It is teeming out there, seems it has been poor weather for a while. We have had good days though but always the chance of April showers, however now it is May it is started to rain for longer periods and the forecast is for a couple of days of this. Not only is it a poor day but it is very cold too with fresh snow on the hills around us. The sheep are nearly in the house looking for a bite, although the grass is coming it is pretty slow. Last blog it was all about sheep and only yesterday we had our last lamb, a poor long legged lamb who is not enjoying the rain at the moment.
We thought it looked a bit weak so we tried to give it some milk and colostrom but it flatly refused, it is difficult to judge with the later lambs as they look so small compared to the rest.
Last blog I was off to Inverness to get L, we were heading to Shieldaig to visit the MV Seaflower crew and go out to the Torridon Hotel for dinner but the weather was keen to deny us an overnight, we had an afternoon tea with Linda and headed back to Portree. It was a lovely afternoon but there were some very heavy, violent showers and when we were leaving we stepped outside into a fast approaching monsoon.
It was a lovely evening for a sail and as we approached Rona, there was more of the same passing over the Island.
We had a tea on board and had a look around on our return, there didn’t seem to have been any visitors, so a quick check up on the polytunnel and cottages sorted out the jobs for Friday.
The polytunnel was quite dry so the sun must have been shining, the growth though is very slow as a cold wind still persists. The sheep had escaped to Dry Harbour in search of grass and with visitors coming on Saturday we needed to get them home.
I built a new stock trailer because I’d suspected the sheep would be keen to get to Dry Harbour so it was pressed into use and it did the job well.
Saturday came with glorious sunshine and not too much of a swell from the strong winds from the North on Friday, the annual visit from the archaeology group is this week and 9 arrived for the three cottages with half a boat load of ‘stuff’. It seems the more visitors come back to Rona the more ‘stuff’ they bring!! Bruce my Forester friend arrived with them and he was handed the tractor to take the baggage over to Dry Harbour.
The forecast was for wind but it took a while to appear so we headed out on the MV Rona to look for antlers and to give the Rona boat a run. We found one but were disappointed not to find the master stags antlers, I’m sure they will turn up. It stayed warm and sunny when we came back so I took advantage of the warmth and we stenciled the fish boxes.
They make good cupboards, stools, tables, bookshelves and in the old days carts (if you could get pram wheels!!!). We did the six boxes then retired to the cabin for ‘wine o’clock’ and very nice it was too.
After a late night and the new Bourne film it was up sharp to replace the feet on the gangway to the pontoon. The years of storms had battered the wheels and my temporary repair had finally collapsed. A quick visit to Caley Steel in Inverness got a pair made but adjustments are required and these will do until i get a chance to go back.
The tide was high and the sea calm so with a little bit of thought we got the job done. Hopefully it will last a bit longer now. It had been raining but it cleared up so we decided to go for a look around the Island to survey the jobs for the digger coming next week. We had an enquiry to hold a service in Church Cave and were keen to look at the access from the sea, the lady who was asking had said that most of the prospective congregation were elderly and for sure the slope up to Church Cave is pretty steep. On the way there it was good to sit and enjoy the sunshine looking North.
This is the bay where the Whisky smugglers used to operate (So I’ve been reliably told!). We have never managed to find the still ‘yet’. Once back at Big Harbour L suggested clipping the hens wings since they were ok to let out of the pen. So without further ado I caught them up and clipped one wing (a bit better than the very first time I did it, many , many years ago when I clipped both wings, Doh!!).
Monday it was again very windy and cold from the North, heavy showers kept us in for the first hour but the rest of the day was spent cutting logs, the cottages although not busy have used a lot of firewood, the one thing we are not short of.
The wind continued to blow and there was sawdust everywhere. It was sunny though and we got the job done. Back at the house and the heavens opened again. A lucky break. The sheep took off and found what shelter they could, one has taken up residence in the porch at the back door which is a pest but we can’t blame them.
Bruce was intrigued with our new kitchen and the cooking, he was interested in ‘en papillote’, so we set to work and the end result was very tasty.
After another boozy night and DVD (Argo this time, better second time around), it was off to bed as we had an early start Tuesday.
We were away by 7.15am, the sea was as calm as we could expect but the swell was pretty big especially at the top of Raasay. Again it was cold but a fine trip into Portree dodging the Puffins. I dropped Bruce off but not before he gave me a hand with the petrol and stores. We saw the MV Spindrift heading away to the boatyard and it was a pleasant morning, the local word was that the wind was going to freshen so without further ado I headed back. It did get quite fresh but it was ok and the only disappointment was the sight of the door lying open in the walled garden. The sheep had had a free meal but not much was lost as it was kale and cabbages from last year. A lesson though.
We had identified a new path access past Rona Lodge through the trees to the East of the house so Wednesday was spent cutting a way through, we had not cut enough firewood so it was a good way to do it. When the digger comes he can level off the access and give the visitors another option. Again it was very windy but a good working day, it calmed later and Wednesday evening was very fine even frosty through the night. The rest of the day was taken up organising the landing craft from Mallaig, once I’d called my JCB mechanic in Raasay (Hugh) to find out why our JCB would not start, he put his finger on it right away and once the loose wire was reconnected all was fine. I needed a load of gravel for the new path and the JCB up top to load the firewood for tomorrow.
Thursday morning cold and heading for rain, a quick dash over to Dry Harbour got the firewood delivered and the old stuff tidied up without getting wet. Although I have to go over shortly top discuss the weekends possibilities with our visitors. It looks like it is going to be a tricky ferry sailing. The weather is all over the place, at the moment it is pouring but flat calm. So anything is possible, Saturday looks pretty windy and with 9 going away it could be tight, maybe better going Friday evening. Calum and Irene (MV Kestrel) are waiting for a weather update as they are hoping to head off tonight for a weekend away, dodging the weather fronts I think. We will see.