Christmas Eve Search and Rescue

Nikki from Bethnell green in London is here on holiday in Seascape, she has never been to the Highlands before, first impressions we had of her were to tell her to take her phone when out walking, Stornoway Coastgaurd etc etc. little did we know that we would be out searching for her on Xmas Eve. She had taken a wrong turn and got completely lost. Fortunately she had her phone but it took a while to find her. I was just on the point of calling Stornoway when I saw her out on the moor, half way to the Lighthouse.

Found

Found

An end to a very busy spell, we hope to have no more ’emergencies’ from now, especially tomorrow.

We left the blog last week with the potential for Sea Eagles nesting, but since then it has been quiet, the Eagles have been about but not carrying branches, possibly a false alarm. The mink however have been giving me the run around, springing traps and taking the bait, but on Thursday last we caught one, on Saturday the trap was sprung again so as suspected there are more, for sure.

v

trapped

I’m not too excited about trapping the mink, it is not their fault they are here and they are only trying to survive but, hey, we liked our hens. So a wee bit of preventative medicine is being applied before the new hens arrive in February, we’ll just have to be more vigilant in the future. More traps have been ordered. I guess the mink are pretty hard on the nesting birds too so it will help them.

Work continues with the water treatment shed amongst other things. I intend to clad the building in much the same way as everything else just now, lapped boards, it is by far the easiest.

Ready for Cladding

Ready for Cladding

As it approached the weekend we had to get the cottages ready for our visitors, Stuart and his family returning for the fortnight and Nikki for the first time, they were trying to escape Christmas but we had to add a few decorations just for fun.

Wreaths

Wreaths

Even my Roe Deer in the Lodge got a make over.

Back In The Forest

Back In The Forest

Fortunately the weather was kind and we missed the ferocious gales forecast, it was a bit breezy but nothing for the crew of the MV Spindrift, they had more of a problem extracting Nikki on a last minute shop from the Co-op (which was mad on Saturday morning)! The crew were keen to get back to Portree to sort things out before they escaped to Glasgow for Christmas.

The rain stayed away and we got the baggage over to the cottages dry, always a bonus.

Delivered By Bill, not Ocado!!

Delivered By Bill, not Ocado!!

We met the visitors on the way back home, they had been driving all night to beat the rain/wind/storm but were in good shape, BUT they would not be long before they were having a snooze.

Stuart and his gang

Stuart and his gang

Kevin had warned us that there was something decidedly smelly in the mail so we were keen to get back to the house just to see what had died in the mail sack. It certainly ponged and when we got out the mail we had a box of decidedly smelly cheese from Brian and Gill who are coming next week, I look forward to having an oatcake or two with Brian over a glass or three of whisky!!

Pong Cheese

Pong Cheese

Sunday was a late start and with lots and lots of wee jobs to get done it was a busy day, the sheep took it upon themselves to go walkabout but on the way back from delivering gloves and an SD card to Nikki at Seascape we gathered them up with the promise of some sheep feed and took them back to the field. If they had half a chance they would be at the lighthouse in a second and then they would stay there.

Driving Sheep Home for Christmas

Driving Sheep Home for Christmas

We let them out to graze down the grass, they are doing a grand job BUT they are never happy locally, they have got to disappear.

Last thing I decided to deliver a load of rocky ground to the genny shed to cover the mud that is very slippy at the door. All went well until I decided to drive down there and the tractor ground to a halt. Getting late I struggled to change the diesel filter (my first guess), no start!! Then I remembered that there is an electric pump and with my deaf ears i had missed the sound of it. On closer inspection I discovered a blown fuse, so I

Broken Down Losing Light

Broken Down Losing Light

replaced it and drove another 50 yards only to stop again at the worst place, blocking the road. So I went to the house got L and sat her on the tractor,. but she rebelled when it was in danger of coping over. I was pushing it out of the way with the JCB. It then went from bad to worse with the back tyre blowing out I had to unload the tractor with the digger bucket and lift the whole thing off the road. Much cursing later we got the tractor back to the shed for a repair in the morning.

Monday Morning Christmas Eve!! First thing was to sort out the wiring in the cabin, looks like a Christmas tree lights but with guidance from that well known electrician in Portree, Calum Macaskill, it all worked, I was well chuffed. No sparks.

Spaghetti

Spaghetti

I then took a deep breath and tackled the tractor, I virtually dismantled it and had the whole front covered area clear but still I was blowing fuses. A few calls to Calum were supportive but not solving the problem. Lunch time stopped any more head scratching and just then Nikki phoned, lost on the moor. So we downed tools and put the Rona Search and Rescue contingency into operation. Fortunately we found her and L walked her back to her cottage, with more instructions!!

I grabbed the opportunity to fuel up the Dry Harbour generator and met L at Seascape. Five minutes back at the tractor and I spotted the problem, a single wire had been trapped between the engine bulkhead and the dashboard making a dead short, relief at last.

Repair Central

Repair Central

Nothing more for it than too tidy up, put back on the steering wheel and put the tractor in its shed. I’ll put it all back together after Xmas.

All that is left now is to pour a large one and wait for Santa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

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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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