Dodging the Gales

According to my diary we have had 7 days of gales and it is getting a bit boring, it is difficult trying do do things outside when you are getting constantly buffeted but sometimes we have no option. Just had a look at the BBC forecast, it is all doom and gloom with yet more gales and rain. The ground here is sodden and even on flat surfaces a problem walking without landing on a heap. Opening up the hen run is getting to be dangerous……..It could be worse when you see what the people in some parts of  Cumbria have to deal with.

Spindrift Coming

Spindrift Coming

But there is still a beauty in the weather especially when we get a blink of sunshine. It was certainly cranking it up at the time of this pic’.

5 Minutes Later

5 Minutes Later

5 minutes later and the house was shaking, nice view though!!! That was last Saturday and the outlook for this week was grim. We were looking for a ferry for our Christmas mail (fortunately we had stores over on the previous Wednesday) but here we were on Saturday thinking no more boats before Christmas.

The Last Post

The Last Post

MV Aspire had managed out on the Wednesday and just as well because it has not let up since. We phoned the Base up North and Qinetic in Kyle and asked if it was possible to get our mail out on the helicopter, we got the ok so we then organised Mike at Portree Post depot to bag up our mail and Graham and Rona who are looking after the Base for Christmas  picked it up Saturday. Looking ahead I was not relishing the trip up to collect it. But we had plenty to do in the meantime. The weather was foul which made it easier over the weekend to lock myself in the larder and butcher up the two hinds that I had shot the previous week, 200 venison burgers later……….

Burger Bonanza

Burger Bonanza

We were running out of space, thank goodness I had cleared out the freezers over the past few weeks for box orders and presents. Lorraine stopped by the larder on route to the house with the Christmas tree, pines are a bit scarce so for as long as I can remember we have a birch tree, this year several!

Christmas Tree Delivery

Christmas Tree Delivery

At the end of last week I had had a request for photos to determine the best place for our proposed Solar Panels for the new house.Looking At The LodgeIt is not often we see this view of the house, the panels are to go up above the Lodge, between there and the Genny shed. There is a dip there, so that looks good for making them discreet although I have no problem showing the panels, they should not be considered and eye sore? I guess when the Genny is running we do not view the smoke/gas coming from the genny exhaust as an eyesore!!

From The Dip

From The Dip

The solar water heating, maybe on the rock above the house, we will see.

The Solar Water Heating Site

The Solar Water Heating Site above The House Site

The view is pretty good from here too and we look forward to making a start on the site in the spring (permission granted of course). (Latest: Applied for to-day 23/12/15)

Monday Morning Blues

Monday Morning Blues

Monday morning after checking the mink traps, we headed over to Dry Harbour to get the ‘Escape’ cottage ready for our New Year guests. The Chooks have been a bit freaky for some time so it was no surprise to catch a mink in the trap nearest the hen pen, so far we have kept this lot of hens alive. This is one of three mink this week alone. I’m afraid I’ll have to do a bit more trapping otherwise the mink will not leave a nesting bird on Rona. We have trapped many black mink, one white one, now a grey one. Resilient creatures but not welcome here I’m afraid.

The Grey Mink

The Grey Mink

Just as well we had no guests this Christmas with this weather they would still be in Portree, fingers crossed for next Monday.  We got to the cottage and the first thing I did was turn up the central heating. I was expecting the heating to kick in but no sign from the CH chimney. I went round to where the boiler is and the red warning light was on, oh Oh! Problems. A quick check and it was obvious that the heating oil had run out. I’m sure I checked it but maybe I did and thought I must fill this up before going to Germany. No worries, we had plenty and it had to be done. I would get it sorted in the morning.

Emergency Supply

Emergency Supply

I had the mail to collect at the Base and burgers to finish so first thing I headed over with two drums and got the heating going. I would check it on my way back from the Base.

A Break In The Rain

A Break In The Rain

I had a quick cup of tea at 12 and headed up to the Base sharpish, the rain had been holding off in the morning as per the forecast, but the wind was getting going so I expected the odd shower. I got to the Base no problem but on the way back it absolutely poured and with 40 to 50 mph winds it was not pleasant but it was good to get some cards and parcels.

Winter Mode

Winter Mode

I got back and George the cat who is in Winter mode was quick to say hello!! Very unusual as he seldom comes near me.

To-day it was back over to Dry Harbour to check the traps, get 1000litres of kerosene into the tank, repair the fence which was about to blow down and sort out the settings on the central heating. All done and then we spotted 3 escapee sheep on the hill south of Dry Harbour, so I guess there will be a rodeo in the next week or so as we try to capture them and return them to the field.

Not a sign of a deer for a few days, I have still a few to get for our cull numbers. I was disappointed to read in to-day’s Press and Journal (on the ipad) a story about the John Muir Trust and their deer culling in Knoydart. That follows on from the controversy up at Assynt where there is a similar issue.  I wondered at a conservation body thinking it all right to shoot perfectly good stags and to leave them lying on the hill, quite unbelievable. A quick google of John Muir and it makes you wonder what he would have thought of that!! Have a look:

John Muir Trust/Knoydart Deer Issue

John Muir Conservationist

 

 

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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.
This entry was posted in Daily Doings, The Views and of course the weather, Wildlife. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Dodging the Gales

  1. Alan Squires says:

    Thanks for your posts Bill, love hearing about your problems and repairs. Life on the island must be pretty tough. As I am writing this it is currently 38 deg outside on Christmas Eve here in Melbourne Australia. Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you and L.

    Alan Squires(Janet McKenzies ggg grandson)

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  2. Julie says:

    Enjoying your posts enormously. Keep blogging . Hope you both have a merry Xmas and a very happy and peaceful new year. J.(Arnish)

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