Friday, 25 December 2015

Good old fashioned Bogey

This blog is nothing to do with wildlife or what we are up to, but some good old fashioned fun.

I was cleaning the shed at the harbour when I saw an old wooden fishing box. It brought back so many memories, as my dad made me a bogey out of the fishing box for a Christmas present. 

I listen to so many people saying that the kids are glued to their  I-pads, computers and games, that they loose to sight of what is kid is supposed to be.
When I was a child I used to come home covered in cuts, bruises and scratches, but did I have fun, Hell Yeah.

Lots of the older generation will remember building dens, playing knickie knockie nine doors (where you knock on someones door and run away) and jumping of the harbour pier (in my case), all those kind of things kids are supposed to do instead of being glued to the TV.

I'm really lucky to live where I do, as I push my kids to be outside in the fresh air and I know lots of people can't let there kids play on the streets as its to dangerous, but I think that's were today's children loose out. Yes I know, I have to keep up with the times and technology, but sometimes please just let them be kids.

So that's it...... This fishing box is going to be changed into something special and the kids are going to love it, but first I will have to built it and of course I will have to give it a test drive to see if it's preforming properly. Yes you have guessed, it's not for the kids it's for me, I'm the child in my house.

First the old fishing box was cut out at one end, then I found an old pallet which I chopped up and used the long piece to go down the middle of the box and a small bit to steer with.

Then I put a threaded rod through the back of the box to hold the wheels. The I stole the wheels of my daughters old bike and then I acquired two wheels from a lawnmower for the front.
I got a bit of scrap metal bar and welded two bolts to the end to hold the front wheels on and screwed it all down.

 Bike in bits on the floor. Threaded rod through one wheel and lots of scrap to use.

There we go, one bogey nearly ready to use. Some final adjustments to do but not many.

Next step is to sand it all down and add a like of paint and then we are ready for the test run on the harbour hill. I do hope it holds my weight. I also added a back rest as I remember it dug into my back when I was a kid. Yes, I know what you are thinking, "I'm getting soft in my old age", but I'm not as I have left out the stops so the wheels don't go to far around. I remember when I was a kid and my foot got jammed below the bogey and it really hurt so I want my kids to feel the same pain. I'm just getting my own back on then for giving me sleepless nights.

A bit of  grey undercoat. 

 Now Black gloss has had two coats. She's looking good.

 Yes, the final touches are being applied with flames along the side to make it that boy races look. I had a little thought so it's not finished just yet. I'm going to fix a mount near the front to put a GoPro on and then it will be ready for Christmas Day.

I can't wait to see the kids faces and fingers crossed it good weather for them to take it on her maiden run.

So there we have it. A good old fashioned Bogey. I hope this brings lots of memories back for you all and I will let you know how we got on and hopefully I will have some footage to show you. 

Have a great Christmas everyone and thank you for reading my blogs once again. 



Thursday, 17 December 2015

Shag Sightings 2015

Throughout the season we write down all of the Shag Tags or Darvic's we see. We write down location, time and place we have located them and send them away to be recorded. This season we got a very quick and great response from the CEH.
We had 49 individuals from the Farnes, which is not really surprising. 31 were from the Isle of May, 8 from the Firth of Forth islands and 2 from Aberdeenshire.

Myself, Andy and Tony are well chuffed with this haul and hopefully we will keep it up for many more years to come and you never know we might find a bird that is from miles and miles away or the oldest one recorded. Anything is possible at the Farne Islands when it come to seabirds.

Below are our results for 2015 and hopefully we will have more during the winter.

Pulli, means a chick that was ringed on the nest.
Adult, means that it was caught and ringed as an adult. 

Darvic BTO RingingAge RingingYear RingingLocation
BAAI 1473930 Pulli 2014 Isle of May
BABA 1473937 Pulli 2014 Isle of May
BABH 1473941 Pulli 2014 Isle of May
BACU 1473959 Pulli 2014 Isle of May
BACZ 1473961 Pulli 2014 Isle of May
BASX 1483056 Pulli 2014 Isle of May
BBBS 1473879 Pulli 2014 Isle of May
BCZJ 1472040 Pulli 2015 Isle of May
BDAU 1472061 Pulli 2015 Isle of May
BDZB 1472253 Pulli 2015 Isle of May
BFJZ 1472356 Pulli 2015 Isle of May
BFNL 1472398 Pulli 2015 Isle of May
BFSI 1483414 Pulli 2015 Isle of May
BHAP 1472459 Pulli 2015 Isle of May
BHXJ 1485114 Pulli 2015 Isle of May
BHZC 1485118 Pulli 2015 Isle of May
BJPP 1443815 Pulli 2009 Isle of May
BJUF 1443524 Pulli 2009 Isle of May
BTTP 1452023 Pulli 2010 Isle of May
BZBU 1444515 Pulli 2009 Isle of May
GCAE 1465820 Adult 2014 Farne Islands
GCDR 1465818 Adult 2014 Farne Islands
GCEA 1465827 Pulli 2014 Farne Islands
GCED 1465591 Pulli 2014 Farne Islands
GCEN 1465873 Adult 2014 Farne Islands
GCEP 1465833 Adult 2014 Farne Islands
GCHE 1465867 Pulli 2014 Farne Islands
GCJR 1465897 Pulli 2014 Farne Islands
GCPE 1465864 Adult 2014 Farne Islands
GCPR 1465856 Adult 2014 Farne Islands
GCRN 1465893 Pulli 2014 Farne Islands
GCWF 1465795 Pulli 2014 Farne Islands
GCWN 1465792 Pulli 2014 Farne Islands
GCWT 1465799 Pulli 2014 Farne Islands
GCXW 1465765 Pulli 2014 Farne Islands
GCZR 1465766 Pulli 2014 Farne Islands
GDAE 1465886 Pulli 2014 Farne Islands
GDCW 1465906 Pulli 2014 Farne Islands
GDEP 1465598 Pulli 2014 Farne Islands
GEBH 1472566 Pulli 2014 Inchkeith
GECP 1472597 Pulli 2014 Inchkeith
GECZ 1472656 Pulli 2014 Inchkeith
GEJT 1478537 Pulli 2014 Inchmickery
GENF 1478568 Pulli 2014 Inchmickery
GENR 1478575 Pulli 2014 Inchmickery
GERN 1478616 Pulli 2014 Inchmickery
GERZ 1478623 Pulli 2014 Inchmickery
GFHF 1380598 Pulli 2001 Isle of May
GFPX 1380826 Pulli 2001 Isle of May
GLAW 1486016 Adult 2015 Farne Islands
GLFE 1465962 Adult 2015 Farne Islands
GLHE 1465964 Adult 2015 Farne Islands
GLPE 1486055 Adult 2015 Farne Islands
GLWL 1486096 Adult 2015 Farne Islands
GLWR 1486098 Pulli 2015 Farne Islands
GLWX 1486077 Pulli 2015 Farne Islands
GNDR 1486048 Adult 2015 Farne Islands
GNES 1465961 Adult 2015 Farne Islands
GNPC 1453141 Pulli 2011 Isle of May
RAPF 1483086 Adult 2014 Isle of May
RBBC 1461307 Pulli 2012 Isle of May
RCER 1407490 Adult 2011 Farne Islands
RLEC 1407201 Adult 2012 Farne Islands
RLFE 1465533 Adult 2012 Farne Islands
RLPE 1465549 Pulli 2012 Farne Islands
RLWI 1465556 Adult 2012 Farne Islands
RNWR 1394399 Adult 2013 Farne Islands
RPAE 1407359 Adult 2013 Farne Islands
RPEL 1465619 Pulli 2013 Farne Islands
RRZD 1465678 Pulli 2013 Farne Islands
RRZE 1465679 Pulli 2013 Farne Islands
RRZF 1465680 Adult 2013 Farne Islands
RRZT 1465688 Pulli 2013 Farne Islands
RSFB 1397496 Pulli 2009 Strahangles Point
RSSD 1428285 Pulli 2010 Bullers of Buchan
RSZP 1407137 Pulli 2009 Farne Islands
RTBJ 1377321 Adult 2009 Farne Islands
RTBT 1394460 Adult 2009 Farne Islands
RTDA 1343267 Adult 2010 Farne Islands
RWNC 1465734 Pulli 2013 Farne Islands
RWPZ 1465802 Adult 2014 Farne Islands
RWRL 1377486 Adult 2014 Farne Islands
RWRP 1465810 Adult 2014 Farne Islands
RWRW 1465805 Adult 2014 Farne Islands
WJBZ 1473499 Pulli 2014 Isle of May
WJCS 1473510 Pulli 2014 Isle of May
WLZU 1389639 Pulli 2003 Isle of May
WNCF 1473648 Pulli 2014 Isle of May
WNDH 1473664 Pulli 2014 Isle of May
WZLU 1473843 Pulli 2014 Isle of May

Monday, 7 December 2015

Longstone Lighthouse Update

The Longstone Lighthouse, or Outer Farne as it was first called, is situated on Longstone Rock, one of the Outer Staple Islands. A light was requested for these islands by Sir John Clayton in the late 17th century and by Captain J. Blackett in 1755. Unfortunately, both were rejected as the Elder Brethren of Trinity House were unable to obtain the consent of the affected parties to pay a toll for the maintenance of the light.

However, in 1826 it was found essential for the welfare of shipping off the Northumberland coast to construct a lighthouse in the Farne Group on the Longstone Rock, which lies about 6 miles from the mainland on the westernmost side of the reef.

The Lighthouse, designed and built by Joseph Nelson is a red and white circular tower built of rough stone with iron railings around the lantern gallery. The light originally came from the Argand lamps with 12 burners, parabolic reflectors 21 inches in diameter and 9 inches deep. The cost of the Lighthouse and the dwellings was approximately £4,771, the lantern alone costing £1,441.

The island was a bleak situation to endure and the isolation must have been terrible, often storms were so bad as to drive the family into the upper rooms of the tower to seek refuge, the waves being so enormous that they covered the living quarters.

Longstone Lighthouse is most famous as the scene of the Forfarshire wreck and the exploits of Grace Darling, a daughter of the keeper in charge. In September 1838 the steamer Forfarshire, bound from Hull to Dundee, went aground on Harcar Rocks, about a mile from the Lighthouse, when 43 people were drowned; the stern portion of the vessel being split off and carried away in the storm. The forepart, to which clung the survivors, remained fast on the rocks. At daybreak William Darling, the keeper, and the fishermen ashore saw the wreck, but the waves were beating against the rocks so much that the fishermen thought it impossible to attempt a rescue and even Darling hesitated. He was finally persuaded to make the attempt by his daughter, with her as the second hand in the small lighthouse boat. On reaching the wreck after a terrific struggle they brought back 4 men and 1 woman in their frail open boat and later a further four survivors; all 9 had to be accommodated and fed at the lighthouse for 2 days until the storm abated and they could be taken to the mainland. This gallant action made Grace Darling and her father famous. The Royal Human Society voted them its gold medal, the Government made them a grant and a public subscription was organized.

The lighthouse has undergone many changes over the years, and the current accommodation was built in 1951 on the former site of the fog signal house that had been destroyed during the war in 1942. It was then changed to electric in 1952 and then it was converted to automatic operation in September 1990 and is now monitored from the Trinity House Operations and Planning Centre at Harwich.

Over the last 6 months the Longstone Lighthouse has been having a major overhaul and the light has been turned off while the workmen have been been changing things around. Don't worry, passing vessels would never hit the rocks as they anchored a Lightship (floating lighthouse) just a little bit further out from the Longstone to warn all passing vessels. Saying that, I remember when the Danio hit the rocks when the light was on.

Trinity House who own the Longstone have decided to move into the 21st century and change the lightohuse into solar power. When I first heard this I thought it would change the look of the lighthouse and it would never be the same, but how wrong was I. By looking at the lighthouse you would never know it had changed at all. Only A few things have changed on the outside, with a few hand rails but on the inside its seen a huge change.

The project included a major overhaul of all the electrical equipment, which is now obsolete and this will reduce the risk of failure in the future. This will also help reduce the amount of money they spend on fuel for the generators and will also be good for the environment.

A new design of the lantern has made it possible for them to use solar power, and instead of the light being visible from 24 nautical miles away and on 24 hours a day, it has been reduced to 18 nautical miles and only comes on at night time. This makes total sense and will save them a lot of money in the mean time and everything will be controlled from their base in Harwich.

So there we have it, the Longstone Lighthouse is now solar powered and I wonder what the darling family would have thought of this new technology. We will never know, but once again the longstone has changed and I suppose in the next 50 years something else will come along and it will all be changed again.

Here are a few pictures below and the last two pictures I took when the light was turned off.