This was the scene after my last blog, all hands as Hugh set about expanding the quarry for road material. With his 7 tonne Hitachi digger, dumper and our JCB (bought from Hugh 5 years ago), 10 days of work promised big changes. With reasonable weather forecast the propects were good, so on Wednesday morning Hugh started to make an impression.
Heading to the end of the week the weather held and we got on well, but a day was spent breaking an access through to the South end, the stone was incredibly hard, Hugh remarked it was the hardest he had ever had to break. But break it he did and I was pleased to see by Thursday night he was past the obstruction.
Friday’s forecast was not so good and Saturday’s worse so we called up Steve Zajac and his nephew who were due to come over Saturday and asked them could they manage on Friday. Steve and his wife Donna had won the cleanest cottage competition but unfortunately Donna could not make it.
MV Spindrift was still in the boatyard so MV Stardust did the trip, yacht Rona 2 was on the mooring having been sailing around the area but was heading over to Shieldaig later. On Friday the weather was breezy but very wet which did not help our road building but it had been a dry winter so a lot of the rain was running off rather than soaking into the ground. In fact where Hugh was digging was very dry under the first couple of inches. Later on Friday night, Calum arrived, Irene was away for the weekend and the sea was calm enough so he headed out to give us a hand on Saturday.
By the time Calum arrived it was pretty grey, wet and miserable so nothing left for it but a couple of drams and an early night. Saturday arrived sunny but very breezy, with no guests coming we set to and got on with the work. I called down for Calum and the seals were going mad chasing fish in the bay.
Catamaran ‘Orca’ arrived mid morning sailing from the North, Steve and Fiona are regular visitors and we were pleased to see them. Kenny ‘MV Seaflower’ was over with a boatload from Ullapool, fellow fishermen who had arranged a day trip. Like us Kenny was very sceptical of the weather but the first half of the day was very nice. With light winds. Kenny remarked that the blue rock that Hugh had struggled with was 2.8 billion years old, no wonder it was hard!!
We were going to be using our Goldoni tractor for shifting rock but the plywood back was in tatters so Saturday was spent fitting a new cover.
We got the plywood on and then a call came from Steve over at DSry Harbour, he had trapped the escapee sheep in the garden so we headed over for another rodeo. We took the sheep down to the mission House cottages and chased them round the garden for half an hour before they relented and played the game.
Back to the pontoon for a light lunch and the ‘Seaflower’ was entertaining guests. We had our lunch and went up to deliver pipes to Hugh but promptly got stuck in the mud of the new road. The rain started just as Kenny left the pontoon but they had a good journey back with a following sea, he did say it was a wet sail on the way over. The day was just about finished so we retreated to the cabin for a de-brief.
The crack was very good, Hugh told us about his Father (Niel MacKay)who was born on Rona at Dry Harbour in 1919, he weighed in at just over 2lbs and he found out lately that his crib was a shoe box for the first few days of his life. Hugh’s Grand Father was one of the Rona Raiders who came home after the war but were very unhappy at their lot and empty promises and took matters into their own hands and raided land at Raasay, subsequently ending up in jail. (More on this later.) Later in the conversation, I found out that Hugh’s Father worked at the sawmill on Brahan during the war where the prisoners of war were billeted, I had run a youth club from the same buildings many years ago when I was in my early 20’s (again more on this later). We headed down to Rona Lodge at 6.30pm, Steve and Fiona arrived with their dogs and we had them in for a small glass of wine then dinner.
So that was Saturday, the meal ended we listened to some quality music from Cuillin FM, much later Calum and Hugh headed down to the pontoon.
Sunday morning it was relatively calm, Calum had left at 6.30am, the forecast not good. Myself and Hugh had an early start and the tractor was quickly pressed into service.
We worked away and by Monday we were well on the way with the path, Yacht Orca was still on the mooring and Yacht Blue Diamond was holed up as the wind really got up, 60knts of wind mid afternoon had the Hitachi digger rocking. It was quite scary and kept going with some big gusts at 11pm in the night. Next day it had calmed but not by much, probably down to the 20’s. Mid afternoon, we could not believe our eyes 9 kayakers arrived in a poor day. They were looking for a camp place but when they saw the Lodge and our facilities, especially the shower there was a move to camp in front of the bunkhouse, unfortunately for them Hugh was lodged there and there was no room for 9 with him.
They were planning Mull first but then it became Raasay/Rona. Then the weather that put them off Mull came to Raasay/Rona. The sun was shining, it was windy so the kayakers decided to stay for two nights. Meanwhile myself and Hugh got on with our jobs, now beginning to get a bit stressed because I had ordered Greig/Spanish John for Thursday.
Must sign off now, more tomorrow.
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