May Days

Here’s a thing, a Bon Accord lemonade bottle, found at the back of the generator shed. It brought back happy memories. I wondered how it got there, I see the company stopped producing pop in 2000. When we lived in Buckie it was the pop of choice, we moved to Mull in 1965 it was McColls there (not as good as Bon Accord). Living in Ayrshire 1970s it was Currys I think. No wonder my teeth are not so good nowadays!

Bon Accord

May started where April finished with a trip back down to Stranraer to look at a new aluminium boat. The 6 and a half hour drive was tiring but it was worth it as the boat was good. We made the deal and John Mitchell the owner offered to deliver. So here we were on the 5th of May taking delivery at Strollamus boat yard.

The Boat Arrives Strollamus

It would have been a long drive from Stranraer but John took it in his stride and within the hour we were in the water and heading to Portree.

The Beast

It was a grey jabbly day, rain too but the boat started and very quickly we were in Portree. We had a check of the boat and assessed just what we had bought. All looked good, the work required reflected the price but all in all it looks a good boat for the future of Rona.

Heading Past Raasay

I’m not often down this way on a boat so it was an interesting run down from Portree to Strollamus and back.

Coming Home Sconser

Even better on the way back with no plotter, but it is a pretty straightforward run.

Back At Rona

Back on Rona the work starts on getting the boat up to safe standard. This will take a little time and since I have taken it home time is in pretty short supply, but every week we move forward. In fact to-day (12th June) I managed at last to get the VHF installed.

Battery Woes

The on going work on Rona taking up much time was the off grid supply issues. The well recommended (expensive) Canadian Rolls batteries were not as good as promoted. We installed them in 2007 but half of them were defunct by this year, the storage in them was not coping with the demand with the generator running lots lately, here at Big Harbour. With new folk coming it was wise to upgrade the system. So new batteries were ordered, not Rolls!!

Battery Delivery

The batteries duly arrived at Skye Express and the weather meant they sat there for a while before I could uplift them. Whilst I reckon I’m pretty fit lifting 24 batteries at 53kg each was a tall order. I left Rona in calm weather and thought it was 6.45am, but I had miss read the clock in the bedroom and it was only 5.45am. I reached Portree at 6.45am, no one about apart from the guys at Skye Express so I loaded half in the the batteries into car and crept down to the pier. I loaded them myself and took off back to Rona with half a tonne of batteries.

Second Load of Batteries

After having a quick cup of tea I turned around and did a second run, same again but I had a hand loading this time, unloading on Rona was by the JCB bucket. It was a long day and I can remember crawling into bed and sleeping very soundly that night.

Yet Another Trip To Portree

Been a lot of trips to and from Portree lately, so many I have lost count and none of them in the new boat, yet.

Grand Banks

The weather changes so fast and the clouds come in quickly but thankfully on all of these trips no drama with the sea.

Another of My Many Portree Trips This Month

In fact it has been a very calm May and dry.

Dead Batteries

With the old Rolls batteries going to the scrappy, it was time to take the duds from Dry Harbour. Off grid power is certainly not cheap and requires a lot of user input.

New Bateries Installed.

All my own work. Installed and running. Now a much better system.

The New Garage power Set Up

With the new batteries installed in the Big Harbour generator shed, the old Rolls batteries that still had life in them were taken up to the garage to give us some extra power. Quite a good use of the standby generator and rather than dump the batteries, a new lease of life. With the larder chill running 24/7 this extra source will be invaluable, all working fine and automatic, just like the main system.

Working on the Boat

Now the question is, with a new boat, an old aluminium boat and a RIB, do I really need three boats?

RIB for Sale?

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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1 Response to May Days

  1. abolasabout says:

    Great updates and new boat looks grand. Every year I mean to get over to Rona and never make it. Any news on new caretakers??

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