Stormy Day

Golden Eagle

It is a horrible day on Rona after a lovely breezy, sunny day yesterday, Tuesday 7th February.

I went to Portree for the first time since the 18th December. The car started and the Filling station got a fright as I filled 14 x 20 litre tanks with petrol. The main reason for the Portree visit and worrying that we were close to running out AND our reliance on petrol. What do we do in the future to achieve Net Zero. Not a lot we can do I guess, we are petrol dependant for much of what we do. But that is for another time (Soon).

Back to the start of the month, busy as usual. I finished the butchering and gave the ‘bits’ to the birds. I do not believe in shooting deer or any animal for a photo opportunity, that is sacriledge. For sure if deer or other carcass are found dead then yes, but it is shocking that some think it is acceptable to do that. So here we have the result.

In the second image here, this is the ear of a deer’s head leaving the spot, I have seen the Eagle do this and I think it is because he is constantly being mobbed by crows and seagulls?

Burger Making

As we reclaimed the Lodge and the new larder prep’ area is not finished yet, burger making is back in its squeaky clean kitchen. 300 burgers later, that is us finished venison production for the season. The freezers are full and we can send a box should anyone be interested anywhere in the UK next day on chosen mid week days (and to suit Royal Mail Strikes). Perhaps consider a sample box for £50 of 0ne of each cut we produce. Postage is £15.00.

Have a look at the Rona FB page .

For the start of the month we were treated to gales and hail. The usual stuff blown about and mink trapping continues. I’m well over double figures trapped this winter with some movement in the colder weather. The mink are lovely looking animals, their fur always sleek but they are very destructive so I’m afraid we have to trap them otherwise the nesting birds we have would suffer serious predation.

I renewed my correspondence with Robin Noble. Having read his books and enjoyed them I struck up a correrspondence and enjoy his comments on the North West of Scotland. He lived in Assynt for some time and knows the area well. In light of the Employee (s) from the John Muir Trust’s activities lately in Assynt, like me he is very disappointed in them. JMT’s Assynt Activities .

We were talking of the trees in Assynt and comparisons to the Rona forest, so I sent him some pictures. Here we have coppicing of Hazel, we are looking forward to seeing how that goes, especially with a family of Red Deer living close to this area. He was amazed to see these very old Birch trees and suspects they might be hundreds of years old. Our Scots Pine planting is doing well, planted in the right place why wouldn’t they.

Here is a wee paper by Robin Noble, Worth a read: Misunderstood Landscapes .

Whilst taking some photos in the forest I came across this Wallow . Now to some so called conservationists they would see this and say, look here, too many deer, look at the damage they are doing. Well in my world this is the Red Deer doing what they naturally do, having a bath. It gets rid of the many beasties that live on them. Such as ticks and Keds. It cools them and it makes the stags black in the rut, supposedly impressing the females. You see the hinds and even the calves when getting a little older doing the same. Great to see, messy. Just leave the deer alone!!!!

The antlers are ones from the summer, not fully coloured, the chosen one not long out of the velvet that grows with them. The peat in the wallow helps towards colouring them too, as does the bark from Willow and Alder (how do they know?). In this case I need to stain the chosen set as I had a wee order for Antlers for a certain Bar near Stirling.

Bit of a wildlife ranger Tuesday morning. At first light I was down at the pier and pleased to see two Oyster catchers shivering on a rock, noisy as usual just arrived, I wonder where from.

Approaching The Base/Lighthouse

The Base up North used to spend lots of money trapping the mink once a year or so. Now that it is quiet up there it is an ideal chance to set some traps. Yesterday early I took off up there as the weather at last smiled on us. It was calmish, a nice run up, the sea still had a jabble but nothing to worry me. After a fashion I got the traps (and wheelbarrow) up on to the pier, took them up as far as the buildings setting them as I went. I had a good look around nothing doing so I came away.

On the way back to Big Harbour I had an idea that I might just go to Portree.

So it was, the weather was stunning, a really good start to this years Portree trips. I got a few stores, saw the usual suspects got my chips and headed back. Dolphins accompanying me all the way. The journey back was a bit more lively but I got back in good time before the wind really picked up.


To-day, not a great day for anything outside, the chimney hat here went past the window a few hours ago, something rattled under the house too. The wind has changed direction, the TV is off and the internet is slow, not good. Let us hope we do not have too many of these days left this winter.

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.

5 Responses to Stormy Day

  1. Fantastic eagle pictures Bill. Would you mind telling me which cam you use please?
    I too share your disappointment with the JMT. Such things happen in stalking but wouldn’t any gamekeeper worth their salt track down the animal and finish the job? Quite despicable.
    Looking forward to reading the paper by Robin Noble.
    Thank you for a very interesting piece.

  2. Bill Cowie says:

    Hi There, It is a Bushnell, cannot remember the model and it is out there getting a blast from the storm. Will get it and hopefully remember to send details. I think it is pot luck with cams, we have a Moutrie but it lost the screen, very temperamental. But good pics. I would recommend Bushnell. Lucky as ever with the Eagle, we do not see much of him in comparison to SE’s but he turns up on the Cam the SE never? Interesting. The JMT denied it of course but it is amazing what you find out on the grapevine. We know that they came back the next day and assume with increased numbers that they were looking for him. Also some dodgy facts going about their dealings with the carcasses. Once we know for sure maybe for a blog later.

  3. Thanks for the info. I bought a Bushnell before Christmas but had to send it back due to a faulty battery housing clip. Ordered another and it had the same fault. I then ordered a Browning and very sturdy but up to now I’m not getting the same quality pics as your ones.
    Re JMT, I’d heard about carcasses. I look forward to your possible blog.
    Another thing I meant to mention was that a while ago you recommended Duncan MacLennan’s book, My years in Glen Affaric, so I bought it and thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

  4. Rhona Johnstone says:

    Brilliant update as usual Bill, loving all the info and the pictures are amazing. Making me “home” sick. X

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