levered out that slab and pile of rubble.

So that’s the state of play right now. Four days’ work and the posts (on which the accuracy of everything else depends) are in, and I’m probably now waiting a week or so for materials to continue with the framing, roofing and cladding getting the posts right should have set up nicely. But I’m positively looking forward to the next stages now the crucial, temperature-dependent and accuracy-demanding first one’s accomplished with no major faux pas!

13 February 2022

Store, sea and canal

Filed under: Paddling — admin @ 11:28 pm

I’ve got three things to talk about here, but am covering them in almost reverse chronological order…

Firstly, I’m building a sea kayak store along the side of my workshop shed. It’s a current project for which the only physical work carried out so far has been marking and clearing the ground where it’s going to go:

But you can see the bones of what I’m planning from my SketchUp model:

While I’d had a good Google to see what others had built, nothing I saw quite worked for me so I started from scratch in thinking through my requirements. In supporting the kayak(s) on adjustable broad webbing tapes, the trolley should provide a more user- and kayak-friendly method of doing so than fixed shelves or supports in an end-opening store. Of course there’ll be roofing and cladding and a door on the end, but the concept should be clear enough from the drawing as it is. I’m currently waiting for posts, concrete and gravel to be delivered so I can start building, so will move on just now and come back to the project as it takes shape in future blogs.

So that’s the ‘store’ of my title, and we can move on to the ‘sea’. Today Amanda and I joined four others from Nevis Canoe Club on a trip out from Glenuig, which, for those who don’t know, is a wee village and bay on the north coast of Moidart or south side of the Sound of Arisaig:

While it was a cracking ‘window’ in a spell of fairly inclement recent weather, being dry with a neap tide and almost negligible wind, the residual swell bouncing back off the shore still gave a new feel compared to what I’ve done so far. We paddled west then south, stopping for a break at the lovely little bay of Port Achadh an Aonaich inside Eilean Coille before returning via another stop at Samalaman Island and brief eastwards excursion. Since I have some scruples about depriving Amanda of her own boat again while she took Mal’s, I’m so looking forward to the day I can say I took my own, but still have to say I really enjoyed the group paddle… and her boat! I’ll keep this short tonight and just let the photos speak for themselves:

Time for the ‘canal’ now, and there’s not much to say here because it’s really just a footnote to this blog where I’d not have given it its own. On 21 January, I took the Safari along the Caledonian Canal from Banavie to Gairlochy. My cousin Eileen dropped me and the boat off at Banavie and she took the photos with my camera. The trip took me just under two hours, it felt comparatively carefree compared to the sea, and the hat didn’t stay on much beyond the photos because I was really quite toasty in this more sheltered environment:

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