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  2. <rss xmlns:dc="" version="2.0"><channel><description></description><title>Highland Fenceline</title><generator>Tumblr (3.0; @highlandfenceline)</generator><link></link><item><title>Garden Wish list</title><description>&lt;p&gt;The first warm days of spring have us all dreaming of lazy summer days in the garden. Its also the time when we start to think about the big, exciting projects.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;!-- more --&gt;&lt;p&gt;This year here are a few ideas and a few practical considerations to accompany them.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="259" data-orig-height="194"&gt;&lt;img src="" alt="image" data-orig-width="259" data-orig-height="194"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;After the last few years of total wash out raised beds are starting to look like a good idea. At least that way your plants have some chance of staying where you put them and of not drowning in several inches of water.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="500" data-orig-height="500" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img src="" alt="image" data-orig-width="500" data-orig-height="500"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;Raised beds are particularly appropriate for plants which like dry conditions; herbs and almost any crop other than rice come to mind. For taller raised beds sleepers or timbers at least 2″ thick are a good idea if you plan on doing much cultivation, anything lighter won’t stand up to too much digging. Raised beds also allow you the almost unknown luxury on the West Coast of working with more than 4″ depth of soil.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="259" data-orig-height="194"&gt;&lt;img src="" alt="image" data-orig-width="259" data-orig-height="194"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;The great thing about timber is how easy it is to add height to your garden, which gives the space a totally different feel. The important thing to remember in Argyll is quite how much wind we get, and how much wind resistance both the structure and any climbing plants on it create. The forces are massive and sooner or later the timber will fail. If you want it to be later rather than sooner then follow these guidelines. Firstly; go oversize - make it sturdy, then sturdier. Secondly; don’t cut into treated timber without retreating the cuts ( modern treatments are an “envelope” treatment and they don’t work if there are holes in them). Thirdly; don’t use postcrete or cement unless you have to - they shorten the life of your timber and make it harder to replace. Packing timber posts using stone is a skill that needs to be more widely applied.&lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="1200" data-orig-height="1600" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img src="" alt="image" data-orig-width="1200" data-orig-height="1600"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;Untreated timber has a very short lifespan in a climate as wet as ours, it can look stunning all the same:-)&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;The most exciting bit comes when you have the framework in place. Plannning and planting and seeing what you’ve created become vibrant with colour and scent. &lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="1024" data-orig-height="768" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img src="" alt="image" data-orig-width="1024" data-orig-height="768"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;There is no need to restrict yourself to conventional garden structures either, planning laws aside you’re free to choose to do what you want. Of course all that rain can be a nuisance as can the midges but if you want something enough there are ways round all these problems. &lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="800" data-orig-height="629" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img src="" alt="image" data-orig-width="800" data-orig-height="629"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;The most important thing is to try and enjoy the process of creating your garden or outdoor space. A mature garden is an achievement and a source of satisfaction but the element of excitement and anticipation is not there the way it is when you’re building something new. &lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="904" data-orig-height="605" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img src="" alt="image" data-orig-width="904" data-orig-height="605"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;Big or small, quirky or conventional, it’s time to start dreaming. Enjoy&lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;</description><link></link><guid></guid><pubDate>Tue, 03 Apr 2018 16:39:09 +0100</pubDate><category>garden design</category><category>raised beds</category><category>raised garden beds</category><category>treated timber</category><category>argyll gardens</category><category>pergola</category></item><item><title>He who pays the piper</title><description>&lt;p&gt;This is a description of an industry in crisis -&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="285" data-orig-height="177"&gt;&lt;img src="" alt="image" data-orig-width="285" data-orig-height="177"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;!-- more --&gt;&lt;p&gt;the manufacturers for this industry have been operating at a loss for years,&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt; uk production and sales are heavily regulated to protect the consumer, &lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;the consumers benefit from the subsidies paid to the industry,&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt; it requires massive amounts of land to produce the raw material, &lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;the end customer is constantly encouraged to shop around for the cheapest deal and ignore the ethics or the quality of the product, &lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;uk production has been unable to compete with imports on price as a result of the regulations on production. &lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;I’m not talking about farming, not lamb, beef, dairy or pork. &lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;I’m talking about wood pellets but if you can see similarities you’re not the only one.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="750" data-orig-height="500" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img src="" alt="image" data-orig-width="750" data-orig-height="500"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;Here’s what happened next.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Several large biomass electricity generators went online for the first time in Europe this year.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;In Norther Europe and Russia the expected cold weather which enables harvesting didn’t arrive.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Faced with massive flooding Latvia declared a &lt;a href=""&gt;state of disaster &lt;/a&gt;which enabled the forestry companies to escape penalty clauses in their contracts by claiming force majeure .&lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;a href=""&gt;Smaller production plants&lt;/a&gt; were forced to close as the price of the raw materials suddenly rose beyond what they could pay.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;And then there were &lt;a href=""&gt;shortages&lt;/a&gt;. All of a sudden uk householders with pellet stoves couldn’t get the bagged pellets they needed to heat their houses. very few companies had supply and those that did had massive lead times and even more massive price rises.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="400" data-orig-height="403" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img src="" alt="image" data-orig-width="400" data-orig-height="403"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;The social media posts about the situation were interesting. To begin with there were bitter complaints; about the quality of what was available, about the ever increasing price, about the delivery charges some companies charged for outlying areas. People threatened to take their business elsewhere or talked about their special circumstances and how outrageous it was that they should be left to freeze. Sadly they were directing their comments at retailers who had no control over the situation.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Then the complaints virtually stopped. There isn’t, as most people realised, a lot of point in addressing them to retailers who would love to change the situation but can’t. There wouldn’t be a lot of point in addressing them to forestry companies who are there to produce as much timber as possible at the best possible profit level. And addressing them to a manufacturer who has been making a loss for the last five years and who finally sees a chance to make a profit, however briefly, and providing he or she can get raw materials, is possibly nearly as much of a waste of time.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;You might take the view that anyone who installs a system dependant on an industry whose figures don’t stack up is asking for trouble. Apply that logic to the farming sector and the outlook is very grim. We all have to eat.&lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="640" data-orig-height="480" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img src="" alt="image" data-orig-width="640" data-orig-height="480"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;The uk has always taken the view that as a rich country it can afford to buy whatever raw materials it needs, likewise that there will always be huge imports of processed food. We produce only a tiny percentage of what we eat, burn or utilise in other ways. The wood pellet crisis has just proved that when there is a shortage of something then that theory that we can buy what we need simply doesn’t work.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Forest gate prices are now at record highs in the uk as well as Europe. The season for building timber, fencing, etc etc is about to kick off. This should be an interesting year. The question is “Is this a foretaste of the future?”&lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;</description><link></link><guid></guid><pubDate>Wed, 24 Jan 2018 16:30:13 +0000</pubDate><category>agriculture</category><category>forestry</category><category>woodfuel</category><category>land use</category><category>wood pellets</category><category>small round wood</category></item><item><title>When Summer goes MIA</title><description>&lt;p&gt;Summer of 2017 might be described as fleeting, at best, so here are my suggestions for making the best of this weather if you’re a gardener.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="301" data-orig-height="167" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img src="" alt="image" data-orig-width="301" data-orig-height="167"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;!-- more --&gt;&lt;p&gt;1) Create outdoor rooms; areas in the garden fully set up for taking your indoor activities outside at the first sign of a break in the rain. Sadly these might need to be covered or partially covered. All the same time spent outside reading or relaxing is precious. Cooking or eating a meal outside makes the event memorable. It’s all much easier if you’re set up and ready to burst into the outdoor world at a moment’s notice.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="616" data-orig-height="462" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img src="" alt="image" data-orig-width="616" data-orig-height="462"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;2) Build a path or walkway that will remain dry underfoot. Paving is less than environmentally PC these days unless you can manage the drained water well  but a raised gravel walkway, stepping stones, even a sheltered terrace can allow you to escape from the house. The Victorians were keen on the idea of creating walks that would enable ladies in long skirts to “take a turn about the garden”. We no longer have that problem to contend with but walking in a quagmire isn’t much fun and yet even a brief airing makes the world feel a better place.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="1920" data-orig-height="1080" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img src="" alt="image" data-orig-width="1920" data-orig-height="1080"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;3) This might be the moment to consider investing in a shed, and if you already have one then how about putting a stove into it and continuing to use it through out the winter. It might feel a little “70s allotment” but it means you’re poised and ready to tackle the garden given even half a chance. It can also create a brilliant space in which to dream, plan or just chill out. Plus ensuring that you at least get to see your corner of the world outside the house. Just please ensure you fit your stove safely and with adequate ventilation&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="736" data-orig-height="981" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img src="" alt="image" data-orig-width="736" data-orig-height="981"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;4).If you have watched your prize plants floating down the garden path this summer then perhaps a pottager garden is an idea for next year. Pottager gardens, like raised beds, allow you to have a great deal more control over the soil and drainage, useful in damp and predominantly acidic conditions, and probably the only way of growing lime lovers like lavender. While watering them can be hard work in drier areas I think we can safely say we have that problem solved here.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="700" data-orig-height="438" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img src="" alt="image" data-orig-width="700" data-orig-height="438"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;5). If you are very short of space and still desperate for a chance to exercise your green fingers then a bottle garden is a great idea. All you need is a frame, some plastic bottles and compost and away you go. They look stunning and take up so little room. It should even be possible to rig a shelter over one if the weather deteriorates any further and children adore the idea.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="600" data-orig-height="450" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img src="" alt="image" data-orig-width="600" data-orig-height="450"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;6) In extremis and if the drains simply aren’t coping then adopt the approach of bending with the wind as it were - water gardens were wildly fashionable in the 80s and 90s and this might be just the right time to revive the idea. Formal, naturalistic, oriental, environmentally friendly or even accidental - there is no shortage of options.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="1040" data-orig-height="455" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img src="" alt="image" data-orig-width="1040" data-orig-height="455"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;7) If none of the above will work for you then bring the outdoors in. Succulents and terrariums are popular at present but as Hygge devotees will testify there are all sorts of options for houseplants and even bunches of cut flowers can brighten your day and that of everyone in the house.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="440" data-orig-height="600" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img src="" alt="image" data-orig-width="440" data-orig-height="600"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;8) I disagree with the maxim that there is no such thing as the wrong weather, only the wrong clothing, some activities simply can’t be enjoyed in a downpoor. However there are some which are possibly even enhanced by it. Visiting what is described as the Scottish rainforest, the layered and canopied woodlands that are so wonderfully preserved in places such as Glen Nant, is a great experience whatever the weather. I confess to a purely personal love of the sound of rain dripping onto foliage, it’s a very soothing sound&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="1379" data-orig-height="1035" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img src="" alt="image" data-orig-width="1379" data-orig-height="1035"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;9) If all of the above have failed, you can’t bear the thought of another soaking or face putting on a drysuit simply to go outdoors, then give in, pretend it’s winter and banish that discontented feeling that somehow we’re missing out on the sunshine that should be rightfully ours. Winter after all has it’s compensations.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="275" data-orig-height="183"&gt;&lt;img src="" alt="image" data-orig-width="275" data-orig-height="183"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;</description><link></link><guid></guid><pubDate>Tue, 08 Aug 2017 16:48:38 +0100</pubDate><category>summer gardening</category><category>watergarden</category><category>scottish rain forest</category><category>pottager</category><category>bottle garden</category></item><item><title>Oval Decking - Wow</title><description>&lt;p&gt;Creating the perfect deck to complement and enhance a unique rural setting.&lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="640" data-orig-height="390" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img src="" alt="image" data-orig-width="640" data-orig-height="390"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;It began when an ancient rown fell down&lt;/p&gt;&lt;!-- more --&gt;&lt;p&gt;Once it had been cleared and the stump pulled back up it looked bare and so the client asked for a deck in it’s place. I made the mistake of asking “What shape?” and the reply was “Oval, with an oval fire pit.”&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="448" data-orig-height="336" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img src="" alt="image" data-orig-width="448" data-orig-height="336"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;The first stage was to clear away an old concrete base for greenhouse and remove some bedrock to level the area ready for the deck. Once that was done the shape could be plotted. I used terram underneath to stop the weeds and built the frame work from treated 6″ x 2″ and 8″ x 2″.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="640" data-orig-height="480" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img src="" alt="image" data-orig-width="640" data-orig-height="480"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;The framing was raised at by many, many pilings set over the damp proof course on a concrete base.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="640" data-orig-height="480" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img src="" alt="image" data-orig-width="640" data-orig-height="480"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;The outer framework was built as an angled oval. Spacing between the joists was down to about 10″ with lots of dwangs to give extra strength and stability along with the massive number of supporting legs. The deck was intended to withstand some serious partying.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;The hardest part was building the oval framework around the hole for the firepit.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="640" data-orig-height="480" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img src="" alt="image" data-orig-width="640" data-orig-height="480"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;At this point the whole framework was retreated with preservative.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;The decking was then laid and the edges shaped to create the outer and inner ovals at the same time. This was really time consuming and finnicky to do.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="640" data-orig-height="480" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img src="" alt="image" data-orig-width="640" data-orig-height="480"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;The whole deck used what felt like thousands of decking screws. Once it was down it was all treated with preservative.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;The next stage was building the stone wall arround one part of the deck and the stone steps which led down to it from a higher terrace. At this point power cables were laid for the exterior lighting and power supply through the walls. &lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Where the deck would otherwise touch the cliff edge there is a 6 inch gap left and filled with small stones for drainage.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="640" data-orig-height="480" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img src="" alt="image" data-orig-width="640" data-orig-height="480"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;The hardest part was finding suitably sized stones to cap the stone walls and fire pit sides. The fire pit itself has a concrete base but still needed a metal grill to stop the concrete exploding from the heat of the fire.&lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;The lights were then installed along with the electric sockets. For lighting we used downlighters set into the adjoining cliff to light the deck at people’s feet. The client didn’t want people blinded by uplighting set into the deck.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="640" data-orig-height="381" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img src="" alt="image" data-orig-width="640" data-orig-height="381"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt; Once the terraces were filled with soil and planted the next job was to finish the sides of the deck with vertical boarding for a scandinavian effect.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="640" data-orig-height="436" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img src="" alt="image" data-orig-width="640" data-orig-height="436"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;The grass at the base was cut in to around 6 inches again and the gap filled with stones to make it easier to mow without hitting the side of the deck.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="640" data-orig-height="364" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img src="" alt="image" data-orig-width="640" data-orig-height="364"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;It took time and a lot of materials but the finished effect is worth it. The deck will need to be power washed and retreated every year, after going to this much trouble it needs to last as long as possible.&lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;</description><link></link><guid></guid><pubDate>Wed, 10 May 2017 09:50:22 +0100</pubDate><category>decking</category><category>argyll decking</category><category>rural decking</category><category>firepit</category><category>timber treatment</category><category>argyll garden</category></item><item><title>2017 Fencing and more</title><description>&lt;p&gt;2016 was a big year at &lt;a href=""&gt;Hodge Fencing &lt;/a&gt;between moving into new
  3. premises and a whole load of new ideas brewing. 2017 should see those ideas
  4. become reality.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;!-- more --&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img src="" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;The new premises have a lot more room for stock. Hodge
  5. Fencing are now stocking &lt;a href=""&gt;IAE &lt;/a&gt;equipment, they can bring in anything from the IAE
  6. range, any suggestions as to what customers would like to see permanently
  7. stocked are always welcome&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img src="" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;2017 will see the introduction of a range of fixings –
  8. chosen to work on the West Coast and specifically aimed at fencing. &lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;The woodfuels venture continues to grow and to expand the range of products on offer at &lt;a href=""&gt;Argyll Woodfuels&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img src="" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;There is a new group venture in the pipeline aimed at
  9. creating a comprehensive garden service. This will involve bringing together a
  10. number of incredibly skilled contractors from all over Argyll.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;We’ll be bringing out a range of kit sheds and offering a
  11. custom-made option in heavy duty materials through yet another group venture.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img src="" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;We have two new ranges of post in the pipeline as the
  12. industry finally gets to grips with the way treatment and timber types impact
  13. fence life.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="248" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img src="" data-orig-height="248" data-orig-width="640"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;So here 2017 will be about bringing more people with their
  14. skills and ideas together, extending the types of products we can provide and
  15. ensuring that everything we do is tailored to this area’s needs. We’ll also continue to work with the &lt;a href=""&gt;Argyll Fencers’ Co-operative Ltd&lt;/a&gt; to support local fencers.&lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="640" data-orig-width="480"&gt;&lt;img src="" data-orig-height="640" data-orig-width="480"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;</description><link></link><guid></guid><pubDate>Mon, 23 Jan 2017 14:18:24 +0000</pubDate><category>fencing</category><category>fencing co-operative</category><category>woodfuel</category><category>logs</category><category>fence</category></item><item><title>Darkness, Dreich &amp; Fires</title><description>&lt;p&gt;January is a depressing time to be a fencer; short days, bog
  16. to the knees and driving rain. January 2017 is worse with Brexit, inflation and
  17. general uncertainty looming. Stripping out oak posts, hard as iron and
  18. incapable of re-use isn’t much better, they were good posts and we’re unlikely
  19. to work with anything that good in future. There is an upside, a few short
  20. lengths, some seasoned brashing and we have ourselves a decent fire.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;!-- more --&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="553" data-orig-height="480" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img src="" alt="image" data-orig-width="553" data-orig-height="480"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;Halloween, Bonfire Night, even New Year’s day brought plenty
  21. of opportunities for a good fire, a good drink and that unforgettable smell of
  22. salt-laden air and woodsmoke, with some good company of course. This isn’t
  23. quite the same, more a chance to get my head together in the milder breezes we
  24. get between storms on the West Coast. Working outside all day I don’t feel the
  25. need for any more fresh air as such but a chance to relax with nothing much to
  26. do except feed the fire and think, that’s different.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="640" data-orig-height="480" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img src="" alt="image" data-orig-width="640" data-orig-height="480"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;I make do with a hole scraped in the turf about five foot
  27. wide as my fire pit but I’ve seen some great ones. A fencer friend of mine,
  28. Lorne Fowler who is keen on his fires, was telling me he’s just done one using
  29. a huge tractor wheel rim surrounded by stone walling for a customer. Concrete
  30. bases can be tricky as they tend to explode once they get properly hot but done
  31. right they work well. Stone is good and then there are the various options with
  32. halved metal barrels. A permanent fire pit of some kind is a great thing to
  33. have all year round but maybe especially when spring is still so far away.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="640" data-orig-height="289" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img src="" alt="image" data-orig-width="640" data-orig-height="289"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;As for what to burn; I reckon I have to say this – it’s
  34. illegal to burn treated wood, it’s also dangerous to burn it in an enclosed
  35. space. Luckily we have a constant supply of brash which allows for a lot of
  36. experimentation with different types of wood. Trust me on this, willow isn’t
  37. great and neither is alder. I quite like all the sparky softwoods – sitka,
  38. larch, douglas fir – they make for an interesting fire to stare into but I
  39. wouldn’t be so keen on them indoors. Hardwoods like Ash and Oak give off great
  40. heat, Silver Birch is good but burns very quickly, the best so far has been
  41. Blackthorn but don’t handle it without gloves, the thorns even get into my
  42. hands and all too often they turn septic. I haven’t had the courage to try
  43. elder, call me superstitious, and somehow we never have to brash rowan. Gorse
  44. and roddies will both burn on a fire with a good heart but an entire trailer
  45. load doesn’t keep the fire going for long unless you can get cleaned lengths,
  46. they take up so much space. Roddies give off a horrible smoke, if you get
  47. downwind of it you’ll end up with a serious headache, someone told me it was
  48. poisonous.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="480" data-orig-height="640" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img src="" alt="image" data-orig-width="480" data-orig-height="640"/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;Just occasionally when the blues or the company demand a
  49. quick hit of flames there is the emergency option – the Swedish candle. Use a
  50. very dry stump about three foot high, split it into quarters vertically running
  51. each cut about three quarters of the way down the stump – you need a chainsaw
  52. for that bit. Stick a fire lighter into the bottom of the crossed hole and
  53. light – perfect for parties, or just a bit of fire worship&lt;/p&gt;</description><link></link><guid></guid><pubDate>Mon, 23 Jan 2017 13:35:28 +0000</pubDate><category>firepit</category><category>brashing</category><category>woods to burn</category><category>swedish candle</category><category>dreich</category><category>bonfire</category></item><item><title>The Argyll Fencers’ Co-operative</title><description>&lt;p&gt;The &lt;a href=""&gt;Argyll Fencers’ Co-operative Ltd&lt;/a&gt; is a not-for-profit
  54. co-operative formed by and run by the fencers who make it up. It bids for
  55. contracts which its members fulfil. The members determine the bids themselves.
  56. No-one is tied into it, all members are free to work in their own right as well.
  57. The Co-op provides members with a legal vehicle through which they can join
  58. together. It also takes care of the health and safety documentation of the work
  59. and writes the tenders. Members can be self-employed, employers or employees depending
  60. on how they choose to work but as regards the Co-op they are all simply
  61. members.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;!-- more --&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="336" data-orig-width="448"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="336" data-orig-width="448" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;The Co-op was born in 2011, a product of legislation and the
  62. changing face of the fencing industry. It’s no secret that times have been hard
  63. recently for fencers, particularly in Scotland. In the last two years the Co-op
  64. has provided its members with about half of their work. It has completed every
  65. contract on time and successfully. It has helped to make members safer and more
  66. productive as well as more profitable. It also ensures that the money paid by
  67. clients, public or private sector, reaches the fragile rural economy directly.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="336" data-orig-width="448"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="336" data-orig-width="448" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;The history; the Co-op was originally a product of the
  68. &lt;a href=""&gt;Gangmasters’ Licensing Act&lt;/a&gt;s. A gangmaster’s licence cost over £2000 and
  69. involved  a lot of work. In around 2010 the
  70. GLA extended its scope and came down hard on forestry contractors and their
  71. clients working without a licence. For local fencers in Argyll that meant they
  72. could no longer hold contracts in their own right. They had no choice but to
  73. sub-contract to gangmasters from outside the area and whether they themselves
  74. could be prosecuted for working together in groups was a grey area even when
  75. they were all self-employed. They also had to accept whatever rates they were
  76. offered and however fair the existing gangmasters were it was hard for the
  77. fencers to accept comments from the client to the effect that they were “raking
  78. it in” when in fact many had accepted a drop in rate. The GLA had had the
  79. opposite effect to the one intended and it was time to adapt and survive.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;Months of research led us to &lt;a href=""&gt;Co-operative Development Scotland,&lt;/a&gt;
  80. a wonderful organisation who helped us and many other co-operatives get
  81. themselves set up. They talked us through the process of constitution and
  82. registration with unrivalled patience and professionalism, taking the time to
  83. understand what it was we wanted to achieve. I remember those months as endless
  84. form filling and phone calls, not helped by the reaction of some officialdom who
  85. heard the word “gangmaster” and obviously thought of the tragic death of the
  86. cockle pickers which originally acted as the spur for the Licensing Acts. I
  87. explained numerous times that we were a co-operative and that the nearest we
  88. had so far got to migrant labour was one member’s Polish grandfather ,
  89. occasionally eliciting disappointment, I suppose dealing with a criminal
  90. mastermind would have been much more exciting for whoever was at the other end
  91. of the phone.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="448" data-orig-width="336"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="448" data-orig-width="336" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;
  93. Finally, once we were a limited company with  a tax reference number and a PAYE number,
  94. despite that fact that the Co-op doesn’t actually employ anyone as such since
  95. it is a co-operative, we were able to apply for a gangmaster’s licence. Sending
  96. off the cheque was a leap of faith. Studying for the licence was even more of a
  97. test. I can still talk about the requirements concerning gas appliances in
  98. caravans housing migrant labour and the Agricultural Wages Board feels like an
  99. old friend. An inspector was sent out for an entire day to see if I qualified
  100. to hold the licence, checking my Health and Safety procedures, questioning my
  101. own employees and the members as well as testing my knowledge of the
  102. regulations we might have to follow. She was actually extremely helpful, with a
  103. background in Health and Safety , and took the time to point out any weaknesses
  104. in our procedures. Nevertheless I will always remember when she asked quite
  105. seriously if I was in the habit of abusing my workers. I was eight months
  106. pregnant and I remain five foot tall. In fairness if I hit one of the fencers
  107. they probably wouldn’t stop me, they’d be too busy laughing, and possibly
  108. kindly explaining how to do it properly &lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;a href=""&gt;Continued in next post&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;</description><link></link><guid></guid><pubDate>Mon, 02 May 2016 12:55:08 +0100</pubDate><category>fences</category><category>fencing</category><category>forestry fencing</category><category>deer fencing</category><category>argyll fencing</category><category>fencers co-operative</category></item><item><title>The Argyll Fencers’ Co-operative Cont.</title><description>&lt;p&gt;Once we had our licence we began the process of getting
  109. work. This is the moment to to explain about the&lt;a href=""&gt;Argyll Fencers’ Co-op’s&lt;/a&gt; directors. There’s me,
  110. I deal with the paperwork, and three lead fencers.  It’s the fencers themselves who are the key to
  111. making the Co-operative work. Three people who would once have been in
  112. competition with one another, who have their own ideas on fencing and quoting,
  113. who even have different ways of working. At present one employs their fencers
  114. through CIS, one has self-employed sub-contractors and one runs a gang who are
  115. directly self-employed each billing the Co-op or their client direct. Unless
  116. they can reach agreement on quotes and jobs the whole enterprise falls to the
  117. ground. Here’s the amazing thing; they can, they could right from the
  118. beginning. I think it works because they’re not only very intelligent men but
  119. because they’re willing to put the interests of everyone above their own
  120. individual concerns. &lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;!-- more --&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="371" data-orig-width="336"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="371" data-orig-width="336" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;Of course any member is welcome to have their say but the
  121. reality is that being a director isn’t an easy job. You have to be prepared to
  122. put in hours of slog looking at fencelines that may never turn into work and
  123. collecting information that feeds back into risk assessments and method
  124. statements. Then there are the meetings, exhausting sessions after work should
  125. be finished for the day relaying your impressions of a fenceline to the others
  126. who haven’t seen it and working out prices with due regard to what each member will
  127. need to be paid and what the market will bear. We do try to involve other
  128. members partly so that they can learn and partly of course so we don’t have to
  129. bear sole responsibility! As I said, not an easy job and credit to the men who
  130. step forward to serve.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="336" data-orig-width="448"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="336" data-orig-width="448" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;We had a lot of help right from the beginning, some of the
  131. forest managers from private companies including &lt;a href=""&gt;Tilhill&lt;/a&gt; and &lt;a href=""&gt;Scottish Woodlands&lt;/a&gt;
  132. have been very supportive and encouraging. The&lt;a href=""&gt; Forestry Commission&lt;/a&gt; are truly
  133. wonderful at explaining precisely what they need from us and also in driving up
  134. standards both of fencing and of health and safety. We also made full use of
  135. the courses on public procurement and related subjects from people such as
  136. &lt;a href=""&gt;Business Gateway&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="448" data-orig-width="336"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="448" data-orig-width="336" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;The finances of the Co-op were set up to be simple. The
  137. members work out the price for a job and then we add 5%. That 5% pays for
  138. insurance (a huge cost), accountancy fees, any other professional services
  139. needed such as environmental reports or health and safety advice. If there is
  140. anything left over I get it as payment for doing the tenders, risk assessments,
  141. method statements and general co-ordinating. Some years there is and some years
  142. I end up subsidising the Co-op. If anyone is looking to do a similar thing then
  143. I suggest increasing the percentage but I’m not planning on doing so. This is
  144. something I dreamed about doing and making a profit from it just wouldn’t feel
  145. right.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;Two years on from our inception and the Gangmasters’
  146. Licencing Authority decreed that forestry fencing was no longer within the
  147. scope of the Act. On the face of it it looked as if our reason for existing was
  148. gone. The reality was that we had found far better reasons for existing. &lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Once rival fencers stop circling one another like stags and
  149. get to talking it is amazing what they learn from one another. I think everyone’s
  150. work had improved and all had learnt tweaks and tips from one another. It can
  151. be difficult to have another fencer check your work but the benefits are huge,
  152. and after all what fencer doesn’t have a surreptitious look at other people’s
  153. work whenever he passes it? Working together to assimilate new requirements
  154. particularly health and safety requirements does make them easier to cope with.
  155. On a long day when the temptation to just nip and collect that tool on the bike
  156. might see a fencer set off without a helmet then the thought that the whole
  157. Co-op might get a black mark if he is caught can tip the balance. For the lead
  158. fencers it has become a case of explaining to new lads that together we stand
  159. and together we fall rather than a senseless demand which only he is making.
  160. No-one really wants to face a whole co-op and explain himself.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="448" data-orig-height="336" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-width="448" data-orig-height="336" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;On the whole clients preferred working with the Co-op. They
  161. might not like the idea of 5% but it starts to seem cheap when they realise
  162. what running a sizeable job entails. The ease of paying one company, having all
  163. the necessary paperwork done for them and knowing that they have the whole
  164. co-op’s skills and expertise to call upon should something go wrong or
  165. timescales get tight, that is worth a little extra. &lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;As for tenders, there is no contest as to what works best
  166. for the fencers. One man bands or small groups just don’t have the time to
  167. spare to be doing endless tenders. Even as a Co-op we have to pick and choose
  168. which present a real chance of work and which would simply be a paper exercise.
  169. Together we can provide a far better service to clients than we can as
  170. individual businesses and many jobs are simply too large for one person to
  171. tackle or even be considered for.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;Then there are the resources. Five years on we are
  172. accustomed to juggling not just machines but men, no-one needs the whole
  173. panoply of bikes, different sized track machines, thumpers, specialist rock
  174. tools, even advanced chainsaw certificates. We have it all between us and so we
  175. share. Better yet if a lead fencer has to take time out for lambing his boys
  176. are simply re-assigned to another team and learn a lot in the process. There
  177. are no stops for necessary tasks in the agricultural year for those not
  178. involved in them, time off for an operation or something similar is no problem,
  179. and if one person has too much work and another not enough then they share
  180. knowing the favour will be returned. Best of all there is a realistic prospect
  181. for every boy on the lines that one day he will end up running his own team if
  182. he chooses. &lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="336" data-orig-width="448"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="336" data-orig-width="448" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt; I wasn’t entirely
  183. sure that this was going to work when we started but it has and beyond what I
  184. imagined possible. That success is entirely due to the fencers, they have
  185. worked hard for it and it hasn’t been easy, all credit to them for creating
  186. something quite wonderful. One of the fencers we work with has a phrase when he
  187. is asked how things are going – “Living the dream, just living the dream boy”,
  188. this was a utopian dream and we’re living it.&lt;i&gt;&lt;/i&gt;&lt;/p&gt;</description><link></link><guid></guid><pubDate>Mon, 02 May 2016 12:55:02 +0100</pubDate><category>fence</category><category>fencers</category><category>fencing</category><category>argyll fences</category><category>fencers co-operative</category><category>forestry fencing</category></item><item><title>Stays : Notch or Nail?</title><description>&lt;p&gt;This is a debate which is going to divide fencers for some time to come.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;!-- more --&gt;&lt;p&gt;In the beginning stays were notched into the straining post. The debate was about what happened at the other end- to wedge, foot, tie with wire, nail or use a stone. Things have changed - there are increasing numbers of fencers who have listened to what the timber treatment guys have to say and changed to nailing their stays to the strainer. At&lt;a href=""&gt; Hodge Fencing&lt;/a&gt; we’re talking to fencers and clients about treating cut surfaces.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="640" data-orig-height="480" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-width="640" data-orig-height="480" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;Notching is supposed to be the long term solution but even in the good old days when creosote was the most comon kind of treatment if water got into the strainer at the notch it rotted from inside out. Some fencers relied on making the notch such a good fit that it was essentially watertight. Sadly with modern treatments that isn’t going to work. The “envelope treatment” system relies on any cut surfaces being retreated, otherwise the user won’t even get the 15 years “desired life expectancy” which is all that can be realistically offered. &lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="640" data-orig-height="480" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-width="640" data-orig-height="480" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;So now we have teams out there with their squirty bottles of treatment every time they trim a tie-down. The notch though is harder to treat - it’s usually a rather rough surface for a start. So for some fencers nailing is the way forward. That way you only treat the cut surface of the stay.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="640" data-orig-height="480" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-width="640" data-orig-height="480" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt; As one fencer put it “If this strainer is only likely to last 15 years then a decent 6″ nail will be fine. The worst case scenario is that the stay needs replacing within that time. That’s still better than hacking into the strainer now and discovering that it needs replacing in a few years time.”&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="640" data-orig-height="480" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-width="640" data-orig-height="480" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;This is a change in practice that’s being driven by a realistic assessment of the likely length of life of the modern fence. If the choice is between preserving the treatment envelope intact and building a good looking fence which is certain to rot more quickly then most clients would go for the former but very few of them understand the issue. Perhaps fencers have a duty to get their own heads around the problem and educate the customer.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="640" data-orig-height="378" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-width="640" data-orig-height="378" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;</description><link></link><guid></guid><pubDate>Tue, 29 Dec 2015 22:33:52 +0000</pubDate><category>timber treatment</category><category>fenceposts</category><category>desired life</category><category>warranty timber</category><category>fencing stay</category><category>corner stay</category><category>useclass4 timber</category><category>stock fencing</category></item><item><title>Delivery instructions translated</title><description>&lt;p&gt;With 15 odd years experience at following delivery directions I think we’re finally getting the hang of it at Hodge Fencing. Here is a light hearted guide to a few common instructions and their translations.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;!-- more --&gt;&lt;p&gt;1) You can’t miss it&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Translation - Well we missed it but only the first three times and nearly all of our visitors have found it eventually, apart from Aunt Prue that is, apparently she spent 3 days driving round Kintyre before giving up.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;2) Where the new house will be.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Translation - consult Argyll &amp;amp; Bute council’s planning department website, it’s your best and indeed your only chance of finding the drop site.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;3) The second gateway on the right after the junction&lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Translation- the second gateway not counting the rather overgrown one that no-one ever uses, until now that is.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;4) 300 yards after the yellow JCB&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Translation - it’s orange, it’s not a JCB and it moves, usually about 2 hours before the delivery is due to arrive.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;5) Where the large pine tree was.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Translation- consult the postman, the nearest local shop or failing those, the local tree surgeon.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;6) There is plenty of room to turn&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Translation - there is plenty of room to turn for a mini.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;7) You should get over the bridge no problem&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Translation- it’s rated for 3 tonnes and you don’t weigh more than 6 so that should be fine.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;8) I’ll send a map&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Translation- but I won’t put any co-ordinates on it because I know you’ll have hours of fun comparing the detail of one section of forest road to most of the Ordnance Survey maps for the area trying to work out which forest the map refers to.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;9) Site officer’s Contact details&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Translation - this is a bit of an in joke. The details are actually for somone who retired and left the company 3 months ago but it’s a good way to remember him and anyone who matters knows who they need to get in touch with now.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;10) Brief site induction&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Translation - the site induction takes 15 minutes but tracking down the man who does it takes 3.4 days.&lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;</description><link></link><guid></guid><pubDate>Mon, 09 Nov 2015 18:12:44 +0000</pubDate><category>delivery information</category><category>delivery instruction</category><category>delivery directions</category></item><item><title>Metal post Fencing</title><description>&lt;p&gt;&lt;b&gt;Clipex Demo  &lt;br/&gt;&lt;/b&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;b&gt;Method of Building&lt;/b&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Clipex fencing is built differently from conventional
  189. fencing. &lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;!-- more --&gt;&lt;p&gt;Strainers are put up first as normal but the strainers
  190. themselves are different.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;The strut clips into predrilled holes on the metal straining
  191. post. The “foot” of the strut is placed on top of a ground plate and a pin is
  192. driven through both and part of the way into the ground. At that point a
  193. bracing wire is passed round the pin and the strainer and tensioned with a
  194. gripple to brace the two together. Then the pin is driven the remainder of the
  195. way into the ground.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Instead of running out a line wire to get a line the idea is
  196. that the net be run out and tensioned – this is done before the stobs or
  197. intermediate posts are put in. The reason for doing it this way is so that
  198. the net doesn’t catch into the clips on the intermediate posts before it’s
  199. strained or during straining. The clips would prevent it from pulling up
  200. properly. Once the net is up the intermediate posts are put in and clipped to
  201. the fence line.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="640" data-orig-width="480"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="640" data-orig-width="480" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;The net was pulled up using clamps and working net to net.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Instead of conventional tie downs the clipex system uses a
  202. type of ground anchor. A shoe with a wire attached is driven into the ground
  203. using a metal bar. The bar is then retracted. The wire is attached to the post,
  204. netting or strainer to be tied down and tensioned using gripples.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Gates are hung on separate posts to strainers.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Line wires, barbed wires and electric fencing can be
  205. attached above. The net wasn’t lashed in anyway.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="1024" data-orig-width="768"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="1024" data-orig-width="768" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;b&gt;Clipex in Practice&lt;/b&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;b&gt; &lt;/b&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;We set the team from Clipex 3 fencelines, the first was a
  206. simple line around a low ground field with good soil depth, the second was a
  207. more challenging line on a steep slope with turns and tie downs required, the
  208. third was very nasty with virtually no soil and some difficult climbs.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;The first line went up very quickly, one man who was also
  209. demonstrating and so stopping to speak, had just over 50m up in around 3 hours.
  210. The contractors were impressed at the speed with which it went up and the
  211. stability of the strainers, we used a hinge jointed net and it worked
  212. perfectly.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="640" data-orig-width="480"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="640" data-orig-width="480" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;The second line was more of a challenge. We used their X
  213. fence and that rode the ground well, the contractors liked both it and the
  214. barbed wire. The first modification that the contractors wanted, and which was
  215. echoed on day 2  by the Forestry
  216. Commission was a screw in hook to hold the net down on strainers to allow up
  217. hill tensioning without pulling the wire up the smooth side of the strainer.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="640" data-orig-width="480"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="640" data-orig-width="480" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt; The Clipex team used
  218. a beefy post to display it’s strength as a turner and the method of pulling
  219. wire round it using a driving sleeve (metal tube which fits over post and is
  220. used to protect it during thumping) was much admired. The sleeves themselves
  221. are a great idea as they fit over the post, the user drives the post down and
  222. when the base of the sleeve touches the ground then the post is in far enough.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="640" data-orig-width="480"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="640" data-orig-width="480" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;The fencers found they were searching for sufficient depth
  223. to get the intermediate posts into the ground and had to make some
  224. modifications to posts with a grinder.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;The Clipex team chose to put up a section of deer fence on
  225. the third section using a one piece net. They are currently still developing a
  226. two piece net post.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Despite the very difficult ground the clipex posts performed
  227. well&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;Again the lack of a hook for holding net down was a
  228. difficulty when straining the net and some of the intermediates had to be cut
  229. down. A bracing post would also have been useful but there is a strut and
  230. bracket for use on the beefy post where that is used as a turner and had there
  231. been any left we could have used one of those.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;The clipex came into it’s own on rock, the Clipex team have
  232. produced a separate rock post with a rebar point which can be resined into
  233. holes in the rock. Unlike the conventional system where the rock is drilled, a
  234. metal post is set into it, and then the wooden post is nailed onto that, the
  235. Clipex post was ready to go as soon as the resin had set.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="640" data-orig-width="480"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="640" data-orig-width="480" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;There were questions about the abundant use of gripples as
  236. some of the contractors have had bad experiences with them giving up after a
  237. number of years. It would also be possible to use crimps or preformed
  238. connectors but the clipex team admitted that one of the reasons it is so fast
  239. to put up is the use gripples. These can be backed up with preformed connectors
  240. or with traditional knots.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="640" data-orig-width="480"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="640" data-orig-width="480" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;The contractors concluded that in parkland it would be a
  241. great system and that it would also be worth using on very difficult ground
  242. given the greater fence life. It will require modification for very difficult
  243. ground and the Clipex team have gone away with a number of ideas on how to
  244. better suit it to the West Coast. It may have fewer advantages on moderately
  245. difficult but accessible ground where it would be relatively easy to replace
  246. wooden fencing.&lt;/p&gt;</description><link></link><guid></guid><pubDate>Sun, 08 Nov 2015 14:49:01 +0000</pubDate><category>clipex</category><category>metal fenceposts</category><category>metal fencing</category><category>Y posts</category><category>clippex fence</category><category>30 year guarantee fence</category></item><item><title>Hanging Gates Inside Sheds</title><description>&lt;p&gt;The options for hanging gates inside your sheds are extensive: weld on hooks, hooks on plates, square gate post hangers, round gate post hangers and of course, removable posts to hang with sockets and caps. Now there is a new idea - the adjustable RSJ Gate Hanger&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="480"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="480" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;!-- more --&gt;&lt;p&gt;This will bolt to fit an H beam upright and can be moved up or down depending on the depth of bedding in the shed. Genius idea. No more welding on extra hooks as the level goes up. No more snagging tractor wheels on protruding weld on hooks while mucking out. No more trying to work out whether somone sold the socket caps to the scrappy last winter without realising. That’s better. To get your hands on some ring &lt;a href=""&gt;Hodge Fencing&lt;/a&gt; on 01631 563271.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;If you are now cursing the absence of suitable H beam uprights in your shed then here is a round up of the other options.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;For when you have no uprights at all but can make holes in the floor - lift out posts to hang and slam with sockets and caps. These come in round and square and can be configured to meet your requirements - allow a long lead time to get specials made but they are a great option.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;For when you have uprights or can fit them and have a welder handy - weld on hooks with straight or radius edges and gate eyes to weld.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="480"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="480" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;For when you have timber or concrete to which you can drill - various sizes and types of hooks on plates and also vertical gate hangers for metal gates.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="480"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="480" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;For when you have posts but can’t drill holes in them - the square and tubular post gate hangers which bolt to fit posts. The square ones also have an option of eyes on the corner.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;If you can concrete hooks into a wall then we have hooks to build, or indeed to bolt through, screw through or screw on.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="480"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="480" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;If none of the above will work then call us, be prepared to send photographs and draw diagrams but we love a challenge:-) 01631 563271 &lt;a href=""&gt;Hodge Fencing&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;</description><link></link><guid></guid><pubDate>Fri, 09 Oct 2015 12:57:33 +0100</pubDate><category>cattle wintering</category><category>winteringindoors</category><category>gatesinsheds</category><category>hanging gates</category><category>how to hang gates</category><category>cattlehousing</category><category>cattlehandling</category></item><item><title>Feed Equipment. IAE’s pick</title><description>&lt;p&gt;IAE’s choice of feed equipment&lt;br/&gt;I asked Andrew, the experienced IAE rep for Scotland who has a farming background, what his choice for feed equipment would be this winter.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;!-- more --&gt;&lt;p&gt;First up Andrew would choose their Rectangular Feed Bin on Skids with Steel Trough.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="1024" data-orig-height="450" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-width="1024" data-orig-height="450" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt; Product code  F030 2001 01 or 02. It’s a pre galvanised sheet metal trough feeding trough with a centre ridge. It comes in two sizes, one with 22 feed spaces and one with 26 feed spaces. It is either 2440mm long by 1370mm wide by 1360mm high or 3050mm long by the same width and height. The main frame is 40 x40mm RHS with 35mm tube vertical rails and 48.3mm skids. It has drainage holes in each corner and easily withstands loading with a trailer. Andrew believes it will last far longer that the timber based feed bin.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Andrew’s second choice would be the Big Bale Square Feeder, he likes it because you can open the door and place the bale inside but also lift  it back out if it isn’t being eaten.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="1024" data-orig-height="450" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-width="1024" data-orig-height="450" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt; It’s ideal for up to 10 non-horned cattle. Product code F030 2007 10. It is 1780mm x 1780mm x 1900 mm high. Its described as a treated timber feed trough incorporating one full width opening gate for ease of filling.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Andrew’s third choice, and my favourite, is the Big Bale Hayrack and Manger Unit.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="1024" data-orig-height="450" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-width="1024" data-orig-height="450" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt; It’s ideal for cattle with horns and given the often sodden state of the ground here in Argyll it can be a big help. Product number is F030 2006 01. It is described as a 1700mm long x 1450mm wide x 1900mm high hayrack and manger with 3 point linkage which reduces feed wastage.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;For calves Andrew likes the Super Heavy Duty Calf Creep hot dip galvanised – product code F030 2025 06 – as he thinks the extra cost will be more than justified by length of life.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="1024" data-orig-height="450" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-width="1024" data-orig-height="450" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt; It has 50 x 50mm SHS framework and a full length hayrack with adjustable horizontal creep rail. It will feed approximately 20 -25 animals and now has larger diameter quick release rollers for vertical front creep apertures.  It is 2500mm long and 1800mm wide and 1500mm high with a 455 litre hopper. It comes fitted with pallet fork attachment and 3 point linkage options for transport or there is a lifting frame available as an optional extra. It is fitted with a sliding lid and 2 diagonal hopper bracing for added strength. A bird flap is available as an optional extra if required. We have seen several of these over the last few years and watched the design being refined and improved, they are great bits of kit.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Andrew also liked the Low Level Beef Trough on legs which allows calves to reach in. &lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="599" data-orig-height="263" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-width="599" data-orig-height="263" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;Product code F030 2016 30. It is 675mm high by 786 mm wide by 2440mm long. It is 230mm deep. It comes with straight legs as standard and 2 x welded bracings for added strength.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Of course there are number of other options in feed troughs&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure data-orig-width="1024" data-orig-height="449" class="tmblr-full"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-width="1024" data-orig-height="449" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;If you’re interested in feeding equipment for the winter be sure to start looking in plenty of time as it can take 6 weeks to get equipment from IAE and do please give us a call at Hodge Fencing on 01631 563271&lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;</description><link></link><guid></guid><pubDate>Sun, 13 Sep 2015 21:28:05 +0100</pubDate><category>feedequipment</category><category>livestock feeding</category><category>feedtrough</category><category>hayrack</category><category>calfcreep</category><category>IAE equipment</category></item><item><title>Finishing off a fence</title><description>&lt;p&gt;This is a brief hymn in praise of the D rail.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="532"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="532" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;!-- more --&gt;&lt;p&gt;There is a magic about certain proportions - somehow the length of chassis on a 110 Defender makes it the ultimate towing machine, old sash and casement windows have a rightness which is very hard to replicate, so many things just work better in threes. The D rail goes firmly into the “very slightly magic” class. It has the ability to make just about any fence look good. In fact the D rail is the fencing equivalent of the most flattering piece of clothing you own, fencers take note.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;D rail used alone as a railing fence looks good, it continues to look good even when the fence’s proportions and spacing are all wrong (sometimes even the best fencer has to compromise in order to keep stock in or out). &lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;Used as a capping rail it gives the fence a fantastic finish and as a capping rail to board fencing it upscales the whole effect. It is also a lot easier to replace a section of D rail than a section of a complicated design only manufactured for 3 years and inevitably discontinued the year before the tree lands on your garden fence. At &lt;a href=""&gt;Hodge Fencing&lt;/a&gt; we won’t run out any time soon.&lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="640" data-orig-width="480"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="640" data-orig-width="480" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;Used as a raised bed, a bench or as gates, tree guards and edging it just looks right. It also has a flat surface front and back making it very easy to work with. It’s a half finished rail treated for exterior use. It’s an all round pretty useful piece of timber, long live the D rail.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;</description><link></link><guid></guid><pubDate>Wed, 09 Sep 2015 21:36:40 +0100</pubDate><category>railing</category><category>Garden Fence</category><category>raised beds</category><category>railing fence</category><category>ranch fence</category><category>postandrail</category></item><item><title>Saving money on Fencing</title><description>&lt;p&gt;There are two ways to save money; if you’re in your property for the long haul then I’ll give you all the tips to ensure your fencing lasts as long as possible. If this is a quick fix for a problem and you’re looking for cheapest solution then look at the second part of this article. Either way you’ll save money by being absolutely clear on what you want to achieve before you start. The other hot tip for saving money before you begin is to consult your neighbours, the roads department if appropriate and most importantly the local planning office – putting up a fence is expensive enough without having to pay to take it down again. &lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;!-- more --&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;b&gt;Make it Last&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br/&gt;If you’re putting up a fence to enhance your property you want it to last as long as possible and save you the expense of having it taken down and replaced a minute before it’s necessary.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="331" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="331" data-orig-width="640" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;1) The first way to save money is to get the spec right. Specifically this means use posts which are heavy enough for the job. So if you’re putting up a board fence at anything over 1.2m high use 100 x 100 posts, 75 x 75mm is not big enough. If you’re hanging a gate, even a tiddler, use a 150mm round post  or a 150 x 150 square, a 100 x 100 is not heavy enough.  If you’re using a hanging rail for a hit and miss fence go over spec, if you’re using sarking for a ranch or board fence use 22mm not 19mm. It may cost a few pounds more now but it will save you plenty over the next 15 years.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;2) The second way to save is to get the timber treatment right. You want your rails and boards to be pressure treated for exterior use with CCP – that’s Hazard Class3 if anyone is asking. You want your posts to be pressure treated for ground contact with CCP – Hazard Class 4. Don’t use finished timber that has only been treated for interior use, or off cuts, or accept any talk about not needing to treat larch or douglas fir or whatever. If it’s square sawn timber for fencing it needs treated and it needs the right amount of treating, painting on Ronseal won’t do the same job. &lt;br/&gt;Having said that you do need to treat cut surfaces preferably with the treatment the timber supplier sells specifically for that purpose. After you’ve done that then by all means cover your posts in timber stain or whatever you want to use and reapply as often as you can face doing it. &lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;The only way to improve on the life expectancy of treated timber posts is to coat the base of each post in creosote up to around 4” above ground level. &lt;br/&gt;If you want special upright boards consider cutting your own from 22mm sarking and treating the cut surfaces yourself, I promise they’ll last longer than any pre-made, imported slats as well as being far cheaper.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;3) The third way is to get the rest right – so gate fittings should be galvanised not black japanned where possible, screws should be green coated if possible to avoid rusting or blackening the timber, rabbit netting should be 18 guage, netting should be 2 Life. Ask your supplier for advice rather than going for the cheapest option, cheap now doesn’t often mean cheap over time.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="412" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="412" data-orig-width="640" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;4) The fourth way is to build in a certain amount of “replacebility”. If you’re putting up a fence drill holes and use screws or even techscrews not nails so that you can replace individual components. Pre-drilling will also reduce the amount of timber splitting you get over time. If you have very unusual boards on an upright fence then it’s a good idea to buy a few extra and stash them in the garage so that you can replace any accidental damage.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="336" data-orig-width="448"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="336" data-orig-width="448" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;5) The fifth way to make it last is basic maintenance. The flapping board will cause more damage to the whole fence, the dragging gate will eventually cost you a whole new gate and possibly a post. Inspect all your fencing at the beginning of autumn and check it after every major storm. Nothing lasts forever and fencing doesn’t last as long as it used to because the new treatments are not as good as the old but that isn’t a reason to short change yourself as well.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;These are &lt;a href=""&gt;Hodge Fencing’s&lt;/a&gt; tips on reducing the cost rather than extending the life.&lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;b&gt;How to Make it Cheaper Now&lt;/b&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;b&gt;&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br/&gt;1) First work out exactly what you need your fence to do. If all you want is to keep the dog or the children off the road then consider netting – sheep fence type square net or rabbit net which is harder to climb. Netting will always work out cheaper than timber fencing.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="640" data-orig-width="480"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="640" data-orig-width="480" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;2) Second work out how long you need it to last. If you only need it for a few years then you can downgrade the spec – corner posts don’t need to be 150 or 175, you could use 125mm. Uprights can be 1.65 x 75mm round and the gaps can be up to 4m if the ground allows. A roll of line wire varies between 250m and 650m in length depending on thickness but they all cost the same so if you’re prepared to wrestle with HT line wire buy the longest and add strengthen your fence with lots of runs of line wire.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;3) Third work out who is doing what. You may not be able to put up a fence yourself but fencing breaks down into several stages and you could probably do bits of it yourself. I’ve listed the stages below&lt;br/&gt;a) Remove the old fence&lt;br/&gt;b) Clear the line of vegetation and obstacles&lt;br/&gt;c) Dig holes for the corner posts&lt;br/&gt;d) Set out the line&lt;br/&gt;e) Put in the intermediate posts&lt;br/&gt;f) The rest – put up net, line wire or boards.&lt;br/&gt;If you could do one stage or more yourself and are using a contractor make that clear and stick to it. If the contractor gets to the point where you were supposed to take over and you’re not there then he is going to charge you for doing it himself but if you’re there and the work is done then it’s all good. &lt;br/&gt;If you are going for a vertical board fence consider buying long lengths and cutting the slats yourself, if you treat the cut surfaces they will last longer than any pre-cut, imported slats and they’ll be about a third of the price.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;4) Fourthly plan your fence properly, get out on the ground and work out precisely where you want your fence to be, mark the line with pegs and make sure it’s clear. If you change your mind or if the contractor has to move the fence because the line wasn’t clear then you do have to pay for that.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;5) Fifthly fence for winter not summer, tree stakes would be quite adequate for most of summer but come the winter whatever you put up should stay up. Broken fencing isn’t cheap fencing and a rail through the neighbour’s greenhouse is very expensive indeed.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="448" data-orig-width="336"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="448" data-orig-width="336" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;6) it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to look good, a rabbit net fence isn’t the most attractive object ever but a couple of pots of evergreen honeysuckle will solve that problem more cheaply than expensive fence panels&lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;</description><link></link><guid></guid><pubDate>Wed, 12 Aug 2015 16:03:22 +0100</pubDate><category>Garden Fencing</category><category>fencing</category><category>Garden Fence</category><category>garden diy</category><category>savemoneyonfencing</category><category>thriftyfencing</category><category>makeitlast</category><category>makeitcheaper</category></item><item><title>Protective Electric Fence</title><description>&lt;p&gt;Installing an electric fence line to protect your garden fence and the plants inside it from damage by cattle or other stock is much simpler than it looks. This is our step by step guide to planning and installing a single electric fence line.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;!-- more --&gt;&lt;p&gt;It’s worth taking the time to install the line carefully. If you use good quality electric fencing then you should get many years of use from your fence. If you only need it during summer then you can simply wind up the electro-rope at the end of the season and store it for re-use next year. Here’s how to do it.&lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;First plan your fence. If there is a lot of public access past your planned fenceline then you may wish to reconsider, particularly if there is any risk of young children being affected. You should always install warning signs before switching your fence on. &lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;Consult with the owners of the land on the other side of your fence and ensure that everyone understands when the electric fence will be live.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Choose a line for your fence which will avoid dense vegetation. An electric fence wire or rope must not come into contact with plants or any other object apart from the insulators. If the fence is going to change direction it must be  supported and protected as below.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="640" data-orig-width="480"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="640" data-orig-width="480" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Electric fencelines can be led underground underneath gateways. There are offset insulators available which hold the wire 10 - 20cm away from the post or above it if required.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="640" data-orig-width="480"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="640" data-orig-width="480" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;Measure the total length of your line and the number and size of gateways. Determine the position of your insulators - the bits which attach to your existing fence posts and guide and support your electric fence.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Second speak to you local fencing supplier and have them provide with the components you need. Rutland electric fencing is one of the most relaible makes, the Argyll agents are&lt;a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;. For the West Coast because of our high winds it’s best to use electro-rope for short runs and 7 strand electro wire for medium runs. Long runs would use 2.5HT galv wire. Again because of our challenging weather it is good practice to get a heavier duty energiser than the minimum required. &lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;You will need an energiser, an earth stake, electro rope or wire, insulators, warning signs and end strain insulators. If you are using undergate cable you will need connectors and the cable itself. You can also use a spring handled gate or a flexi gate. This is best discussed in detail with your supplier. Ordering a cheap kit online may prove to be an expensive exercise when it needs additions or proves inadequate for your fenceline. &lt;a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Once you have your electric fencing kit. Choose a position for your earth stake and energiser. The earth stake goes into the ground. Site your energiser and connect it to the earth stake using the green lead.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Position all your insulators so that the line wire will be supported and protected from contact with anything else for the whole of it’s run.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Take the electro rope or 7 strand wire to the end of the fenceline along with an end strain insulator. Tie a loop of electro rope round the end post and attach the end strain insulator to it. Now use the second hole in the end strain insulator to attach your main run of electric fencing. This is your termination point. Your main run of electro rope should only be in contact with and tied to the end strain insulator.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;Work back towards your energiser fixing the electro rope into the insulators. If you go round a corner you must ensure that the rope is insulated from the entire post, use a tied on end strain insulator where possible or tube insulation.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;When you reach the energiser repeat the procedure with the end strain insulator tied to a post. Then tie off the main run of the electric fence to the end strain insulator, ensure that it is properly tensioned.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="599"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="599" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;Now put your warning signs on to the fence.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Then put batteries into your energiser. Using the red lead attach the energiser. If you have a tester test the fence at the point nearest the energiser to check the unit is working. Then test the fence at the point furthest from the energiser. If it is not working at the furthest point work back towards the energiser to locate the problem which is likely to be something in contact with the rope or 7 strand wire such as vegetation shown below. Do not touch the fenceline until you have turned it off at the energiser.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;Gates : use an end strain insulator to end your wire or rope off on the first side of the gate. Lay a long length of undergate cable in the ground in a trench beneath the gateway, preferably in alkathene pipe. Leave enough cable either side to bring up to the electro rope with a long length left over either side. Connect the undergate cable to the first electro rop end leaving a length of undergate cable going vertically upwards from the electro rope join and then bending over to come down again. This is to ensure that there is slack and more importantly to prevent water running down the insulated cable. Secure the undergate cable safely to the gatepost. Repeat with procedure of tying on an end strainer and then attaching electro rope on the far side. Then attach the undergate cable to the elctro rope or 7 strand cable, there are electro clamps specifically for joining the two or the undergate cable can be stripped and tied.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="588"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="588" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;You may also wish to consider a lightning arrestor if your fence is permanent or long term.&lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;</description><link></link><guid></guid><pubDate>Sat, 18 Jul 2015 20:35:07 +0100</pubDate></item><item><title>How to make a Raised Bed</title><description>&lt;p&gt;Making a 1.8m long by 0.6m wide by 0.3m deep raised bed, filling it and adding a capping rail = massive glow of satisfaction and a deep, weed free bit of earth to play with. Here are the step by step instructions.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="457" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="457" data-orig-width="640" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;!-- more --&gt;&lt;p&gt;You will need &lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;2 lengths of pressure treated off saw 4.8m x 150 x 48mm timber&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;1 post 1.5 x 75 x 75 pressure treated off saw timber (you don’t need the pointed bit but we just happened to have one)&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;A handful of 4″ galvanised nails - you could drill and screw this but we wanted to keep it simple, drilling and screwing would be a tad more professional though. &lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Some timber treatment might also help make your raised beds last longer.&lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;A hammer, a handsaw, a pencil and a tape measure.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;If you are adding a capping rail you will also need 2 no. 3.6m lengths of 38 x 88 D profile rail and a handful of 3″ galv nails.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;10 bags of compost if using compost to fill&lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Got all those and you’re good to go.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;This is an open based planter because planters or raised beds will be more productive if they are based on ground or soil beneath them than if they are enclosed by a base. It doesn’t need to be pegged or anchored into the ground, once its filled it won’t go anywhere. So to begin&lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;b&gt;1) Cut your timber&lt;/b&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Measure and mark 2 lengths of 150 x 48mm at 1.8m out of each piece of 4.8m. Cut each of your four pieces at just inside the pencil mark to allow for the width of the saw cut.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Next take the 2 remaining pieces of 150 x 48mm and cut them exactly in half.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Measure, mark and cut your 75 x 75mm post into 4 pieces 0.3m long, there will be a left over, sorry about that.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="377" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="377" data-orig-width="640" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;To ensure your raised bed lasts as long as possible you should treat all cut surfaces and ends, just saying.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;b&gt;2) Assembly&lt;/b&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Place 2 short end pieces of the 150mm x 48mm on the ground, one above the other, on top of a piece of 75 x 75mm. Line the edge of the 75 x 75mm up flush with the ends of the 150 x 48mm. Nail together making sure that the nail is roughly centred on the 75 x 75mm to avoid splitting. &lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;Use a second piece of 75 x 75mm to repeat on the other end of the 150mm x 48mm.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;Now make the other end in the same way.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;Once you have two end pieces complete take two of the longer lengths of 150mm x 48mm and lay them on the ground, one above the other. Put a side piece under the long pieces at one end, set them flush with the side piece pointing upwards. Nail the long pieces to the 75 x75mm to create a corner of your raised bed.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="640" data-orig-width="480"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="640" data-orig-width="480" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;Repeat for all four corners.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="640" data-orig-width="480"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="640" data-orig-width="480" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;Now it’s rather heavy, co-opt somone else to help you heave it into it’s final position&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;b&gt;3) Position and fill&lt;/b&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Choose a flat area for your raised bed. You may have to dig ground away to create a level base.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt; Fill the bed with earth or compost. Ours needed 10 bags of compost to fill it. Tamp your earth or compost down well before planting otherwise later it will settle to a much lower level and it is difficult to top up around plants.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;You can plant it at this stage but if you are going to put a decorative capping rail on then keep your plants 75mm away from the edge.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;If you’re not using a decorative capping rail then you’re done now, enjoy&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;b&gt;4) Capping rail&lt;/b&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Measure the length of the long sides of your planter from outside edge to outside edge. Measure, mark and cut 2 lengths of capping rail of that length.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Mark a 45 degree triangle off the end of a capping rail piece and cut it. repeat at the other end to give one very long edge and one very short edge.Do the same with the other cut length of capping rail.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;Place the two pieces of capping rail onto the raised bed sides, keep the longest edge of capping rail flush with the outside of the raised bed. Measure the distance between the two capping rails at either end, outside corner to outside corner.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Measure, mark and cut two pieces of capping rails to correspond with the two lengths you have measured - they will be almost the same.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Repeat the 45 degree angle procedure with each end of your two cut pieces.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Lay your end pieces of capping rail onto the raised bed and nail them all in place with your 3″ nails.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="640" data-orig-width="466"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="640" data-orig-width="466" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;Enjoy, with a well earned cuppa. Materials supplied by &lt;a href=""&gt;Hodge Fencing&lt;/a&gt;&lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;</description><link></link><guid></guid><pubDate>Wed, 24 Jun 2015 20:40:25 +0100</pubDate><category>raised beds</category><category>raised garden beds</category><category>planter</category><category>diy projects</category><category>garden</category><category>garden diy</category><category>buildyourownraisedbed</category></item><item><title>Garden Deer Fences</title><description>&lt;p&gt;If you’re wondering why you’re getting deer damage despite having a deer fence then I may have the answer. Sadly you need to fence your garden to the same standard that you would fence a 1000 acre new plantation, the deer don’t shrink with the length of the fence. Your choice shrubs may even be tempting them to greater efforts. Read on for the most common fixes for deer fencing.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;!-- more --&gt;&lt;p&gt;First you need to check the condition of your fence. If the strainers have lifted or their stays have given up then the fence is likely to be slack. Most people are astonished at the size of the gap deer can get through, although it helps if you know what variety of deer you’re worrying about. As a general rule netting manufacturers make even their top nets with gaps smaller than 20cm by 30cm. &lt;br/&gt;Take a look to see of your net is slack enough to be pushed apart to that size. &lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="640" data-orig-width="480"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="640" data-orig-width="480" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;West Coast deer fences are usually constructed of split net, it’s easier to carry over rough ground and pulls up better on bad ground. &lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;Between the tension on the wires and the way they are lashed together putting up a fence is less like building and more like rigging, check to see yours is taught and tied in.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="640" data-orig-width="480"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="640" data-orig-width="480" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;Your posts may have rotted at ground level . With modern “envelope” treatments it’s very  important that every cut surface must be retreated. Your other option is to opt for metal fencing like Clippex.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="640" data-orig-width="480"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="640" data-orig-width="480" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;Occasionally the tie downs on a fence - the short posts placed at angles to hold the fence tight to the ground - may have rotted before the rest. &lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;The stays - diagonal posts against the end posts - may also have gone in which case the strainer will probably also need replacing. Straining posts need real depth, postcrete is great but no substitute for a deep enough hole.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="640" data-orig-width="480"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="640" data-orig-width="480" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;Next check your gateways. When there are people around then you’re unlikely to have deer but check back to see how inviting they look at 3am, then make sure you have the gaps around your gate filled in.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;Look up, are you sure your fence is high enough, the Forestry Commission has been putting up fences 1.8m high recently and heightening those if there is rising ground on the far side.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Do you have railing sections, think carefully about whether they are close enough together. If they aren’t then perhaps some galvanised net stapled over the top? &lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;Galvanised net is surprisingly unobtrusive and tends to show up less than the green net.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;If there are watergates then they may be the culprit. There are no final solutions to the problem of letting water and debris through but keeping deer out. Watergates are best regarded as a work in progress and need regular maintenance.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;The Forestry Commission standard for underfill in Argyll involves filling all gaps larger than 75mm, and underfill is vulnerable to damage so that’s often the cause of the problem. &lt;/p&gt;&lt;figure class="tmblr-full" data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640"&gt;&lt;img data-orig-height="480" data-orig-width="640" alt="image" src=""/&gt;&lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;If none of the above have worked then a final solution is an offset wire, usually an electric fence. A word of warning though, I asked the vastly experienced Andy at Rutland if there was an electric fence set up he could recommend as a long term solution against deer on the West Coast and his answer was typically straightforward - “No”. All other materials available from &lt;a href=""&gt;Hodge Fencing&lt;/a&gt;&lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;</description><link></link><guid></guid><pubDate>Thu, 28 May 2015 21:18:13 +0100</pubDate><category>deer fence</category><category>garden fence</category><category>garden fencing</category><category>deer fencing</category><category>deer damage</category><category>forestry fencing</category><category>protectyourgarden</category></item><item><title>Registration Deadline 15th May</title><description>&lt;p&gt;All users of the new Rural Payments and Services system must register online by the 15th of May. This deadline remains unchanged. The deadline for submission of SAF has been put back to 15th June as has the application for Entitlements but the deadline for registration has not changed. Register at &lt;a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;, contact your agent or visit a RPID office.&lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;</description><link></link><guid></guid><pubDate>Wed, 13 May 2015 12:21:07 +0100</pubDate></item><item><title>SRDP Roadshow Pillar 2: Part 1</title><description>&lt;p&gt;&lt;b&gt;Overview and Agri Environment Climate Scheme&lt;/b&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;b&gt;Overview&lt;/b&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Applications for all SRDP Pillar 2 schemes will be delayed until March at earliest, contracts will not be issued until 2016, there is a very short window for applications for those schemes which do open this year and as a result it is unlikely that many applications will be processed. There is effectively a 2 year waiting period until the majority of land owners or managers are likely to see a contract in 2017, leaving a longer period still until works are completed and payments made. There will be 400 contracts for designated sites issued in the next few weeks.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;!-- more --&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;b&gt;Agri Environment Climate Scheme&lt;/b&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;The focus of the farming industry’s attention at least in the Western Highlands where the Greening requirements don’t have much relevance will be on the Agri Environment Climate Scheme.&lt;br/&gt;The AECS (now pronounced “aches” as in aches and pains) is similar to schemes we have seen previously but is now more competitive, more targeted and has a limited budget. &lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;b&gt;Application Timeframes&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br/&gt;Applications for the first round of AECS will be submitted from mid March until 29 May 2015. SGRPID are aware that this is a short period but believe that by extending it they would not be able to issue contracts at the beginning of 2016. The greatest challenge facing land managers and advisers is that of getting an application in on time, with many already being stretched to the limit by the demands of mapping and Pillar 1. There will not be many applications going forward this year.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;The key message to farmers and land managers is that they must get on line and register now at &lt;a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;b&gt;AECS Priorities&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br/&gt;The SRDP priorities towards which the scheme has been targeted have seen few changes although SGRPID has now launched its new online service which they intend to build on over time&lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;The scheme is targeted at&lt;br/&gt;- vulnerable species, habitats and ecology networks&lt;br/&gt;- the protection of designated sites&lt;br/&gt;- reducing greenhouse gas emissions and securing carbon sinks&lt;br/&gt;- improving water by decreasing diffuse pollution&lt;br/&gt;- natural flood risk management&lt;br/&gt;- organic farming&lt;br/&gt;- controlling invasive non-native species&lt;br/&gt;- preserving historic environments&lt;br/&gt;- improving public access&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;b&gt;AECS Application Process&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;The process of applying for SRDP management grants has 6 key steps&lt;br/&gt;1. Consult the website&lt;br/&gt;2. Use the targeting tool&lt;br/&gt;3. Complete the Farm Environmental Assessment&lt;br/&gt;4. Online Application&lt;br/&gt;5. Upload Supporting Documents&lt;br/&gt;6. Application Scoring and Assessment&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;b&gt;Eligibility&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Those eligible are farmers, crofters, common grazing committees and other land managers. Third party works for necessary capital works on behalf of consenting land owners will also be possible.&lt;br/&gt;Only operations on mapped land will be eligible.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;The online site for all schemes is here &lt;a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;br/&gt;The site allows farmers to enter their holding number to see what options and items are available on their holding.&lt;br/&gt;If famers or land managers wish to proceed outside the targeting for their area they will require endorsement from SEPA, SNH or other appropriate bodies. For anyone in any doubt as to whether they are dealing with a protected or designated area which might have requirements outside the targets for their area the SNH website is &lt;a href=""&gt;;/a&gt; Other reasons for departing from the priorities for an area should be discussed.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;b&gt;New Requirements for AECS&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;The first change many farmers will note is the requirement for a Farm Environment Assessment Map. This must be accompanied by a descriptive table detailing all the elements on the map. It will also be accompanied by a Diffuse Pollution Risk Assessment. &lt;br/&gt;There is funding available of up to £500 for the preparation of plans payable on submission of a successful plan. This is a one-off exercise. If a plan were submitted unsuccessfully no payment would be made until the plan had been altered to make it successful.&lt;br/&gt;SGRPID point out that in many cases pre-existing plans may be brought up to date with various additions&lt;br/&gt;There is also the possibility that a “Diffuse Pollution Steading Assesment” will be required although this is unlikely on the West Coast.&lt;br/&gt;The combined documentation should show management operations and investments required to contribute towards AECS priorities&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;b&gt;AECS Thresholds&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;AECS has two levels of funding&lt;br/&gt;Level 1 is up to £75 000 over the duration – for AECS options and public access options – which will be dealt with by SNH&lt;br/&gt;Level 2 is over £75 000 for large or multiple partner collaborative schemes with multiple landscape objectives.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;b&gt;Scoring and Assessment&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;The Scoring and Assessment Process is not yet available but should be made available by Mid March.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;The initial eligibility assessments will involve &lt;br/&gt;- a detailed desk assessment&lt;br/&gt;- a site visit&lt;br/&gt;- and/or a discussion by phone with the applicant&lt;br/&gt;Applicants must be able to demonstrate feasibility of delivery. The awarding body will be looking to check applicants’ understanding of the application and the requirements of the options applied for. They will also be checking that the applicant understands how and whether the plan will fit in with the current land management and usage.  The focus is on ensuring that the applicant and not the land manager or the person writing the application understands all the requirements. A gap in that understanding will mean that the plan doesn’t go through. The only issues that may be addressed at that stage will be very minor ones or those that involve low level detail :– mistakes in calculations or mislabelling as examples.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;b&gt;Requirement for a Management Diary&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;There is also a new requirement to keep a management diary with all the relevant details of scheme management. This should demonstrate understanding and competence with regard to the management plan. &lt;br/&gt;The diary will only be checked on those cases selected for inspection. A minimum of 5% of cases are selected for inspection from the available number each year. SGRPID prefer this approach to that on checking all diaries on an annual basis.&lt;br/&gt;The management diary template will be part of the package of contract documents that is sent out to successful applicants.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Management plans should go on the 2016 SAF form and not on the 2015 SAF form. The only exceptions to this will be the 400 designated sites, applications for which will have to go on to this year’s SAF, the contracts for these sites will be out in the next few weeks.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;Payments are conditional on meeting cross-compliance requirements for both LFASS and AECS. These requirements have been streamlined and are now reflected in the Greening requirements.&lt;br/&gt;&lt;/p&gt;</description><link></link><guid></guid><pubDate>Mon, 23 Feb 2015 19:45:00 +0000</pubDate><category>srdp</category><category>pillar 2</category><category>rural development</category><category>rural priorities</category><category>agri environment climate scheme</category><category>aecs</category><category>scottish grant system</category><category>CAP reform</category></item></channel></rss>

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