L arrived back Wednesday and two minutes onto the Island and that was her first impression, she had left in the summer and now it was Autumn. It was a beautiful night to travel back to Rona after a very wet trip back on the road from Inverness. Heavy showers which had been the norm here for the last fortnight.
After the ‘stramash’ on Saturday evening with the stormy seas and kayaking visitors it has been a quieter week (weather wise), hopefully Paul my neighbour didn’t hurt his back on his jaunt down to Brochel/Arinish on Saturday night to see if he could spot my visitors?
Mark, a regular visitor was only too happy to help in the stag cull so we headed south into the wind almost as soon as he arrived and found a poor stag feeding out on it’s own. Compared to the monster I had the previous week this was a good example of a ‘cull’ stag. Poor body condition, light in weight for its age, poor head developing and not a good male to have breeding with the rut coming. I didn’t get much of a chance to check the liver and internals but hope to to-day.
I have quite a bit of the cull still to do before the end of the season and hopefully before the end of this month, too many stags are not good for the Rona herd or the habitat on the Island and we hope to get on this coming week with visitors coming over to help me. It looks like a good forecast and after many years away from the ‘stalking guest scenario’ it is quite strange to be digging out my old gear.
On Tuesday morning Mark and myself had a prowl up the East side early. We saw only one stag, they are pretty elusive but quite a few hinds. The joy in the walk was not the desire to kill something but more the fantastic Autumn air, colours, smells and nature at its best. The colours in the bright early morning are quite spectacular.
We were unsuccessful but not to worry, it was worth getting up just for the walk.
Later in the day it was down to some serious man’s work, L was coming home so a house clean and tidy plus the ironing, yes the ironing and various sewing jobs. L’s arthritis doesn’t make for an easy time with the needles so it’s down to me. I had some buttons that had popped (due to the ever increasing waist I guess, and my stalking breeks which had come to grief last year. But with heavy showers taking up most of Monday mid morning it wasn’t the worst place to be.
It dried up (or so I thought) and I’d asked Mark to come over to help get a new window up to the Summer Cabin. Iain was coming to fit windows to Rona Lodge and the cabin, so I had an idea to get ahead by being prepared for him. It really had rained pretty hard but I thought one last trip up to the cabin on the track would be possible before the wetness that turns peat to grease would make it impossible for the rest of the Autumn/Winter. I did spot that the catch on one side of the tail door was not fixed but as I’d had the window and planks roped on already I thought it would be ok! Unfortunately I didn’t spot the bottom catch which must have also been undone and half way up the steepest bit of the peaty path the tractor started spinning and making a right mess. Mark hadn’t appeared so I thought I’ll just have to have a go, should have waited. Anyway the long and the short was that the load had fallen out of the back door, shifted the weight and any chance of getting up to the cabin was finished. Not good, pretty messy and now I had to carry the load the rest of the way. Just as I got to the last planks deliveredMark turned up, he thought it was too wet and he was probably right. We got it sorted though and the heavy window up to the cabin but the track was a disaster. Not good.
Kevin and Pam had a course on Tuesday morning so it was afternoon, 4 o’clock before they arrived with the stores and Iain. We quickly unloaded, showed him the important stuff, feeding the cat and hens and left him to it.
Iain was very happy to be looking after the Island for a night and headed off to make a start. I was happy just to take a deep breath and slump into the MV Spindrifts comfortable seat on the ‘Bridge’!! Two minutes into the sail and Pam appeared with a dinner, couldn’t get better. Leftovers from the mornings course, very tasty. I shouldn’t have had it of course as I was meeting up with my son who is off to Oz next week for a few months and we were going out to dinner.
A quick visit to Inverness was enough for me and on picking up L from the train we shot round the shops and headed back to Portree for a late afternoon sail to Rona. It wax a wee bit rolly but nice in the sun. Yet more stores for Rona to unload on arrival but we were surprised to see a yacht on the mooring when arrived in the harbour. Turned out they were having their last gasp outing and they were heading back to Findhorn at the end of the week. The skipper was a trustee of ‘Trees for Life’ which we support so I had a good blether with him.
On Saturday with the wild weather, Kevin could not safely take the guests kayaks but was able to get them over on the calmer seas mid week, they visitors were looking forward to a paddle but the sea, even inside the harbour had been pretty rough up till then. They did get out on Thursday and enjoyed a very sunny, calm sail.
Apart from the yacht we were amazed to see Iain had fitted the first two windows and was ready for me to lift number 2.
First thing Thursday it was all windows, Iain got cracking shouting out instructions but I guess I was just getting in his way.
Iain used to work for Everest, a lot on the Outer Isles and knows a thing or two about windows, but i could not get over how easy he made it look. The way in which the old ones came out and the new slotted in. If I’d done it the mess would have taken weeks to sort. The sun was shin ing from midday and that made the job even easier.
At the end of the day the last job was to knock up a frame for the top sashes to make a window for the cabin. Nothing fancy said Iain!! It is only for a shed . So at 5 pm Iain put together a redwood frame as you do for 4 sashes, which is great because it saves wasting the good bit that was left over from the Lodges windows. More pics in the next blog of the finished article