In my last blog I promised to tell you more about the work we are doing to reduce site visits and therefore reduce carbon emissions.
In order to reduce the amount of site visits we have to do we are increasing the use of solar panels at remote, battery operated sites. We have trialled these panels over the last year and have been very impressed with the results, so we are rolling them out across the catchment. Hopefully this should mean that we don’t need to go out specially to change a battery at a site - this has the duel benefit of both reducing mileage and making sure we never have a telemetry outage due to a flat battery. This is especially important during floods, when our data is heavily relied on by our flood warning duty officers to help them make the right decisions, at the right time.
My morning is spent in our workshop working with John, our telemetry engineer. John is one of our most experienced team members and is a fountain of information, a very interesting man if you take the time to listen. After soldering and wiring in the panel, switch, regulator and fuse box I give it a quick test outside in the sunshine to make sure I haven’t wired it backwards!
In the afternoon I head out towards Towcester to install the solar panel and assorted other electrical components on site. The country around here is teeming with rolling hills and green fields as far as the eye can see and I realise I am lucky to have such a beautiful area to work in. Our site sits in a large sheep field on the banks of the River Tove.
I set about drilling holes and screwing the components onto the wall of our kiosk, ready to connect the panel, which I shall stick to the roof. I carefully stick it to the roof and connect it up. After watching the battery charge for a few minutes I consider that a job well done and head home for the day.
The excitement wasn’t quite over for the day though... On leaving the farmers field I had to battle to get out of the gate as more than 200 sheep and lambs in the field flocked towards me. I made it gingerly to the gate but, try as I might, I could not get the sheep to leave me alone. My only option was to outrun them... Setting off around the field I led the sheep on a merry chase, trying to put as much distance between myself and the horde of maternal cotton wool that was still chasing me. I reach the gate, open it and get through just in time as the mass of disgruntled sheep descend upon the gate like a vast, woolly, angry mob. Just as I do so, the farmer turns up saying he’s been sat in the top field, laughing at me for the last 15 minutes. Apparently I made his day, well... we aim to please I suppose.