This is the first day indoors since our holiday which seems so long ago. Been busy helping Ian the joiner (He’s outside to-day!!). We have had a bit of a rush trying to get to the stage where the roof was fixed down and we finished that just in time for storm Caroline tomorrow, although it could be a storm here yesterday and to-day by mainland standards.
We came back from Padstow on the 9th of November, via Shieldaig.
We were in Edinburgh Thursday expecting to go back Saturday but as often happens at this time the weather changed. I opened the laptop at 8.30am and there it was, Northerlies for a week. So we upped sticks and headed off prompt to Shieldaig.
There was no time to get to Portree before dark so Shieldaig was our easiest option, as it happened we just made it in time to get the daylight out to Rona. It was good to get home but a bit fraught. Thanks to Kenny for dropping everything and taking us back at such short notice.
We were not long home when we had to go to Portree but it was good to get the mail and get the car to the pier.
With two weeks mail and papers it was good to pick that up and to see Doctors/bank etc. So much to pack into such a short visit with the clock ticking before dark.
It was quite a sea running from the North so it was no surprise to see SD Raasay coming in from this side of the gap, for a quick visit. I had a quick shouting match with Kenny the Skipper but we could not hear each other what with the boat engines and North wind, but good to see them all the same.
Easy seen it was rough seas, the bay was full of seals on our return, we counted 165 and 25 of these were pups, all lying together and only 20metres from the bunkhouse. This time of year when the bay is quiet the seals pile on into the harbour for shelter.
Ian the Joiner was held up from returning to Rona what with weather and other commitments, so I got on with moving the building material. Any calm (dry) day it is very important not to hang about.
It may have been a good day but the ground below our feet and machines is so soft, often getting stuck. In the summer we were forced to dump tonnes of stone at each gate to help which was just as well given the rain since.
It is the time of year for feeding the sheep and of course Julie turns up chasing the sheep away so we have to feed her apart to give the sheep a chance, but now the hens are giving Julie a hard time stealing ‘her’ feed.
She came here in 2003 and was one and a half years old then, she is looking thin but seems to thrive, she has had another calf this summer and it is in good condition.
I was feeding Julie and opened the ‘herb garden’ lid to let the water run off and it seems that corn was growing quite well with the herbs (and weeds), it must have been hen feed scattered that by chance grew. What chance of it being harvestable in any quantity is debatable, especially this year. But interesting to see.
With the North wind it was just a matter of time before the snow would be on the hills, seems to be a bit of a Northerly trend this winter so I would not be surprised if we have serious snow, been a while since any lay for any time on Rona.
At this time we do get away weather permitting and it seems to be a time when weddings, holidays and all sorts of appointments take place. We were not back two weeks and we had been invited to Gemma and James’ wedding in Sleat, Our friends Kenny and Linda from Shieldaig’s daughter. The weather was difficult and Lorraine was sick on the day of departure so stayed on Rona. I had to attend alone (no hardship) and enjoyed a lovely couple of days. The day was grey to start and the view here from the church at Duisdale was pretty dark.
The ceremony went very well and we were off to Talla Duisdale for a wonderful reception. What a great hall that they have built there, I hope it gets used plenty and the catering was excellent.
Although a beautiful calm morning at Kinloch Lodge Hotel, I wasn’t feeling too good but headed back to Rona before the Northerly. A very comfortable stay as usual.
When I was at the wedding the Velux windows arrived, they were a challenge getting them onto the boat, far less up onto the roof, but we have not been beaten yet.
With the platform on the JCB we got both windows up and even the heavy one went in a treat after having been stuck with the wee one, we learn quickly here.
The only problem was that they do not sell the flashings with the window and of course we could not fit the aluminium roofing until we had those. The weather was crap and our ferry operators were away, Dan was broken down, so nothing for it but to take off for Portree on the only calm window of the week once they arrived at Skye Express.
Picked up our new gas cooker, other bits and pieces as well and shot back before the Northerly got going again, good to get that out of the way and next day we were in business, fitting the windows.
The gas cooker is for the Escape house but unfortunately it would not fit the jeep. I hit a bump and the back window shattered, our poor jeep has suffered some amount of abuse.
I think in protest the door decided to fall of the jeep on my return to the garage.
Meanwhile the roof was going well and we were on course to finish it before the storm season really got underway.
Finally with storms fast approaching it was batten down the hatches, unfortunately the suppliers sent the wrong ridge/flashing straps so we could not fit them. We battened everything down in anticipation of the first real winter storm. Fingers crossed!!!!!!
We worked late into the night and after a blowy day next day everything is as secure as you could make it.
Forget Storm Caroline, I’ve just been out (4pm Wednesday and it is pitch dark) , lost my hat, the wind is howling, from the South. Let’s hope it veers West very soon.
On a more sombre note.
It is always a thought when we hear on the VHF or see the Portree lifeboat heading out, and so it was a week last Monday when we were on our way back to Rona from Portree that we heard that a boat was in trouble. Then we heard the news that it was ‘Veruna’ and that Alasdair MacLeod her owner was missing. It is a horrible thing to hear and even more distressing when you know the person and their family.
Since then there is little or no hope and the search was called off. Our thoughts are very much with Alison and the boys at this time.
Alasdair was on Rona many times, more so lately with the maintenance of the Applnet mast. He was also kind enough to take ‘Castaway Claire’ to Rona in 2015 for her charity stay. We always looked forward to his visits where we had an always too brief a chance to chew the fat about living remotely, the challenges of making a living, trying very hard to get Communities to work together and of course land ownership. Sadly we will not have that long discussion we always talked about.