At last normal service has resumed. The last blog was 22nd July 2018, which is quite scary how a year can pass so quick. Building a house, working 10 hours a day, 7 days a week for the last couple of years has certainly been trying but we are now ensconsed in the new house (no name yet) and to-day we received our ‘Temporary Occupation ‘ certificate, although we have been temporarily here since the 24th of December.
The winter weather has been kind although to-day Friday 1st Feb’ it is like the rest of Scotland, cold and snowing.
It was good to have Christmas in the new house despite the rush until 8.30pm on Christmas Eve plus the smell of fresh paint.
George our cat is very happy with the warm house.
Looking back over the year past to-day I am reminded at how wet the weather has been and as we drew to a close on the job, the Autumn went out with a bang.
The skies have certainly been dramatic with some stunning light, not much time to mess about with cameras so mostly pictures are taken on the hoof.
This one on a trip to Portree. The light that day was very reminiscent of some of the late Tommy MacKenzie’s etchings of Rona and Raasay
When it rained it certainly dumped it down.
But even on poor days the view can be stunning.
The hot tub that arrived in July was well used even during the wet days but it flooded out more than once!!
Even with the housebuild going on the normal work continued alongside it, sometimes a bit of an overlap especially in a year of multiple machine failures. The cottages were quite busy and maintenance a little neglected so now it is catch up.
One of the major breakdowns was a burst boiler, water was flowing out of one of the seams, not an old boiler and I think our second in 16 years which may be good? This was on top of the generator which broke down, terminally in May.
Amongst the breakdowns and housebuild we were keen to utilise the shutters and left over mix to make mooring blocks and with advice from John MacInnes of Tayvalich and Calum taking up the design we applied for more moorings in the harbour, demand has been high.
My job was to make them and with the new mixer only 127 shovel fills to make a batch I had a day making mooring blocks, what fun.
Calum was back and fore on Kestrel his motor sailor but after it was laid up his RIB came in handy.
Until one of my engines on the boat expired I was back and fore to Portree 22 times since June for material and stores, since then the boat has seldom been out of the harbour but we fitted the new engines last week and will be back in business soon on MV Rona.
Always worth a visit into the Pier Hotel, very good lager and ‘crack’. It is surely in a class of its own!!!
There was some (only some) down time and I went over to the West side of the harbour/forest and came across this glass tube, 2metres long.
It was quite heavy and awkward to carry but we got it home, it is a tide recorder and I’ll post the story of it later. It was in the Labrador Sea in 2015, it landed on Rona 2018 after it came to the surface in 2015 to send data to the WHI in Massachussetts. It is glass!!!!!!
No time for Crew Pots for Yachties this year or Supper Clubs for guests but hopefully this year coming. We have posted a job on Rona on Gumtree and on this blog. We are looking for a couple of helpers to stay initially in the Lodge for the season but if they like it and we like them then it could be permanent with me reaching the big 65 very shortly people tell me I should retire, don’t think so some how. So if anyone is interested : Rona Opportunity
We’ll be doing Crew Pots this year for sure, been filling the freezers and we have plenty rolled shoulders for this dish, wont be long till the season.
Been quite a winter for eagles here, Golden and Sea. We saw 5 at the mouth of the harbour on one trip to Portree, since then there has been continued activity with a Golden Eagle hanging about the place where I dump the cuttings from the venison production. It is good that they clean that up for us.
The trail camera picked up the mink at the site where the deer bits are left, he was a regular visitor, at least he has stayed away from the hens this last year. We have caught over ten on the Island this back end but I guess there are many more.
Here’s a wee calf in late summer tied up on a loose bit of fencing, the poor thing had been there for a while and quite by chance I saw it. It was none too pleased to be handled but I was as quick as I could be and it lived to tell the tale. it was limping for a few days but since then I reckon it is none the worse, a lucky escape.
Breakdowns continued with a rush of problems in November, the drawbar of the trailer parted company (not unknown) so a Rona repair was applied.
Stalking ground to a halt when the ATV stopped dead, a faulty fuel pump.
Which became a seized fuel pump.
But eventually replaced at great cost.
Nothing goes forever but it all seemed to come at once, the brake pipes on the vehicles get a particularly hard life with the bumpy road, since then the brakes have been iffy to say the least.
The last landing craft of the year was in September, there is a plan to overhaul the pontoon and to that aim we started by replacing the anchor chains, once lifted it became apparent the chains were on their last legs and given the few storms this year we would have been lucky to get away with them. So it was fortunate we fitted new lengths all round, checked the mooring and anchors. They are all 100% now so should last my time here.
A good job, but dirty on a cold September day.October stalking was a wet affair but since then the winter has been fair with many dry days and sunny.
Lots of nice skies.
Torn ear rocked up as usual, where does he hide the rest of the year, he was bigger and looked meaner than previous years, still young but there seems to be a problem with one of his eyes. But he manged to keep out of the stalkers way come October. He’ll be back.
Hard to believe it is a year ago to-day that we were at this stage below.
Ian the builder who did most of the work on the New House on his last day, he’ll be back though.
Here we are on the second of January with Dan arriving on MV Stardust first footing, with his gang.