August Days -Catch Up.

Big storm this weekend, the windows are fairly bending in the new house ‘Tigh na Creag’. So far no damage seen but we have not been to Dry Harbour yet.

Although the mink or otter had one (so far) of our hens yesterday, we have seen this before when a storm is in full flow, the critters are out and about. Traps will be set.

But it is a good day to catch up a wee bit more on the blog.

Here we are looking back to August. Whilst doing the blog it is nice to look back at the photos taken and remembering the good days.As I write to-day in a full gale with rain of course, it is a good reminder of good days past, good to come.

Looking North to Torridon and Gairloch

This was a day out stalking up in the North end of Rona mid month, a clear crisp morning just as the Quinetic helo’ was heading into the Base.

Foggy Days

Of course it was not all good days and after a couple of days of glorious sunshine it was no surprise to see fog rolling in.

Red Deer Local Family

The deer around the house don’t care about fog and at this time they know they are safe, this group stuck together around the new house until lately, when the rut took over their lives.

A Good Year for Calves

I hear it was a good year for calves elsewhere and we did see more than usual this year, so it is nice to know we have a healthy herd.

Dramatic Skies

The weather is everything here and it is interesting seeing the different cloud s rolling in, this one looked menacing but it was, I remember, a good day later.

Fladda Ladda

It is not all Rona work this month and it was good to get off Rona to do a wee job for our neighbours, John and Erlet who live on Fladda. Their landing on Fladda is getting difficult so we volunteered to make a ladder from timber left from the new house. It is finished now and in use.

RIB Outings

Although we used the aluminum boat for the work we had a few trips out in the RIB, very quick and on a good day perfect for watching wildlife. Also good for doing doughnuts I’m sure much to the annoyance of the visors in the bay!! (it wasnae me).

Serene Evening

But we would draw the line at disturbance on nights like this, we had many  in the 2020 summer.

Mystery Object

To-day’s mystery object, this came up on the outside of one of our creels, I think from deep water. Now I found out what it was but cannot remember. Maybe by the end of the blog I’ll remember. Pretty weird and prehistoric looking. Mystery Object!

Sheep Off Fuel On

Work goes on, not all fishing and play. Off to Portree to catch the sale, 4 older Wedders on board. The price was getting better so here goes. Two drums for fuel on board, a busy day ahead.

Breuchie’s van

Although we catch plenty fish we do not catch kippers, Cod, Scallops or herrings, so Breuchie (Skye Fish), in Portree Co-op car park is the best, especially the smoked haddock, great for Cullen Skink. So part of the shopping on a trip to Portree is a must stop at the fish van.

Returning Home

Fuel loaded and shopping done, back to Rona. The price was indeed good for the Wedders. As was the price of the Kerosene but not as cheap as lockdown days.

Foggy Days return

Another Saturday changeover, this time fog issues. MV Seaflower made a slow journey out to us, the fog very thick and visibility not very far at all.

Clear Days

But it went away and again the sun shone, Yacht visits were just over 100 Yacht overnights this year and those that did venture out had many good days.

Water Woes

The biggest drama in August was that the water supply ran out at the holiday cottages and with full occupancy it turned out to be a real issue. In fact it took me until September to get it fully filled again. But after many years of talking about it we have now installed early warning systems. We are of course usually checking water levels but this month it was missed for some reason. First week in September the tank finally came to the top. A sigh of relief.

Another Fine Day

The month continued and the sunsets got better. Despite lockdown it had been a good weather year and the season when it did start was quieter with visiting boats for sure but by August it was as normal with the day boats from Portree becoming regular visitors. The weather was kind of course and we could not open our wee shop to sell venison and the other odds and ends we do but those that knew about the venison called me up and I duly delivered it to the Pier.

Busy Bay

With the Lockdown affecting every aspect of our life it was no surprise for there to be issues with the Deer Management. One thing that happened was that the market for venison virtually collapsed. So it was really great to get a call from the ‘Chippy’ on the Pier asking if I could do some venison burgers for them to try. So many hundreds of burgers later delivered to Dan’s  chip shop we had opened up a new avenue for Rona Venison. I hear they were very popular with the visitors.

Quality Carcass

That in turn encouraged me out onto the hill to look for good quality venison, not hard to find at this time as the deer have summered well. This fellow was up North, a big stag. In tip top condition.

The Best Summer Venison.

It is not very often you see so much fat on a Red Deer carcass. The reason is that not a lot of deer are normally shot at this time of the year, certainly hill deer. Too hot, too far out, too hard to get them in without temperature issues. Most get shot in September/October, when a lot get exported to the European market. Sadly too many get shot out of season by the likes of the Contractors shooting for Forest Land Scotland (Formerly the Forestry Commission). Well out of season and well out of condition. Their policy of shoot to kill at any time of the year is in my opinion one of the biggest crimes against nature against one of our iconic Highland (Scottish) animals. I will blog more on this later on the Red Deer Page.

The Rest To Burgers

That is my rant over for to-day Sunday 1st November, but there is more coming. But back again to work, it was good to get back into the Lodge to produce our venison burgers. The large kitchen there makes a good ‘factory’ and we can knock out a few hundred burgers in a morning. Sausages too but I’m working on a new recipe at the moment, watch this space.

The Long View

So now I think only July to catch up on. It has been good as I previously said to look back on an interesting year, with many challenges. But despite natures efforts to tear Rona apart this morning and give us more work we are well up to date. Thanks to Lockdown everything this year that needed painting got painted, paths got maintained, the houses got a good going over and our new maintenance schedule is in place thanks to Calum’s expertise in Excell. My list over work to do in the future was greatly reduced. But a new one looms.

We are in a good place with the team we have working with us at the moment  and we look forward to next season where we have lots of bookings already and many plans for the coming years it is an exciting time.

We will be looking for enthusiastic people to come and join us on Rona early next year. Again, watch this space.

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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