Hamish Haswell Smith

Hamish Haswell Smith wrote a book about his trips in Yacht Jandara around the Scottish Islands, he made it a mission to log every Island he could in the two wonderful books that were subsequently produced: The Scottish Islands and An Island Odyssey. Excellent tomes well worth a look for Island loving people. The daughter of one of his colleagues, Rona Sarafilovic, is visiting us for a week in Escape. Hamish himself visited many times and is a true gentleman, retired architect and ex yachtsmen, having sold Jandara many moons ago.

The reason I mention him is after yesterday’s fracas with yet another yachtsman, I refer to Hamish to say that in my initial days on Rona, visits from yachts were treated with a certain amount of excitement because in the main they were all very courteous and respectful of what we were trying to achieve. But I have to say that it seems these good old days are gone and a new attitude has crept in which to be honest means we treat yacht visits with trepidation.

There are still many of the old school left  yet but sadly year on year another gives up and leaves the sea to the next generation.

Last night, after repeatedly informing a visitor to keep his dog on a lead about the property and around stock. We saw he and his wife enter the sheep field and outrun around 10pm. As I was just about to go to bed I really could not be bothered but L agreed we should see what was going on, protect the stock? Especially after spending 1 hour that night in the outrun looking for a missing lamb. So I made chase and was just in time to see the dog slipping his/her lead and taking off.

The rest is history but it is unbelievable that after personally informing the visitor, him seeing the ‘many’ signs and walking through a closed gate past sheep he should let his dog off the lead.

The Scottish Outdoor Access code clearly states: From March until end July dogs should be kept on a short lead and under control everywhere. And dogs should not be taken into areas where livestock are present.

But it seems every time we ask, we are told that the dog is well behaved and does not require a lead. But I’m sorry that is not their call to make on Rona.

The right to roam is a great thing although there was always a right to roam in Scotland but the part about respecting peoples’ property and their possessions seems to be forgotten, it looks like a long summer!!

The Offenders Yacht!!

The Offenders Yacht!!

Hey ho, on we go, on a more positive note I woke up this morning and saw this right outside the window.

Breakfast

Breakfast

Grey Lags, the whole family on the doorstep having a feed, leaving lots of calling cards. Last night as I say we were out in the outrun looking for a missing lamb, having lost two ewes and three lambs from the cliffs and suspecting the sea eagle (now dogs). We were keen to find out just where it was. We did find it in the end right by the cliffs an easy push from a dog would have ‘maybe’ caused it to startle and jump. So we were pleased to find it. Scrambling around on cliffs at my age is not a great experience maybe 25 years ago but it was quite scary, but the light was fantastic and the flowers were very bright.

Thrift

Thrift

The primroses too and the backlit forest were a pleasure to walk in, sheep appearing from all corners. Leaving plenty sign of their presence.

Rubbing

Rubbing

It had been a different story at the beginning of the day when we woke to fog rolling in and on the radio Stornoway airport was closed. it did make for a ethereal picture.

Big Harbour No More

Big Harbour No More

We were heading over to Dry Harbour to replace some missing slates from the winter storms and Kenny MV Seaflower was visiting with a full boat (previous blog) so we were in a hurry to get back. The fog was broken at Dry Harbour with blue skies threatening.

Meal Acarseid

Meal Acarseid

The skipper of Seaflower had decided to take the East coast of Rona and missed the fog, he left and went West but by this time it had freshened. I then saw a very quick MV Seaflower passing the harbour heading back out to the East side, good call.

Kenny's Crew Enjoying Lunch

Kenny’s Crew Enjoying Lunch

Back to to-day, it has been a stunner, the geese have been around all day, I see David and Muriel Banks on Yacht Super G in the Bay, good friends and from the Hamish Haswell stable so we are looking forward to seeing them again, David probably caught a pile of Pollock as he does, he used to have the Salmon fishing around here 60 years ago when he was a lad and knows all the corners. Many years retired he is still skiing in the winter and sailing his yacht in the summer. Pictures tomorrow. Nothing much left for it to-day but to clean up the house and head up to the cabin for a night up there as the hall is just about to be painted (the floor). Calum and Irene on MV Kestrel are on their way with mail and stores so we await their arrival and of course their support. So I’ll leave you with yet another goose picture, this time a wee drive by Lorraine sent them over my head just managed a hurried shot before the batteries went dead.

Last Years (no goslings)

Last Years (no goslings)

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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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