Life Beyond ‘The End of The Road’

The Satellite broadband is back, hurray. It is incredible how we rely on it BUT personally I think with modern technology and advances everyday, the Internet is possibly the most important development in remote areas such as Rona but overall the West Coast as a whole. The potential is enormous, only when you don’t have it do you realise how much it means to the ‘Rona’s’ off to-days world.

Let’s hope it stays connected!!! It hasn’t done too bad to date and it turned out it was not the provider’s fault, more the bad connectors here on Rona. The transmit co-ax was broken. After waiting all weekend for service calls I decided to check out the cables myself and with no continuity in the transmt line it was pretty straightforward after that.

On The Spot Repairs

On The Spot Repairs

Here’s a resume of the last few days activities.

All's New Bike

All’s New Bike

On my travels last week, Monday I visited Bonar Bidge and Lairg, I called in to see Alistair my old motorbiking pal. He’s just installed a new bike in his living room, a 1999 VTR Honda, very nice, don’t think L would approve. I headed up to Lairg to see George who was on good form. The croft up there was very ship shape. After a couple of  days of shopping and a lunch with my Grand Daughter it was back to Portree to stay with Calum and Irene, we planned to work on the old Rona Inverter hit by lightening two years ago. So one last chance to repair it. Unfortunately after two hours of head scratching it was pronounced dead. So back to ‘Sluggans’ for a nightcap.

Moonlit BT Van

Moonlit BT Van

Next morning (Thursday) it was return to Rona, very pleasant sail especially on a morning as calm as it was.

Portree Sunrise

Portree Sunrise

Calm it was s on arrival at Big Harbour so after a coffee with the crew of Spindrift up at Rona Lodge it was down to work with the Big Harbour windmill coming down.

Down at Last

Down at Last

The windmill workings were in pretty good strip, only one washer and sleeves on one of the spring/bolts needing replacement. Installed in 2007 it has done pretty well. I think it has paid itself in saved fuel for sure. The reduction in running to date of the generator is around 80%.

I was up at the windmill when my neighbour Paul (Arinish) called he was en route to Staffin with ‘Xmas piggies’. He was looking for some Rona Whisky and was lamenting the loss of his satellite broadband. I was not alone it seems. He has been away for weeks resting his back down at South Shields, returning home to no internet, his blog will be suffering. But I guess he’ll be very busy as usual, taking down his windmill and all the other pig/hen jobs at ‘The End Of The Road’.

After his call I had to get down to organising a new satellite cable, no problem apart from having to replace the front door!!! I did not want to drill a temporary hole in the door or frame and as the door had swollen with the rain I just took it off and screwed on a bit of plywood, next job, must get a new porch to protect the door and a roll of cable to run a new one into the house.

Boarded Up

Boarded Up

Next day (Saturday), it was over to Dry Harbour to take windmill down there, it has a hand  brake, unlike the BH one,  so the light breeze was no problem, in fact it was a beautiful day and it was nice to see the hinds and stags enjoying the sun on the hill opposite. Looks like there are plenty about,  I guess we’ll have to look at culling some.

Snow Over Storr

Snow Over Storr

I had a wee bit of a moment when I discovered I’d hardly any cable ties, which are needed to keep the covers on. But a quick trip to BH and a rummage produced a new bag of cable ties. I put it all back together after a check over with  just a drop of grease to the bearings.

I had a couple of hours at the generator shed refurb’ and called it a day.

To-day (Sunday)  it was calm again, sunny but not so clear. Deer were about on the hills enjoying the calm and the  Sea eagles were floating over BH, I hope they are not eyeing up the hens. As it was dry and most of the sheep were in the field I decided to dose them.

Awaiting their Fate

Awaiting their Fate

Three were missing (Richard’s Ewe Lambs) that we had bought in last year but it was too good a chance to miss, they seemed to be in good order and a quick dose of Spot On and Supaferm for fluke, hopefully, will prepare them for the winter.

I let them go and went to the hens but it seems our hungry sheep have eaten their way through the rabbit net hen pen to get to the self feeder, I couldn’t believe it, who said sheep were stupid!

Break In

Break In

They had broken the leg of the feeder too so a quick repair of the fence and the feeder to the sick bay to repair the leg, bl***y sheep!!

In the afternoon I got going with the generator shed and had a pretty good result. I managed to retrieve all the service cables and find the leaking water below the shed. I diverted the flow and dug a new ditch for the cables. I’m going to try and clear up the dampness in the genny shed and re-route the cables. Quite a job but if it stays dry in the next few days it should be straightforward.

Spaghetti

Spaghetti

It’s been a pretty good day, it turned cold in the afternoon which reminded me I had no logs for the fire so I spent the last two hours cutting firewood, I certainly enjoyed the large (very large) Glen Moray Whisky tonight.

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About Bill Cowie

I've been living on the island since April 2002, alone for the first 5 years, my partner L joined me in 2007. We manage the Island for a Danish family who bought the Island in the early 90's. Their hopes for the Island are to make it self sufficient supporting its inhabitants and that is where we come in. We look after the stock, 3 holiday cottages, machinery, boat and of course the visitors. It is pretty challenging but it is a beautiful place to live and work, we love it and strangely enough we love it even more in the depths of winter when all is quiet apart from the gales and rain. We do a bit of fishing, stock work, stalking deer and loads of other stuff. We have good support from lots of people whom we have met over the years and have become involved in the Island. Too many to mention here but keep an eye on the blog, they'll be there for sure in the future.
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