Castell Dinas Brân

Took a walk up, over, down and round the castle fortress of Bran.

Castell Dinas Brân walls

View up the Dee valley from Castell Dinas Brân

Castell Dinas Brân from the south

Castell Dinas Brân from the west

As Brân is Welsh for raven there were some raven sculptures on the path.

Metal raven

Carved wooden raven

On the way down towards Llangollen I spotted an ROC post in a field.

ROC post

ROC post


2CV boot board

The 2CV’s boot is spacious but the floor isn’t very flat which makes it a bit impractical to use.

2CV boot

To improve this I’ve added a boot floor. This is a piece of 680mm x 940mm plywood with a notch cut in the back edge to fit round the central support for the back seats and a couple of notches in the front corners to allow it to slide forward through the boot opening thus allowing the back edge to clear the back seat and lift out. There’s also a small block of wood glued and screwed into the middle of the front edge to stop it sliding forward.

Bare 2CV boot board

With the basic shape fitted I covered it with some bluegrey automotive carpet which provides a nice usable boot floor and the tools and spare wheel live happily under it and out of the way.

Carpeted 2CV boot board


Sheriff Muir Atlantic Wall test site

On Sheriff Muir a few miles North East of Dunblaine there is a section of reinforced concrete wall in the middle of the moorland visible from the road.

Sheriff Muir Atlantic Wall

It was built to emulate a sea wall with a characteristic overhang on the road or “seaward” side and an anti-tank ditch at the base.  The front face is pockmarked with numerous impact craters characteristic of shell fire.  Significant sections have the facing completely broken away down to the thinner (1/2″) reinforcing rods.  Larger (1″) reinforcing rods from the core are also visible in places.

Sheriff Muir Atlantic Wall - "seaward" side

The Northern end of the wall is three meters thick but at the Southern end it steps down to a final width of about one meter.  I assume these different thicknesses were to assess the effect of shell fire on different thicknesses of concrete found on sea walls.

Sheriff Muir Atlantic Wall showing different thicknesses

In the three meter section there are several significant partial breaches in the structure, probably as a result of demolitions charges – possibly from the Churchill AVRE 290mm petard mortar with it’s “flying dustbin” 12kg demolition charge.  These breaches are adequate for infantry to be able to cross the obstacle.

Sheriff Muir Atlantic wall showing breaching attempts

The northernmost of these is a full breach of the wall that’s 4m wide – enough for a Churchill or Sherman to pass through.

Breach in the Sheriff Muir Atlantic Wall from the "seaward" side

On the “landward” side there are large pieces of concrete that have been deposited some distance back from the wall which suggests a significant quantity of explosives were employed.

Breach in the Sheriff Muir Atlantic Wall from the "landward" side

Being a relatively short section of wall, and with the various thicknesses, it’s unlikely this was used for troop training.  The most likely explanation seems to be that this was used for testing the effects of different artillery shells and engineering equipment on a section of sea wall similar to that found at the landing beaches.

Several hundred meters to the South there is a blockhouse which I didn’t have the time to explore.


Strung up hops

As the hop has started growing the stems have fairly quickly reached the point where they need support.

There had been a satellite dish on the side of the house above where the hop planter is now so I was able to re-use a couple of the mounting points for that to put up a wood batten into which I had screwed four eyelets with long stems to hold them clear of the wall.

Hop strings against side of house

I also added four eyelets to the inside of the planter and then ran coir string between them using clove hitches to tie it off.

Hops in container showing strings

The coir string is good for climbers as it has a rough texture that gives them plenty to take hold of.  Rather than the tendrils used by peas and beans the hop stems have very small hooks on the stems that feel almost like velcro and it’s these that hold them onto the strings.

Hooks on stem of Golden Tassel hops


2CV rear wheel arch rust treatment

The rust proofing – or rather lack thereof – that came from the Citroen factory is well known to 2CV owners and mine was no exception. One of the areas that this manifests is the rear wheel arches as they’re hard to get to with the wings on and they get whatever’s on the road effectively deposited over them by the rear wheels. When we changed the chassis I had a look at them and there was a suspiciously iron oxide tinge to some of the mud brown so I put this job on my list.

With the rear wings off the wheel arches are easy to work on. The first step was a thorough clean of the clart to see what was going on. Mostly the surface was OK and the paint, although not great quality, was still holding. There was still some underseal in evidence but not uniform as evidenced by the areas of surface rust.  The main areas were the bump stop mountings and the seat belt reinforcement panels (that had been replaced in 2004).

2CV off side wheel arch with rust

2CV near side wheel arch with rust

Treatment for this was a wire brush in a drill to take it back to good metal followed by rust remedy.  A top coat of blue hammerite finished it off, this turned out to be much lighter blue than I was anticipating but it’s in an area that doesn’t show, will be covered in underseal and when the rust returns I’ll be able to see if it’s in a new area or the same place which would indicate a deeper problem.

2CV off side wheel arch with rust treated

2CV near side wheel arch with rust treated

With the rust treated it was time for a decent coat of underseal, not very pleasant stuff to work with but when it’s been warmed up it at least goes on easy enough.

Undersealed 2CV off side wheel arch

Undersealed 2CV near side wheel arch

The final part was the leading edges where the wings are affixed.  There were a few places where the tin worm had established colonies so these were attacked with the wire brush followed by rust remedy.  After some creative masking they were treated to etch primer, primer and two top coats.

2CV wheel arch leading edge maked up and undercoated

With all of that done, this area is now much better protected than when it left the factory, hopefully that should put a crimp in the style of the tin worm which was close to getting established in places.

2CV near side wheel arch

2CV off side wheel arch


Papa Legba vector veve

Papa Legba is the loa who facilitates communication so represents a powerful force in infomancy. I use his veve as a technomantic sigil and my current iteration is a digitally native vector format: as a set of instructions it is literally drawn out by the computer.

Legba veve