Sunny Days

The days roll by and here we are a month after our last post. Suns out and it is very hard to sit here blogging when there is work to do in the good weather. (that was last week!! big change to-day Sunday) To-day Sunday the 19th of Feb’ I think one month on from the last blog, a lot has happened!!

The Star Of The Settled Weather

The Star Of The Settled Weather

Mainly great sunny days 10 straight with only one cloudy day but tonight it is normal winter service, pouring from the heavens and wind, lots of it. This was so long ago, Dan was out with the Department Officer to check up on some path work, what a day Friday the 20th January.

Even Time to Clean The Windows.

Even Time to Clean The Windows.

That afternoon, I even got time to scrape the salt off the windows.

Feels Like Spring

Feels Like Spring

It was so good that the jobs where we need the weather to warm up were two months ahead of schedule, even thinking about getting MV Rona ready.

Grey stalking day

Grey stalking day

I had hinds to get for our cull figures and that was a bit of a misty day but it was better than hot sun which would have felt bizarre at this time of year.

Treasure

Treasure

Away out on the West side I came across this antler, no sign of the owner but he’ll be hidden somewhere close, it was dropped two years ago I guess by the chewing, but I’m pretty sure the owner still lives there, very low key.

Trouble

Trouble

Coming back that day the wobbly wheel became disconnected.

Bog Strip Down

Bog Strip Down

I have to admit this is a common problem, the terrain knocks a lot out of the equipment

Getting There

Getting There

Here’s the progress on the firewood store, I’m slowly, very slowly getting the log pile to the shore. Anyone want a job? Apply here?

More repairs

More repairs

I think that is one of Rona’s fortes, one day a forester next a plumber. Anyone applying for a job needs to be multi-skilled!!!

Butchering on a Sunny Day!!!!!

Butchering on a Sunny Day!!!!!

Maybe they could be a butcher? Or an electrician, stalker, boatman, fisherman, tech guy?? etc etc. I did get 1 hind and had to butcher it,  always a good day working away listening to the radio.

Burger Making on another Sunny Day

Burger Making on another Sunny Day

Next day it was the burgers, one more hind to get but time has run out, it would have been good to get some more as we are getting to peak population with the red deer here. Next year for sure after this March’s deer count we will deal with it. We look forward to it.

OOPS!

OOPS!

Jumping from butchering to roadworks, the dry weather sows a seed in the head, it is dry what can I do? Of course the boggy road up to the North. All set to go and what did I do, missed the clutch and rolled into a hole. Much cursing later and I was out, no drama.

Needing a Helping Hand

Needing a Helping Hand

No RAC or AA here, just a bit of ingenuity.

The 15 Year Old Problem

The 15 Year Old Problem

Back to the track, it is a mess for sure and even with the dry spell it did not help as the water that makes this a particularly nasty piece to pass was coming up in the middle of the road. BUT I got it sorted after bogging the tractor here a couple of times, wet peat has no foundation.

Kenny's Coming

Kenny’s Coming

Back to the forest, prompt. Kenny announced that he was coming and if I wanted he could deliver some fuel plus creels for the summer, excellent and tow the logs off.

Kenny's Here

Kenny’s Here

Kenny and James arrived exactly on time, the IBC’s he promised were turfed off plus the fuel then it was operation lumberjack.

Logging In

Logging In

James, his crew was keen to get involved and between us we got three logs towed over to the beach. Once they were clear of the seaweed they were easy to tow with the small dinghy. That has inspired me to get the old sailing dinghy seaworthy for the rest of the big logs. Shouldn’t be a problem!!!!!!!!!!

On Tow

On Tow

Kenny was ‘ginger’ about getting too close to the shore, Rona has many hidden surprises!!

Success

Success

But we soon got them over and it was up to the house for the soup, Cullen Skink of course.

Stacked and Drying

Stacked and Drying

Next day Monday I pulled them off the beach and hung the four logs out to dry a bit awaiting the log splitter.

Another Breakdown

Another Breakdown

Then the Applenet broke down. So, off up on the bike and had a look around only to find that the TOUGHswith, which is like a glorified router was rusty, seems my cable I supplied as a replacement for the Applnet outside cable had leaked, just like the previous one . I could not find a hole but it was a household cable so probably permeable? I have been waiting for a replacement cable for some time but now the Toughswitch was knackered, so that required a visit and there was not much more I could do. Hey, the view was good though.

Yet Another Breakdown

Yet Another Breakdown

Since I was in the mood for repairs and maintenance I set about the bikes, tractor and quads. All requiring oil and filters plus the usual. Maybe overdue but now a system is in place, winter months are the time for annual the servicing plan. It gives me time to get ahead. Any mechanics out there looking for a job?

Welcome Seafood

Welcome Seafood

Kenny kindly took over some prawns, it was so good to have them over two days, such a refreshing change to the diet, very welcome they were too and last night after receiving a bag of fish from Skye Fish, ‘Breuchie’ we had Bouillabaisse using the prawn shells for stock, been a while since we had it but just great.

Early Anti Fouling

Early Anti Fouling

Last year it was April  before Ali and Clive painted MV Rona, I did it in no time as it was warm sunny in Feb’ this year, quite unbelievable (also that reminded me of Leicesters performance this year!!!!!!!!!)

Change of Use

Change of Use

Much as it annoyed me to work inside on sunny days, needs must and it was not the worst job. Ian our joiner wants to stay in the cabin when we start the new house. So I’m fitting out a ‘rustic’ kitchen for him. No Magnet Kitchens Here!!

Clearing up After the Hens

Clearing up After the Hens

Never ending the work on Rona, the drain at the back of the shed had blocked up as the hens had been scraping the bracken and ground into it, seems to be a regular problem nowadays, must stop feeding them there.

Late Arrival

Late Arrival

A week last Thursday Hugh our power guru arrived with his wife Jytte, he was over to assess our present power system and to look to the future with the new house.

Otter Evening

Otter Evening

It was a stunning night when they arrived and as I was going up and down the gangway I was being watched by a seal but after 5 minutes I realised it was an otter. I got my camera out as he/she was 3 metres away only for the otter to dive, ah well!!!!

Stunning Day

Stunning Day

Hugh had a good day darting about Rona, pressing buttons on the inverters and equalising the batteries, I took him up to the Applenet mast for a look but it is not his field, unfortunately.

Checking Out The Electrics

Checking Out The Electrics

It is beyond me how all this works but there’s the catch, you don’t need to know you just need to be able to get it going. No problem, give me the spares!

The Electrics

The Electrics

I’m sure Hugh and his wife had a good visit, the weather was very kind but they stay on Scoraig so they know all about the West Coast weather.

Late Sun

Late Sun

Saturday morning MV Aspire was back and took our guests away. Another full on sunny winters day ahead of us, quite full it was too, a block splitter and scaffold had arrived the Thursday before so I got ready for a shot of that.

Hugh's Away

Hugh’s Away

Early Start

Early Start

Another glorious Saturday last, long may it continue. By the way we spotted 5 I think kayakers paddling past, first of the year, I was intrigued why the went up with the wind on the west side then down on the East side into the increasing gale!!! Maybe they didn’t, I never saw them again.

Fine Evenings

Fine Evenings

But before the log splitting it was back to the cabin to put on another coat of yacht varnish.

Getting There

Getting There

The road was coming on but I bogged the tractor, shouldn’t have trundled over there on a Sunday. However after a long trek back for the JCB I got the tractor out and flattened the road with the digger bucket, I do believe it had dried a bit. But it is so wet this picture is looking down at a spring pouring out right in the middle of the road, I’ll fix it tomorrow though.

Finding Springs

Finding Springs

At last I got to play with my new toy, the log splitter from MacGregors on a deal, a very good deal, it went through the logs like butter but first I had to build a platform off the ground as the rain gets in sometimes, seasoning requires a dry shed!

The New Log Splitter

The New Log Splitter

With the sun still shining and the JCB as my saw bench I quickly blocked the logs and for the rest of the day the two of us split and stacked logs.

My Saw Bench

My Saw Bench

I enjoy the forest work very much and have a plan for our forest across the bay, there is much old wood there to come out, nothing to be felled except the birch. There is much windblow. But with much hardwood there it is time to get ahead of the game.

Works a Treat

Works a Treat

It was a wonderful day and very satisfying working with wood.

All Set Up

All Set Up

The stack is getting bigger but it has a way to go, I thought four big trees would be more but………

And There's Next Seasons Firewood

And There’s Next Seasons Firewood

We have much more to come so watch this space. Thursday morning we got a surprise, just getting ready for a day’s paperwork and the email came in the Applenet engineer was coming to fix the broadband.

Applecross Visitors

Applecross Visitors

We had a run up, replaced the bits, switched it on but could not connect due to a small technical detail, requiring a trip back to Applecross to fix it.

p1030372

The boys headed off and I’m sure we will get the system up and running , Ali the skipper was glad to get out onto the water and it is always a good discussion when he comes, sorting the world out, our style!! Applecross Life.  Worth a look for sure, some pole dancing days I see!!!!!! Next time lift the creels on route to Rona, squatties would be good!!!!!!p1030374

Since Ali and Sean were here (and during their visit) we have had three Sea Eagles in the bay, they look like juveniles? Through the ‘scope, shakily we could see two on the rock, they look lost, I think the parents are away making a nest somewhere but not on Rona.p1030376

With a plan to use the old Wayfarer to pull the logs out I’m considering some repairs on it, I found the P40 so look out!!!p1030379

Saturday Pam and Kevin were out with fuel, another welcome 900litres of red. But Flat Freya had to visit too and she made it up to Rona Lodge, where she goes next is anyone’s guess? Flat Freya is Pam’s grand daughters project in school to see how far the ‘doll’ will travel. She sent a postcard so lets hope the kids enjoy her travels. p1030382

Saturday was tidy up and fuel away, IBC ashore in the time honoured way. Mail to sort and then bits and pieces pre rain and wind.p1030383To-day Sunday the 19th, nothing for it but in the house, paperwork, sorting out the mundane.

Escapee

Escapee

On our walk we spotted this escapee and for once our plan worked and the sheep on the outside went straight through the gate and joined its mates. An exhausting month.

 

 

 

 

 

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Logging not Blogging

Came back from Shieldaig last week inspired to get out the chainsaw and retrieve the windblown hardwoods over the Bay in the forest, so no blogging just too busy logging!!!

Old Forestry Technology

Old Forestry Technology

Was sharpening Kenny’s (Shieldaig) new powersaw on Friday night last at 10 pm and that got me going, I had a thought to try and retrieve the trees that had been windblown. I had meant to do something about them for years but like a lot of projects on Rona, they get left behind as other ‘more important’ ones come forward.

Brian Flexing His Muscles!!!!

Brian Flexing His Muscles!!!!

The weather was dryish so our visitors were roped in to volunteer their brawn. That was last week since then Brian and Gill have left us and to-day I got 4 more trunks down to 5 metres from the shore, just three to get and quite a few logs which can be manhandled. The Torfor winch is the best, slow but sure. Could do with a horse though. There is no way of getting the quad into the forest unfortunately but we will tow the trees to the shore in the spring or sooner, depends on MV Aspire’s Captain!

Nearly There

Nearly There

Other jobs last week were,  stopping the continual rain getting into the bothy, the window is leaking but no fault of the window every window is leaking, the air pressure and just days of rain, doors too, in fact everything is just sodden in and out, it is horrible!!!!!!

Leaky Window

Leaky Window

Brian’s joiner skills were put into use in the ‘shop’. We can never have enough shelves.

Keep The Staff Working

Keep The Staff Working

The one night it wasn’t a gale a rain we managed to recompense our guests with some ‘Hygge’, a fire, a few drams then a film.

'Hygge'

‘Hygge’

At the end of the week we did see odd periods of sun but it had been a pretty grey three weeks since Christmas, to-day Thursday and all of this week has not been much better.

There Was a Bit of Blue Sky

There Was a Bit of Blue Sky

Although the temperature to-day was up near ten we did see some snow last week, showers came quickly through but no snow lay on Rona, when the clouds cleared it was plain to see that the mainland and Skye had had plenty.

Snow Over Rona Lodge

Snow Over Rona Lodge

With the cold spell the sheep were queuing up early, there is always one out for a free mouth full.

Hungry Sheep

Hungry Sheep

We were providing hours of entertainment for the seals in the Bay, I counted 150 one low tide a couple of weeks ago and there were many more in the outer bay. When we are working in the forest it is not unusual to see thirty or forty heads bobbing about checking us out.

Better Day Over The Bay

Better Day Over The Bay

The North wind chased the cliff dwelling sheep back into the South facing side, I tried to entice them into the field with a bucket but they did not take too long in taking off, must get a dog!! Seems like we have lost one or two, they get into trouble on the cliffs which are like magnets for them, sweet grass out there too is the problem.

The Missing Sheep

The Missing Sheep

Saturday last was calm, despite a four day Northerly ‘gale’. The swell was well down and the ferry trip was pretty smooth. After the ferry before this one I took a photo with the Panasonic Camera I have used for years (or at least one of them, I have had 6 or 7 bodies and two lenses!!!!, Rona is hard on my cameras!) of the Aspire leaving. Anyway that is the last I have seen of my camera, it has disappeared. Don’t know where but we cannot find it, maybe one day it will turn up. Since then I’ve been using a Fuji Xpro which is too complicated for this work but I am getting used to it, it is too big to cart around but hey ho.

Chucks Away

Chucks Away

At the beginning of the week Lorraine mentioned that she had seen the windmill at Dry Harbour wobbling!!! At 6pm, which was good to know and dwell on overnight!

dscf0450First thing I was over to check it out, it had a bit of a wobble since its erection. But sure enough there was a bit of vibration at base level. Of course I did not take tools, so back to Big Harbour, collected a box of stuff and headed back to Dry Harbour. I took the big bar and socket and the first bolt slackened the one below took a full turn. Next bolt, I sheared the 1/2 inch drive so back to BH for the 3/4 drive, it was a long morning for a simple job.

At Last A Dry Day

At Last A Dry Day

Yesterday was dry, the road actually dried out, amazing. The hens took advantage of the unseasonally warm breeze and spent a lot of time sorting out their feathers.

Overdue Repairs

Overdue Repairs

Always a pest to have decided to start work on the old quad on a good day. The brakes had seized and the footrest right hand side needed welding. So in the afternoon that took all the daylight hours. Just heard from my neighbour Paul, Life at the end of the Road,  that the Rona quad I left at Arinish 12 years ago had finally bit the dust, amazing the punishment these quad bikes will stand. We have a new one and have had a few since that one which was the my one I took to Rona 15 years ago!!! But we try our best to keep the old one going as long as, so that the new one will last. Of course it is always good to have back up too.

Ear Ear!

Ear Ear!

Late yesterday afternoon, I was heading out to see how Lorraine was getting on with the painting in the ‘shop’, here was Julie at the back door scrounging food. I spotted her pal the Great Tit underneath her looking for insects I guess. She freezes when this happens and lets the bird spend as long as it wants to feed. It was pretty grey and not light so I grabbed the Nikon and fired away.

Underbelly

Underbelly

I guess the bird is getting Keds and with it being so warm they will still be on the go.

Tomorrow we are getting a visit from the Department, looks like a busy day, no Logging.

 

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A New Year, Been a While.

Seems to have been a long time since I blogged, lots been going on for sure but we’ve been busy so………….here’s a good view to start the New Year.

Leaving Rona

Leaving Rona

We have Brian and Gill here for a few weeks to help out and ‘have a holiday’, so last week we managed a few days off, haircuts, Doctors and shopping. Plus two visits to Shieldaig to take in the New Year with Kenny and Linda.

Rhu Roin

Rhu Roin

Weather was good and it was nice to see the Torridon mountains looking crisp in the winter light. We had a tour around the area and there are no surprises why visitors keep coming back to this area.

Coming Home

Coming Home

Coming home early Saturday morning last the views were spectacular but time was not on our side so a quick snap at the side of the road was all we could manage.

Flat Calm, Joy!

Flat Calm, Joy!

Into Portree in a rush, pick up the fresh stuff from the Co-op then off to Rona, good to see the sea flat calm .

Danish Delivery

Danish Delivery

We had had a text from Denmark telling us that there was a supply of wine coming from Denmark, a few bottles (cases) later MV Aspire was on its way, now what do we do with all this wine?

The Job I left.

The Job I left.

After unloading the wine there was just enough time for a walk about to see what Brian had done, I left him this gap to fill in the doorway and he did a great job (picture to follow). After that the day went downhill…………Since we got back the pressing job was firewood but a deer lawn too. On the old ‘fields’ from the Dry Harbour settlement we can see that if we clear some of the regen’ birch we could give a good acre of grass for the deer, so that is the plan. Plus a high seat for our cottage guests to sit watch and wait.

The deer lawn.

The deer lawn.

From the High Seat.

From the High Seat.

That was the last week, what about before the New Year and since the last blog of the 20th Dec’?

Awful Weather

Awful Weather

That pic just about sums it up, awful weather. Been a bit damp and breezy since the 20th, we had a bit of sunshine but it has been grim with South Westerlies coming in thick and fast.

Some Drama Too

Some Drama Too

But too much rain, good that we got the drains sorted out.

Days of Rain

Days of Rain

Apart from this drain which I thought was clear but no, stones and ground had fallen against the intake and hey presto a new water supply.

Apart from This Drain

Apart from This Drain

In amongst it all their was time for a walk, with this years greylag tagging along. The goose seems to have decided to hang about rather than take its chance with its family. They left this one stayed.

Our Semi tame Goose

Our Semi Tame Goose

It has been quite a wildlife bonanza lately with many sightings of otters, Sea Eagles, the deer of course and the bay full of seals, over 150 at the last count.

Spot The Seals

Spot The Seals

Poor weather does not mean horrible days, the opposite in fact with very dramatic clouds and sea state.

Cloudy Day

Cloudy Day

Depending on the direction of the wind the Bay can be quite dramatic too.

The Bay was Boiling

The Bay was Boiling

In between storms Brian and Gill our pals from Cheshire arrived with the big bag of Xmas mail one week late but no worries, extra presents are always welcome.

Xmas Mail

Remote Cottage Mail

The only job to do before New Year was to get the antlers/trophies packaged and sent off to Portree for on delivery to Denmark, so with Brian’s joinery skills we put together the last of the box and fixed the stags heads inside. Hopefully the Customs will not get too excited about the box!!!!!!

Antlers Package Ready for Off

Antlers Package Ready for Off

New Year crept up on us and with a bit of kilt sharing we headed up to the top of the hill for the annual ‘taking in the bells’. A good night, not too cold just breezy but one firework later we were heading back down to the Lodge for a wee celebration.

Dancing in the New Year

Dancing in the New Year

Always a good day the 1st of January, just as we mean to continue, champagne breakfast!!!

Nothing For it But Champagne

Nothing For it But Champagne

Mind you it was about 12.30 when we took the photo.

Talking about photos, I lost my camera. In between the ferry that took Brian and Gill over and taking guests to the cottage my old Panasonic has disappeared with all the weeks photos in it, Goodness knows where it went but maybe one day it will turn up, fingers crossed. In the meantime, lets look forward to a very Good New Year!!

 

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Bonkers Weather.

I got a call this morning early, ‘How’s The Weather’?   Bonkers! That was my reply, since 5 am the roof of Rona Lodge was getting its annual appraisal by the wind. Up until about 10.30am it was just full force with the radio telling us that it was 50 to 60 mph, I can believe it.

Bonkers Weather

Bonkers Weather

The depressing thing is that this is what we have for pre Christmas week and with it continuing until after Christmas day, in fact the night of the 25th is pretty severe but we will wait and see. Working back from to-day it has been the usual busy Island, or at least we are busy, everything else just gets along nicely. After the wind subsided I decided to go and do a wee bit at the new roofed shed down in the field.

Cladding In The Gale

Cladding In The Gale

Quite a sheltered job until you had to go out past the sheets of ply, then the wind took to throwing me against the wall, what fun trying to nail boards on. Around 12.30 I gave up with the first spit of rain, now two hours later it is very heavy rain. Ah well it had been a good spell leading up to to-day.

This Morning.

This Morning.

In fact this morning I was sitting having my breakfast and the sun started breaking very red, grabbing the camera I shot outside and the first thing I saw was an otter in the garden. By the time Lorraine got to the window to look at it, it was gone.

Top of The Hill

Top of The Hill

I took a toodle up to the top of the hill after that but the sunrise was almost over, the sea though was pretty high. The wind right out of the SE at that time and it was pretty cold.

Fuel Delivery

Fuel Delivery

Yesterday was a good day, no wind and calm enough for MV Aspire to make a fuel drop. It was our last mail until after Christmas going by the forecast.

Presents Galore

Presents Galore

It was good to get the Tesco’s order delivered on Sunday night and dropped off on Monday morning so that was the food sorted but no turkey, they were sold out!!!!! Plenty mail and there were a few presents that did not arrive but that will be a nice surprise after Christmas.

Plugged

Plugged

On Sunday night I woke up at 4 in the morning, thinking that I had given Kevin the IBC (Industrial Bulk Container, somebody asked!!!!!) with the rubber plug in it. This IBC had come from Mallaig last landing craft delivery, it sprung a leak on the landing craft and Jamie the skipper had plugged it quick. I would not use it again for fuel . In the rush on Friday to catch the boat I just grabbed the first IBC and was sure I’d given Kevin the wrong one. Thankfully no panic it was still up top.

Trophy Box

Trophy Box

Last week we had Dave over from Ireland, he was helping out with hind stalking. Luckily we had a good week of weather apart from one morning and that was the day we made the box for sending the antler trophies shot in October to Europe, problem is we can’t get anyone to take them. We need to try plan B, posting. Seems that a lot of the distribution folk will not transport ‘animal products’. We’ll find a solution for sure.

Hinds On The Hill on The Way To Dry Harbour.

Hinds On The Hill on The Way To Dry Harbour.

It was a pretty full on week with Dave last week apart from the morning on the box. The hinds are getting to levels on our 2000 acre Island that we need to cull a number, which is always ten times more difficult to do compared with the stags, this group are quite safe though, they hang about the roadside up at Meal and are in tip top condition. It is difficult to find poor condition hinds here which tells you that there is plenty forage and shelter on Rona but at the risk of the Island getting cropped bare the Deer Management Plan has to happen.

Full Moon

Full Moon

During Dave’s week the moon was full and as far as I could see was not too different from the ‘Super Moon’ we had the month before, I went up the hill to try to get a photo of it but got held up. When I arrived I had forgotten my filters and there was a band of clouds spoiling the view. It was so cold I did not mess about, so I took a few shots then retreated, quickly.

Julie and Family

Julie and Family

With the full moon and clear skies we had quite a few cold and frosty mornings, Julie is never far away when the sheep get fed.

In Between Times

In Between Times

In between stalking times the light was pretty good and it was good to be home at the time and able to grab the camera, in fact we did have quite a few nice sunsets.

Sunset 1

Sunset 1

Same Night 2

Same Night 2

Cold clear Night 3

Cold clear Night 3

We had guests in the cottage the week before Dave came which was good to have at this time of year, they had booked a week a couple of years ago, cancelled, but took up their booking again this year, Michael and Amanda came here 6 years ago from Australia and loved it, here they were back again. Their week turned out pretty good weather wise which is always a bonus.

Kilted Michael!!!!!!

Kilted Michael!!!!!!

We did not see much of our guests only when Michael came over to use the internet (with his kilt on, for Scotland!!).

Clear Days

Clear Days

Days like this in the winter have been a premium this past few years but this winter has been exceptional, taking it bad to-day it is awful outside just now.

Early Morning Walk

Early Morning Walk

Before Dave arrived I thought I would do a recce of the North end and deliver a box of venison to one of the girls who work up at the Base. It was a stunning walk, I think it was Sunday morning, very cold and crisp. Nice to be at the lighthouse before the sun got up. Plenty deer about and nice to see the guys up at the Qinetic Base.

Back to Work

Back to Work

Back to Big Harbour by lunchtime and the frost had still not melted. So nothing for it but to get up on the frosty roof and fit the new vent pipe and flashing delivered on that weeks ferry.  The pipe had been too short before but now it is a longer one with extraction fan, it works very well.

Winterising

Winterising

I finished that pretty quick so got the outboards closed down for the winter, batteries off, rust proofing into the engine a wee run up and then that was them till March I guess.

Trying To Get Ahead

Trying To Get Ahead

The only other job I can remember from two weeks ago was firewood, the boxes are quick to run out so it was a necessity to get out into the forest to stock up. I was over in the forest with Dave and spotted a few big hardwood trees down. I have a plan which involves the Torfor winch and Kevin’s MV Aspire, that could be the Christmas project, we will see.

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December’s Here, Where Did November go!!

We had been away for a fortnight, first two weeks of November, but since we have returned the weather has been unbelievably kind and the days have just run away from us. There has been little rain although the ground is very wet, but the rain we have had has been through the night drying nicely during the day. I lie in bed thinking I’ll get my paperwork up to date to-day as the rain hammers off the Velux window, then by ten o’clock it stops, the sun comes out and I feel guilty sitting here by the lap top. So, I must go and I’ll finish this tonight when it is dark.

Late Visitor

Late Visitor

Tomorrow +1: One hour before we left for our fortnights holiday this yacht sailed into the bay, we had prepared for our relief cover but the last thing we expected was a yacht, especially with the forecast.

And We Are Off

And We Are Off

As it happened the yacht left, the weather stayed calm,  Ali and Clive made a huge effort and got here on the Friday instead of the planned Saturday, which then meant a late drive to Perth but no worries we were on holiday.

Looking Good

Looking Good

You can skip the 13 photos, yes 13 but it was one of our best holidays. On a canal boat, in Wiltshire on the Kennet and Avon canal. After Prunella Scales, Timothy Wests programme it sounded a good plan.

Beautiful Morning

Beautiful Morning

After a couple of days driving we arrived midday Sunday so no point in taking off into the dark. We hung about until 10 am Monday then headed into the unknown. Cold, frosty, sunshine best of all calm!!

Novel Machine

Novel Machine

The most interesting people you meet on a canal. Maintenance mostly funded by members and charitable trusts, canals have opened up again and provide excellent visitor attractions. But the work goes on. This looks fun.

What Can I Say

What Can I Say

Of course we woke to the news…………………………….

Move On

Move On

We visited Devizes and parked up only to be chased by several grey headed people shouting from their balconies, seemed the place we chose  was in front of their retirement homes looked like a good mooring place. Not allowed, which made me realise just how the ‘Yachties’ feel or Kayakers when I tell them to ‘move on’!!!!! Must remember that next year!!

Eye On The Cake

Eye On The Cake

All in all a great week with lots of cake.

DEfintely No Parking

Defintely No Parking

Got up in the morning to find the local jobsworth putting up parking signs, we thought we had done something wrong but it was for the car park not us, for once.

Fi and Rossi

Fi and Rossi

The night before (after the run in with the retirees) we were invited to raft up to Fi and Rossi’s lovely barge, very friendly couple on their way to Evesham. They were very welcoming and a breath of fresh air. They are live aboards and are home schooling their kids on their travels, good luck to them. We enjoyed meeting them very much. Rossi is threatening to take his barge to Rona………………

Cool Mornings

Cool Mornings

If it were a photography holiday then there would be no end of opportunity.

Cheeky Swans

Cheeky Swans

Wildlife galore but all to soon it was back up the road and we arrived in Edinburgh. First thing was a visit to the Scottish Malt Whisky Society, I always wanted to visit and am now a member. Although the amount of whisky I have drunk in my life they should have given me free membership.

Protester

Protester

 

On the bus to Leith we had a long conversation with a young student, I think she was Romanian/definitely East European, on her way to protest outside the American Embassy. Things are happening all over the world like the ‘North Dakota Pipeline’ and we don’t know about it over here unless we are tuned to World News or?. This is a very serious issue but click on the link for more.

Joined Up

Joined Up

Now this is whisky heaven

Lovely Old Building

Lovely Old Building

What I love about Edinburgh is the architecture, just wandering about looking up is a favourite pastime but not good bumping into people!!!!

Early Morning Departure

Early Morning Departure

Saturday morning we woke up and were down the pier sharp, the Lighthouse Board had an engineer on board who was going up to switch back on the Light which had gone out. We were back sharp and had a couple of hours  with Clive and Ali until MV Aspire returned from the North.

Snow on the Storr

Snow on the Storr

The trip home to Rona on the ferry was very nice with snow on all the hills, however when we got back to the Lodge the ceiling had been soaked yet again by the cistern upstairs which leaked for the second time this year, a pest of a thing as some previous plumber had blocked the overflow. Of course my fault for not fixing it in the spring.

Not Again

Not Again

Once Clive and Ali got away and we unpacked, we sorted out two weeks washing and all the holiday stuff you need to deal with , there was nothing for it but to head up to the cabin for ‘Strictly’ great!!

Then It Was Strictly

Then It Was Strictly

My job was to attend the fire outside it was such a calm night and very nice to sit out with a glass and reflect on the last two weeks.

With a Wee Bit of Hygge

With a Wee Bit of Hygge

Next day over to Dry Harbour, work to do but the views and the weather quite superb, what a day to return to Rona.

Great Days

Great Days

And so it continued, here’s the view of the Clisham on Harris with snow falling.

Looking To Harris

Looking To Harris

Next day we woke, checked out the window to see funny looking fog/smoke on the water. Seems the fishfarm was having a bonfire.

Smoke on The Water

Smoke on The Water

We put the ewes to the Tup before we left but were keen to get him off, the grass is not so plentiful so we are feeding, just a little. Of course who turns up the minute sheep feed is on offer but Julie, with a very fine calf too.

 

Julie Is Back

Julie Is Back

She is very quick to chase the ewes so it makes for a longer feed standing sentry until the sheep have most of it.

Outage

Outage

The Applenet broadband has been a bit poor before we left but I thought it was ok. However on our return it was out, so on the Sunday I had a toodle up to the mast where I found the Nano was pointing to Gairloch but that was not the main problem.

Worth it for the View

Worth it for the View

I went back up after shifting the Nano and finding it still not working. This time I re-booted the whole system and that seemed to work. Always good to go up there and take in the view.

Another Outage

Another Outage

On the Friday before we came back the power had an outage too. Clive got it going on the end of the phone as we enjoyed a drink in the ‘Plough Hotel’ Alnwick. But there was an issue, it took until Monday to see a wire had come off the solenoid right in at the back of it, dark, oily and not very apparent. Now fixed and a job for a wet winter day, replace the wires.

Just Off The Head

Just Off The Head

The weather continued, much to our amazement. It has been quite a few years since we have seen this at this time regularly.

Lonbain MV Iona

Lonbain MV Iona

The light is so good, if i did not have such a long list of work then I would spend my time just taking photos, so much to see.

Old Man Of Storr From The Mast

Old Man Of Storr From The Mast

So much to take in.

Sun setting on Torridon

Sun setting on Torridon

And you never get tired of it.

And Finally

And Finally

At all!!

How Not To Park

How Not To Park

Back to reality, I took the new ATV/bike out for a run and went to the top gate, turned it round, pointed it for home and stepped off leaving it running. I heard a noise a few seconds later and here was the bike running down the road. The handbrake had come off and with the cold the engine the fuel injection had run harder, sending it headlong into the ditch.

Roadside Rescue

Roadside Rescue

Luckily we got away with it, no damage.

Cleaning Out The Compost

Cleaning Out The Compost

Next job was one to look forward to, I had to empty the compost loo recently installed into the bunkhouse. I left it by the sea to wash it out, why waste my time when the sea can do it.

Hen

Hen

The sunny weather has got the hens, sheep and deer out and about. So much wildlife on the go, even that dry that the hens can get a dust bath.

Julie and Calf

Julie and Calf

Julie is quick to come down to the feed but her calf does not know the score yet. Julie is at least 16 years old and still able to produce very fine looking calves, maybe it is because of the sheep feed she steals.

More Drainage

More Drainage

We had to finish the drainage at the back of the house quickly due to Autumn rain but it was so dry the wet patches were showing so I took advantage of the weather to remedy that problem.

Furniture Removal

Furniture Removal

Lots to do on our return, even shifting furniture. We inherited two new settees but they were taking up room in the garage so we shifted one of them over to Escape where the two seater ‘brown’ leather settee was wrecked.

Julie Looking For Spilt Cobs

Julie Looking For Spilt Cobs

The work goes on but there is always a picture, Julie comes down at night to check the troughs, just in case there is a cob lurking under it.

Rescuing The Road

Rescuing The Road

Part of the drainage problems was the ditch we dug with Hugh’s digger for the water and power to the new house, it has now sunk and the footprint is ideal for a water retention/mud. So it may not be pretty but I ran down some quarry material to try and dry it up. We will get it level next year when Hugh returns with his tracked digger.

Tup Heading Off

Tup Heading Off

Last Saturday, MV Aspire was away so Dan stood too. Mr Tup was past his sell by date so he had to go. He was showing an unhealthy interest in his daughters. First thing , we caught him then took him down to the pontoon on receiving MV Stardust’s ETA.

Ferry To Himself

Ferry To Himself

We got him on no problem and I heard he went up the pontoon in Portree just like a dog on a lead. He was probably glad to be home after his Rona years!!

Re-fitting The Loo

Re-fitting The Loo

Later in the day it was back to the loo down at the bothy, but, it was taking shape.

Getting There

Getting There

If I had, had more time before we left on holiday I would have done it properly but losing time I had to cut corners knowing I was going to get trouble. So, nothing lost just get on with it and hopefully it will work now. The biggest problem is that it is below tide level.

More Emergency Drainage

More Emergency Drainage

As the weather remains dry, wet patches still appear and as this last week progressed we got a chance to get away from the desk and get these damp bits done.  To-day there was lots of paperwork then a bit of wood work.Stags Head Boxes

Stags Head Boxes

I am putting together timber to make a packing case to send Stags antlers, shot on Rona this year to Denmark.

Off to DH

Off to DH

After lunch it was over to Dry Harbour to sort out the Escape cottage for our guests tomorrow, plus sort the Chinese hat cover. Not my best job. The sheep must have been hungry, they ran after us right up to the gate, so I gave in and gave them a wee feed.

Vertigo

Vertigo

I really hate this nowadays, must get some scaffold!!

Tonight, Friday it is very cold, damp and the ground is a bit messy. Fingers crossed for a few good dry days. To-day it was a lot more paperwork, then a bit of woodwork.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Daily Doings, The Views and of course the weather, Wildlife, Yachties | 1 Comment

Holiday Time.

At last we are getting a wee break from Rona, much needed and looking forward to it very much. Off on a magical mystery tour round the country, nothing too exotic but hopefully very relaxed.  The past few days have been manic and it will be with a big sigh that we will board MV Aspire tomorrow (last Friday). In the meantime a quick update of the past few weeks activities. The rut I posted about a week ago, so plenty there under the Red Deer page. But normal work does carry on regardless of all the extra bits and pieces.

Regular Visitor

Regular Visitor

It is a great time to be out on the hills, great views and light, no winter storms yet so plenty boats about.

Fladda Autumn

Fladda Autumn

Looking down to Fladda and sorry that John and Arlet are away home now for the winter, our closest neighbours, as the crow flies. Hopefully I’ll get down there next year for a visit.

Water Woes

Water Woes

It has been all about the water this last week or so, the 6 monthly clean out of the system was too late to stop the filters clogging up nd the filtration was very slow, we did not run out of water but we had to turn on the emergency tank. That then galvanised me into trying to get a much faster solution, especially with a new house on the horizon needing more supply.

Detailed Drawing

Detailed Drawing

Hugh “Scoraig Wind”   was very helpful with his suggestions and looking to the future with rainwater harvesting, I sent him a Bill Cowie!!! detailed drawing. By the time we left the back up tank was finally filling up, all good though and we are now looking forward to implementing some of the changes.

The Work Goes On

The Work Goes On

One thing we don’t lack is the rain to fill the reservoir and tanks, the damp atmosphere is pretty hard on the timber and requires constant maintenance.

Winter Coming

Winter Coming

With the low light just now even the rain showers are pretty spectacular.

Last Lift Of Creels

Last Lift Of Creels

Lots of jobs to get out of the way and it is always a sad day to be taking up the last fleet of creels, although this fleet have had their day and need replaced. But it is a long winter without some fresh crab or a lobster for tea. Maybe I’ll ambush Yogi.

Storr Standing Out

Storr Standing Out

Back and fore to Dry Harbour quite a lot just now as the jobs mount up but the views are always good to look at.

No Wonder We Run Out Of Water

No Wonder We Run Out Of Water

After all the guests the washings were backing up, we like to use the wash machine when it is windy cutting down on genny use but sometimes we just have to go for it.One week in October Lorraine had 22 washes to deal with and then we wonder why our water is running out!!

Another Late Visitor

Another Late Visitor

We think we have seen the last of the yachties but there is no surprise on sunny days when a late visitor comes into the bay, in fact half an hour before we left on Friday we had another.

Good Friends

Good Friends

The animals are doing well, no lambs sold this year, we had too many ewe lambs which is good for us. This ‘wild’ Greylag goose has fairly taken to the garden, it has no fear. Left by its family or maybe it chose to stay, it hangs about getting the best grass, chasing the lambs and the hens if they get too close.

On Their Way

On Their Way

Early Morning Start

Early Morning Start

A fortnight ago to-day I took off to Portree for the last time, it was a beautiful morning very calm and yet another stunning sunrise.

Portree Monday Morning

Portree Monday Morning

A Fine Morning

A Fine Morning

Flat Calm, Fast Run Down

Flat Calm, Fast Run Down

It was a chance to get all the rubbish off Rona (empty bottles, Lots!!!!), shopping and other necessary jobs, bank, post office. Then after fish and chips with a pint from Donald’s Pier Hotel it was a quick trip back in glorious sunshine.

Equally Fast Trip Home

Equally Fast Trip Home

End Of A Lovely Day

End Of A Lovely Day

In fact the day ended as it started with clear skies and no wind, like a summers day.

Nature By The Window

Nature By The Window

By the window where we keep the phones the wildlife is very entertaining, there is a wren who feeds all the time on the flies that this spider catches in its web, I’ll catch a photo of the wren one of these days but the spider is usually pretty quick, however the wren is quicker sometimes.

Pressures On

Pressures On

Back to the day job and the new compost toilet took shape despite the builders phone springing a leak and covering everything with the gunge, best just to leave it alone until it hardens.

Still Rutting

Still Rutting

I got up in the morning mid week to find stag ‘Torn Ear’ still riutting with hinds, no roaring now and a he looked a very tired stag.

Oops!

Oops!

Off down to the shed to carry on with the compost loo to find the foam had hardened, a few cuts with the knife and we were in business, not such a disaster after all.

Bewicks Passing

Bewicks Passing

The geese had been passing all of October, I think the first ones in September,I saw the Barnacles one day going South from the boat and here were the Bewick swans, heading to Bedford I guess.

Steve's Week.

Steve’s Week.

Our last guests of Summer season left on Saturday Steve and his family were back for a visit and we had some good fun with them.

Scratching My Head

Scratching My Head

With time running out there was lots to do before the holidays, sometimes things just click but I was having a problem with the compost vent and I’m none to comfortable on ladders at the moment.

Almost Finished

Almost Finished

But I got it all done and that was another job ticked off

Missing Buoy

Missing Buoy

Out on the boat for the last time, the mooring buoy pick up rope had severed and the mooring lost, the rope does float but it is heavy with weed so I spent some time searching for it, then spotted it lurking below the water. The Bewick Swan was obviously a straggler, and reluctantly left when I got too close.

Straggler

Straggler

With the tides going back I just managed to get a high enough tide to pull the boat out and a morning later the MV Rona was up on the hard stand for the winter

Winter Quarters

Winter Quarters

One more job down.

Struggling

Struggling

It rained a lot that night and I was disappointed to see a leak in the roof, the only thing I could find was a porous coping, on Iain our joiners advice I put a temporary lead cover on it and hopefully this will sit there for a while or until I get back.

Temporary Fix

Temporary Fix

With time running out the last job was to sort out the sheep and put the ewes to the very frustrated Tup who was on the other side of the fence. That done, the list of jobs for Ali and Clive was growing longer as we prepared to go for our annual holiday.

Sheep Work, Seperation

Sheep Work, Separation

We are now in Crew heading South in one hour, it is Monday the 7th, we have been in Perth for the night, Lake Windermere the next night and now with our pals Brian and Gill in their new house in Crewe. Much excitement as we head to Hungerford to pick up our Canal Barge which will be home for the next week. No internet and peaceful cruising, can’t wait. I’m getting grief for doing the blog just now so I’m not checking it for typo’s I’ll just let it take its chance……….

Posted in The Views and of course the weather | 2 Comments

Now Where Were We…….

I started the last blog with a sunrise, here are a few other photos of another one a few days later, The wind is in the East, the weather is fantastic and has been since the monsoon last time I blogged but for how long…….

Torridon Sunrise 3rd Oct (1)

Torridon Sunrise 3rd Oct (1)

Torridon Sunrise 3rd Oct (2)

Torridon Sunrise 3rd Oct (2)

Torridon Sunrise 3rd Oct (3)

Torridon Sunrise 3rd Oct (3)

There have been a few of these lovely mornings lately, well worth getting out of bed for.

Monsoon Again

Monsoon Again

But just before the sunrises more rain but this was three weeks ago, it was grim. Just after the Equinox, anyone coming to Scotland during that week must have wondered………..

Overflowing

Overflowing

The deer are about for sure in good numbers, perhaps we have reached our peak population, we are on the numbers? Who needs a mower.

Cheeky

Cheeky

Our first Danish hunters arrived 24th September but the rain did not dampen their enthusiasm. It was a return trip for Per, Knud and Peter, they had for sure much better weather last time 4 years ago.

Pouring down

Pouring down

In between the mini winter we had there were some lovely moments during their week though and good breaks in the weather giving us stunning views.

Deer Far Away

Deer Far Away

Fishing was good although the big old stags were elusive.

Always Hunting

Always Hunting

Their week was curtailed due to the storm forecast, it did not materialise but it was better with flights to catch to head off 1 day early. We hope they were not too disappointed.

Loading Up For Off

Loading Up For Off

The next Friday the weather showed a steady improvement as the jetstream shifted.

Rain Maybe

Rain Maybe

In between guests there was a chance to do a bit of drainage, the rains had shown weak areas, this was my chance. The newly roofed shed has quite a bit of water coming in so it was good to relieve some of it.

Drainage

Drainage

This road was in danger of washing away and washing the road away with the force of the previous weeks rains coming over the drain (which I think did not exist?), good to get this done.

Drainage 2

Drainage 2

Flowing

Flowing

All was going very well looking to finish early when the aerial of the jeep broke, with the motor running constantly the electrics had decided to keep it going. I could not find a fuse or was able to stop it so on Friday night I was in the guts of the jeep and what a job to find the connection. Find it I did 2 hours later, very frustrating when an early finish was on the cards.

Motor Running

Motor Running

Saturday Mark arrived with our new sofas on MV Aspire.

New Sofas

New Sofas

We got them off and duly delivered. the weather had improved and the forecast was very promising.

Delivered

Delivered

We had a booking for that night which had been previously cancelled for 4 guys on their RIB so we were keen to get the Cabin 32 up to speed and as they had asked for a dinner we had a full on day getting the Crew Pot together for them.

Crew Pot

Crew Pot

RIB Visitors

RIB Visitors

After a calm night and full stomachs the guys were away mid morning and it was back to cleaning and prep’ for the next Danish invasion.

Early Morning Mist

Early Morning Mist

There is always time to take a prowl in the morning in between guests and I was pleased to see this stag back for this years rut, he was Master Stag the year before but he looked sore and I suspect he had been fighting.

Early Morning Mist 2

Early Morning Mist 2

It was a good but cold run out in the morning.

Sighting In

Sighting In

Monday first thing our party of 12 Danes arrived for a three day break, it promised to be a full on three days and the week did not disappoint. Again first stop for visiting hunters is to make sure they can use the rifle and are acquaint with it.

It is all About The Food

It is all About The Food

It was mostly about the food too with some good fishing and raids on the freezer for venison giving us many memorable meals.

The Kitchen In Full Flow

The Kitchen In Full Flow

Everyone mucked in, Mark was out stalking with some guests, I was fishing with others, Lorraine and Arne were holding the fort.

Danish Invasion

Danish Invasion

The weather was brilliant and astonishing as it just got hotter and hotter.

Cleaning the Boots

Cleaning the Boots

The stalking was going well with quite a few cull stags about, the guests had good stalking packed into three days.

The Drag

The Drag

Mark came across this calf which had obviously caught its hoof in a fence or rock? It was repairing but it was pretty weak so the decision was made to cull it, I doubt if it would survive the winter.

Three Hooves

Three Hooves

The last day of this weeks visit I took Hans now retired down to the South to meet up with the stalking party, there were stags all around, a very lively scene.

Skylined

Skylined

We stopped off on one of the viewpoints and spent a very nice relaxing hour having a wee whisky and having a chat, a fascinating guy Hans who used to own a butchers shop in Copenhagen. Most of the talk was about sheep and cows as you can imagine.

Taking it Easy With Hans

Taking it Easy With Hans

The weather was so good that it was  no surprise to see a yacht coming in late in the week. By the weekend we had 4 yachts in on Friday night plus passing kayakers.

Not Finished Yet

Not Finished Yet

We had passed this yacht coming in on our way out to drop Mark off with the stalking guests. The wind was such that it was easiest to do that rather than try to go around the wind.

Dropped Off

Dropped Off

It was interesting to watch the stalkers heading out the hill totally oblivious to the deer to their left!!!!!!

Opening The Fizz

Opening The Fizz

But they had success so on the last night the champagne was flowing and Caljohan showed us how to open the bottles using his not so sharp knife, quite scary.

Last Supper

Last Supper

The last dinner was very long and the wine/rum/whisky was flowing. it was a bit of a shock to the system at 7am the next morning with the aspire on the horizon.

Carcasses Off

Carcasses Off

We were ready for them though and had the deer carcasses on the pontoon by the time they got here.

New Guests Dropped Off Up North

New Guests Dropped Off Up North

That was the Thursday so it was head down and getting ready for Frank and Heiko from Germany. Frank was here on his kayak last year and when he found out we had deer on the Island and had stalking weeks he booked up for a return visit. After a trial of the rifles we were off to the North end as the wind was out of the South, I dropped them off and they worked their way back.

The Old Man of Storr From the Base

The Old Man of Storr From the Base

I headed home to have a late breakfast on that day, Yacht Sula was moored in the harbour a late charter which turned out to be a journalist ‘doing’ an article on the area.

Back For Breakfast

Back For Breakfast

They spent quite a bit of time at the mouth of the harbour getting their pictures and dodging the rocks, certainly a good week for them.

Sula Photoshoot

Sula Photoshoot

Again another stunning day with the air so clean that you can see the boulders on the faces of the Torridon hills from Rona with the binoculars.

Clear As Crystal Days

Clear As Crystal Days

Day two of the visitors outings and this old stag was culled, always sad to see the end of such a fine deer but he was at that stage and with our deer management plan in place sometimes there is no room for sentimentality.

Exceptional Old Stag

Exceptional Old Stag,

To-day (Wednesday 12th Oct) the sun is going away as the cloud moves in, hopefully temporary but who knows. This old stag who is very tired after days of holding hinds, stiff too with all his roaring and fighting, was sleeping it off just below Meal this afternoon. He is quite safe, a pretty impressive head, we call him the TV Screen! On the skyline it is one of the many ways we describe the shape of the head when spying.

The TV Screen

The TV Screen

The stalking and busy time with visitors is nearly over. There are a few boats about, a yacht passed to-day heading North, lucky they can catch a few late Autumn days.

More at the end of the rut on the stalking page, hopefully when I get time……..

 

 

 

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