Happy New year

At last normal service has resumed. The last blog was 22nd July 2018, which is quite scary how a year can pass so quick. Building a house, working 10 hours a day, 7 days a week for the last couple of years has certainly been trying but we are now ensconsed in the new house (no name yet) and to-day we received our ‘Temporary Occupation ‘ certificate, although we have been temporarily here since the 24th of December.

Hoovering on Christmas Eve

The winter weather has been kind although to-day Friday 1st Feb’ it is like the rest of Scotland, cold and snowing.

Christmas Day

It was good to have Christmas in the new house despite the rush until 8.30pm on Christmas Eve plus the smell of fresh paint.

George Likes it

George our cat is very happy with the warm house.

July 2018

Looking back over the year past to-day I am reminded at how wet the weather has been and as we drew to a close on the job, the Autumn went out with a bang.

Stormy Days

Stormy Days 2

Stormy Days 3

The skies have certainly been dramatic with some stunning light, not much time to mess about with cameras so mostly pictures are taken on the hoof.

Funny Light

This one on a trip to Portree. The light that day was very reminiscent of some of the late Tommy MacKenzie’s etchings of Rona and Raasay

Late Yacht arrival after the storm.

Here’s a Wet One

When it rained it certainly dumped it down.

It is not all doom and gloom

But even on poor days the view can be stunning.

Flooded out

The hot tub that arrived in July was well used even during the wet days but it flooded out more than once!!

Dry Harbour

Even with the housebuild going on the normal work continued alongside it, sometimes a bit of an overlap especially in a year of multiple machine failures. The cottages were quite busy and maintenance a little neglected so now it is catch up.

Big Issue

One of the major breakdowns was a burst boiler, water was flowing out of one of the seams, not an old boiler and I think our second in 16 years which may be good? This was on top of the generator which broke down, terminally in May.

New Boiler Delivered

Amongst the breakdowns and housebuild we were keen to utilise the shutters and left over mix to make mooring blocks and with advice from John MacInnes of Tayvalich and Calum taking up the design we applied for more moorings in the harbour, demand has been high.

Project for 2019

My job was to make them and with the new mixer only 127 shovel fills to make a batch I had a day making mooring blocks, what fun.

Mooring blocks getting ready for 2019

Calum’s RIB

Calum was back and fore on Kestrel his motor sailor but after it was laid up his RIB came in handy.

IKEA delivery guys, with 700Kilo of kitchens/beds etc

Until one of my engines on the boat expired I was back and fore to Portree 22 times since June for material and stores, since then the boat has seldom been out of the harbour but we fitted the new engines last week and will be back in business soon on MV Rona.

Portree Visit

Always worth a visit into the Pier Hotel, very good lager and ‘crack’. It is surely in a class of its own!!!

A Special find

There was some (only some) down time and I went over to the West side of the harbour/forest and came across this glass tube, 2metres long.

Wood Hole Institute

It was quite heavy and awkward to carry but we got it home, it is a tide recorder and I’ll post the story of it later. It was in the Labrador Sea in 2015, it landed on Rona 2018 after it came to the surface in 2015 to send data to the WHI in Massachussetts. It is glass!!!!!!

What’s doing in Food on Rona

No time for Crew Pots for Yachties this year or Supper Clubs for guests but hopefully this year coming. We have posted a job on Rona on Gumtree and on this blog. We are looking for a couple of helpers to stay initially in the Lodge for the season but if they like it and we like them then it could be permanent with me reaching the big 65 very shortly people tell me I should retire, don’t think so some how. So if anyone is interested : Rona Opportunity

Venison Slow Roast Shoulder

We’ll be doing Crew Pots this year for sure, been filling the freezers and we have plenty rolled shoulders for this dish, wont be long till the season.

Eagle 1

Eagle 2

Been quite a winter for eagles here, Golden and Sea. We saw 5 at the mouth of the harbour on one trip to Portree, since then there has been continued activity with a Golden Eagle hanging about the place where I dump the cuttings from the venison production. It is good that they clean that up for us.

Mink 1

Mink 2

The trail camera picked up the mink at the site where the deer bits are left, he was a regular visitor, at least he has stayed away from the hens this last year. We have caught over ten on the Island this back end but I guess there are many more.


Here’s a wee calf in late summer tied up on a loose bit of fencing, the poor thing had been there for a while and quite by chance I saw it. It was none too pleased to be handled but I was as quick as I could be and it lived to tell the tale. it was limping for a few days but since then I reckon it is none the worse, a lucky escape.


Breakdowns continued with a rush of problems in November, the drawbar of the trailer parted company (not unknown) so a Rona repair was applied.

More Problems

Stalking ground to a halt when the ATV stopped dead, a faulty fuel pump.


Which became a seized fuel pump.


But eventually replaced at great cost.

Complete Pump £150!!

Nothing goes forever but it all seemed to come at once, the brake pipes on the vehicles get a particularly hard life with the bumpy road, since then the brakes have been iffy to say the least.

Brake Failure

The last landing craft of the year was in September, there is a plan to overhaul the pontoon and to that aim we started by replacing the anchor chains, once lifted it became apparent the chains were on their last legs and given the few storms this year we would have been lucky to get away with them. So it was fortunate we fitted new lengths all round, checked the mooring and anchors. They are all 100% now so should last my time here.

Mooring work

A good job, but dirty on a cold September day.October stalking was a wet affair but since then the winter has been fair with many dry days and sunny.

Crisp Days

Lots of nice skies.

From the New House

From inside the new house.

Sunrise from Meal Acarseid

View from the bedroom, New House

Torn ear rocked up as usual, where does he hide the rest of the year, he was bigger and looked meaner than previous years, still young but there seems to be a problem with one of his eyes. But he manged to keep out of the stalkers way come October. He’ll be back.

Torn Ear

Hard to believe it is a year ago to-day that we  were at this stage below.

A year ago to-day

Ian the builder who did most of the work on the New House on his last day, he’ll be back though.

Ian’s Last Day

Here we are on the second of January with Dan arriving on MV Stardust first footing, with his gang.

Looking forward to many more New Years on Rona.

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 The Views and of course the weather. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Happy New year

  1. Uff says:

    A happy new year to you too. Great to see you posting again and pleased all is well.

  2. Claire Calder says:

    Happy New Year to you both. Wishing you health and happiness in your fantastic new home. If I were not nudging retirement myself I would be applying for the job!! Great pics and blog. Xx

  3. Steve Salmen says:

    Glad you’re back posting. Miss the updates. Will bring you up to date when we book another visit. Steve & Angela

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