At Last A Bit Quieter

After a manic July, August started just the same. After the last post on the 7th we thought it would be a bit easier but life just notched up a gear, this morning was typical (sadly) of the surprises Rona throws at you every day.

Trapped

Trapped

Got a call this morning from the holiday cottage visitors, they had seen this young stag with a ‘bucket’ on its head! I was quickly on the scene but sadly there was no answer but to put the deer down, on closer inspection it had a whelk trap tub stuck firmly on its head, I had to cut the box to release it. Clearly emaciated the carcasse was left out for the Eagles which is all the poor animal was fit for (unlike the JMT who left out 86 Good Carcasses on the hill last July?). The white bucket blown up on the shore acting like a mini green house had some sweet grass growing in it I suspect. Every reason for people to be more careful with their rubbish. Very sad start to the day.

Not Looking Good

Not Looking Good

The poor animal was pretty weak, taking the odd stumble.

Well and Truly Caught

Well and Truly Caught

I had to cut the drum off its head, there was no way we could have freed it, a sad start to the day.

Moving on: Back to the rest of this months events, I’ll keep it brief in an attempt to catch up, where was I!!

Going Bananas

Going Bananas

The storm on the seventh of August fairly gave the trees a fright, they now have a distinct brown tinge.

The Boat got a Fair Battering

The Boat got a Fair Battering

Quite a gale for August bursting some of the ropes but thankfully the main rope held.

Bust Like string

Bust Like string

This is winter stuff, very unusual in August.

Emergency Lift

Emergency Lift

Ian our joiner had to have a quick departure as a family issue arose, no chance of a ferry due to the gale so a call to Qinetic and the ok was given for a space for him on the helo’, it was very kind of them to accommodate us in an emergency.

Escapees

Escapees

I got back to Big Harbour to find some sheep had escaped and were outside the gate, thankfully I got them in but had to walk the fence to see if there was a hole but no, I suspect a gate was left open? That was a long day.

A Dry Stalk

A Dry Stalk

Oliver who was visiting expressed an interest to stalk deer, we went out and walked, and walked finally spotting a young stag. We stalked it but came onto this Royal stag who stood up out of the middle of  a bush just below where our stag was, Stags 1 Us 0. It has been a good summer for stalking the deer, the Black Back gulls have not nested and they are not giving out their alarm calls, so it makes it much easier to find and see the deer.

repaired and Ready (not)

repaired and Ready (not)

Later in the day I went to Dry Harbour to see the visitors and look at a repair job, the Isuzu had just been put back together by ace mechanic Steve, who loves a Rona project and really enjoyed putting the bits and pieces back after I stripped a heater plug, but nothing is that simple here. At Dry Harbour after looking at the job I went back to the jeep to find I had a puncture. No problem but the jack was at Big Harbour, it was a long walk in the rain to go and get it. When I got back I found that the wheel would not come off so I ran it loose, that worked and a few hours later I got home, soaked and knackered.

And it Rained

And it Rained

It kept raining and then it rained more, so much that the new drains were well tested, that got me to shorten this pipe as the water was running round it. Three days of wind and rain followed, not the best summer week.

Wind Damage

Wind Damage

Back to Dry Harbour to the job I was looking at (oilskins on) and Oliver held the ladder whilst I re-fitted the chimney hat that the ‘gale’ had blown off (again usually winter work).

Flooded

Flooded

On my return to Rona Lodge I had to get a bit of timber from the sheep shed and found it had flooded, the inside drain had backed up, yet more shovel work.

It was a wet week

It was a wet week

Bad as it was for us, it was a difficult week for the visitors but they were quite stoic, another of our cottage visitors Euan, had a wee fishing trip out in the Bay, his dog was not impressed. The landing craft was coming so we squeezed in an hour and a half at sea, we caught a few bits a pieces and the one and only mackerel so far this year.

Unloading

Unloading

The Spanish John arrived and it was all go, Hugh had business elsewhere and had organised Jamie Milligan, the Skipper to deal with the plant, he took charge of the digger, it went well apart from the concrete blocks.

Hand Ball

Hand Ball

Nothing for it but to hand ball, great, just what I needed at the end of another long day. Next day was much the same grey, damp, summer!!! The sort out continued on Friday, much the same as the previous day, I was still full on putting the landing craft delivery to its various homes.

Souvenir

Souvenir

That night Friday the 12th we were enjoying our dinner when this yachtie walked past the door with one of the fishing buoys that are lying about, when asked what she was doing with it she told me that she had found it and was taking it away, when asked where she found it and what she wanted it for, the reply was that she was removing this rubbish that I did not need.

Useful

Useful

Turns out she was Dutch, remind me to help myself to whatever is lying about next time I’m in Holland!!! What on Earth she wanted a fishing buoy for is beyond me and what on earth she thought that she could just help herself? I don’t get it, can anyone explain that one.

9 Silversides

9 Silversides

The weekend improved, weather got better but I had to do a stock check on the venison and found we had 9 silversides, 4 haunches and four shanks. The steaks were going well, nice and easy for the visitors but the joints are slow, anyone for some roasts?

At Last a Clean Back Door

At Last a Clean Back Door

At last it dried up and we got the stones laid at the back door, clean feet at last.

Looking Good

Looking Good

It has been a nightmare for years dragging the mud into the house in the wet weather from the back door,which is often, I’m afraid.

Must Remember The Hand Brake

Must Remember The Hand Brake

Lots to  do and more haste less speed. The cottages were needing firewood and that was priority, I loaded a tub of logs onto the tractor with the JCB then watched it slowly roll into the ditch!! Doh

Saw This Guy Out The window Enjoying The Sun

Saw This Guy Out The window Enjoying The Sun

Nothing for it but to get the tractor back onto the road and head home for cup of tea, on the wall by the back door this dragon fly was taking in the sun, loads about this year, the weather must be suiting them.

Calm Sunset Night

Calm Sunset Night

As it happened it was a beautiful sunset that night of the 15th, tomorrow was an early start and the forecast was for a calm start, so it was nice to get the chance to have a seat behind the Lodge and take in the view..

Early morning dash

Early morning dash

It was a lovely run early to Portree. Our joiner was shouting for material so a quick dash to Rembrandt, Jewsons and MacGregors was necessary.

The Old Man

The Old Man

Passing the Old Man of Storr, it is one of the best places to see it from is the sea, no traffic jams out there.

Off the Head

Off the Head

The Head soon came into view I’m always amazed to see the sheep up high below the cliffs.

David on Green Isle Heading out

David on Green Isle Heading out

As usual I passed several fishing boats heading out, The Green Isle heading up to Rona for sure. Portree was ok for an hour or two then the mad tourist traffic started so it was time to escape, I had to pick up two visitors from Arinish and as it was a lovely day I was looking forward to meeting The Galloways who were all the way from New Zealand making a trip back to where their forefathers came from.

Spot The Arinish Bear

Spot The Arinish Bear

On the way out of Arinish I spotted this rock which looked all the world like a bears head? Back to Rona in good time Calum and Ian were working away. All was going well, I just settled down when we had a call Calum had had a fall, he needed to go to Portree, quick!!

Life Boat

Life Boat

Turned out to be a torn hamstring, very painful but could have been worse.

Jabbly Last Trip of Three

Jabbly Last Trip of Three

Back to Rona for the second time then off to Arinish with the Galloways, Phew, What a day. At least it was sunny. But the wind had risen and at the end of a lovely calm day I had quite a bouncy trip down to Raasay where I had a struggle to drop my passengers off, then much the same on the way back.

Followed by Fog

Followed by Fog

Next morning after a few days of sun as expected we had Fog and it stayed with us all day. I was over at Dry Harbour and called in to see the visitors, they had been very busy. The weather had been great and they were having a very inventive time.

Satvik's Kids Art Installation.

Satvik’s Kids Art Installation.

After the previous weeks rain it had been a good dry week and the promise of more to come. Saturday last the morning started very bright with the views crystal clear on all sides.

Perfect Morning

Perfect Morning

The changeover is always the better of a sunny calm day, just a few midgies to contend with.

Changeover Day

Changeover Day

It was a great day last Saturday, again full on. I had not been out fishing much so at 6pm I decided to get an hour with the rod and see if there was a fish in the Sound of Raasay.

Making For Rona

Making For Rona

I picked up one of my Yachting friends Colin off Yacht Fulmar as crew and headed out to the mouth of the harbour, we foul hooked a Pollock and caught quite a few cuddies but no Makerel. The 8 creels at the mouth were quite productive with some good crabs and a lobster so we were quite happy and just about to finish when this yacht appeared approaching the Harbour.

Motoring Past

Motoring Past

Their sail dropped, the engine started and the motored into Big Harbour. As they passed there was quite a smell of diesel coming down wind onto our boat. I was a bit concerned that the yacht owner had a problem, perhaps a leak? So I went alongside to tell them.

LG

LG

As it happened they were not happy at me ‘accusing’ them of leaking diesel!! So much for trying to help. Oh well upwards and onwards.DSC_0038That was the last few weeks, they have just gone by so quick. This week to come and I started to write this blog last weekend and here I am on Friday trying to finish it before heading up to the larder to do a bit of butchering.

Roll on the winter, I say!!

 

Posted in Daily Doings, The Views and of course the weather, Wildlife, Yachties | Leave a comment

Storm Force Sunday

Here’s the story to-day, stormy night followed by a very windy day, the seagulls around the bay are grounded, it feels like a winters day and it is the first week in August. Highly unusual gales, that was the way that the Met Office forecast described the weather in the North West/Northern Scotland to-day!!

Sunday Storm

Sunday Storm

Been another hectic week, maybe I should pay a wee bit attention to the advert on the screen?

Early Morning Cuillins

Early Morning Cuillins

It was a calmer day on the 1st when I headed over to Portree to get a brand new mixer, why did I not get one the previous week? I guess the traffic and busy Portree got to me on the last visit and I took off a bit too soon, keen to get back to peaceful Rona. The weather was grey in the morning but it was promising a quieter, calmer and maybe clearer day.

MV Aspire Re-paint

MV Aspire Re-paint

Kevin and Mikey were busy painting up Aspire in the harbour, it had calmed down and was dry, so a good chance to get a final coat on. I was careful not to create too much wash which makes for a scary minute or two on the raft!

Unloading the Mixer and Material.

Unloading the Mixer and Material.

I had taken the opportunity to get some more material for the bothy when I was over, the bulky light stuff like insulation doesn’t slow the boat down, in fact it took me just over 35 minutes on the return leg. No wildlife to report, just the observation of how quiet the waters are around these parts this year. At least the Terns have made a bit of a comeback. There seems to be a lot of them about after being posted missing for several years.

Getting on with the Job

Getting on with the Job

I arrived back around 12, had lunch then started batching, what a difference with the new mixer but it still took us until 8pm to finish.

Contemplation

Contemplation

The original toilet was inside the bothy but never really worked, the septic tank I made and connected to it was not really a success for various reasons and the lean too outside was not suitable, it was too small, so we have made it bigger and more substantial which is a better  bet especially to-day with 50 mph winds giving it a test.

Good To Get it finished

Good To Get it finished

Hugh arrived next day with yet more material. It was a good calm start with sun at last. Hugh had a tidy up to do then we had planned the landing craft for the end of the week, unfortunately a few hiccups put a spanner in that plan.

Aspire On Route

Aspire On Route

The tide was dropping so we loaded up our boat so that we could get the load ashore easier when the tide turned.

Waiting for the Tide

Waiting for the Tide

We had a booking for the mooring from a Dutch yacht, so we put the sign out, ‘Mooring Booked”. The yacht sailed into the harbour, round the yachts on the West side of the bay, looked at the ‘Reef’ marker buoy and then sailed out, no sign of picking up the mooring, no call to say why, ah well it did say ‘Round The World or Across the Atlantic Sail’ on the side of the yacht, so maybe they were in a hurry?

Pontoon Repairs

Pontoon Repairs

Hugh’s first job was to give me a hand with the pontoon repairs, nothing lasts forever out here and especially by the sea. Some of the grids on the pontoon were getting pretty dangerous, so a few replacements were found and fitted.

Stripping the Quarry

Stripping the Quarry

After the pontoon repair Hugh went up top to the quarry to win some material for when it eventually dries up a bit, then we can get some smaller stone on the ‘muddy’ road.

Sign of What is to Come

Sign of What is to Come

At the end of the day it is down to the shed for a beer and a chat about tomorrows plan, maybe a tidy up?!!!!

Looking For The Rise

Looking For The Rise

Thursday started good, sunny and breezy, not like the day before when it was midgie hell for a lot of the day. Most of the sheep were in so we decided to get the shearing out of the way. As Hugh is the expert he was ‘trying’ to give me some lessons, but of all the jobs on Rona this is the one to try my back, bending over for any length of time and I’ll seize up so it is good to get a hand with this job, I think I did one and a half sheep, Hugh did the rest. I’ll get the stragglers in the next few weeks, one by one. Which will be easier.

All done and dusted

All done and dusted

Ready For The Landing Craft

Ready For The Landing Craft

Thinking about it, Thursday was a very fine day but it absolutely blew from the North West, several boats that were in for a few days had decided to go North but when they looked round the corner we were not surprised to see them heading South through the Gap. It was a high sea with a massive swell, we thought about heading to Portree with Hugh that night but the wind continued until late. So an early start was planned.

Ten to Six, Friday Last

Ten to Six, Friday Last

I think I woke about three then could not get back to sleep, Hugh was the same, so around 6ish we left the harbour but it had calmed right down and was a beautiful morning for a sail. It had clouded up from the South but looking back the views were good.

Looking over to Torridon, Over Raasay.

Looking over to Torridon, Over Raasay.

We were in Portree before it had got going and were surprised to see parking spaces on the pier, there were a few tourists out taking photo’s, but quiet enough to get everything done I wanted too.

Late Sun at Dry Harbour

Late Sun at Dry Harbour

Another load of building material and a few stores later I was back on Rona and helping Ian with the bothy. At night we headed over to Dry Harbour to let our visitors know that MV Aspire had had a breakdown and that Dan’s MV Stardust was stepping in to do the run. The only problem was that they would have to get up early as Andy, Dan’s skipper had to be back by ten to fulfill their bookings. Our guests did not let us down, ready to go and the cottages left spick and span.

Taxi!!!!!

Taxi!!!!!

Our guests did very well and thankfully everything went to plan, even packing the odd guest into the jeep with the luggage, no complaints there then?

And They Were Off

And They Were Off

The forecast was all doom and gloom so it was a relief to get our changeover done quickly and Andy made it back to Portree, just in time for his bookings. The weather that was promised did not really materialise until late afternoon but when it came it was very heavy rain followed by gales and that is where we are to-day.

Tell Tale

Tell Tale

Late afternoon yesterday I spotted water coming up on the middle of the road, big time. Oh! Oh! problems. So I started digging. It was possible that we had a burst water pipe or when we were putting in the cables for the new house we had upset an old field drain. But once I started to hit stone I got the digger. Being aware of the new cables and water pipe, Lorraine acted as banksman and we were happy to see the warning tape we had put in come up with the JCB bucket. I got digging again with the pick and shovel and found a four inch soil pipe that we had obviously missed when putting in the cables. No harm just a big mess which will take a dry day to get tidied. I put in a new pipe, more warning tape and back filled quickly as the hole had turned to porridge, ah well just another Rona issue.

Great Way To Spend the Afternoon.

Great Way To Spend the Afternoon.

Looks like fun, after that I cut up foam/Kingspan for Ian another pleasant job. So to-day I’m taking it easy.

Remember the footprints in the concrete?

Mink?

Mink?

Last week, I was on the decking, I think it was Tuesday. Ian shouted that there was something below my feet running about. I could not see it then Ian pointed to a mink looking up at us, what it was doing in the middle of the day around the work I do not know but possible hunger? Anyway I had not checked the trap in front of the bothy that I had set up and wondered if it had a mate trapped inside it but no. The mink took off and surprisingly ran into the trap, turned around and looked out at us them turned back in, whereupon the two spring traps went off, killing the unfortunate animal quickly. Seems it had eaten the bait, been in and out without setting off the traps then unfortunately for it, it went back in and was not so lucky this time. But a surprise all the same to see these bold creatures in the middle of the day.

I think at the end of the season we will need to have a major effort on mink trapping around the Island, the seabirds are certainly in decline this year.

 

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

Long, long, Days

I came home from Dry Harbour a week last Tuesday to find our garden had been invaded, but no problem, it wasn’t the window peepers it was George and Dive Earle off their motor launch, M V Comet. I have known them since I have been here and now in their 80’s they continue to motor round the Western Isles enjoying their days.

M V Comet

M V Comet

They had stopped off to get all the ‘Estates’ gossip and of course to buy some venison.

Sweeping the road

Sweeping the road

The drain work was still a bit of a mess and after I had said cheerio to my garden guests I had an hour or so sweeping the road with my makeshift brush, very effective it was too.

Sausage Time

Sausage Time

First thing in the morning we had made a batch of sausages, thankfully I remembered them as I was sweeping up. I had put them in the freezer to stiffen them up prior to bagging and caught them just in time. As when they are solid stuck together it is impossible to separate them. I got that out of the way and it was off to the bothy to cut out the walk way grids as some on the pontoon ones were getting dangerously rusty.

Retrieving the grids

Retrieving the grids

Next day yet more repairs, the new thermo coupler had arrived and it was time to put the cooker back together. I sorted that out and got it back into the cottage working fine.

Thermo Coupler Replaced

Thermo Coupler Replaced

It had been a busy mixed week and we were very happy to accept an invitation to Yacht Escapade for dinner, Nick the skipper and chef produced the yachts signature dish which was cooked to perfection. Head chef Anne was absent on family duties but the spread was very impressive and welcome after the week we had just had.

Cod Escapade

Cod Escapade

Saturday, MV Aspire was early and the next visitors were ready for their week on Rona, Kevin had been re-painting ‘Aspire’ but rain had been holding him up although having half the hull painted looked interesting.

The New Colour Scheme

The New Colour Scheme

We had run out off drain pipe and had to get another 450mm which was a bit of a handful, just as well Aspire is as big as it is.

Quite a Load

Quite a Load

The weather had been trying ever since we started the drains, we were hoping for a better week, the clouds were certainly interesting.

Mammatus

Mammatus

Not as impressive as other Mammatus clouds and the picture doesn’t do them justice but all the same, seeing this type of cloud is always a surprise.

Jim and Helen, Here for a Week!!

Jim and Helen, Here for a Week!!

Jim and Helen had come on the Saturday boat, it had been ten years since they had been to Rona on honeymoon, now with a family of two they had a little bit extra luggage. I’ve seen all sorts of things coming over for a weeks holiday, one time I spotted an electric drill, I’m still trying to work out what that was for ?

Tidy Up

Tidy Up

Back to the Lodge and the road had hardened up so I got the dumper going and did a bit of tidying.

Bothy Extension

Bothy Extension

Ian the joiner was coming the following Saturday so there was a bit of work to do before he came, we are putting a lean to onto the bothy so that the workers coming to the house will have a bit better facilities, no time like a Sunday afternoon to do it. I had a bit of time as Dan’s Stardust was taking the Sunday guests out on one of his trips, but he had no takers as there had been a bit of engine trouble, so only our guests this time.

Was this Jeremy Corbyn

Was this Jeremy Corbyn on holiday?

We got out guests, then headed over to the cottages. Our honeymoon couple Jo and Alice were looking forward to a quiet , remote Island experience. We were disappointed when we arrived at the cottages to find three kayakers having their dinner and getting ready to camp in the field right in front of their cottage. As usual we went though the motions of asking them to leave, find a less obtrusive place etc etc. Right to roam was quoted, a few other excuses but for us there is no excuse. If you are going out looking for an adventure in the remoter parts. WHY on earth would you want to camp in front of three holiday cottages, not to mention the toilets that don’t exist but have to be used.

Guilty

Guilty

When it was pointed out to them by our first holiday cottage visitors that there were signs up saying not to camp there, they were told by the kayakers that they were tired and that they were going to camp anyway. I’m not going to quote the land access legislation again, but, maybe there is a bit missing under the heading ‘Common Sense, respect and Courtesy’. Hey Ho, maybe one day.

Drainage Finished

Drainage Finished

Last week I have been catching up, getting the drains ready for Hugh’s next visit and ready for Ian coming to work on the Bothy.

Compost Toilet!

Compost Toilet!

Thursday I headed over to Portree early, The views of the Old Man were pretty good, I will one morning go over there to take some pictures with the ‘big’ camera, the light in the early morning shining on Skye can be pretty spectacular.

The Old Man of Storr Through the Clouds

The Old Man of Storr Through the Clouds

I had a good sail until just outside Portree when the Starboard engine started to cough but thankfully despite losing revs’ I made it and got back to Rona with a pile of building material safe and sound.

Cook What You Catch

Cook What You Catch

Friday I fancied an easier day (and that was a very wise move!!!). I offered Alice, Jo and Jim a boat trip then a ‘Cook what you Catch’ lunch. We were getting ready to head out when I got the call the power was off at Dry Harbour. I gave it a quick fix and we were off. We had a good couple of hours catching a variety of shellfish which we took back and then spent the mid-day cooking it all up for lunch.

Cleaning Crabs

Cleaning Crabs

Alice and Jo got right into it and were willing helpers.

The Spread

The Spread

After a very full lunch, it was back to the grind. Jo had shot a stag during the week and they were keen to see how we butcher the carcase.  We were just heading up to the larder when Paul phoned from Raasay, he was having trouble with mink killing his hens so could I lend him some traps. 6 new hens arrived and we put them into the old hen run. Better here than food for the mink although…….

The New Arrivals

The New Arrivals

Lorraine was worried that Paul’s dog Molly would have a go at our hens so Molly was put into the herb garden for her own safety, much to her disgust.

Not Happy

Not Happy

We had a cup of coffee with Paul and Ross, got all the news from ‘Life at the End of The Road’ and they were off.

And They Are Off/Traps on board.

And They Are Off/Traps on board.

Up to the larder and a venison saddle plus one haunch later the job was done, Jo and Alice were ‘again’ attentive students and willing helpers. Just as we were finishing John and Jane MacInnes, ex Yacht Strolla not Shivinish? arrived. Good to see them, John always likes a wee job on Rona and I have plenty. So a wee dram was taken in the larder and we were invited out to tea, excellent.

A Wee Dram

A Wee Dram

We ran the honeymoon couple over to Dry Harbour then back to the Lodge for a quick change. We were looking forward to our dinner and to catching up on all the news from Ardfern.

Packed in the Back

Packed in the Back

Saturday (yesterday) started off grey and damp, not good. There was so much stuff that MV Aspire got held up, although there were other reasons!!!!!!!

Over Loaded

Over Loaded

The new guys arrived, three runs to the cottages, then it started to get wet, very wet but there was a promise of better weather ahead. John and Katherine were back, just like Jim and Helen after about ten years with one daughter in tow.

Grim

Grim

In the middle of it all the rain came and for a couple of hours it was really miserable. But by 1pm it was clearing and we could get going with the new lean to onto the bothy.

Unloading to-day's Delivery

Unloading to-day’s Delivery

Late afternoon and the tide enabled us to unload the boat which had been the point of delivery for MV Aspires load. 4×2, doors and windows were unloaded and serious cementing started. We usually have two cement mixers and it was only when I started to mix that I thought, what if this one breaks. Well, after about 15 mixes in the belt started to get noisy, it was breaking up. I trimmed it but what I did not see was that the pulley on the motor had come loose and of course the belt then came loose too and snapped. Disaster!!

Back To Basics

Back To Basics

With 3 to 5 batches left to do (and it was 6pm on Saturday night) Ian never hesitated, we got going and hand batched the last 5, the last one was the worst but we got it done and I don’t think a tin of lager ever tasted so good.

I Did my Bit

I Did my Bit

It had been all go, thankfully it was pretty quiet with only three yachts in and John had been roped in on his holidays for a full Rona shift, his help was much appreciated and we had minimum disturbance.

Mink?

Mink?

This morning, Ian pointed out the tracks in the concrete, seems we had a visitor last night, I am sure it is a mink and as I did not give Paul all my traps I set one and we will see. With 11 hens now we really don’t need a mink attack.

Looks like a busy week ahead.

 

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

It Is That Time Of Year Again…….

Never mind the grumpy digger driver, it is my turn at the moment!!!

The Right To Roam

The Right To Roam

These guys, three of them were wandering around the house, cabin and house site in the late evening, last week. When asked why they were wandering about around our house when the signs clearly say we are closed at 7pm, they replied just having a look. Well, after 13 years of just having a look I get a bit fed up of people prowling round the house looking in the windows, so I ask them to respect our privacy and place and just go-away!!!! To which they replied,  ” We have the right to roam, we can go where we want”.  They were none too happy to be asked to leave and have the “Outdoor Access Code”, quoted to them. It just so happened that we had read up on it the day before after a similar incident. Maybe I’m missing something here but if I went into red jacket guys garden in Derby where he said he lives at 8.30pm of an evening  ‘just having a look’ I don’t think he would be too happy……………when asked what he would do in a similar situation, he did say he would call the police …….

Okay, that’s my summer moan out of the way.

Moving on……….I’m a bit confused about this blog because I think I may have done this already but I cannot find the post so maybe not? Where was I? Last time I posted it was the 7th of the 7th, so here we are with another ‘quick’ update.

Stunning Night

Stunning Night

Seems like weeks ago myself and French visitor Thierry were out on MV Rona fishing for the next days dinner. I have not been out much this season what with weather and being tooooooo busy.

Looking to Staffin and Harris

Looking to Staffin and Harris

Thierry was off his Yacht up at the house to buy some venison and when I asked would he like to crew MV Rona he jumped at the chance. He is I think he said and Astro Physicist, he was very good at fishing though, turns out his brother is a fisherman.

Same Time

Same Time

We had gone out because Dave and Helen our holiday cottage visitors were hoping to go out on the boat then back to the house to cook what we could catch the next day. The forecast was grim so I went out the night before just as a back up. The bay was full of yachts, good to see one with a sense of humour!

Happy Boat

Happy Boat

It was a calm night with great views and the catch was pretty good too, for a change.

Back To Base

Back To Base

Out on the boat we had some good sightings of deer on Rona with a few good stags at the South end.

Kyle Rona Stags

Kyle Rona Stags

In the morning despite the grim forecast the day was clear and crisp. I got up early and headed South to get a few pictures of the Bay.

Early Morning Prowl

Early Morning Prowl

I think there was 10 in that night not the most as we have had twelve one night this month.

Checking the pot

Checking the pot

Coming back from the photos I spotted the fox gloves that had come on big time since Hugh dug up and shaped the path a few years ago. Just goes to show what can happen with a bit of ground disturbance.

Loupins

Fox Gloves

We went out around 9.30am, the sun quickly disappeared and a chop arrived on the sea, but my new crew were happy to get a sail and catch some seafood.

The Catch

The Catch

When we came back in a couple of kayakers rocked up and had a bit of shelter to have a brew. We have not seen many this year, I think the weather has been a bit difficult for them and the calm weather a bit early when it was quiter. But the season is still young, so maybe we will see a lot more.

Not Many This Year

Not Many This Year

Back to the kitchen and the guys were quickly pressed into service making mayonnaise. Cracking open the prawns and mixing up a sauce for the squatties.

Lemon Squeeze

Lemon Squeeze

Making The Mayo'

Making The Mayo’

A couple of hours (and bottles of wine later) we were finished and it was time for home.

Squatties Ready to Go

Squatties Ready to Go

After commenting on not seeing many kayakers I was surprised to see another two making their way North later that day. Spotted paddling along the shore.

Little

Spot The Kayakers (Little)

The week has shot past, I went to Portree to pick up a new freezer and Hugh. One of the many Liners visiting Skye this year was anchored in the mouth of Portree harbour, I could see that it was pretty busy at the pier.

and Large

…….and Large

I picked up some parts to repair the ever increasing list of things to be sorted. Never have I seen a time for breakdowns on Rona. Hugh was quickly pressed into service to fit the rear spring on the jeep.

Breakdowns

Man Down

With the new jeep out of action it was imperative to get the old one going what with more rain forecast for changeover Saturday. As it happened again it was a sunny night and it felt like it would be good on Saturday.

Calm Night

Calm Night

Looking Back

Looking Back

Saturday came and MV Aspire arrived in the dry which was good with a new paint job on the wheelhouse underway.

Paint Job Underway

Paint Job Underway

The rain had come on so rather than make a mess digging up phase two of our project we decided to work on the jeep, which needed a tow up the hill.

Long Tow

Long Tow

Next day, yet another breakdown, this time in the Escape House. The thermo coupler on the oven had broken and the oven would not stay on, what next?

More Breakdowns

More Breakdowns

Our new arrivals, Jo, Jen, Nick and Derek are keen tennis followers attend Wimbledon regularly, living in Essex its not a problem for a visit to the tennis. So, since they were 600 miles North on finals weekend, we suggested they may like to watch Andy Murray on the big screen. We couldn’t, too busy, but we were happy that they enjoyed their wet and windy day snug in the cabin watching the tennis.

Andy Murray..............

Andy Murray…………..

There had been a request for Nick to go stalking, Derek had already been out a few years ago and enjoyed the day. It was the calmest, wettest morning of the month I think. The only thing missing was the midgies, we saw quite a few deer but they saw us first.

Nick and Derek Spying

Nick and Derek Spying

Back to the day job and the building material needed shifting, Hugh carried on with the road.

Shifting Pipes

Shifting Pipes

Lorraine’s brother and sister in law were over for a week from Canada and very keen for a days fishing, it was a bit of a jabble that day but the fishing was pretty good.

Dave's Here

Dave’s Here

Lots of Yachts last week and from all corners, this Dutch couple, Jan and Renee were very keen to try the Rona whisky, they were good fun and came up with a bottle of their local liqueur to give us a taste of their local brew, we had  good crack and enjoyed their company, fine friendly yacht visitors.

Our Dutch Cousins

Our Dutch Cousins

Mid week last week we had another good day and as we were running out of firewood we spent an hour or two filling up the boxes, this summer has had such a wide range of temperatures, the fire has been on quite a bit which is quite unusual. The boxes were almost empty so it was good to get ahead a bit.

Reducing the Pile

Reducing the Pile

Meanwhile back at the shore Hugh had been shaping up a new slip, we had so much hassle unloading last time from the  landing craft ‘Spanish John’, Hugh felt that a straightforward slip on the shore which can be used in most tides would help a lot.

The New Slip

The New Slip

Mid Week we decided to lay the cables and drain the back of the  Lodge, we closed the road and got ready to go as soon as Calum arrived.

Roadworks

Roadworks

Calum came in about 10.30am Wednesday, it was all go from that moment.

Calum's Back

Calum’s Back

Waterpipes and power cables were laid together without too much trouble.

Cable ans Pipe Works

Cable ans Pipe Works

We even got the road leveled out as a bonus after the ditch was back filled . Good to get rid of some of the stone sticking out.

Cable Laying

Cable Laying

On Wednesday night we headed South looking for a young stag, we cannot keep up with venison sales which are going well with a big demand from the yacht visitors. We had a successful stalk and then back to the larder.

Stalking Late

Stalking Late

No rest after a late night it was up early and into the replacement of the drains around the house.

Rain's Coming

Rain’s Coming

Always going to be a mess, the Lodge drainage was a race against time as the forecast was not too good, Earlier this year (or was it last) the road fell away and the waste pipe was damaged, so first job was to replace a burst rodding eye. That done it was time to work out the plan for laying the pipes. The Lodge has been consistently damp for years and we are keen to improve on that.

Inventive Corner

Inventive Corner

With no corner pieces we had to be a wee bit inventive with our cutting and joining.

Should Stop The Damp Bits

Should Stop The Damp Bits

After a while it started to come together and it was time to fill in the hole, unfortunately after deciding the existing pipe could not cope with the outfall before the road up to the new house, we had to dig it up again, cables and all, to go below with a bigger pipe.

Letting The Water Go

Letting The Water Go

Eventually after getting it open we released the water that had backed up, even in the hour we had held it back there was a considerable flood. In the past when this was not getting away the road was never drying out. Hopefully this will give us a major improvement.

Trying Our Best To Tidy Up

Trying Our Best To Tidy Up

With the rain starting to fall, all that Hugh could do was level off and hope for the best. The ground was so soft we decided to close the road and direct the visitors up our alternative path. The next three days of, off and on torrential rain have been interesting but yesterday (Tuesday) I got the Irish drain in and a relief ditch dug, last night it was sheet lightening and thunderstorms and looking out this morning it is not pretty but at least it has worked.

Changeover

Changeover

Saturday last came and went, the guests and Hugh went away, fortunately the rain held off but returned big time for the rest of Saturday later in the day.

The Bat

The Bat

Sunday, Jo and Derek were coming over for a half day butchering the deer we got earlier in the week. They were keen to see how we do it and that they could apply that at home with and deer that Derek gets. Just before I set out the larder for the butchering I was going to clean the UV fly trap, I spotted a bat lurking in the corner, he was none too pleased to be evicted from his free feed.

Having a Butchers

Having a Butchers

It was a good day for it, wet, miserable, cold and grey, almost February. After a full morning and part of the afternoon the freezers are filling up getting us ahead of the game with the venison stock.

To-day, Wednesday after a night of sheet lightening, torrential rain it is a calm (midgie) morning. Lots to do as usual but to-day it is a paperwork morning then up to the garage to clear up. 8 Yachts in the bay, I guess we will have a busy morning with them  calling at the house.

 

 

 

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Too Much……………….Part Two

Part Two of the blog from the other day, yesterday was full on, with the first ‘Cook What You Catch’ trip so I missed my spot for putting up this post, but looking back to the previous week.

Last Saturday our guests went away, Hugh stayed, the lazer level arrived and we sorted out the house site, taking levels was good fun to do and pretty easy with Hugh’s directions. P1070519

P1070533

P1070536

P1070538

The weather of course was not helping with the first real rain arriving. The job was done (for the moment) and we are moving onto drainage around Rona Lodge next week when Hugh comes back.P1070539

Site Works

Site Works

We had a new surveyors tape, 50 metres long which made the tape/rope redundant but it did its job because when we did the triangulation and levels again proper, they were pretty much spot on with our mid week attempt.

P1070545

In the middle of it all late on Saturday night the power went off, we had run out of fuel. We  had 250 litres left from Hugh’s IBC so that went into the genny tank first thing in the morning.P1070544

I got that sorted and asked Hugh to level around the cabin, I went up late to rake off the stones around to find the lambs hiding underneath away from the midgies.DSC_0046I mentioned we had been out fishing at the end of last week, we found the spot for the Pollock but had a few Wrasse too.

Fishing

Fishing

This colourfull fellow was happy to be thrown back. There is quite a bit of Wrasse fishing around the Island at the moment, they are caught and put into the Salmon pens where they feed on the parasites that the Salmon carry, a pretty good solution to that problem.

Finishing Up

Finishing Up

All too soon Hugh was away mid-week. The road was flattened off, the roadsides battered down and the machine work was looking pretty impressive, in not much time either, well done.

Grading Off

Grading Off

We thought we would have to run in loads of stone but Hugh found sufficient material roadside to make the job, for the moment workable.

More Repairs

More Repairs

Back to the garage on a wet day and the old ATV motorbike starter went again, yet another repair. This is the 10th set of brushes I have replaced, you would think a corporation such as Honda would have a better quality starter but I understand that this is quite common, what a total waste of time and money.

Emergency Fuel Arrives

Emergency Fuel Arrives

Wednesday last Kevin brought over 50 gallons of diesel which went into the tank too, we are now ok until the Spanish John arrives.

Ian Gordon Pressed Into Service

Ian Gordon Pressed Into Service

I took  a day up at the garage and had a thought to do some preparation for the new plastic on the polytunnel. Ian Gordon off Yacht ‘November Lady’ was pressed into service to help cut the battens for holding the plastic down, always good to get a hand.

Spotted a Strawberry

Spotted a Strawberry

Working away I spotted a strawberry growing away without the plastic cover, on closer inspection I found enough for the dinner that night, nice and sweet they were. We are looking forward very much to growing stuff again in the tunnel. Been too long.

BANG, So that was what the noise was

BANG, So that was what the noise was

Friday we headed over to Escape cottage to sort out the bedding and preparation for the guests arriving on Saturday. The Diahatsu has been making a banging noise for months around the back end, but could we find out what was causing it. But on Friday we did. The spring had been almost broken for some time as the crack was rusty and worn once I stripped it. Obviously it had lost its spring and the body was just bouncing about. A new one is on the way.

New Spring Required

New Spring Required

Saturday came, the new guests arrived, another honeymoon couple for Escape, Chris and Lucy who were here at New Year were married in Ireland the previous Saturday and were here to Escape the summer tourists.

Dave and Mae On THe Mooring

Dave and Mae On The Mooring

Mike and Lorraine were out for a trip and it was a nice surprise to see them, all too short a visit but we may see them sometime soon. We had a couple from Sunderland on the mooring for three days, Dave let me know he was an engineer when he came up to pay the mooring so I pressed him into service helping me with the new jeep as it would not start. It turned out it was a duff glow plug, now stuck in the cylinder head!!! I swapped Dave a shot of the TV for his mechanical input so that he could watch the Grand Prix on Sunday, a good deal I thought.

The Bloom Continues To Impress

The Bloom Continues To Impress

The sea still has the turquoise glow and when the sun is shining on it the colour really sticks out, pretty weird. I hear from Kenny Shieldaig that it is a plankton bloom, after the month of sun it was not unexpected.

Mega Strim This Week.

Mega Strim This Week.

This week we are catching up around the Lodge, it has been busy but we have managed to get the field strimmed and fertilised. Lots more to do but that is me up to date with the blog for a little while

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Too Much To Do and No Time To Do It

It is what it is here, the busy season and the fact that we have started the house building project just adds to the workload. Here’s a load of pictures of what we have been up to this last three weeks, short explanation provided but no long story, I’m playing catch up.

Matt and Helen

Matt and Helen

Seems like ages ago Matt and Helen who were over from Greenland, were here!!! On honeymoon but keen to get out on the water, the weather was soooooo good then.

Great Growth This Year

Great Growth This Year

The growth this year is phenomenal. Even George the Cat was feeling the heat.

George Flakers

George Flakers

Matt offered to lend a hand, I’m always on the look out for volunteers.

Pressed Into Service

Pressed Into Service

The shed was coming together but all to soon it was time for Matt and Helen to leave and of course the weather blew up, so nothing for it but the bumpy ride over to Big Harbour for the kayaks they had with them.

Too Rough to Paddle

Too Rough to Paddle

Our guests left on Saturday 18th of June and Hugh, Ian and Nicky arrived then. Hugh back to the grind and Ian here for some joiner work/holiday!!

House Site

House Site

The weather was great for the first half of the week, so it made for a clean job.

Timber

Timber

Some old timers had to come down, but needs must.

Getting There

Getting There

The site at last started to take on some meaning. We could just about imagine the house.

Anchor Dragging

Anchor Dragging

But in the middle of it all the wind blew and some of our visiting yachts struggled to hold, this one ended up alongside the pontoon, not by design I may add.

Safer If I'm Off The Roof

Safer If I’m Off The Roof

After I fell off this roof on the Sunday Ian got on with it and I watched, sore!!

Repairs

Repairs

Hugh had burst the wind screen of the digger a stone had shot through it, one of the first breakages, more to follow.

First of The Season

First of The Season

A wee bit of rain and chantrelle mushrooms were mentioned, we had a look and the first of the season were in the pan, they were delicious.

Shifting the Socket

Shifting the Socket

Ian brought over some wet wall board for the venison cutting area, so I had to shift a socket, a simple job but it grew arms and legs but we got there.

Ingenuity

Ingenuity

We wanted to mark out the corners of the house but the tape was not long enough, simple, we just measured 10 metres of rope and taped it on to the end of the surveyors tape.

Strangulation

Strangulation

Ian’s attention to detail was, well, a bit over the top!!!!

I Meant "Triangulation"

I Meant “Triangulation”

After a fashion we got there but the lazer level was still on Raasay, it would appear on the following Saturday.

The Level

The Level

We wanted to see the ‘proposed’ finished floor level so we put up a measure on top of the Datum point, looked scarily high.

The Totem Pole From a Distance

The Totem Pole From a Distance

It looks a bit more exaggerated than it really is, honest.

Going For It

Going For It

Hugh was lucky to find sufficient rock on site which helped immensely.

Finished For The Day

Finished For The Day

All in all a good week so far and finishing up on the Wednesday the 22nd of June on a lovely night.

Shifting 6 m Pipes

Shifting 6 m Pipes

Sun still shining but the forecast was for rain, the pressure was on, get as much done before the monsoon.

Back Bearing in bits

Back Bearing in bits

In the meantime in between Hugh pecking away and Ian joinering we put new bearings into the old bike.

At Last The Front Door

At Last The Front Door

We had had new door posts for the front door and seals for a couple of years lying in the shed, so it was good to get them fitted at last, good job Ian.

Door Emergency Repairs

Door Emergency Repairs

Ian may be particular with his door fitting but myself and Hugh are a bit more relaxed. We could not get into the hinge so? Simple, just cut a hole in the wing. We quickly welded up the hinge for the second time and hey, ho away we go. Door fixed.

Been There Done That

Been There Done That

Meanwhile, back to the bike swinging arm and as we had done this on many occasions it did not take too long although the remains of the bearing were stubborn to move.

Then There Was The Ceiling

Then There Was The Ceiling

It was all go and the last job for Ian before we would go fishing was the ceiling in the Lodge living room which had sprung a leak earlier in the year.

But What About The Plankton Bloom

But What About The Plankton Bloom

More about the fishing tomorrow but the views and colours just now are pretty bright with the odd shower  clearing the air plus the bloom on the sea giving a fantastic turquoise colour.

 

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Other Stuff From the last Week Or So.

It was all about Hugh yesterday, now the rest of it!!

Loz and the Gang

Loz and the Gang

We had a kayak invasion, I’ve just checked the date, it was the 30th of May, how time flies. Loz and Sarah, kayaking visitors from way back to Rona called in for a stock of Rona venison sausages and the crack. They were bothying down at Raasay. Our bothy was occupied by Hugh but too expensive for these guys, they can’t have both, bothy or venison? No contest!!

Kayak Invasion

Kayak Invasion

Stocked up they left en mass for the Raasay bothy then home.

Drascombe?

Drascombe?

They were not the only small craft on Rona that day, this wee Drascombe snuck in and had a calm night on anchor, coming ashore for a shower first thing. Well the skipper did.

Hot Daze

Hot Daze

The weather has been phenomenal, clear days, very hot, just the tonic after the last few ‘summers’.

The Sheep Shed/Bothy

The Sheep Shed/Bothy

In between labouring to our happy digger driver, I got on with the roof of the ruin. We are making a sheep shed and store. But the more it takes shape it feels like an MBA project, any thoughts?

THe Mooring Check

THe Mooring Check

Kevin mentioned the chain was needing attention on the mooring, he had picked it up earlier in the year. So lowish tides and calm weather was the ideal time to lift it without a diver and check the top end. I found that the chain (main) had a wee bit more wear in it but the back up was as good as, so no worries this season. Just top of the list for next spring.

Grey Skies Over Torridon

Grey Skies Over Torridon

It wasn’t all sunshine but when the clouds did come in they were pretty impressive. Torridon was well lit up in an overcast sky.

Removing Strainers, the easy way.

Removing Strainers, the easy way.

I got some new stock strainers on the landing craft, so much to do but this was a handy job. One thing I hate about stock and fields are gates that do not swing. So at last, new strainers and gates ordered. So no problems in my old age lifting gates.

Looking Good

Looking Good

The old strainers have done well almost 20 years, but as I was at it I just replaced them all on this corner.

Lowest tide For a While.

Lowest tide For a While.

In the middle of it all Kenny was over from Shieldaig twice that last week. His customers enjoying Mediterranean sun. We were a wee bit concerned that the tide was going to go further but no, it stopped here and Kenny still had plenty depth.

Swamped With The Yachting Fraternity

Swamped With The Yachting Fraternity

I’m not saying too much about the yachting fraternity to-day as I have the next blog totally devoted to them, watch this space, Tuesday!!!! But suffice to say we have had a big increase in visitors, all enjoying the sunshine as last year was desperate. Grey cold, wet and windy. The bay has had many in every night for days and days.

The First Fishing Expedition

The First Fishing Expedition

We finally got going with the boat but even with wall to wall sunshine it was cold in the North wind out at sea. I bet they guys here were glad to get ashore, fish won that day.

Greylags

Greylags

The sunshine certainly has brought the birds on. Lots are nesting around the harbour, don’t know if it is the weather or the fact we trapped 8 or so mink this winter. I’d like to think it is because the mink are few and far between

SandPipers

SandPipers

Over at Dry Harbour there are a couple of pairs of Sand Pipers? with young. Whereas the Big Harbour Sand Pipers are still sitting. But they get pretty annoyed when visitors come past their nest.

Well Hidden

Well Hidden

In among it all the fridge freezer packed in, disaster, on the hottest day. Hugh had fitted them before so knew a bit about them and between us we had a look but it looked grim. But after ordering a new one as it was pointless getting an engineer out (cost!!!) I looked on the internet and here was a video on ‘You Tube’ How To Troubleshoot Your LG Fridge Freezer”. 10 minutes later we were looking good and next day we were back in business. BUT, we still have the new freezer coming because it brought home just how important this appliance is to us. We have no alternative and were in danger of loosing our food, so with the possibility no fresh food it was not going to be a good week or so until the new one arrived. But this is the board that controls our fridge, it is more like a motherboard from a PC!!!

That's a Fridge?

That’s a Fridge? Ouch.

End of the week the fog was threatening.

Foggy Days Approaching.

Foggy Days Approaching.

But Surprise, Surprise it came to nothing, possibly because the North windflow was still present. So, it was not that warm all round but in the shelter it certainly was.

With sun beating down it is difficult to sit down inside and do the paperwork but earlier in the week we had to do just that as our Rona Red Deer stamp was launched on the first of June, by mid week the orders were coming in thick and fast.

The 2016 Rona Stamp Issue.

The 2016 Rona Stamp Issue.

During the week, the families of Grey Lags have been increasing in the fields around the Lodge and by the end of this week we had 5 families feeding on our sheep’s grass. The sheep are intrigued by them and one of our visitors has video footage of a Red Deer Stag getting bombed by a Goose at Dry Harbour, the stag  then stamped on one of the Goslings, quite bizarre and I’m awaiting a link to that footage.

Plagued

Plagued

At last the rain came and then it was a rush to get the roof on the sheep shed/bothy.

Almost There

Almost There

I got very wet doing this but it was pretty soft rain, nothing like the SW gales we can get at this time. It was a full day on the roof and dark, damp and overcast by early evening. The fields were crying out for rain though so no complaints here.

Looking Good In The Rain

Looking Good In The Rain

Tomorrow, it is the Yachting Week…………………….

 

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A Lot Has Happened Since You last Looked……..

A Lot Has Happened Since You last Looked……..well that is what Facebook keep telling me. Rona has been just like that, in fact I’m going to do a few posts and post one a day for the next few days, we will see. In the meantime I guess the last week was all about the weather and Hugh. The weather first, well it did reach 30 degrees down here round the Lodge, the grass is burnt, the ditches are dry and the yachts have been pouring in (rather than rain at this time of year).

Hugh has started the road into the site and we have got on incredibly well.

Day 1

Day 1

Hugh has had a wee issue with one of his tendons!!!!! Hence the crutch!!

Day 1 Good Progress.

Day 1 Good Progress.

All was going very well, the last couple of visits here Hugh has had no problems and has had clear runs. So it was good to see him progress and the rock to break up quickly.

Some re-inforcing for The Road

Some reinforcing for The Road

I lent a hand and got some old metal creels plus old fencing into the sub base, a great place to put it.

Going Well.

Going Well.

First day and Hugh was romping ahead.

Day 2 at the corner

Day 2 at the corner

Although this photo is from days ahead this is where Hugh reached on day 1, then disaster. A stone chip came through the window and the glass did not stop it. The windscreen shattered. Pecking with a breaker without the glass is quite a noisy job and we could not just get a windscreen quickly. Although one did turn up, in Bristol. Next, it was the quick hitch. It makes for a quick changeover of the buckets and with Hugh’s leg in plaster, pretty essential.

The Bent Hooks

The Bent Hooks

That was the first time.

The Damage

The Damage(second time around)

We set to and stripped the hitch, welded the hooks and put it all back together. It was getting worn but there is no knowing when these things will happen.

Joint Effort

Joint Effort

With a little ingenuity we got it set up and for the next 4 hours it worked fine. Lunch time Hugh arrived down the road and this time it had totally disintegrated, time to find a new one. Hugh found one in Inverness which was quickly despatched to Skye. In the meantime it was back to changing buckets the old way.

Deep Peat

Deep Peat

We thought we would need to bring in loads of stone from the rapidly disappearing quarry on the road to Dry Harbour, rotten rock is a premium on  Rona. But Hugh had managed to break up quite a bit of big rocks for the sub base then found a seam of rotten rock to go on top. That made the job a bit easier despite the breakdowns.

Almost at the Site

Almost at the Site

So all in all a good week. Good progress and great dry warm weather. We heard it was in the thirties this last week and for sure on two occasions it was too hot for work.

Sun Shelter

Sun Shelter

Even the ewes were taking what cool shelter they could.

Taking The Long Road Back

Taking The Long Road Back

Hugh had broken through at the top corner but the hole he made taking the peat out was so deep he decided to come back on the roundabout route. Very scenic.

2/3 metres of peat

2/3 metres of peat

We were very fortunate that we had no rain. If this lot had rain on it we would have had a slurry lake, very difficult to handle.

Disaster

Disaster

Everything happens in threes they say! So here hopefully is the last of three stoppages. Just onto the site the machine threw a track, always a pleasure for the driver. But after a lot of coming and going, huffing and puffing Hugh got it on. Which was just as well as the engineer was coming the next day to check on levels and locations.

Fencing, Hugh Style.

Fencing, Hugh Style.

Whilst we were waiting for the boat to come with the engineer we got the fencing started up at the top gate, we have some pines up there the deer are fond of. So to get them away we are putting up a deer fence around just over an acre. In ten years time we will dismantle it and do the same again elsewhere. But as the trees are fertilized, the grass around them is pretty green and sweet. A magnet for the deer and for afters they have a nibble at our pines.

Easy Peasy

Easy Peasy

The ferry duly arrived, the sun was shining and the engineer got going.

Triangulation

Triangulation

First of all we had to identify just exactly where the house was going.

Deep Peat Two

Deep Peat Two

Then four  + pits were dug to find foundation level, in this case we found another hole of lovely dry black ground. It is right next to an old Black House Ruin. So we guessed this flat bit was worked at one time. We will have quite a supply for the poly tunnel when it eventually goes up.

Up on the Upper Level

Up on the Upper Level

Finally Hugh got up onto the shelf where the finished floor level is (about) and scraped the rock. All was positive and withing half an hour they were all away, Hugh too, but he will be back next week (we hope).

More tomorrow of the the normal day to day stuff during this time……………

 

 

 

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A Day In The Life of Rona……..

To-day, after a week of 20+ degrees heat and sun it is another day at the coalface of Rona. 7am this morning it started: This is the way it was, more about last week later but here is a day in the life of us………At last the the landing craft, The Spanish John, was coming from Mallaig. The digger and building material was on board ready to make a start on the new road/house.

P1070204 Saturday night only one yacht in, it was nice and quiet before the busy day ahead. A nice couple on the yacht,they came up to the house paid their mooring fee bought venison and headed off, Yacht Suzalah? Now on their way to Harris.

Getting Ready For the Landing Craft 1

Getting Ready For the Landing Craft 1

Busy morning getting organised, first thing gathering together the bits and pieces for the landing craft.

Getting Ready For the Landing Craft Loading Old Fuel to empty the IBC

Getting Ready For the Landing Craft Loading Old Fuel hoping to empty the IBC

Had to empty the spare kerosene as we needed the  IBCs for more fuel coming.

Filling The Lodge Fuel to make space

Filling The Lodge Fuel to make space

Just as well, the Lodge tank was almost empty when I had a quick check. I was aware that it needed a top up but we must have been burning a bit more than usual.

Down the pier with the third IBC

Down the pier with the third IBC

Two on the tractor and one by JCB down to the shore.

In Between Times, loading Creels

In Between Times, loading Creels

Kenny MV Seaflower was coming so I got some creels to the pontoon hoping he would put them together in between IBCs and tractors.

Changing Gas

Changing Gas

When I was loading the fuel in to the tank behind the Lodge I had a check of the gas and one of the bottles was empty too, another job out of the way.

Sorting the Bothy For Hugh, the Digger Driver.

Sorting the Bothy For Hugh, the Digger Driver.

Sorted out the Bothy for Hugh coming, we had it set up for the ‘Crew Pot’ meals we are doing so it had to go back to accommodation. I had an idea the road pipes would be loose so I put posts up just in case they were.

Just In Case

Just In Case

12.30pm the Spanish John arrived, all of a sudden the harbour became very busy.

Here it Comes.

Here it Comes.

Kenny and Gemma’s passengers had had their lunch and headed off, we got on unloading the landing craft.

Spanish John Arrives

Spanish John Arrives rush to chase the tide.

It is always a rush to beat the tide but it all went quite smoothly and we got the cargo off in good time.

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Ready to Unload.

Despite Hugh’s plastercast (he had done a bit of damage to his tendons) we quickly got the material up the shore, the landing craft was empty and heading off.

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Half Way There

No worries, we have a good team.

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The Fencing

We always try to load up the Spanish John. All the projects start coming together following a delivery.

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Kenny Setting The Creels

Kenny was setting up my creel line all the while we were unloading which was a great help.

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The Drainage for the new Road

The road pipes were well tied up so the posts I put in were redundant.

Kenny Gets Pressganged into Creeling.

Kenny Gets Press ganged into Creeling, but happy at his work.

I had asked Kenny to have a look at repairing the creels but he very quickly put them together for a wee string of 6 for around the bay. Years of doing it makes for an easy task, whereas I would take forever and it would not be as tidy, for sure.

Spanish John Leaves the Island

Spanish John Leaves the Island

All the excitement was over quickly and Jamie headed off with the landing craft for a calm sail back to Mallaig.

Visitors Heading to the Rona Shop.

Visitors Heading to the Rona Shop.

In between distributing the load the visitors had asked about the shop, so a quick break from the JCB and I put on my shop assistant hat.

Hugh with Crutch on his way to the Site

Hugh on his way to the Site, spot the crutch!!!!!!

Finally the digger got up to the front of the Lodge and was parked up ready for Monday morning.

The New Jeep, At Last.

The New Jeep, At Last.

I had gone to Portree a fortnight ago, on the way there I called Micky from M2 Motors and he pointed me in the direction of the Isuzu jeep. It was ideal for Rona and was very pleased to get such a good car. We were getting a wee bit tired of getting soaking in the winter and got the Diahatsu a few years ago but it has done very well and a replacement was really needed. Hopefully this one will be as good.

Fencing Loaded, readyu for tomorrow.

Fencing Loaded, ready for tomorrow.

Late on in the afternoon/early evening there was a few jobs left to do and a welcome beer at the end of it. The fencing had been loaded and it will go up top to fence off the Scots Pine that the deer like to eat.

Creels on the boat.

Creels on the boat.

I finally got round at the end of the day to loading the creels and hope to get them out Monday afternoon.

Finally, Mowing the Lawn.

Finally, Mowing the Lawn.

And finally let the sheep in to mow the lawn (saves fuel and energy) , just another day on the Island, PHEW.

 

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The Crew Pot

It is Friday and where has the week gone, or where is the year going. It seems like the days pass too quick around here just now. The last while life keeps getting faster, it feels like we are chasing our tails a bit but at this time of the year it is always the same. After the long winter the slightest sign of good weather and it is all systems go. However, at this time we are as likely to get snow as glorious sunshine.

Deep Blue but Cold North Wind.

Deep Blue but Cold North Wind.

Spot the fish farm boat rockin’ and rollin’ (No G, yes I’m listening to Steve Wright). When the sun came out it was pretty clear and blue but all the while we had a North wind which was very cold in exposed places.

I was out last week looking for two escapee sheep. We had them in the gardens at Dry Harbour, trapped but we did not have time to catch them and take them home. Now they are on safari so they might end up in the freezer!!

DSCF0216The Tup nearly ended up there too, he got his horn caught in the fence and was there for quite a while before he got released. I did see him but was thinking he was having a long feed in the morning, but when I sat down to have lunch outside I noticed he was still there, a quick look with the bins’ and the dinner was put in the oven.

Stuck Fast

Stuck Fast

I had to cut the wires as he was a bit to unhelpful. The lunch did not suffer too much.

Grilled Crab Mayo on toast (A toast topper, remember them?)

Grilled Crab Mayo on toast (A toast topper, remember them?)

It is water in the glass, honest. We have had a few boats in but the North wind was keeping them back for sure, ” Yacht Full Moon” arrived Thursday after a bounce up the Inner Sound, regular visitors and we will see them again for sure. Three yachts had been in the night before but they were all away in the morning.

Full Moon on the Mooring

Full Moon on the Mooring

I was on the digger that day, getting fill for the top of the walls of the ruin we are roofing just now.

Looking For BackFill

Looking For BackFill

It was a good day for it and with the frost, rain over the winter and a bit of scraping on the day I got a few tonnes out of the quarry.

Filling in the gaps

Filling in the gaps

Needed it all too. The ruin is taking shape and hopefully we will get the roof on soon. Finished that and next morning early I went over to Dry Harbour on my rounds, I found a kayaker wandering around the holiday cottages as you do. I guess it is that time of the year.

Prowling

Prowling

Back to Base and it was a very good day (overcast)  for catching up on the sheep work, long overdue as the tool for tailing and……………had broken.

Overcast, sheepwork day

Overcast, sheepwork day

The sheep in the pen is “Bonsai”, she was born very late, her Mother was deemed to be barren but three months after everything had lambed she came down the road with twins. Sadly 3 to 4 months later she died so the twins had to survive, survive they have and this year she has produced a good lamb and is a very good mother. We dosed the rest and with only two missing it was a good day to get it done, the sun came out just as we finished.

Seaflower Visit

Seaflower Visit

After a quiet weekend it was all go Monday with a landing craft coming the following weekend I was keen to get to Inverness and buy a jeep to replace the old Sportstrack which had been here for over three years and was getting past its best.

Roof Arriving

Roof Arriving

Kevin came out with Calum his son as crew, we had the chance to take the roofing out on the MV Aspire for the ruin and had an hour getting that ashore but a quick shower and I was off to Portree then Inverness.

I made a few calls coming across the Sound and then called Mickey at M2 Motors in Portree. We have hired quite a few cars from Mickey in the past and he is very good at any time should you want a car. He pointed me in the direction of a jeep in Portree and it was just perfect, freeing me up for the next day or so in Inverness.

Two Customers

Two Customers

After a couple of half days rushing round Inverness I was glad to get back. There were no beds in our usual accommodation in Portree Tuesday night, Kevin offered me the boat to kip up in but we were just as well heading to Rona. We got in to the harbour at 8pm to find two yachts ithere but they did not come ashore. Such are the sailors at this time. They seem to spend a lot of time on their boats and it is more the next phase of yachts that come ashore and explore. Maybe they had seen the Great Northern Diver with a chick at the mouth of the harbour we passed on the way in!! It had been noted a month ago by Pam but until then I had not seen it. They are regular visitors around these parts, always a special sighting and this year with a chick, or at least that is what it looked like?

More Work

More Work

We had a lot of things to put away that night and to add to the workload I spotted the lead flashing had slipped from one of the upstairs windows, seems that 20 years on from the Lodge’s renovation a lot of issues are coming to the surface. More work!!!

Bunkhouse Makeover

Bunkhouse Makeover

The rest of the week we have been ploughing through the paperwork, oh and getting the landing craft re-organised as Hugh has done some serious damage to his achilles tendon. We are working on the best option for all of us but we do have a load of material  waiting on Mallaig pier to come to Rona. Fingers crossed. Thursday we had a booking for our new project. “The Crew Pot” We are offering a dinner for 6 at the shore in the shoreside bunkhouse. Paul on a charter yacht had been emailing, he called and was on his way when his engine failed, by the time they got it fixed it was blowing 30 to 40 knots. So that was cancelled, most annoying after working towards it for a few days, transforming the bunkhouse into a pop up (rustic!!!!!!!!) dining.

We need 6 to make it worthwhile, menu to follow after our first try, hopefully soon.

We are keen to try  out “The Crew Pot” and hoping to expand on what we can offer to the visitors in the coming years. There is too much work here for the two of us and contractors certainly help us out very well but there is and will be an opportunity for another couple coming soon. At the moment we envisage a summer help and this is what we are moving toward this year, watch this space.

 

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