Jonathan: If there’s one subject that keeps cropping up on this blog in recent months (and will for a few months more, I expect!), it’s fencing. Or, more specifically, fencing the boundaries of our Eriskay croft, enclosing the new High Field. It’s no small task, especially as I’m doing it almost entirely on my own. (Denise helps with leading wire off the spools – almost impossible to do single-handed.) It’s no easy task either, as ground conditions are extremely … well, extreme. Here a bog of semi-fluid moss and peat. There an outcrop of hard rock. Very hard rock. Just recently, drilling for three steel posts over one small outcrop took almost half an hour. That’s per hole.
As I said, hard. Very hard! It’s not as if the drill isn’t up to the job, or the drill bit too worn – both are top quality and still fairly new. No, it’s the rock. There’s about a hundred holes to drill out, each 25mm diameter and 200mm deep. Thankfully they don’t all take that long to drill out – most take less ten minutes or less.
Several of our guests at Carrick have asked what we do where there is rock. For them, and as a warning to those romantics who are in thrall to a dream of having their own Hebridean croft, here’s a wee pictorial guide to crossing an outcrop – just a very small one – of hard rock.
So each of these three 25mm x 200mm main holes took about half an hour of drilling, with a heavy-duty 2.5kW SDS-II hammer drill and a top quality bit. Just brief pauses to clear the rock flour and let the bit cool down. What with the getting tools moved into place from the previous worksite, installing posts over this small rock outcrop was a full half-day’s work. What’s that you say? If it’s so small why don’t you just move it out of the way? Or go round it, or blast it or break it up with a machine … or something? Well, if any of those things was easier, cheaper, quicker, or for that matter legally possible (this is, after all, a boundary fence), you could be sure I would have done it already and this post wouldn’t be being written at all! Time for one last question … Why so many posts in quick succession? Good question! To reliably contain sheep, especially lambs, the fence has to follow the ground closely. (That’s the usual form of words.) As a general rule, the gap between the bottom wire and the ground should be no greater than the gap between the bottom wire and the wire above it – typically 100mm. Believe me, it’s that which makes fencing for hill sheep so very expensive!
Anyway, this particular outcrop was fairly easy. Yes, really! So, here’s one or two more difficult ones made earlier.