25th January and the gales keep coming. Dodging between the high winds we were able to get Mike and Lorraine out to Rona, 5 days late and we were able to get away for the first time since the 10th of December. The crew of MV Aspire were off to the Alps skiing so MV Stardust came out, sods law. It was flat calm (ish) in the big scheme of things!!! But yes a stable sailing which we were happy to enjoy. The colour was fantastic and after such dreich weather it was good to see the long views again (Briefly though).
We got into Portree around 11ish and set off down to Aviemore to meet Kenny from Shieldaig, we were off to Edinburgh to stay in our favourite hotel . The Howard. With dire warnings of closed roads, blowing snow and bad weather forecast it was , ‘here we go again”. With visions of being stuck somewhere and not getting to our destination the stress level was high. However we made good time and met Kenny on the Kessock Bridge then onto Aviemore in glorious sunshine. We left the car there as we were heading back there on Friday to meet up with my son and his family for a belated Xmas celebration. The sign coming out of Aviemore said ‘Road Closed’!! Oh Oh. But traffic was moving and we headed South regardless.
As it happened we made very good time and were in Edinburgh well before we expected. I am thinking the weather and speed cameras made everything move at around the same speed and with no accidents it was a free flowing drive. Four days later after our ‘Engagement’ party in Edinburgh and Xmas party in Aviemore, we were heading home.
A beautiful drive and trip over to Skye found us at the Free Church Manse for a discussion with Donnie G at 4pm, our slot. 6 hours later!! We headed up to Calum and Irene’s for our bunks, so discussions went on until late there too. We enjoyed the visit to the ‘Manse’ and Portree is lucky to have such an enthusiastic and energetic minister. We look forward to his next visit to Rona later this year.
We were back in plenty time to shift Mike and Lorraine over to the holiday cottages, have a meal and a movie with them, opening our belated Xmas gift from them. As usual a basket of goodies that just goes on and on!!
With all the excitement of coming home, we forgot that Tom Tindale from Shieldaig was coming over to have a look around as he felt that Rona would make a perfect destination for his plan to run outward bound courses. So it was a surprise to see three guys walking past the door the next day. The weather had been poor the day before but it had calmed enough for Frosty, a local fisherman, to take them over. They had a walk and a look. A warm up in the bothy and I look forward to hearing his proposals. I never saw Mike that day but next day he came over and was quickly pressed into service, the danger of coming to Rona on holiday. I had long overdue shutters to put on the cabin, the rain gets in. So it was good to get a lift with them, I’d left the hinges on the boat so it was only half a job.
After that it was up top to the BB mast (yet again) to change batteries, the new cable had arrived 4 hours after our ferry left which was a pity as Mike would have helped put it out, all 750 metres of it.
We are managing , just, to keep the system going, but it will settle down once we get the mains power to it, hopefully later this week.
In all the years on Rona I’ve never felt the house so cold, I think the combination of constant wet and then very cold East winds has had an effect on the temperature generally and it is almost a full time job cutting firewood and kindling, of course we could run the central heating but the cost of its delivery and cost of kerosene means that it would be silly not to use the birch forest we have in abundance. This year we will make a major effort to get a huge store of firewood and kindling for next winter. Mike and Lorraine new firewood tub came in very handy.
Friday night last the Applenet BB stopped yet again, we thought it was the battery but no, it was the Tough switch controller, it had ‘burnt out’. So yet again up we go to change batteries and fiddle with the switch gear. Thankfully I had another Tough switch and got it going again, but this morning as I type it is off again. The people in Diabeg etc will be getting very fed up but we are trying our best.
It is always a good trip regardless of the weather and the gloomy view was quite atmospheric. Looking back to Portreee over a very dark Big Harbour.
Yesterday ‘Sunday’ was a belter, continuous rain, wind and dark. All you could do was let the hens out, feed the sheep, get the firewood and spend the rest of the day trying to keep warm. Which was not a bad thing as we both got a lovely cold in Edinburgh ( not from Linda who had one too during our stay in the Howard). Ours seems a different strain for sure. But to-day Monday it seems to be on the way out. Last night we were watching TV and we have two systems, one for recording and back up the other the Sky TV. The recording dish would not work in fact it has been troublesome for a while. A walk out in the now black, dry less windy night confirmed yet another bit of damage to add to the 123knt wind, the LMB was swinging around. Rust then blown off the dish. So I guess that is the next job, then up the hill to see what is what with the Applenet BB. Just another typical day on Rona.