Snowy Days


Back to winter, a winter wonderland instead of rain, makes a change and nice to have it. We think it is at least ten years since we had such snow. It lasted almost a week and after two or three days of very cold days and rain again, we have this morning (Tuesday) snow, again but not a lot.

The Job report is that we have pulled the advert but a steady trickle of emails and calls are still coming through. I guess the articles are still doing the rounds. We have had a few couples visit and I am sure they have enjoyed their trip to Rona, a few more potential workers are coming and it is good for them to experience the Island, see the accomodation and get frightened to death at the workload. LoL.

Anyway it is what it is and we hope we can encourage a couple to join us on this wonderful Island.

The Lodge, The Accomodation.

The Lodge is a 1900’s built shooting Lodge, the owner’s of Raasay at that time used to come up very occasionally to shoot various animals. I guess that is what they did back in the day. It was renovated in 1993/4 and has had ‘robust’ use since. It will need a makeover for sure but is perfectly habitable just now. I guess a wee renovation would be part of the future plans. We look forward to it.

Back to the past couple of weeks.

Been a good spell but cold and wet either side of it. It was good to get sun after the snow fell and it enabled me to get going with outside work. So nice to have snow on the road and instead of having a very rough track we had a very smooth track. But sadly it did not last long.

I had been away a couple of times and with no one to cover us Lorraine had to man the fort, there was a very sad funeral I had to attend which meant a long trip to Aberdeenshire and back. Later that week it was the SGA (Scottish Gamekeepers Association) meeting at the Caledonian Stadium in Inverness.

Early Start

On the first trip I got to Portree only to find that my car had packed in, rather fortunately in the courtyard of Macrae’s Garage. A quick call to Dan Corrigal, Skye Boat Trips and he very kindly let me have his pick up. As Macraes was very busy that week the rapair was not possible, I had to borrow it again on Friday for the meeting. Many thanks to Dan for that.


It was interesting to see the muirburn (the falaisg) going on on Raasay on my way to the SGA meeting as muirburn was on the meeting agenda. The RSPB and othert so called conservationists want to stop it, but what they choose to ignore is without controlled burning the fire risk would be huge, also it is a proven fact that those Moors with a muirburn programme have much more diverse birdlife on it rather than the choked ex grouse moors that have been bought up by these conservation charities. The facts are there.

Mostly Oldies!!

Sadly not many young gamekeepers at the meeting, where are they? Their work is under threat like never before. Hopefully there will be a shift towards more younger members coming through. The work of a Gamekeeper is often portrayed as the work of a wildlife killer when in fact to-day’s young gamekeeper is much more than a vermin controller. Working in nature everyday and in land management is a much more broader discipline compared to the gamekeeper of old. More on that later. Suffice to say it was one of the best AGMs I’ve been to, with good presentations on a variety of subjects.

Back to Rona after a long day a week last Friday, thanks to Hamish and Graham at Rembrandt Portree for running down the plasterboard order to the pier and Dan/Cwaba for a lift on. The tide was not right so I took the chance and left it on the boat that night.

Lying in bed at 4am I was wakened with heavy rain (not forecast) beating on the roof, Oh Oh!! By 11 am the rain had passed, the plasterboard was covered but it was damp, it does not take long. So it was a bit of a job screwing it to the ceiling of the larder later in the week, very flexible let us say. But great to have a hand from Colin who was here with his wife looking at the job and what it entailed.

Dry Hasrbour Looking to Trotternish

The burning continued and there was a fair fire going on near the forestry between Storr and Valtos but the rain came and before long it was out. Not long now till the burning season is over.

We cannot burn on Rona much as I would love to as on my own it would be difficult to control. Maybe one day.

That is the story this month, much discussion about CVs and much work on breakdowns. Life goes on.

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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